Thursday, 8 December 2016

What a year for Ian Emery, RC Heli pilot...

Another year has passed (well, almost 😉) & it's been another year of excitement & brilliant achievement for our friend & British F3C team-member Ian Emery.  At SMB Bearings, we're always delighted when we get to hear how our bearings are being put to use & Ian certainly used them in fine style in 2016!  We'd like to say a big thanks to Ian for taking the time to share this fantastic season summary with us:

Ian at the controls...

"Wow, what a roller-coaster of a year it's been.  A few days after I wrote my last blog for SMB Bearings I set off on my biggest RC Helicopter adventure to date, which was to the FAI F3C European Championships.

On the practice field...

  Being in a position to represent the British Team in a major Continental competition was a dream come true, a competition where I would be up against the best F3C pilots in Europe including European and former World Champion Ennio Graber. 

Truly a hard-won shirt (& one to treasure)...
It was an early start to drive to Watford in order to meet up with the rest of the Team.  To minimise costs we had arranged to travel together in one vehicle which was a challenge in itself.  We had 4 people, 7 helicopters, 2 generators, 4 cases, 4 Transmitter cases, batteries, chargers and a good selection of spares including a complete bearing set from SMB Bearings just in case.  We just needed a kitchen sink, which as it was a Volkeswagon Shuttlebus I'm sure we could have had one fitted if we wanted to!

Helicopters packed - now where are we going to fit the pilots?! 😅
After the 1100 mile journey to Wlocklawek in Poland we had a quiet night before getting down to business the following day. Our Team manager, Mike Gilfillan was fresh as a daisy after flying out to meet us.  Positions of responsibility has its privileges I guess.  First we went to the Airfield where the competition would be held and what an amazing venue it was.

The British F3C team - what a gang!

We then wandered over to one of the official practice sites and met up with the German and Swedish Teams.  Still feeling a little rusty after missing so much practice time, I flew several flights and began to feel more comfortable and was really looking forward to what lay ahead.  The following day we had Official model processing and Team registration.  Whilst I was confident my model would be okay, I had never weighed it so was just hoping that it weighed less than the 6.5 KG limit. Thankfully we all passed the processing and the Team were officially registered into the competition. 

The following day was the official practice day when each pilot was allocated a 10 minute window to fly at the main Competition site.  It was much cloudier than we had experienced over the first few days and rather than flying a full schedule I just wanted to do a few runs up and down the flight-line to try and get used to the site. At this point I was beginning to feel at ease so did a few of the aerobatic manoeuvres.  Before I knew it my 10 minutes had passed and I had done all that I could.  Round 1 awaited me after what I was hoping would be a good night's sleep.

The flight order had been released and I would have to wait until the end of the day for my flight with only reigning Champion Ennio Graber to fly straight after me.  The day flew past and soon it was my turn to report to the start box.  By this time I was feeling rather nervous, especially as Ennio was looking over my shoulder.  I remember saying to him how nervous I was and he replied "me too" which I thought was a really nice gesture and it did help settle my nerves.  The first flight went much better than I could have dreamed of but it was way too early to see how it was all going to turn out. 

 The next 2 days went really well and I found myself lying in 25th place.  A place in the final was out of my reach at this point but still wanted to put in a good round to try and climb a place or two.  The fourth round score wasn't as good as my previous ones, but it was enough to climb one place and finish 24th which I was elated with as I finished ahead of some great pilots.  This was without a doubt the highlight of my F3C career.  

I met some fantastic people and the memories will stay with me forever.  I had done all that I could, so the remainder of the competition allowed me to watch the finals and cheer on my Team mate Steve Roberts who had made the cut. Steve managed to climb a few places but he had left himself a bit too much to do to reach the podium.  All that was left was the closing ceremony, presentations and banquet before we set off on the 1100 mile trip back home.
The final scores & a magnificent effort puts Ian 24th overall...
The month of August was soon upon us and it was time for the Team trials for next year's Team.  As always it was a very close battle between myself and good friend Roger Mayo.  

Ian & friendly rival, Roger Mayo
Unfortunately, Roger pipped me to the post and secured the third Team place for the 2017 World Championships with me relegated to Team reserve.  Whilst I was bitterly disappointed, the practice time I had missed out on throughout the Year was evident.

There was one thing left to focus on now and that was the last World Cup competition of the season which was held near Abingdon. 

World Cup competitors line-up, Abingdon.
I was ready for this one and was determined to get over the disappointment of not making the team.  After a prolonged period of torrential rain we finally had a break in the weather and got started. After 5 rounds I'm managed to finish in 6th place which I was really happy with.  
Points mean prizes!! 😉

6th place finish at Abingdon - go Ian! 👍
This also meant that along with the points I had gained in Holland and Belgium, I had managed to finish 7th overall in the first ever season of the F3C World Cup.

Now it's time to reflect on this year's high's and low's, perform some much needed maintenance on both Helicopters and work towards next Year's competitions .  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the staff at SMB Bearings for their help and fantastic support throughout the year.  I have had hundreds of trouble free flights thanks to the superb quality of bearings they have available". 

We are so proud of you & your achievements Ian - it hasn't been a perfect year for you but you've proved to everyone that you can still achieve your dreams - you are a real inspiration to us all.  

Best wishes from us all at SMB Bearings Ltd (& may 2017 bring you a sprinkling more luck & another fantastic flying season)! 

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