1950 Arne Ellila, 27, Finland

Jamijarvi, Finland, at the Finnish Gliding School, July 20 to 24, the venue for the Worlds most famous Free Flight Aeromodelling Event: TheWakefield International Cup to be officiated by the Suomen Ilmailiito. The Contest was to be conducted at night, during the phenomenon of the "Midnight Sun". There would be no thermals, and so no lucky flights. Attending this year were Wakefield Teams or aeromodels to be flown proxy from Finland, Great Britain, Italy, Holland, USA, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Yugoslavia, France, Canada, New Zealand, Monaco, and Denmark. There were 62 contestants in all, from 14 nations. This was of course also the home of the 1949 Wakefield International Cup Champion Aarne Ellila who wrote in the February 1951 Model Airplane News: "My model is a direct development of the one which won the Wakefield Cup contest in 1949. The first flights were not promising. The glide was difficult to trim and therefore I was rather uneasy, this being the middle of June. I made experiments with a small turbulator strip on the leading edge of the wing. The effect could be noticed. The glide, before so difficult to trim, became steady. New difficulties arose now. The long rubber motor of 71 inches, did not work very well. The fuselage seemed to be too constricted at the rear, and there gathered some knots. which changed the center of gravity. Besides, I could not get the rudder to turn steadily and the model had a tendency to tremble so much that I was scared that it would break to pieces in the air! With only three more weeks until the contest something had to be done, quickly. I made up my mind to build a new fuselage for two motors; consequently I wanted to use the "crac's" or gears as in my 1949 model. The evening before the contest I tested my new model for the first time under full power. I wound in 600 turns per motor, which was double (two motors, author) l/4"x 1/24" Dunlop, 29.5 inches long, for a two minute motor run. The take-off was not successful, and due to my mistake the airscrew broke. I was not able to fly any more that evening - as happened just the year before when I went to the starting place, for making my first flight I did not know what would happen." (We all know now what happened!)

ROUND 1: July 24, 1950, Wakefield Cup DAY! Again quoting Aarne Ellila: "... flying began at 7:10pm, after much rain had fallen throughout the day. I wound to the maximum (1200 turns - author) and looked at the model, then I released the model. As the model reached the height of 67 feet, it made smaller circles, (lacking spiral stability - author), the nose beginning to sink slant- wise toward the earth. I thought the contest was done for me (it may have been - author), but as the model made an entire circle, it began to climb." Ted Evans of Team UK was leading this round with 209 seconds, but then Aarne Ellila's time was announced: 238.0 seconds! The round closed just as Leardi of Team Italy posted his time: 224 seconds.

ROUND 2: The round began at 8:00pm. There was a slight wind 3 to 4 mph, and no thermals. Still quoting Aarne Ellila: "...I altered the trim (he probably took some turn out of the rudder) and changed the motors... there was nothing wrong with the second flight, which was the best time of the round." Meanwhile Ted Evans had launched at about the same instant as Ellila, and both were now in the glide attitude. Ellila's Wakefield got much higher then Ted's who was down in 232.8 seconds. Ellila did 271.5 seconds to remain in first place. Ted Evans second with 323.8. Seton third with 200.7 seconds. Leardi fourth 192.1 seconds. Stevens fifth with 214.1. Salisbury, flown proxy by Johansson, was sixth with 199.2. Lustrati was seventh with 196.5. Bachli eighth with 207.0. Sadorin ninth with 192.6 seconds, and Ron Warring tenth with 174.8 seconds. It was close, and now the fog was coming in, this was sure to jangle the nerves of the leaders, because there was sure to be a delay in flying.

ROUND 3: The last round was scheduled to begin at 2:30am, but by now the flying field was submerged in dense fog. This condition did not abate until the sun went down at 4:30am, and than came back up at 5:00am! The contestants lit bonfires to keep warm, and simply waited and watched for the round to begin. By now many contestants may not have slept for more then 20 hours. Now all thoughts of sleep vanished, as the round opened! $

Arne Ellila wins againTed Evans wasted no time, he wanted to gain the psychological advantage by : winding up, and launching now! Why not there were no thermals, and this put the pressure on everyone else! As Evans' Wakefield glided down in 217.6 seconds, quick calculations indicated that all Ellila needed to beat Evans was 150.5 seconds, Aarne had a 120 second motor run! Now the pressure was on the reigning Champion! Reporters formed a wall of popping flash bulbs all around him! He had to wind each motor to its maximum 600 turns! Aarne began winding, and unlike last year, when he was all alone, the crowd was distracting! One motor wound! On to the next! 300, phew! 400 pphhew! 500 pphheew! 600 pphheeww! Heavy breathing now at the nose block! FLASH, FLASH, POP, POP! FIX THE BLOCK! CHECK THE TRIM! SET IT DOWN ON THE TAKE-OFF BOARD. PHEW! PHEW! ... now he looked hard at the two official timers, ready? Hold the tips of the wing and prop! Now Aame looked into the morning breeze and let go! "Clackity clack!" Aarne's Wakefield moved forward on the board ROG, it was up! "Clackity, clackity, clack!" It was climbing that slow steady climb, the gears resisting the torque, "clackity, clack, clackity clack!". The freewheeling propeller turning so slowly, "clackity, clack", you could count the turns "clackity, clack". This sound, and this sight transfixed the throng, and all that was heard until the end of the motor run was the gears "clackity clack". A murmur swelled up now as Aarne's Wakefield glided past the 150.5 second limit set by Ted Evans, Aarne would win! The Hurrahs burst from the throng of Ellila's supporters, and he was chaired on the shoulders of his Team! Not since Joe Ehrhardt had won in 1930, and 1931 had anyone won "The Cup" twice in succession! Aarne Ellila was the 1949 and the 1950 Wakefield International Cup Champion! 

There had been no funds to send the USA Team to Finland this year. There had been an economic recession and unemployment, so their Wakefields came in boxes. They were to be flown proxy, the Team included Futo Takagi (p. Spring), L L Salisbury (p. Johansson), R G Schimitt (p. Hokkanen), W Mickelsen (p. Lumes), and A Leftwich (p. Deurell). The biggest question in 1951 on the minds of all Wakefield contestants world wide, will be "How do we beat Ellila?" He is so consistent, using his twin geared, twin rubber motors system. Ellila could become the first person ever to win three Wakefield International Cup contests in a row. So of course, if you can't beat him, then change the rules. This time the SMAE would leave this up to the rules governing committee of the FAI/CIAM. Now what...?

63 contestants
Place Name Country Round l Round 2 Round 3 Average time
1 A Ellila Finland 238.0 271.5 222.6 732.1
2 E W Evans GB 209.0 232.8 217.6 660.0
3 A Leardi Italy 224.0 192.1 228.7 644.8
4 P W Seton Holland 208.5 200.7 210.4 619.6
5 H R Stevens GB 177.6 214.1 226.7 618.4
6 L Salisbury (proxy Johansson) USA 207.0 199.2 199.8 606.0
7 S Lustrati Italy 193.0 196.5 208.2 597.7
8 B Bachli Switzerland 184.1 207.0 206.0 597.1
9 E Sadorin Italy 176.8 192.6 204.0 573.4
10 R H Warring GB 182.0 174.8 196.9 553.7
11 A Blomgren (1952 WC) Sweden 548.6
12 S Stark (1951 WC) Sweden 531.2
component inches mm
wing 46.5x4.68 1181x119
tail 21.5x3.93 546x100
fuselage 39.5 1003
propeller 17.63 dia 24 pitch 448 dia 610 pitch
weight 8.8 oz 249.5g
rubber 2 motors 4.75oz, 600 turns each

Arne Ellila References

1953 International Competition Handbook, Gerold Ritz
M.A.N. Feb 1951, p.9, The 1950 Wakefield Winner, A Ellila
Aeromodeller Annual, p.130, The 1950 Wakefield Trophy Contest

Music: "Guys and Dolls"; Literature: "The Country Girl", Cine: "Orpheus"

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