By Matt Neumann (email@example.com)
Tuesday did not have any official events happening, but that does not mean that there was not any activity at the L pad.
There were three unofficial events on Tuesday. Our Classic event is for planes that were designed before January 1, 1970. Another was Old-Time Stunt, which is for aircraft built before January 1, 1953. And a new event that was added just a few years ago is Nostalgia 30. These are planes that were designed 30 years or more ago. This event has what is called a rolling cutoff. That is, as time goes by, more and more planes will become eligible because the cutoff date changes. Both Classic and Nostalgia 30 fly the current AMA pattern, while the Old-Time Stunt flies the pattern of that era.
The contestants were greeted with light wind and a cloudy sky. We actually had a small rain shower go through just after 7 a.m. Nothing much—just enough to make people scramble for cover because it looked like it could become much worse. A couple of us got caught in the rain shower while we were flying. I was one of them. Fortunately, I was at the very end of my flight, so I did not have to wait much before being able to land and then get my plane in shelter (the car).
As it turned out, the rain was very short lived. By the time I got my plane in the car and the rest of my equipment in the pavilion, the rain quit. It figures.
After my practice flights, which I was able to get in short order on the paved L pad, I headed down to the grass circles where the action was taking place. We had 19 fliers in Classic with three Nostalgia 30 fliers and seven Old-Time Stunt fliers. Each pilot flew one flight in front of two sets of judges. Each flight was added together to get a total score.
As the day progressed, it was not the rain that we had to worry about, it was the wind. The wind kept picking up as the morning went on. Toward the end, it started blowing pretty well—probably close to 20 mph. Poor Mike Schmidt flew in some of the worst of it. I am glad to say, however, that he did quite a good job of getting through the wind. It was not a fun flight for him at all. He got a well-deserved round of applause when he landed safely.
I am also happy to report that I am not aware of any crashes, so everyone got to take his or her planes back home to fly another day. Some pilots decided to not fly their second flight knowing they were not in the hunt to win, so why risk the airplane? Most likely, this was a very wise move on their part.
One of the more notable planes was Dan Banjock’s Old-Time Stunt plane called the Galloping Comedian. It had an aluminum cowl handmade by him. I believe he said it was made by spinning a disc of aluminum and forming it like you would a clay pot. If I remember right, he also made the wheel pants for his wheels out of aluminum. He made them by forming each side over a mold and then having a buddy who is an expert welder weld the thin aluminum halves together. He then filed off the excess and finished them off. Leave it up to Danny to do something different. You rarely hear him say “can’t.” If there is a way, he will be able to find it.
He even has a Dyna Jet (ramjet engine) Stunter that actually does stunts. It burns something like 20 ounces of gasoline in 4 something minutes. It also flies very fast and very loud and is only flown for demonstration flights. He enjoys doing things outside of the box and this certainly counts as outside of the box.
Doug Patterson again did a great job of running these events. He and his crew have this down, now so there are not many hiccups. Without the hard work of him and his crew, we would not be able to have these events. So, I would like to give a big round of applause to them. All were pretty much camera shy because they were so modest when it comes to thanking them. To them, this is just something they enjoy doing for the hobby and thanks is not really that necessary, but in reality it is. Because without them, we would not have these events.
One thing that we were treated to was a flyby by an A-10 Warthog and an AT-6. The A-10 just did a pass by, while the AT-6 flew pretty high up but had a heavy crosswind. With the strong crosswind, it made it look like it was flying sideways. It’s something you don’t see every day.
Wednesday starts the first day of qualifying for the two official events: Advanced and Open. These are the two skill classes that will be flying for the next few days. The next two days, everyone can fly two flights per day, with the best one from each day counting toward your score to see who gets to move on to Friday’s cut. We have 41 entries in Open and 30 in Advanced—a pretty good turnout for sure. It is going to be some long days for the judges.
So, Wednesday the rubber really starts to hit the road. Better start getting your act together if you have not already. If not, it could be too late.
Tuesday night practice was cut a little short. We had some rain late in the day and the wind was still up. Hopefully, Mother Nature will cooperate a bit more for us Wednesday. If not, it might not be so much battling between ourselves as it could be between Mother Nature and us. I don’t know about you, but I would rather battle it out between us. Things are a lot more fun that way.
I can’t wait to see what a new day will bring. Stay tuned. Things are going to heat up just like the weather.