Spacemodeling competition with the longest tradition in FAI
Photos: Stuart Lodge, Anton Sijanec and Joze Cuden
In October, Slovenian Astronautical rocketry club Komarov from Ljubljana, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary
this year, completed another two decades since the spacemodeling competition Ljubljana Cup has been organised.
Continuous great efforts and enthusiasm of its members were necessary every autumn to achieve such a respectable
jubilee. Once a federal competition, Ljubljana Cup grew up to one of the most distinguished international events,
which undoubtedly has the longest tradition in FAI.
It was the last and consequently the final world cup event in a long 1998-contest season. For the last three years
it took place at the well known airfield near the town of Kamnik, where the 11th World Spacemodeling Championships
was held in 1996. It proved to be one of the most appropriate open places in the area with excellent thermal conditions
for the model flying events, enabling superb sporting achievements, as seen at WSMC.
As expected, large number of participants in Ljubljana reached the extent of a World Cup final event. More than
50 competitors from nine countries entered six categories. Spacemodelers from Croatia, Italy, Yugoslavia, Latvia,
Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Great Britain and Slovenia took part in the competition.
As usually, the competition started by the parachute duration class (S3A). In this classical category, which is
only run on few contests, one should reach maximum score in all three flights. When competing with the masters
of this class, every failure means no place on the top. Six competitors entered the fly-off; Croat Jozo Ivancic,
Slovak Michal Zitnan, Yugoslav Zoran Katanic, Latvian Arturs Straus and also two local modelers, namely Andrej
Vrbec and Mitja Muhvic. Exciting final round ended by the triumph of Muhvic from the Model club Kamnik winning
the first "golden dragon" for home modelers. Zoran Katanic from Sremska Mitrovica got the silver one,
while Ivancic from Zagreb gained the bronze.
The winner of the S6A (streamer duration) world cup category was to be known at the very last competition. Twice
the winner of the world cup for the last two years, Slovenian Igor Stricelj was already out of the race. Prior
to the last event, Italian Antonio Mazzarachio acting well throughout the whole season held the best position.
Could possibly anyone beat him? Despite four Yugoslavs placed to pole positions, fifth place was enough for Antonio
to win the world cup. He has fully deserved it. Zoran Katanic was the leading one in the Yugoslav team, while the
other three Yugoslavs sharing the same score were classified after additional flights.
There was a rough race in the S4B category. Some modelers demonstrated a good form. An experienced Slovak Michal
Zitnan was close to the full score. A young competitor Bartosz Boniecki from Poland was placed next to him. Egon
Engelsberger, a Slovenian veteran and a master of classic concept boost gliders joined the best ones at the third
place. A promising youngster Domen Hluchy from ARK Komarov was flying surprisingly well and missed the trophy for
only 30 seconds.
The weather forecast for Sunday promised the change for the worse. The S8E class was running smoothly until the
fly-off. There was a tough duel between the two members of the Slovak team: the last season's world cup winner
Stefan Mokran and the rising talent in this class Michal Zitnan. Trying to escape the first raindrops, Zitnan carried
out the best flight in the second additional round and surpassed his teammate.
One cannot overlook the achievement of the Slovenian competitor Bogdan Makuc followed by his club members Bogdan
Stempihar and young Ivan Turk, acting together as the best team in S8. Bogdan appeared with his newly designed
model with a perfect aerodynamic construction. Exploiting an improved piston launcher, his model reached tremendous
height of the flight. Unfortunately his sight problem pushed him to the third place.
Scale model flights began in the rain but it could not impede the skilled aces like Arnis Baca of Latvia or Polish
Wojciech Krzywinski. Their beautifully detailed sojuz and ariane launchers performed realistic flights and warmed
up the public, which was already a bit shivering with cold. Leading after static judgement Baca kept his advantage
and for the first time became the world cup winner in S7 class.
When everybody doubted whether the weather would permit the flights in S5 class, it suddenly stopped raining and
slim altitude scale models were able to fly up to the cloudy sky. Trackers of Slovenian Geodetic Institute did
their job without any mistake as they did at the WSMC and executed the measurements of all the flights. This time
domestic rocketeers of Club Komarov were better than the Polish team, which were the winners of the previous Ljubljana
Cup. All of them completed excellent two stage flights. At the end, Joze Cuden placed first, Andrej Vrbec second
and due to the static points score, Krzywinski overtook Matevz Dular by only two points.
At the end of last day and in spite of the rain the participants were full of praise for the good organisation,
which was the very best of the season in the opinion of the majority.