Wakefield International Cup
1955 Gustav Samann, 28, Germany
The gathering of Wakefield nations this year took place on the USAF Mainz-Finthen Air Base, Federal Republic of Germany. The USAF had been the host for the 1954 WC at Suffolk also. This year they worked jointly with the German Aero Club of Frankfurt, and the AMA, whose Pete Sotich of the Illinois Model Aero Club was Contest Director for this meet. This would be the first time in History that the WC will be a combined contest for Wakefield, FAI Power, and Nordic A2 Glider. The Wakefield event alone had 70 contestants from 19 nations, an all time high in the history of the event. Flying would be divided into five rounds, each lasting two hours, split into 30 minute periods. Maximum flight time again would be 180 seconds. Flying would begin each day at 8:00am. Pete Sotich had 224 contestants from 23 nations to direct through three days of competition, with the assistance of the USAF Cadre Each event began on time each day, and the schedule of svents was strictly adhered to. Wakefield Day was Sunday, September 5, beginning at 8:00am.
ROUND 1-5: The weather was ideal, no wind, and warm, with good thermal activity. There were 35 maximums of 180 seconds recorded in the first round alone. By the end of round 5 there were seven contestants tied for first place. The leader board never before looked like it did on this day:
To think that the 1928 Wakefield contest had fewer than 6 contestants, all but one from Great Britain. Now none from GB, because Hugh O'Donnell the Co-Champion in 1953 had dropped his third round. Alan King the defending 1954 Wakefield Champion, with four perfect rounds, dropped round 5, when his Wakefield hit another contestant. His Teammate Bond Baker was out of luck this time, also.
ROUND 6: The sun was now setting, it was 8:00pm, but as the horn sounded to start the fly-off round, all you could hear was the clacking, clack, clack, clacking of the seven winders, from seven very determined Wakefield contestants who had just three minutes to be airborne. No time limit, all of their DTs were locked down! Than came the cheers from the waiting throng, 2,000 in all, as one by one, the Seven set down, and, for the next to last time ever again, ROG launched their Wakefields! All Seven were safely airborne! First one down is seventh, all there watched as a minute passed, than all seven began to glide quite close to each other. Now one by one each began to drift out of sight. Now the official timers, two to each contestant, clocked them off, conferred with their counterpart, and turned to walk slowly back to the score keepers table, their watches still set on the final time of their contestant. Then the score keepers having recorded the final times, placed the times on the Leader board:
Gustav Samann, whose wife placed eighth in 1953, was declared the 1955 Wakefield Champion. His final time was separated from Hakansson's by 26 seconds. The Team Trophy went to Sweden, again, FRG was second. The USA Team was third, they were: Manny Andrade, who was on the 1951 Team, Herb Kothe, Gene Schaap, and Bob Champine the top place on the Team in 11th place. Bill Dean suggested that the "...flight maximum should be put back to 300 seconds, still five rounds..." Bill should have also suggested that a time limit be placed on "fiddling" with the Wakefield Rules. The FAI/CIAM decided in 1957 to delete the ROG requirement. Then "they" also decided to limit the weight of the rubber from 80 grams to 50 grams. Fortunately, there was no WC, and consequently no Wakefield event in 1957. Aeromodeller was prophetic in writing: ". . .the name Wakefield was retained...", because now the last semblance of what was left of the original SMAE rules had vanished. "Gone, gone with the wind...!"
Model Aircraft, Nov 1955, W.C. Wakefield
Aeromodeller Annual 1955 1955-56 Model Aeronautics Year Book, Frank Zaic
M.A.N. Dec 1955, Bill Dean
Music: "Tutti-Frutti"; Literature: "The Trial"; Cine: "Richard III"