The John McLean Trophy - 2009

Contest Directors Report
A Contest Directors’ baptism of fire may include allowing safe flying to continue in less than ideal conditions, albeit with sequences specifically designed to suit a lower cloud cover. That was last year and it provided the catalyst for a BAeA rule change, which essentially reads: “No flying unless the cloud base reaches 2800 feet.” This year the weather at Breighton on Saturday was no better. The briefing was deferred and we watched cloud forming some 20 miles to the North East to drift in long columns straight through the box. Very frustratingly we were able to get good sun tans and watch many aircraft come and go at the lovely Breighton airfield, many from the museum. Several arriving and departing pilots were asked for cloud base checks. Many local airfields were reporting CAVOK and all the 9’s.

We had only two Beginners entries after a number of cancellations. Both had participated in the Loop event and sadly, we had to cancel the Beginners competition allowing them depart to catch their return flights to Eire. We laid afternoon cake out for the judging team and generally loitered, attending briefings to keep everybody informed. Eventually we had to scrap the day as the best conditions in the box were 6/8 cloud cover at a tantalising 2500 feet, just 300 feet short of the new minimum competition conditions. Several pilots had to depart for good, but seven managed to return for the Sunday morning briefing - only to watch solid cloud cover; this time at 1400 feet. Simon Barnard was at Leicester reporting 700 feet cloud and preventing his transit. Yet more waiting!

At 13:00, the cloud cover began to noticeably break and the judging team resumed their “awaiting” position on the line. After Simon’s “just in time” arrival, Andy Leitch launched in the “Slinger” as first pilot for the first Standard Known of the year. The remaining high cloud cover dispersed and the three pilots using the Slingsby had quick turnarounds amidst the Pitts’ and the CAP10, all launching in quick and efficient succession. The flying order for the Known was completed by 15:30. At this stage, Simon Barnard, un-phased by his late arrival was leading the field, closely followed by Tom Bennett at his first competition and John Scott in third position. The Unknown was issued and by 17:30 the competition completed. Three and a half hours from start to finish?! Tom won the second flight but not by quite enough to win the competition, leaving Simon to scoop the John McLean trophy. John retained his third position in an exciting finish. Phil Burgess had the highest scores overall but was flying h/c and therefore not included in the competition. Breighton had at last smiled on our patience and a tremendous effort in the long awaited cloudless sky was given by all. The lowest overall score was nearly 72% demonstrating a very high standard of flying indeed. The trophy and medals were presented by Louise of the catering staff.

My sincere thanks to all the pilots who attended and waited for suitable flying conditions, especially to those who returned on Sunday. Many thanks to Chief Judge Steve Todd for all his effort and his well prepared briefings and to all the judging team who spent many patient hours on the judging line. Thanks are also in order to Corinne Dennis for acting as airfield liaison and of course to our very own lovely Jen Buckenham for scoring. Finally, thanks to the caterers for providing some great food during the long hours waiting. It eventually turned out to be a very exciting competition with some excellent sportsmanship and superb flying. If you are prepared to wait for long enough and even have to return another day, the weather at Breighton airfield can be beaten!
Paul Tomlinson, BAeA CD

Contest Results: The John McLean Trophy
Held at Breighton Airfield, 18th-19th April 2009

Ranked by scores    

Rank Pilot Aeroplane Registration Known #1 Unk'n #1 Totals O/all %
H/C Phil Burgess Pitts S-1C G-FCUK 1059.19 947.89 2007.08 79.33
1 Simon Barnard Pitts S-111B G-IIIV 1058.06 915.87 1973.94 78.02
2 Thomas Bennett Pitts S-2B G-SIIE 1049.82 918.88 1968.70 77.81
3 John Scott CAP-10B G-BXRA 1025.05 892.85 1917.90 75.81
4 Richard Jones Slingsby T-67M G-SKYC 1006.06 878.41 1884.47 74.49
5 Steve Kirton Slingsby T-67M G-SKYC 965.45 876.05 1841.50 72.79
6 Andy Leitch Slingsby T-67M G-SKYC 955.34 862.17 1817.51 71.84
Contest Director: Paul Tomlinson. Contest Chief Judge: Steve Todd. Scoring Director: Jen Buckenham. Judges: Steve Todd, Nick Buckenham, Phil Atley, Lynne Westnage, John Wicks. Judges Assistants: Julie Wood, Debbie Brown, Cindy Copsey, Ian Scott, Jo Bascomb O'Brien, Peter Macintosh, Andra Matthews, Rachel Talyor.

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