By Rick Pangell (email@example.com)
Sitting in the motel “breakfast room,” with my eyes hardly open, a voice came out of the hallway … “Did you guys go to the Dawn Unlimited event?” Apparently, I did not, so there are no photos of that happening.
Gerald Brown put in an early morning flight of just over 6 minutes, with Robert Marier just 30 seconds behind. Dan Berry and Chuck Powell were respectively 3rd and 4th. It was Chuck Powell who found me in the breakfast room and asked.
What a wonderful day to fly. In anticipation of the forecast, our CD, Andrew Barron, placed the NFFS trailer at the northeast corner of the field on Friday. Drift was to be from the northeast but managed to be bent a bit to the east. The F1S line was put there and it didn’t take but a couple of rounds to figure out that the wind direction was going to be from the northwest ... got it?
The gas pilots set up on top of what I found out was referred to as glider hill. For the first few hours, drift was nil. Julie Parker put up a max in F1S and it almost landed on her. Then the breeze picked up and models were drifting over to the cemetery. The flightline wasn’t taking advantage of the field and the F1S line was moved to the west side of the crest of the glider hill.
It turned out that some real thermals came through on a regular basis. Piggy backing was rampant all up and down the line, so you have to admire the fliers who pick their own air. But it is indeed hard not to pass up a model soaring overhead at roughly 300 foot and not drifting anywhere. Imitation is the finest form of flattery, and I am no exception to that observation.
Gas competitors often turn heads when they fire up the big ones. Super D was no exception. There were good scores too. Denny Dock put up four maxes for 480, Roy Stuart did 422, and Jim Hack, 324. C/D Classic Gas went with eight fliers and some respectable scores. Dan Berry was a minute ahead of the next three finishers who then were within a minute of each other. It was tight flying. Robert Dunham and Bane Bradley finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
1/2A Gas is a wonderfully historical event. Many of us remember when there were some 50 or so entrants in the 1/2A processing line. Yes, things do change, but 14 stalwarts flew at this year’s Nats. Guy Menanno put in 6-plus maxes to take first. And, like C/D Classic, the flying was tight at the top. Five fliers maxed out and less than a max separated the top three fliers. Faust Parker took second and Ronnie Thompson took third.
Early 1/2A NOS had eight fliers. Bobby Hanford again flew to four maxes for first and David Sechrist flew three maxes for second, with John Oliver taking third with a respectable 328
Not quite the same horsepower, but making engine sounds nonetheless, ¼ A NOS had 10 fliers with Bobby Hanford topping the list with an even 320 for first, with Bane Bradley at 303 for second, and Mike Fedor with 284 for third. The next fliers were all in contention but not all finished their official flights.
Classic Towline had seven entries, which is great. Towline glider is one of the basic glider events, but in recent years morphed into FAI flying and hence we have Classic Towline for the rest of us. And the performance has not decreased. It is a great competition event and the numbers show that. Tim Batiuk scored 723 seconds with Senior flier Larson Ringlien coming in second with a 503. Jesse Shepherd was 4th and Jan Langelus was 5th.
Participating in F1S was a juggle for me. F1S is flown in rounds. If I flew strategically, I could go to one flying site, take some photos, and then get back in time for the next flight. 15 fliers participated in the event. I managed to drop a round, as did eight others, and most completed their rounds, which was a good thing. Everyone in the flyoff gathered at the top of glider hill. You could tell that it was going to be exciting as the CD announced “Gentlemen, the round has opened.” Now, there were seven minutes to get that flight off.
Having a flyoff in the middle of the contest may have been different than say the usual after-contest tie, but what a great idea! It has saved the day for many fliers who needed to get on to other things or events.
So, it took place. All were in anticipation of who would go first and that happened. I won’t tell you who, but the person with experience, Bob Sifleet, launched on his own terms and bested Jack Murphy by only 5 seconds! Don DeLoach was only 13 seconds behind Jack Murphy and it was fun to watch.
The most contested event of the day was P-30. It looked like a large AMA Gas listing. The top score was 1,239 seconds, or over 10 maxes put in by Chuck Powell!!! The nearest competitor was Tom Batz, with over 7 maxes, and then Ross Jahnke getting 6 maxes to take third. Incredible flying.
For the Seniors, Roman Stalick was first with 328, Larson Ringlien second with 299, and Hailey Mattson with 157 for third.
Now for the exciting part. Junior Kiley DeLoach managed to fly for a score of 690 seconds … a new national record! Her score was enough to tie for 4th with the Adult class. That’s quite an achievement Kiley! William and Wes Reuter finished second and third respectively with 159 and 157 seconds.
Finally, Pee Wee 30 took place. The engine used must be a reed valve engine no larger than a .020 cubic inch displacement and no mechanical timer is allowed. This event is scored by having each engine run under 15 seconds, scored as 15 seconds, and longer runs are what they are. Flight time has no max and the score is computed by taking the flight time and dividing it by the motor run time and multiplying that times 100. There are three flights and one must rise off ground. Rick Pangell took first with 1,646 points, Bill Kuhl second with 1,421, and Dick Kacmarsky third with 905 points.
That wraps up the 2019 Free Flight Nationals. I hope this news report has kept you up to speed each day and you enjoyed the offering.
Make an attempt to attend next year’s Nats. It’s a hoot. Thermals!