1956 Lennart Petersson, 26, Sweden

The World Championships returned to Sweden, at Hoganas. This would be a combined Contest, with FAI Power, Nordic A2 Glider, and Wakefield. I emphasize this because in 1957 there was a Glider contest, but no Power or Wakefield contests. Maybe what I am about to present next is a clue to what happened to the WC in 1957. Frank Zaic in his 1955-56 MAYB printed the voting results of the December 1955 meeting in Paris, France of the FAI/CIAM at which the following Wakefield issues were raised:

  • 8 to 2: Against increasing the maximum flight time by more than the existing 180 seconds.
  • 8 to 2: Against increasing the number of flying rounds beyond the existing 5 rounds.
  • 9 to 0: Against increasing the weight of the aeromodel more than the weight now set at 190 grams (8.01 ounces) minimum.
  • 6 to 1: For revising the rules for the 1957 WC (Author: is this why there was no 1957 WC? Because they could not come to an agreement before 1957?)
  • 6 to 4: For reducing the weight of the rubber motor to 50 grams.
  • 6 to 2: For abolishing the ROG requirement.

Meanwhile back at Hoganas, Sweden: Boxes filled with Wakefields arrived, along with two members of Team USA Jerry Kolb and George Coughlin, who packed Wakefields to the contest belonging to: Cliff Monplaisir, who was on the 1952 and 1953 Team, and Herb Kothe, who was on the 1955 Team. Kothe's Wakefield would be flown in the WC by Arne Hakansson, who came in second in the Wakefield event last year. Monplaisir's Wakefield would be flown by none other than Arne Blomgren The 1952 Wakefield Champion. Teams, or boxed Wakefields arrived from 16 nations including: Sweden, USA, UK, USSR, Finland, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Italy, German Democratic Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, Czechoslovakia, Canada, New Zealand, France, Guatemala, and Japan, represented by 58 contestants. Sunday, August 19, 1956 was Wakefield Day, and flying would begin at 7:30am.

ROUND 1 to 4: The weather stayed consistent through rounds 1 to 4, overcast skies, with little to light lift, with an increasing wind since the 7:30am start. At the end of round 4 the Leader board looked like this:

Place Name Country Round l Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
1 G Fea Italy 180 180 180 180
1 H Kothe USA 180 180 180 180
1 L Petersson Sweden 180 180 180 180
3 J O'Donnell GB 180 180 180 151
4 E Knudsen Denmark 180 166 180 165
5 E Smirnov USSR 180 163 167 160
Access full results

That was it, only Fea, Kothe or Petersson could win it today.

ROUND 5: Began with Anders Hakanson proxy flying Herb Kothe's Wakefield. The ugly weather turned uglier, the wind picked up, this cooled down the air to a point where any lift that may have existed vanished, and without lift Kothe's Wakefield hit the deck at 154 seconds. Next John O'Donnell, Hugh's big brother, flew, and he was done in 180 seconds, still in third place. Hugh O'Donnell, the 1953 Co-Wakefield Champion, was too far down to contend, he would be sixth. Erik Knudsen had a max, he would be fourth. Smirnov did a 180, for fifth, his Teammate Kolpakov won ninth. Ahman, of Sweden, seventh. Fea, of Team Italy had four perfect rounds, but he lost his only Wakefield, and was scratched for not flying in round 5, he was twentieth! Lennart Petersson, of Team Sweden was clocked OOS, at 159 seconds, having waited till the last minute to fly, hoping for a break in the weather, he won the prize by beating out Kothe, by 5 seconds!

The winning tradition for Sweden continued: Sune Stark 1951, Arne Blomgren 1952, and now Lennart Peters son was the 1956 Wakefield World Champion. The FNATeam trophy was won by Sweden, Russia was second , the GB third, and the USA was fourth. This contest marked the end of the "Traditional Wakefield Era", long live the "Modern Era"! At last "they" had done away with that (quoting Bill Dean) "....stupid obsolete rule..." This was the last contest that required the "Rise Off Ground" (ROG) launch. Now Comrades: "you may never go home again!" In 1957 there would be no Wakefield contest. Sweden could not afford another World Championship in a row. I suspected that there may have been some opposition to the proposed rules changes in the FAI/CIAM "Sporting Code" for 1957. Anyway: No other nation offered to sponsor the World Championships in 1957, and this left a curious hole in Wakefield History.

ch22planLennart Petersson's Wakefield


1957-58 Model Aeronautics Year Book, Frank Zaic
1957 FAI/CIAM Sporting Code
Aeromodeller Annual 1956 Model Aircraft, Oct 1956

Music: "Hound Dog"; Literature: "Peyton Place"; Cine: "The Man with the Golden Arm"

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