The Journey Home

Yellow submarine cruise hit by torpedo! Marty and Mark Fullerton’s flight into  Amsterdam was delayed due to high winds so luggage didn’t make the exchange! No luggage no boarding!

Having a copy of my picture and passport info proved invaluable when negotiating immigration and customs here in Amsterdam, guessing original is in Slovakia somewhere after contest registration ! P.S. We already miss you guys! Not yet! Complimentary stay in Holland courtesy of KLM! Great dark beer! Maybe They should have contest here!

Whadya mean I ain’t going to get home today?!

Aint going home

Dutch security checking Marty’s credentials. Not sure they are going to let me out of the EU! (Only Marty could talk his way out of the country without his passport – and take a picture of them discussing it.)

Checking Marty credentials

Day 32 and counting. Cheers!

Holland 2

A few more pics from WAAC 2014…

Yes I know ! These glasses make me look like the flying Nerd.

Fullerton's Glasses

Marty getting pointers from another former Russian world champ Elena Klimovich coaching the Russian team.

Marty and Elena

From the closing ceremony.


Amazing rainbow.


Relaxing in the shade.


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Dismantling and Departing Dubnica


PPPs ready for loading.

Once the flying was over, it was time to take the planes apart and load them in the trucks for the trip home.  Many hands make light work (or maybe too many cooks in the kitchen.) Either way, the planes were successfully dismantled and trucks loaded.

PPPs made the journey to Emden and the ship will depart later this week.

More on the journey home to follow.











Loading the MX.


Marty’s MX in the truck.


Gotta love that lift gate!


Loading the wing.


Securing the wing.



Loadmaster Chris securing a few items in the truck.




PPPs departing Dubnica.


Taking down the flags and tents. We weren’t the only ones in tear down mode.



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Saturday, August 16 – Final Day of Competition

After a delayed start, the second Unknown flight was completed. Due to some flying mistakes (Marty received the FSFM Medal from South Africa) and bad luck (the judges had the wrong sequence in their paperwork for Craig) Team USA was not able to overtake Ukraine.    Team USA did make an appearance on the podium during the closing ceremony as Craig Gifford finished third in the Known flight.

The results:

1st Place – France

2nd Place – Russia

3rd Place – Ukraine

Sunday the team was busy taking apart and loading airplanes for the journey home. (Look for that post with pics soon.)





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Friday, August 15 – Day 9

Delayed start again this morning due to low clouds. Started flying about 11am and finished the first Unknown flight. Team USA is currently in fourth place and will need to fly well tomorrow to beat Ukraine to take third.

Second Unknown flights began this evening, but due to all of the delays this week, the field of pilots had to be whittled down. Unfortunately Matt did not make the cut. Craig, Mark, Mark, and Marty will fly tomorrow.

So as Nowosielski said, “It’s on like Donkey Kong!”

Mark Fullerton’s overalls finally make World debut.


Bill watches to make sure Gary stays within the box.


More potatoes for lunch tomorrow.


Marty and Craig preparing for today’s flights.

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Watching and visiting.


Shopping anyone?  Too bad it isn’t WAAC merchandise.  Or cool boots.

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P.S. Happy Birthday Mom!

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Thursday, August 14 – Day 8

More sitting around this morning due to low clouds.  Finally started flying after lunch – made it through flight number 45.  Matt Lane and Mark Nowosielski both flew today.  Craig (54) and Marty (62) will fly tomorrow.  Hopefully the weather will be much improved.

A couple of pics from today…

Waiting is exhausting.



Mark Fullerton and Mike Heuer have a bird’s eye view.


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Sitting around is maddening!

Dubnica nad Vahom sits in a valley between two ridgelines of hills about 800 ft high.  Valleys in the US tend to be the foggiest – here it’s very interesting because the hills seem to produce a wind tunnel down the valley and even when there are clouds on the hills it can be clear skies over the airport in the middle of the valley.  And the sky condition seems to change very quickly – again, largely dependent on how the hills influence whatever weather system is passing.   Hence the reason the Contest Director didn’t just call the contest yesterday and let us all play tourist.  We sat here all day and watched the clouds thicken, then thin, then rain, then thin, then thicken again.  Finally at 5:30 it was clear we wouldn’t fly before the self-imposed noise time limit of 7pm so we dispersed.  Guess what – at 6:30pm it was flyable!  Oh well, four of us enjoyed a good round of tennis before heading to the hotel – a few of us needed it to take out our pent up energy on a poor tennis ball!

Unfortunately today (Thursday) appears to have the same weather in store for us.  World contests are certainly an exercise in patience!


The castle in Trencin is well-lit at night.  We haven’t visited it yet.


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Wednesday, August 13 – Day 7

Low clouds. No flying today. Hoping for better weather tomorrow.

A few pics of how we spent the day…


Chief Judge takes a nap



image image

Russian team manager and world champion Elena Klimovich comes over to talk about the Lycoming engines in the Extra 330′s some of the Russian team are flying:


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FSFM Medal Awarded to Team USA Pilot

In 2012, the US team made good friends with the South African team – mostly because they drink a lot of beer, but also because they’re genuinely nice folks.  The South Africans must make a lot of mistakes because they have a daily medal for the team member with the worst goof.  This evening they gathered up with the US team and said that they really couldn’t give the award to any of their team members because they were mistake free today.  So instead, they awarded Craig Gifford the Feel Sorry for Myself Medal for his  very costly low call yesterday.

FSFM FSFM Medal Award

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Tuesday, August 12 – Day 6

Rain Rain Go Away!

Rain delay this morning. Only 20 pilots made it through the first Unknown flight today. Mark Fullerton was the only US pilot to fly. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow and maybe, just maybe the remaining 46 pilots will fly, but most likely will have to finish Thursday morning.

Second Unknown sequences were submitted this morning.

The one good thing I can say about the rain is that it did cool down substantially from yesterday.

Gary DeBaun helps keep all in order when the MX2 is not in the air. Gary maintenence

Chris DeBaun watching the flights.


Mark Fullerton preparing to fly the Unknown.


A few more pics from earlier this week…

Qualify of aircraft continues to get better, make that more expensive as we have numerous teams sporting the Latest 330sc Extras! 

330sc extra


Ukrainian pilot Tamara – her yellow hair is brighter than Marty remembers :-)

Tamara Ukraine

Vladimir Machula shows us the fueling area and registration and hangar layout.

Vladimir showing us around

Elton From Lithuanian Team, an Old friend from 2012 WAAC And judge in Texas last year. Flying Sukoi 26.

Elton Lituanian Team

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Team USA flights – some details

Before you read this post, skip down and read the two posts below from Sharon – pictures and video you’ll enjoy.     Then, for the acro folks out there that want some details about our flying, here are some reflections:

Marty and Mark Fullerton have been our most calm and steady.  Both had good Known and Free flights.  Nothing fancy, but no mistakes.  They’re positioned well to excel in the Unknowns if they keep flying nicely.

Unfortunately Craig, Novo and Matt each made errors in otherwise good flights.

Matt opened up his Known flight flying very sharply, and we were all hoping for a good finish.  But, he made one half roll the opposite direction of what was required, resulting in a zero – tough way to start the competition.  Matt bounced back with a solid Free flight – though it didn’t score particularly high, it showed his head is still in the game and he’s ready for the Unknowns.

Mark flew a clean Known, scoring #11.  That evening Nik coached us to fly with more intensity – we all flew pretty careful in our first flights.  Mark flew much crisper in the Free, but on a full roll up he stopped short of finishing the roll costing him quite a few points on the figure.  No zeroes, but he spent the evening knowing he could have done better.

Craig had a good Known flight, finishing #3.  He also took Nik’s instruction to fly the Free with more intensity and had a good flight.  But, at the end of the flight he held the last downline too long, pushing out at an altitude that a majority of the judges called low.  The 200 point penalty for that mistake put him near the bottom of the Free program scores.

The result of our mistakes is that we have a lot of ground to cover.  But, Unknowns is what we train almost exclusively – we know how to plan them, fly them and keep our focus.  A lot of points are still on the table and the weather looks like it will allow us to get both Unknowns in (5 days left for two flights – each flight is taking 2 days).  So, we’re staying focused on the upcoming flights, putting our mistakes behind us, and staying together as a team to battle back.

for the team – Craig.

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