The two and a half centuries that span the 1400 to the 1650 saw a number of absolutely genial minds come to grips with nature's mysteries.
We could write a book about the advances in Medicine, Anatomy, Astronomy, Physics, and Military Sciences, but the essence of this Blog is not so wide and the audience would get bored to death, so let's center on the basic knowledge base that is pertinent to us here: Ballistics
The earliest modern ideas/theories on trajectories
His incredible mind and eye for reality is astounding, even today, if we pause to analyze the correspondence of his graphics and reality. Let's just take a look at it:
Which means that Leonardo KNEW that a projectile is slowed down by air friction.
Leonardo never published these ideas (probably fearful of the consequences of contradicting the accepted Church and Inquisition concepts), though it is probable that his results were used by the Sforza's and later by the French King Francis I (both patrons of DaVinci at different points in his life).
In his mind, the "violent motion" of a projectile would come to an end, and when that happened, the projectile would follow the "natural motion" it had to follow, according to Aristotle, and then fall straight down to earth. This rendered some very peculiar trajectories:
He would, however, NOT take into account air friction and his tables published for bombardiers would be most helpful to those artillerymen who shot at very high angles and slow speeds (large caliber mortars were called bombards back then).
Galileo's experiments were conducted using inclined planes to "propulse" balls that would later fly off flat planes, while the trajectory was recorded.
Even Galileo, quite famous in his own time, was processed by the Inquisition for postulating that the earth moved around the sun.
But that is a different story
What is important here is that the three scientists that we are analyzing here understood that in the "human reality" things cannot appear and disappear, they move along under a CONTINUOUS motion. There are no breaks/jumps or discontinuities (it would take 300 years more of scientific development for humans to get into the quantic realm).
The next BIG THINKERS in Science's evolution would come 50 years after Galileo:
Newton would develop the differential calculus needed to describe in all precision the trajectory of a projectile around the 1690's and the first edition of "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica" would establish the mathematical relation between physics and mathematics. We all learn the Three Newton's laws, but we seldom stop to think that the three laws are just specific aspects of the conservation of energy in a closed referential system (and there is an equation for that).
Leibnitz would "invent" Integral Calculus (1675) and it was up to Euler (works in the 1734-1738 time frame) to use that (with improved notation to simplify things) to develop the tools to do the reverse calculations needed to find a drag curve and a BC from a trajectory.
So, when we say that we can only look far into the horizon because we are standing on the shoulders of giants, we truly mean it.
The WFTC's 2022, the first World's FT matches after a two year hiatus
When the time came to hold the 2020 WFTC's no one was prepared, travelling was severely curtailed, and some countries were simply closed to all international visitors.
It was therefore, impossible to hold the 2020 WFTC's and the SouthAfrican's very properly asked if we wanted our registration money back.
I found no sense in getting the money back and decided to donate the funds to the clubs.
The world went into hybernation.
A year passed, and then two, it seemed as though time had frozen.
So, when news came that the Italian FIDASC (Federazione Italiana D'Armi Sportivi et Caccia) was willing to put up the 2022 WFTC's we all jumped at the opportunity.
Details started to trickle in and when the initial venue was announced, I was somewhat surprised.
Anyone who has been in Rome during the summer knows that the heat is pretty high on the scale, going from "uncomfortable" into "unbearable". And a few kilometers distance didn't encourage the idea of a much fresher climate.
To the credit of the organizaers, they very clearly stated that we should be prepared and able to shoot at temperatures that exceeded the 35 C.
I took contact with the organizers and started arranging for some trigger time for Team USA that had to deal with the jet-lag, as well as all the other changes in a trip that takes you 7,000 kms, and 6 hours biorythm) from home, at the very least.
And so, we agreed to access a private range in the Lazio province.
As time approached the FT Team USA Whatsapp group started buzzing with flights and hotel information and as some members came on board and others dropped out, the final group was formed.
All in all, 15 shooters would be traveling to Italy under the US Flag.
I considered myself VERY fortunate to be able to go.
All of a sudden, we were informed that the venue had to change. As it usually happens, the rumors started flying and all sort of information and dis-information circulated.
When we finally got solid information, I was completely taken aback, Google World's topo map showed a plain, with barely 50 meters difference between the summit of the lonely hill and the lowermost point on the side of the match, and about a 100 meters to the BACK of the plot of land designated, where there was a "cliff".
A VERY challenging place to shoot airguns.
All the terrain research done over Villa Cavalletti, went out the window; the venue we expected with groves of old vines and some old orchards (the Agricultural preserve of Villa Cavalletti) where we would be shooting among century old trees over quite interesting differences of level, were gone; and in its place a plain. As flat as it could be.
Information from the local airgun club where we had arranged to practice, also revealed that the winds would be "vicious".
I had also been working on turning the new DIANA 54 AirKing "Pro" stock into an FT stock, with some success. The addition of an adjustable cheekpiece; a better, target-oriented buttplate; ended in something that felt good in all positions.
The 34 mm's body posed an interesting challenge.
On one hand the erector tube was not really "spring-piston compatible" Loss of zero was evident. This was solved with a custom made ZR Mount. I had to go through four iterations of the mount till I finally got all the points solved.
Shooting in several local matches with the final configuration and having achieved good results, I decided to take this final configuration to Italy.
When I arrived, I went through passport control, and then directly to baggage claim, expecting to find the baggage services office there. I waited and waited and waited, and the gun didn't come out, so I went looking for it at the oversized baggage claim, but nothing was there either.
I inquired about where the BSO was and was directed to an AA employee, who told me there wasn't any.
Somewhat reluctantly, I asked then where could my airgun be and I was told to look for it at the Police office which was, you guessed it, BEFORE passport control.
So, back and forth, I finally was able to find the police office and as I was going in there, I found Garett Kwakkestein.
So we shared the misery of having to get our guns through their own "passport" control.
Police issued new papers with stamps, seals and signatures all over and told us to go through the police office BEFORE checking our bags with the airline.
Getting to the rental car agency was an ordeal. A LOOOONNG walk through the airport, then two flights of stairs and finally I found the SIXT agency.
Of course they tried to "upgrade" me, but I refused. Italy is a conflictive country for driving, probably only third to India and Egypt (in my opinion), so I had purchased additional insurance. By taking precautionary steps, the rental was not all that bad. In GENERAL, it is a good idea to look into supplemental insurance for many parts of your trip. From delays and cancellations to driving and baggage.
I then took to the road to find my lodgings.
For navigation I had decided to use my phone, but I had no local data service, so I prepared offline maps.
What I didn't think about was that map applications also take into account traffic, without traffic information, the app reverts to the most fuel efficient route, which usually means the shorter distance.
So, traffic and very narrow streets it was for a while.
After many turns, I arrived at Frascati and after an even bigger number of turns, I found the place where I should be staying.
Contrary to advertised features, the place had no onsite parking and that was a BIG problem.
So, after trying for a day to make it work I decided to forgo that reservation and move to Villa Tuscolana.
And here comes another lesson: If the place you get does not fulfill the specs you contracted, do NOT take delivery. Once you take delivery, you're stuck for the duration unless you want to forfeit the total cost.
I was so furious that I decided to forgo the contract and forfeit the full value. Yes it was THAT bad.
Another lesson: Do NOT use the booking apps in the market (from TriVago to Booking, and all of them in between); WHY? because you are not their customer, their customers are the hotels and lodgings that hire them to get your business. So, once you make a booking, the apps will not help you at all.
By all means use them to find out what is available, but for the final, actual, contractual, reservation try going directly to the company. And ask all pertinent questions before you make a reservation that cannot be cancelled or modified.
Anyway, there was a World's to be shot and we needed to get our act together.