By Don DeLoach
What an outstanding day for Free Flight (FF)!
The smoke/haze was gone, and winds were practically nonexistent until about 2 p.m. From 2 p.m. until the end of flying at 5 p.m., the wind was never more than about 5 mph. The sky was mostly cloudy, and temperatures were only in the low eighties. Delightful!
Six fliers battled it out in F1H towline. These porky little gliders aren’t easy to tow, so kudos to the guys who tried, especially given the lack of wind. Jim Parker (Allen, TX) topped the field in Adult with the only 600-second maxout, and newcomer Daniel Guo won Junior with 278.
F1Q electric was very competitive among the five who participated. Three made the flyoff, and Aram Schlosberg notched the win at 1200 seconds.
Interestingly, Aram’s GPS-equipped model was sighted down close to the AMA site in a beanfield … and then the signal moved, indicating that a passerby had watched the model land and left with it. Eventually, the man called Aram who drove 2 miles east to the campground where the man handed it over.
Jim Parker (Houston, Texas) topped the field of five in AMA C Gas with an excellent total of 1050 seconds. Previous Nats winner Ronnie Thompson wasn’t far behind with 893.
The Bernard H. Mulvihill trophy is the oldest continuously awarded Nats trophy in existence. 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the first Mulvihill contest, a monumental milestone. Back then, models were made of dense bamboo and hardwood and were lucky to fly more than a minute or two. Models have improved a lot since then.
Today’s seasoned Free Flighters sometimes try almost every year and only win the Mulvihill once, twice … or never! It has always been awarded to the highest score, regardless of age, in the AMA Mulvihill event, a rubber event with no restrictions other than wing area being under 300 sq. in. This year, twenty fliers entered the fray in Mulvihill. Skilly DeLoach took home top honors in Junior with a total of 540, and Henry Forster won Senior with 429. The Adult winner was a relative youngster and newcomer to the event, Hope Finn. Hope scored seven progressive maxes for a total of 1620 seconds … so far, the high time of the Nats. Winning the Mulvihill is undoubtedly a day she’ll never forget.
A record number of 18 fliers, including three Juniors, entered the E-20 event Tuesday afternoon. Results weren’t available at press time, but I watched a little bit of it. Many of the climbs were spectacular, and the maxes were many.
Other winners from Tuesday included OT Catapult, Don DeLoach; A Nos Gas, Neal Menanno; Large Nos Rubber, Bob Hanford; 1-Design Gas, Bob Sowder; Hydrostar ROW, Al Rohrstaff; Nos Gas ROW, Denny Dock; ROW Rubber, Chuck Powell; and Jetex, John Lorbiecki.
The evening Beat the Vartanian Mass Launch (RIP Lee Hines) was fun, despite a roughly 5-mph breeze. Topping the field for the first time was Bill Reuter, followed by Junior Skilly DeLoach, then Randall Krystosek.
Wednesday at the Nats features an even broader slate of event offerings, with about 15 AMA, SAM, FAI, and FAC events. It should be a great day of flying.