By Matt Neumann
Tuesday in CL Precision Aerobatics, there are no official events. But that does not mean there is no action going on. Tuesday is the day that Old-Time Stunt (OTS), Classic, and Nostalgia 30 are flown on the grass circles.
Even though these are unofficial events, that does not mean that it is all goof off and no serious competition going on—quite the contrary. It is an honor to be crowned the national champion of these events, so there is a lot of serious flying once the fliers step into the middle of the circle. However, once out of the circle, there was a lot of fun and fellowship among the group. Overall, we had 10 OTS fliers, 16 Classic, and five Nostalgia 30 fliers. Not a bad turnout for an unofficial event.
OTS is flown with models that are replicas of airplanes that were built, kitted, or published in a magazine before 1953 and use the pattern of that time. This is a more simplified pattern compared to today’s. Classic planes are replicas of aircraft built, kitted, or plans published in a magazine before 1970, while Nostagia 30 are replicas of airplanes built more than 30 years ago. These two last events use the current pattern. Nostalgia 30 is the only event where there is a rolling cutoff date. As time moves on, more and more designs will be eligible for this event.
Many contestants go to extremes to find original spinners, wheels, engines, and so forth from the time period of their choosing. This is to make the airplane as authentic as possible. You are allowed to put in modern engines, hinges, control mechanism parts, and so forth—as long as the outside dimensions are the same. This is to keep the integrity of the plane intact. No changing wing areas, moments, and so forth. The airplane is to look as authentic as possible. Some do put electric power plants in, which is acceptable to current rules as long as the outside dimensions are the same. So, to each his or her own as to how authentic you can make the model.
Some will also go out of their way to find obscure planes and resurrect them, so to speak. It is an interesting way to preserve the history of the event.
Contestants were greeted Tuesday with cool temperatures and fog, which means no wind. This was at 7 a.m. in the morning. By 8 a.m., the winds were just starting to pick up slightly and stay in one direction. As the day went on, the winds stayed light and in one direction, but the heat kept rising. By lunchtime I saw on a sign 88°. Yup, it was getting hot alright; however, the winds stayed light and in one direction. Overall, it was almost a perfect day for stunt.
A highlight of the day was to see Dan Banjock fly his enlarged Flight Streak in a demonstration flight. I don’t know at what percentage it was enlarged, but it was by a lot. It had a more than 6-foot wingspan. It was a sight to behold, not only on the ground, but in the air. It pulled so much that he had to use two hands throughout the flight. Not only could one say it was a handful, but you could say it actually was two! He really had to dig in to keep from getting pulled out of the circle. And before you ask, yes, he did use the proper sized lines and all safety guidelines were used. We would not have let him if he did not do so.
The events were well run by co-directors Bob Brookins, John Paris and their crew. Bob and John decided to step in at the last moment to help when the original event director could not make it for personal reasons. Thank you, Bob and John, for taking over and helping out. All in attendance are grateful.
Tomorrow is the first of two qualifying days for Open and Advanced contestants. These next two days will determine who makes the cut to Friday where the contestants will be whittled down to 20. On Friday, contestants will be whittled down to the coveted top 5 flyoff on Saturday. This is the day that the national champion will be crowned for 2020. This is going to be a rather interesting next few days for sure.