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Abu Dhabi Post Race Report

The weight question seems to have been left open… and several more have cropped up. During the race, the lead was passed between Team Bonhomme, Nicolas Ivanoff and Hannes Arch. Team Bonhomme led in the Top 12, with Nicolas taking the Super 8 stage… then after a poor Super 8 run Hannes Arch pulls out a 1.24.60… the fastest run of the day and unbelievably quicker than anything he had done all week. Rather nice for the Abu Dhabi sponsored pilot to win “at home”…


We’re running the aeroplane/pilot combination about 45 kgs heavier than the winning aeroplane so we know our streamlining works, we’ve got now to get the weight down. Wade and Jim are going to be putting the aeroplane through the gym next week and also after San Diego and I’ll be doing the same! And if you don’t think 45 kgs is much, imagine it at 10G… it’ll be 450 kgs or 5 passengers, a huge penalty…


The other big question this week was the track tactics around gate 3. It became evident that you could just fly through gate 3 with no attempt to be level and you’d gain about 2 seconds (which is the penalty for not being level in the gate). So what to do? Go wider to get level in the gate, no penalty but about 2 seconds more track time… or just fly through in a turn, 2 seconds quicker but comes with a 2 second penalty? Personally I reckoned on going for the clean run (somehow not cricket to deliberately get a penalty) but it was clear that the French and one of the Americans were early to try the tactic (neither big cricketing nations). The advantage of the “fly through” was that it reduced the chance of a pylon hit… it also highlighted that if you fly through high AND not wings level, you still only get a 2 second penalty. I think that rule will change in the not-too-distant future.


Big thanks must got to Wade and Jim for the technical support this week and to Nigel who as usual has been super efficient at running the Team (he makes a good cup of tea too). Also HUGE THANKS to Pete Waters (White Waltham folks will know Pete/Yogi from his instructing days there) for his invaluable assistance which helped the Team to 2nd place. Without the intelligence gathering from Pete, we’d have had a much more difficult week.


Other news: I wore the new AutoFlug G Race Suit (GRS) this week. It is a G suit that works on the water rod principle… the suit is worn tight and when G onset occurs, the water flows to constrict your suit even more in the lower leg and torso. To start with, I did not like it at all… I found it far too tight and extremely hot (cockpit temperatures of 45c did not help)… however after a bit of tweaking and adjusting… and getting used to wearing a 7 kg flying suit, I now actually quite like it. It is not a magic suit in terms of G protection but it helps by about 1.5 to 2 G, very useful when you’re trying to judge flying through a 10 meter wide gate at 30 feet after a prolonged 8 G turn. The suit is worn by some of the Eurofighter pilots in Europe and is tailored for their requirements which are not the same as ours. Two I can think of immediately are sitting position and cockpit climate control. I’m sure though that with development the suit is here to stay, as it does work well (it also means I don’t have to grunt quite so much whilst on the TV!). It’s already been written into the rules as a required piece of equipment which means if you don’t wear it, you have to carry 6.5 kgs of ballast.


Roll on San Diego for a good fair race… then perhaps some cricket?