By William Drumm III
Today we started out with Slow Survivable Combat (SSC). George Pritchett was generous enough to loan a couple of planes to Nats newcomer Andrew Shkolik. That gave us four pilots to battle it out up in the sky.
The first couple of rounds went by slowly as everyone got their bearings here in Muncie, Indiana. The midairs didn't help either. Repairs were needed, but everyone kept on going. Finally, by the fourth round, the streamers were getting tore up between the pilots. Three- and four-cut rounds filled the rest of rounds.
By the noon lunch break, eight rounds were in the books. It was decided to finish up the final two rounds today before starting the next class. After all 10 rounds were completed, George Pritchett took home third place with a score of 1220. With a significant jump in points to 2148, Tim Gillow took home second place. And with a score of 2832, Will Drumm took home the top spot.
After a short break, we switched to GNATs. With the wind blowing strong from behind us, launching the kite-like airplanes was a chore. Being quick on the sticks was a must to keep the aircraft in the air. This class does not allow for sticky on the leading edge. Notches are allowed though, but sometimes they don't work. Getting those hard drapes on the wings can be demoralizing.
It was decided to just fly the planned five rounds of GNAT today and finish up tomorrow morning. In third place so far is Tim Gillow with 472. George Pritchett is in second place with a score of 652. Holding the top spot with 1060 is Will Drumm.
Scale 2948 was flown next and started off with four brave pilots. 2948 is a hard class. Building the Scale airplanes requires more extensive hours to complete than any of the open design classes. Getting an excellent motor run is also crucial to get a good launch. Hitting the limit of 14,500 rpm is a goal many do not achieve unless you are flying electric. Andrew Shkolik showed just what having the maximum rpm is all about. He ran circles around everyone with his E-powered birds.
The wind did not make launching easy on everyone. Those with poor motor runs struggled with getting up in the air. There were plenty of Ooo's and Ahhh's as the airplanes skirted the ground getting up in the air. Unfortunately, there were also lots of downed airplanes just out of reach past the Combat Engagement Line for the entire round.
Any cuts were greatly appreciated by the pilots today. Being able to keep your streamer for the whole round was also needed to make ground on the leader board. Everyone pushed on through today, and the last round was wrapped up at 7 p.m. After all 10 rounds were completed, third place goes home with George Pritchett with a score of 764. Making the jump to 1740 was Andrew Shkolik in second place. With one cut and two feet of streamer more was Will Drumm in first place with 1848.
Wednesday will start with the five remaining rounds of GNAT Combat. After a short break, Limited B will start with at least five rounds being flown. Limited B has a spec propeller and rpm limits like SSC to keep the competition close in performance. The majority of pilots are using a .25-size motor, as that's the common size available for the class. Electrics are also allowed to compete with the same propeller and rpm limit.
To wrap up the day Wednesday, E-1000 will be flown. Hopefully mother nature behaves herself and plenty of rounds can be flown. E-1000 is an all-electric class, and the only limit is using a three-cell 1,000 mAh LiPo pack. Pilots are trying out several different designs to see what they all like. It is quickly becoming the popular class for RC Combat.