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A New Journey Starts

As we await the finals tomorrow, a few reflections on behalf of the team.

Lets start with the key question - our performance. Our thoughts fall in two buckets.

 

On one hand we have done a lot of things right and can see the potential for Australia to be a top 10 contender as a country, and to have pilots in the top 30. Two of Bill's flights were right up there, and a third of that calibre would have delivered a semi-final berth. While not packaged quite as well on the day, both Dennis and Glenn also put in strong performances with large sections competitve with this highly talented field - but the minor deviations were heavily penalised given the quality the judges were used to seeing, and anything less than stellar opening manouevres seemed to frame an expectation for the whole flight that was hard to shake. As an example, Dennis's end stall turn in his last flight was a slight wingover that would have been downgraded mildly in Australia, was a unanimous zero here. Overall our decisions on size, speed, models and powertrains, and what we practiced over the past 7 months were on target - and we are encouraged by that.

On the other hand we are disappointed. We simply didn't turn our potential into demonstrated performance on the flight line on the day, and didn't meet our aspirations. No excuses here - we fell short, didn't deliver, and didn't get the reward we wanted from our efforts (or for our supporters). And we have had a good go at drowning these feelings!

Moving on from that, I would have to say that the 'team' - Bill, Dennis, Glenn, Russell, Norm and I - that have been working together to shape our program since January feel we are on the right trajectory. We are aware our shared Victorian base has made this easier, and indiviudal initiatives have broadened our experience base - including Glenn's US Nats trip last year, and Russell's Eurpoean sortie. We wouldn't change our early forensic work on the schedule (thank you all for your help!), or our foray into some of the mental toughness thinking, or simulated competition pressure. But they weren't enough to deliver a consistent performance this time around.

While it is impossible to pin-point any single factor, the common theme in our discussions so far has been that we simply didn't adapt to the conditions fast enough, and it kept catching us out. Some of this we can track back to root cause and address through modifications to our preparation and use of acclimatisation time here, other parts we are still debating. We also look forward to closing the loop with Tom Bloodworth once his official judging duties are over.

So while it is still a bit raw, let us reassure you there is 'team' of seven who have an appetite to push through to a set of tangible take-outs and initiatives from our experience that should form the foundations for future campaigns. These fall across a multitude of areas and I am sure will take us a few weeks to get into a coherent format - with thoughts ranging from how we judge in Australia, foundation skill development, through to innovations on a number of fronts.

Once we do have a coherent version, we look forward to sharing our thinking through the various forums available so we can capture and build on the momentum we have, advance our ideas and engage the broader F3A community around them, and continue on the development path we have started for future teams.

As a sidebar, from our many discussions with our colleagues from across the world, we should be encouraged that the systems we have in place in advanced in discussions on options and should be in a position to run a pilot competition over the next 2 to 3 months.

Thank you all for your support and see you all soon.