By William Drumm III

RC Combat started out with Slow Survivable Combat (SSC). SSC is the most popular class RC Combat has to offer. Only having a .15 engine and an rpm limit reduces the speed and the severity of the crashes that are bound to happen. With the current COVID-19 situation, only four pilots made the trek to Muncie, Indiana, to compete this year.

With heavy dew in the morning, we had to start out with the red flagging tape streamers. These can get wet and still stay together up in the air. We were once again lucky this year to have the Civil Air Patrol Cadets come out and help us judge. They really make the event run smoother.

After several rounds of red flagging tape, we switched to the normal black crepe paper. The crepe paper is easier to see and tends to get more cuts for the pilots. With only four pilots, we flew through the 10 rounds of SSC before noon. After all the streamers settled, third place went to Tim Gillow with 1,288 points. Coming in second with his entire fleet of electric airplanes, was Heath Bartel with 2,068. First place with 3,016 went to David Smithgall with half of his rounds exceeding 400.

We broke for lunch at noon and, after our bellies were full, we started Limited B. Limited B is a lot like SSC. There is an rpm limit to reduce the speed, but Limited B has up to a .29 engine. The bigger motor makes launches easier and the vertical envelope is much wider.

We again had only four pilots competing in Limited B. Unfortunately, we lost a pilot to the dreaded hand in the propeller. I cannot stress it enough that once the engine is started, move behind the airplane to remove the glow starter and do any engine tuning. You are so much less likely to cut yourself if you are behind your wing.

With three pilots left for the day, we carried on. Heath Bartel was not having a great day of Limited B and was out of planes by Round 3. We had an extended break and he was able to get one of his SSC models ready. SSC legal planes can be flown in Limited B and can run up to 18,500 rpm on their 8 x 3-inch propellers. They can compete on level flying, but don’t have the vertical of the larger engines.

After five rounds for the day, Tim Gillow is up on top with 1,432. David Smithgall’s great flying in SSC wore off and he is holding second with 820. With his carnage for the day, Heath Bartel is in third for now.

After wrapping up Limited B for the day, we started with Scale 2948. In this class, the airplanes are designed after World War II fighter aircraft. They can have up to a .29 engine and have an rpm limit and a minimum weight limit. Building 2948 planes are much more time consuming and the number of pilots who take up the task are few. This year, only two pilots had airplanes that were up to the challenge.

We designed to fly only four rounds of 2948. This event in general is much more difficult to get any cuts—with only two planes in the air, nearly impossible. The first blow went to David Smithgall with the first cut in Round 1. Round 2 was a tie with neither pilot getting a cut. Tim Gillow struck with a cut in Round 3. Round 4 was once again a tie. Tim Gillow was having engine issues and failed to launch on time twice. That gave the win to David Smithgall by 80 points.

Saturday morning will start with GNAT Combat and then we will finish the remaining round of Limited B. Come on out and enjoy the action!

Tim Gillow and his 2948 warbird.

David Smithgall getting ready for Scale 2948.

It's hard to get close behind your opponent in 2948.

Heath Bartel lining up on David Smithgall.

David Smithgall wiping out after a midair.

A combat plane ready to be harvested.

Tim Gillow and David Smithgall playing a game of chicken.

Bob Loescher lining up on Heath Bartel.

Heath Bartel launching his electric plane.

Another great year for the blooming combat planes.

David Smithgall getting ready to count that cut.

Who's lining up on who.

Tim Gillow ready to heave his plane into the fray

David Smithgall checking his engine over before cranking it up

Tim Gillow firing up his engine.

David Smithgall bringing home the streamers.

Tim Gillow coming in with a wing full.

SSC furballing.

Tim Gillow lining up.

SSC group photo.

Scale 2948 Trophy Winners - 2nd Tim Gillow, 1st David Smithgall

SSC Trophy Winners - 3rd Tim Gillow, 2nd Heath Bartel, 1st David Smithgall

2948 Final Scores

Limited B Day 1

SSC Final Scores

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