2018 APA Masters report

Australian Precision Aerobatics Masters – P&DARCS March 9-12

The Australian Masters is one of the top competitions on the Australian Precision Aerobatics calendar. It is also a round of the F3A World Cup and regularly attracts interest from both across Australia and internationally.

For 2018 the Masters was located at the Pakenham and Districts Aircraft Radio Control Society (P&DARCS) about an hour out of Melbourne. The P&DARCS club has over 100 acres of land and has been on this site since 1978 with a great setup and facilities developed over this time.

The P&DARCS club house

The event attracted over 40 entries including competitors from WA, SA, QLD, NSW, Victoria, New Zealand and even as far as France with Roland Poidevin, the creator of the Notaumatic electronic system, making the long trip to help ensure the event ran smoothly. There were 4 competitors from SA being Michael Smith (Sportsman), Dave Marriner (Advanced), Jeff Boyd and John Tonks (F3A) making this one of the biggest SA contingents in recent years.

The view back from the flight line

The official activities got underway on the Friday with the practice day providing great weather and despite the long lines all competitors got some time on the flight line and a feel for the flying site and local conditions. This was followed by a pizza dinner and early night for most ready for the competition the following morning.

The practice queue

Saturday arrived and produced near perfect conditions with warm weather and almost zero wind for the first serious rounds of the competition. This led to high scores and close competition across most of the classes. Four rounds were completed for both the Sportsman and Advanced groups, with two being completed for Expert and F3A.

Team New Zealand

The conditions on Sunday changed significantly with a strong wind blowing directly in the pilots faces for most of the day (Check this video for a sample! https://www.facebook.com/brian.dooley.52493/videos/10156321248048627/). This really increased the challenge for the pilots with the stall turns proving particularly tricky and a noticeable increase in the number of zeros with even some of the F3A pilots struggling.

By the end of Sunday the F3A pilots had finished their 4 preliminary flights with the top 10 pilots being announced for the finals the following day. SA had a strong showing here with John Tonks holding a close 2nd place and Jeff Boyd in 6th. Both the Sportsman and Advanced groups had finished their 6 flights for the competition but the results would be held until the presentations at the end of the following day.

Just some of the aircraft in attendance

Team Tasmania

Final two rounds of expert were flown on Monday morning followed by the top ten F3A Pilots advancing to fly two rounds of the Finals schedule (F19). By this stage, the wind had increased to over 20 km per hour with a blow-in diagonally from the right increasing the level of difficulty.

John was flying very well however a small error in his last flight proved costly relegating him to third position instead of a likely win. The scores at the top were very close so any mistake was costly and in the end the win was decided by only 0.12 points! Jeff, suggesting a little more finals schedule practice would have been beneficial, slipped one position to finish 7th.

The final podium results for F3A was 1st Glenn Orchard (Vic), 2nd Andrew Palmer (NZ), 3rd John Tonks (SA).

In all, the 2018 Australian Masters Championship proved to be the most successful for South Australian competitors in many years, with a win in Sportsman and Advanced classes and 3rd and 7th in the F3A class.

Michael Smith 1st place Sportsman

The F3A podium Glenn Orchard (VIC), Andrew Palmer (NZL) and John Tonks (SA)


Mildura SA/VIC Challenge June 2016

The extended Queens Birthday weekend at Mildura is always a lot of fun and good flying for the annual SA vs VIC challenge. Some will travel Friday and get some good air time in the quiet evening airs, others do their orientation etc. on their first run on Saturday when called to do the manoeuvres.

The teams lined up Saturday morning – the locals not to concerned at the 1-2C temperature and it was clear we would need to pull out something special to combat the VIC  team where ages went from 14-87 – all bases look covered but we were not without good guns, especially in the freshening winds.

The 2 classes of F3A and Advanced did 2 rounds with the Expert/Sportsman getting in 3 when we finished about 5pm. A good day and with great Victorian meats and local foods none were left wanting, (Thankyou Hosts!), except for Jeff Boyd who had a landing incident and found that landing on a table/chairs didn’t do his model much good. But easily solved if you like driving to 12:45 am to go home and get another! All admired his stamina and dedication.

Sunday started with a much better forecast – lower wind and sunny, and at times it was warm too… and with the Advanced/F3A groups starting one of their two rounds then followed by the single round for the others all came out with 4 rounds each finishing at 5, when thanks, acknowledgements and the results were given and trophies were presented and VIC came up with the goods to take out the new perpetual prize for the weekend.

Some were to finish the weekend with a few runs on Monday before heading back. Mildura was very busy and many places booked out – a very large event of motor cycling, triathlon, eisteddfod (music) and another one or two (I forgot) gave the town atmosphere… so thank you Mildura for a well-run and challenging occasion.


F3A – 1: Glenn Orchard, 2: Dennis Travassaros, 3: Russell Edwards

Expert – 1: Jeremy Reynolds, 2: Ryan Bamford, 3: Peter Ukhoff

Advanced – 1: Jason Sparks, 2: David Nugent, 3: Nick Barker

Sportsman – 1: Wally Grembecki




Barossa 22/8/15 – competition report

On Saturday 22 Aug SAPA was scheduled to have a competition day at the wonderful Barossa site but it turned out not quite as expected. Not in any part due to the excellent lunch and venue that we were using – for which we were all very grateful, but entrants were greeted with a thick blanket of fog and no breeze to move it along. Of course impatience got the better and off Peter Ukhoff went.. 250 feet up the model disappeared…. the silence was deafening, then a call some time later and his model was spotted well beyond its entry point and was at stall point not far from the ground – quick reactions regained control and it was landed well.

The morning was then changed to an excellent impromptu coaching and technique session thanks to John Tonks followed by some hands on trimming and setup work once the fog lifted. After lunch Dave Marriner got us organised for a competition and the weather turned on an excellent time. The training theme was also continued but now from the judging chair with discussion and debriefing, including feedback to the pilot, after each flight.

We managed to fit in 3 rounds of Expert, Advanced and Sportsman, the results can be seen below.

Last thanks to John Tonks and also to our hosts and chefs…somehow the weather redeemed itself too!!