PPG: RMH Conclusion a personal view
Note; this is a personal view from RMH and may not represent anyone elses' view of the Championships.
From my point of view as PPG director for the last 3 years it was a real joy to compete in this championship, I had forgotten how easy it is (compared to being Director). In the first few days, whenever I had an idle moment I found myself thinking "there must be something I should be doing…. but no I'm a competitor!"
On the flight line
As in the previous few years this was an excellent championship mostly because the PPG's did quite a lot of flying and the general attitude of PPG pilots is so very "sporting" compared to the classic classes where politics seems to prevail over any ability to actually fly aeroplanes. Although there were a few complaints from the PPG teams they were swiftly dealt with and not one developed into an official protest.
Last year, as competition director I got complaints that there were not enough speed tasks. This year, if anything there were too many! The answer is that it is extremely difficult to get the balance right and Alain and Joel did a good job considering the weather which was generally "difficult" for PPG's with quite strong winds in the middle of the days (20 - 30 Km/h). They were certainly not helped by the weather forecasts which seemed to be completely wrong most days. (Forecast SW wind, get strong easterly, Forecast good weather, get fog; Forecast fog, get clear weather; Forecast storms, get nice weather; Forecast nice weather, get storms…..Etc.) Perhaps, in retrospect, they could have done better to have had some earlier starts in the first few days, task 6 was abandoned as a direct result of a late start and there were some other opportunities missed.
There were some novel applications of tasks, task 10 particularly as I won it! Pilots be warned that I may well be tempted to run something similar to this task at the World Air Games next year so get practising with your instant navigation! I also liked the other tasks which involved outlanding (7 and 8) which were a good solution to the wind problem.
Thomas Keller, Silver, Dani Martinez, Gold, Ramon Morillas, Bronze
One striking thing about this contest is the quantum improvement in pilot skills over the last four events. Pilots will remember that in Turkey I was handing out penalties for no-fly-zone infringements etc. like confetti. This year there were virtually no "disciplinary" penalties. Similarly, for safety reasons I have never dared let a task run, or continue to run if the wind on the ground has exceeded 18 - 20 Km/h but this year we were regularly flying tasks where the wind was more than this and pilots coped admirably where they certainly would not have three years ago.
The victorious Spanish team
In conclusion, well done to the organisers and all the pilots. I hope I can deliver something as good next year. See you in Andalucia!