1987 Robert White, 54, USA

The French have been the host nation to so many FAI/CIAM events that a Free Flight World Championships is a mere formality. Yet this combined contest for Free Flight Glider, Rubber, and Power aeromodels marked only the second time the combined meet had been held in France. The last time was the near miss when Mark Cheurlot and the US Air Force jumped in at the last moment to save the 1959 Wakefield Championships. Now that the FAI World Cup series had begun, and the Junior World Championships was about to begin, there had been a resurgence in the Free Flight events. Thours then was the place to be, and in the Wakefield Cup event alone there were 84 contestants from 28 nations including: (B), (CCCP), (SE), (N), (G), (P), (SP), (YU), (PH), (HA), (QE), (VH), (QY), (HB), (F), (4X), (I), (OH), (L), (ZK), (C), (LV), (LN), (CS), (XA), and (EC) to satisfy the acronymic among us.

Walt Ghio was back again with the USA Team, but now as the Team Manager, directing Bob White, Jim Quinn, and George Xenakis, all veterans, with Bob taking a seventh in 1985. Lothar Doring, the 1981 and 1983 Wakefield WC, Reiner Hofsass the 1985 Wakefield WC, and Bernard Silz, made up the veteran German FR Team. Team CCCP fielded Yuri Gulugonov, Alex Andrjukov, and Stephan Stephanchuk; this year the team came loaded for (excuse the pun) bear, armed with aeromodels that featured: DPR with VPP, WW, AR, and VIT, all driven off of a clockworks timer, making "Murphy's Law" a real possibility. Unfortunately, all of these gadgets on the CCCP aeromodels relied solely on an aging stock of Pirelli rubber for a power source. Saturday, August 15, was selected as Wakefield day.

ROUND 1-7: The first 180 second maximum of the day was put up by Jim Quinn (USA). By round 2, the wind had reached a velocity of 12 mph, and now misreading their meteorological instruments caught both the 1979 WC Ben Itzhak and the 1981-83 WC Doring with less than maximum flights. Meanwhile the 1985 defending WC Hofsass was showing his invincible form: two maxes. Round 5, caught Jim Quinn with a 85 second flight, after having been perfect until now. Bob White was now the only hope of Team USA. Dupuis of Team France folded a wing on launch, lucky that it broke off in two pieces, to give him an attempt. He quickly recovered to max the round. Round 7, was almost the undoing of Whenyi Zhang of China who experienced gadget lock-up in the VIT; doing loop-d-loops into the ground, on launch, to buy an attempted flight. He was perfect on the replay, which earned him a place in the fly-off. Canada's great hope Dave Andrews blew the round with a 93 second flight, and could begin dreaming of 1989. Alex Andrjukov would not reach the fly-off today, experiencing the agony of being perfect through round 6, only to land with a 134 second round. His team mate Stephanchuk, had a first round gadget failure for 175 seconds, and he too was gone for the next two years, but Goulougonov was in the fly-off. Team USA now concentrated on getting their only hope, Robert White, ready for the fly-offs.

ROUND 8: The 240 second round, had sixteen extremely tense contestants, preparing to give it all, or nothing at all! This group included all of the Team China members! At the horn announcing the opening of the round Bob White quickly began winding only to crystallize a Pirelli motor. Meanwhile Zhiming Li, and Jifa Lu were the first to launch, followed by Sweden's Lenart Hansson, Dupuis of France. WC Reiner Hofsass began to wind-up, aided by WC Doring who read the meteorology instruments. The Chinese Team all had maxed! Now with five minutes remaining in the round Bob White again began to wind up, accompanied by clouds of soap bubbles, and cat-tail fluffies, which were all going straight up, indicating lo-tech, no-tech lift! Bob simply let Twin-Fins No.22 leap out of his hands. Into this environment also went Fauser of Australia, but Ivan Taylor of GB, and WC Hofsass, waited some more. Time was running out! What were they waiting for? Goulougonov launched, then Taylor, and finally Hofsass. You won' t see Yong Bom Chang of Team Korea any more, and Guzzetti (Italy), Dupuis (France), and Hansson (Sweden) were gone too.

ROUND 9: The 300 second round, began at 7:20pm. Ivan Taylor wasted no time in this round he was up, and away at the blast of the horn, but so were all three of the Chinese Team! Again the "gadget bugs" awakened in Ivan's VIT, doing all manners of loop-d-loops in the climb, and whoop-d-doo stalls in the glide, landing at 160 seconds! GONE! Rozycki of Poland and Goulougonov (CCCP) launched simultaneously. WC Hofsass broke his, until now, faithful winder, and had to borrow WC Doring's, who had problems finding his. The delay, and the loss of his winder, created panic in Reiner's heart, because he now became conservative using the new winder. Mindfull that "stuff" happens Reiner slacked off on the winds, leaving his Pirelli motor unpunished for the task at hand. On Lothar's advice Reiner now launched his "Espada", but something had gone totally wrong! There was no lift! "Espada" was climbing like a slug! At 250 seconds, all dreams of a repeat bounced along the ground. GONE! MEANWHILE... over at Team USA Walt Ghio, minding the lift-detecting stuff, advised Bob White "...if I were you, I'd go now...", and so Bob went off, and maxed the round! So did all three of the Chinese!

ROUND 10: Bob White wound-up, and launched, as the horn sounded, so did Rozcki. All this was now being accompanied by cheering from the throng, which gathered now, in the gloom. Down at Team (CCCP), Gulougonov was bursting Pirelli rubber like it was unlimited. It wasn't. Finally assisted by Andrjukov, Gulougounov was able to get off, but had no power from the decomposing Pirelli rubber, and hit the ground at 188 seconds, considerably short of the 360 seconds required to stay in the chase. GONE! In fact, everyone was gone except Krystopher Rozycki of Poland and Robert White of the United States of America. The cheering became epidemic, Bob was so loved by the Wakefield Community. ROUND 11: The 420 second round opened to the tune of the horn at 8:40pm, it was becoming gloomy! The gathering throng was keen to the height of the drama. They kept up a steady cheer. It had been twelve hours since this drama began. The two players now waited to see who would make the first move. Official consternation had occurred when an American and a Pole had been drawn as timers, so a redraw was made. Rozycki began to wind, and all that could be heard in the stillness that was prevailed by his move, was the whirrr, whirrrr, whirrrrr! Krysto was ready. Bob stood to his stand, and began to wind-up. Kristo let go of his propeller, and his Wakefield silently climbed away, but it swung right as the torque came in! AR (auto-rudder) failure? Something had caused the spiral instability! Some malfunction in the gadget array. Now it was climbing again, but all of the power had gone into the ring-around-the-rosy, and all eyes in the glooming turned toward Bob. 

Bob was focused, he had watched Krysto's play, and he knew now that he had him. Bob took" Twin-Fins" off the stand, and with no hesitation let it jump from his hands for the final time that day. IT WAS OVER ! His Wakefield flew straight, and perfect, a red and white streak in the dusk, hard on the torque, up, up, up, up, up! Passing Krysto's plane as it glided in at 175 seconds. Maybe the last "simple" Wakefield to win the Wakefield Cup. Robert White of the United States of America, was the 1987 Wakefield World Champion.

Place Name Country Round 1-7 Round 8 Round 9 Round l0 Round ll
1 R White USA 1260 240 300 360 420
2 K Rozycki POL 1260 240 300 360 175
3 K Jusufbasic YUG 1260 240 300 315
4 J Lu CHN 1260 240 300 277
5 W Zhang CHN 1260 240 300 238
6 Z Li CHN 1260 240 300 232
7 Z Alipiev BUL 1260 240 300 230
8 Goulougonov CCCP 1260 240 300 188
9 R Hofsass BRD 1260 240 269
10 H Kucharski POL 1260 240 243
Access full results
1987 Team Results for Penaud Cup
Place Country Abbreviation Total Team member places
1 China CHN 3780 4 5 6
2 USSR USSR 3729 8 17 30
3 Fed.Rep.Germany BRD 3682 19 25 31
4 Sweden SWE 3667 16 28 34
5 USA USA 3666 1 19 43
6 Great Britain GBR 3664 12 25 37

ch38planBob White's Wakefield


NFFS Sympo 1988, No.22 F1B, Bob White
Aeromodeller, Dec 1987, FFWC Martyn Cowley
Model Aviation, Jan 1988, FFWC = Aeromodeller

Music: "The Joshua Tree"; Literature: "Bonfire of the Vanities"; Cine: "The Dead"

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