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With  thanks to John McCurdy for report and pictures.
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La MuelaInternational F3F Competition

In late March 1995, Dave Woods, John McCurdy and Simon Atkinson set off to Madrid to compete in the Spanish International F3F competition.

The event was held at Alarilla on a hill named "La Muela" (The Molar). Flat topped and 3000 feet above sea level, it is a perfect flying site, covering all wind directions. The rise from the surrounding countryside is around 1000ft. Fortunately, it was possible to drive right up to the top.

Friday Practice

After some early electrical problems for Dave Woods (left), and an unfortunate crash with his own designed F3F Rumor, everyone managed some flying in preparation for the start on Saturday.

Although cool first thing in the morning, temperatures by mid-day were high into the eighties. Thermals were strong, but interspersed with heavy sink. With only 5kts of wind, the slope lift was not good. This was to be the pattern for the entire weekend. On three separate occasions John McCurdy thermalled back from low over the fields - not a very forgiving place to land out, 900ft below! By late afternoon the wind increased to 20kts but this didn't last.

Les Pilots Francais

Pierre Rondel (centre) went on to win the competition. Also in the pic are Olivier Bordes and wife Maria. Olivier was flying an Ellipse 2 V-Tail. Pierre and Olivier design and produce the Jedi-3.


Saturday morning dawned, and with similar conditions to the practice day, Pedro Garcia Garcia and Miguel Medina of the local club, Grupo Halcón de Madrid, called the start of the competition. 45 of the expected 51 competitors had made it to the start.

The course was measured to the usual F3F 100m. Each base was rigged using a stressed method whereby a glass fibre fishing rod was fixed into the ground at one end and flexed into a curve at the other. It was restrained by guy wires which formed the sighting lines. (See picture at left)

Due to the number of paragliders frequenting the actual F3F course, arrangements were made as to who would fly on which bit of the hill. This still didn't stop one of the paragliders crashing straight into 'Base B'!

Order after Day One

Almost as soon as the competition had started, Pierre Rondel of France, with his Ellipse 1, flew the best time of the entire competition. In strong thermal lift he made 9 accurate turns to achieve 42 seconds, also a personal best.

The positions at the end of day one had Pierre in first, followed by John McCurdy and then Dave Woods. The overnight positions, and many other subjects were talked about at a banquet for everyone that evening.


As the flying started earlier on Sunday, the first round of the day had added difficulty with Base B being right in line with the low morning sun. A large array of television aerials loomed just beyond the base as well just to interest to the F3F turns

Lift was again not reliable, and in fact the competition was stopped on several occasions due to a complete lack of lift. Two of the local Spanish flyers made very good progress on the second day, making up several places on their Saturday overnight positions. Pierre fought hard to hold on to his lead, as all day the field closed on him.

The competition ended earlier than the British contingent expected on the second day. This was to allow time for the prize giving in a local bar.

At the end of the final day, Pierre Rondel (left) took first place for France in this his first major international F3F event.

Miguel Cesares (Spain), who won last year, made a good come back with two fast final rounds after a slow start, to take second, with John McCurdy (UK) in third place. Fourth was taken by Maximo Fernandez (Spain), and fifth, Dave Woods (UK).

Top Ten

Competitor Fastest


Number Name Country
1 99 Pierre Rondel France 42.05 3,700 Ellipse 1
2 103 Miguel Casares Spain 49.51 3,670 Piloncio
3 95 John McCurdy UK 50.51 3,629 Ellipse 2T
4 71 Maximo Fernandez Spain 48.79 3,612 Alextu 7
5 87 Dave Woods UK 51.48 3,539 Ellipse 2T
6 114 Pedro Perez Spain 52.98 3,520 n/a
7 100 Jose M Larruga Spain 50.96 3,485 Factor
8 102 Joseph Closas Spain 52.02 3,384 n/a
9 74 Sergi Subias Spain 50.00 3,331 n/a
10 78 Angel Cristobal Spain 52.50 3,298 n/a

The Models

Model Span Weight Section Notes
(20KB pic)
2.9m 3.0 kg RG15 thinned Popular with the British and French fliers in Mark 1, 2 and Mk2 V tail versions. It came as a surprise to find only 4 on the hill. Olivier Bordes even sold his brand new MK II V tail on the hill!

Three of the four Ellipses at the competition took 1st, 3rd and 5th places.

(17KB pic)
2.6m 2.2 - 2.6 kg RG14 Designed by Olivier Bordes and Pierre Rondel. Intended as a combined thermal (alpine) soarer and aerobatic machine. The fuselage has been purposely designed with a very deep profile to produce lift during knife edge flying. Graham Woods now flies one of these
Algebra (15KB pic) 2.5m 2.0 kg (not known) An unusual sight was a Dick Edmonds Algebra 2.5m with flaps and ailerons flown by MPA member Miguel Becerril from Madrid. He was flying both the Algy and Graupner Chilli in his first F3F competition
Factor 2.8m (not known) SD 7003 Actively promoted by Jose R Sarasa, Jose M Larruga and Ernesto Galindo amongst others. Manufactured by Inari Elizondo. It has a moulded glass-balsa-glass wing with a Schumann planform. The fuselage is glass too. Priced at 50,000 pts (£250). Flown by Jose M Larruga it achieved a 7th place.
Alextu-7 2.8m 2.6 kg NACA 2412 This is a name derived in the Basque region. The "old" NACA 2412 aerofoil was unusual amongst the latest proliferation of SD, HQ, Ritz and thinned RG 15 sections. The times set by Maximo were competitive when up against the latest technology. The Vee tail, with rudder/elevator mixing, was mounted up on a small fairing
Piloncio (not known) 1.8 - 2.3 kg HQ 2/9 to HQ 2/10 Designed by Miguel Cesares and Miguel Medina. The former flew the design into second position overall in the competition.