Team Midland and some close friends setup a road trip to Limerick in the Republic of Ireland in order to attend the 3D Ireland 2012 competition. Two of our group were judges for the competition, Jason Platts and Mat Watkin, while a further five of us were entered to compete in either the Grass Roots level, or the Experts level.
Adam Millard and Mo Abdelbasit competed in the Grass Roots group, while Mike Eddington, Pete Ayriss and myself, Rob Turnbull competed in the Experts group. We also had Dave Millard along with the group for some support, and to be a caller for both Adam and me.
The journey there and back was quite a long and tiring one, but Jason took on the driving of the mini bus that we hired, and also planned out all of the logistics of the entire journey, including ferry crossings, meeting times, etc. It all ran like clockwork of course!
The competition was held at the Shannon Model Flying Club just outside Limerick, and the site itself is a well maintained facility with a nicely mown flying area surrounded by a few natural elements that mean us 3D heli pilots get to play with mother nature – long grass, trees and such like all making for an interesting location.
The weather was a little unkind on the first day of the competition, Saturday, with a pretty strong wind blowing through, and some occasional showers thrown in there for good measure. The competing pilots were assigned a random flight order position, and the guys running the event (Rodney Kee and Liam Broderick) managed the whole event brilliantly, calling a quick break in flying while the bad weather blew through, and getting proceedings marching on again when it was fit to do so. Tough times, but handled very well indeed. We managed to get through all of the rounds necessary on day 1 in order to find out who went through to the finals on day 2.
I managed to stove my Logo 600 in during my freestyle flight, but I had done enough to land in the top 5 putting me through to the finals where I could try again!
The finals day saw a much lighter wind from the other side of the field, but there were a few more rain shower interrupting proceedings for a bit longer each time. Once again though, the organisers kept things running when the weather allowed, and we got through all of the final fly-offs.
I am more than pleased to say that I managed to win in the Experts group. Several other pilots put on some extremely high quality flights in my opinion, and the final scores put a few of us very close. I have placed highly in several other competitions previously, but this was my first ever win, and I’m pretty pleased with it considering the calibre of pilots I flew against.
By 5pm on Sunday we had packed everything away and were ready for leaving the site, right on schedule according to Jason’s planned journey. We hit the docks in Dublin in good time for the ferry, and sailed overnight back to Holyhead, then drove through the early hours back to Midland Helicopters where everyone had initially met up. Cars were packed and people headed off on their drives back home.
The whole event was a joy to be involved with. The Irish are an extremely welcoming bunch, and Mark Broderick of Model Heli Services, who were the major sponsors of this event, was a superb host throughout the weekend. You simply couldn’t have asked for better, and we are looking forward to attending this one again next year!
Congratulations to everyone involved, and all of the pilots who flew in some testing conditions.
Check out a few of the pictures I took from the weekend.