Booth had 3:47 seconds if my brain and calculator work correctly. I watched them a number of times in practice and I could swear they got over 4 minutes a few times. They did have a tough first run almost flying it into the ground. Very nice recovery from this for their second run. It made it all the more impressive to me that they were able to adjust and get the desired result.
As far as the team filing for arbitration due to the air conditioners, I was indirectly related to that. As stated, the flying conditions were very good.
Two things led to the filing though.
1. Prior to the competition several practice flights went off without a hitch. The official flights both exhibited extreme issues that were unseen before in Saturday's practice. People watching could not explain this. They also could not talk to the flyers to determine what went wrong.
2. In the stands there was a very cold draft coming down on at least part of the crowd. I am the coach of the team and I was further down in the stands, and I didn't feel anything until I walked back to where the rest of the team was sitting. There really was a cold downdraft there and noise from something. The protest had already been initiated when I got there.
What occurred that caused the odd behavior of the planes was the fact that the motors for two different planes were given to the officials for weighing. When they were handed back to the team, they had not been kept separate, and the wrong motors were handed to the kids. Both flights torqued into the ground, one because it was using a motor that was too thick for it, and the other because we think it had been damaged in a midair collision that happened immediately before our team was supposed to fly their official flights. The other plane's prop was broken off in the collision, as it climbed up into our plane. Ours seemed OK to the kids, but most likely had a problem. I haven't had a chance to look at it yet. We had the first flight time of the morning, so the kids just transitioned into competition mode.
The kids had the fortitude to plead their case with the officiants and they were allowed to fly again. With the correct motor, the undamaged plane flew pretty well(13th place) I am very proud of them for being able to make their case and still fly well under all of that pressure. They are not accustomed to being on a big stage like that at the center of attention.
In the end they were told they could fly again due to the air conditioning. They flew a couple practice flights, but their times with the good plane were near the same and they didn't feel that a draft had affected their flights so they decided not to fly again.
This was really a great experience for the kids, and I think the officials and volunteers did a great job.