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July 29, 2021: Outdoor Free Flight

By Rick Pangell

Okay, describe this day …  hot and humid with some great thermals and a lot of flying. Flight after flight by the Free Flight fliers. The FAI crew had to fly rounds.

Comments were made by some FAI pilots that they were getting frustrated by the round system as it kept them from flying other AMA and NFFS events. This wasn’t a negative comment about the FAI, but more like they wished they could take advantage of the wonderful flying weather and fly more events.

The heat did take a toll on some of the fliers and it was pretty important to stay hydrated. With all of the humidity, it may seem counterintuitive, but keeping hydrated is very important, especially when perspiring in the heat.

At the end of the flying day, the NFFS sponsored the usual “Hot Dog and Bean Feed” near the campground. It's a good time to talk and just rehash the day. Plus, the raffle gave folks the opportunity to obtain some FF items and the money goes directly to the NFFS education fund for outreach for youth and scholarship funds. It's a good cause.

In addition, each year the NFFS awards the Connie Perry Award to the person who the board feels contributed most in making the Nats a successful effort. This year, it was awarded to Lisa Pacelli, who developed a scoring system that was interactive on the internet and who tirelessly kept all the scoring while "manning” the scoring effort.  Congratulations, Lisa!!

And, to see Lisa’s efforts, please look at the link at the end of this report for specific scores. Just listing them here doesn’t really give the event “drama” if any, so do use the link,

But, starting the day in the relative “cold” at about 6:30 a.m. for Dawn Unlimited challenged thermal picking. The launch window is narrow and meant to not stand around and pick air but fly head-to-head against your peers for the challenge. Josh Finn topped three other fliers with 464 seconds to take top honors.

F1G had 19 fliers and one Junior flier, Wes Reuter.  Wes did a respectable time of 212 seconds but not quite enough to top Louis Joyner, who maxed out with 600 seconds after five rounds, some good flying.  Senior Haley Mattson, another good flier, was in the pack too.

Wes Reuter.

The Gas fliers were all over the sky. The usual suspects, Mike Fedor taking F1P over two other fliersb and Jim Parker winning A Gas with 11 maxes, and following were Guy Menanno and brother Neal for third.

MIke Fedor, F1P winner.

Jim Parker.

Electric A was really competitive with 14 fliers. There were some big-name pilots in the event and Scott Lapraik had  to do 8 maxes plus change to take second and Bob Sifleet had 7-plus for third.  Sounds good but Senior Ms. Skylar Donnelly decided to pull nearly 14 maxes, well 13 plus a flight of 118 (!) to win the event.

Skylar Donnelly.

C NOS Gas had three fliers with Glen Schneider, NFFS Western VP, taking first. 

OT ABC Pylon was won by Bud Romak. I heard a comment that there must be an age requirement to fly the event. The top two fliers were in their 90s. Then Bud Romak went on to win Large NOS Rubber with 10 maxes plus 60 seconds for 1260 and the win.

Another event that has found popularity in recent years is a 1/2 A E NOS.  Seven competitors flew, with Josh Finn taking first handily over Ed Hardin and Dale Elder by 114 seconds and Ed only topped Dale by 6 seconds!

NFFS One Design only had three competitors … a bit down from previous years, and Scott Lapraik took first with a score of 360 (3 maxes) and only 23 seconds over Denny Dock, with Sara Menanno in third at 311.

Hand Launch Glider … an original competitive event in modeling and Free Flight. It has evolved, leading technology and design from the simple chuck glider to clever elliptical wing planforms to some streamlined outlines, clever air foils, and tip launching. Junior Skilly DeLoach took first in Junior Hand Launch and Skylar Donnelly first in Senior.

HLG Juniors.

HLG Team winners.

Sooo ... How about the big guns?  22 entrants with Taron Malkhasyan overcoming the top 6 pilots who maxed out by adding another max plus a 55 for a score of 535. Taron was awarded the coveted Tulsa Glue Dobber Hand Launch Glider Trophy to top off the win.  Congratulations Taron!

Taron with the Tulsa Glue Dobber trophy.

Wrapping up with FAC flying:

A Mass Launch, Greve Thompson, and World War II Combat

Greve Thompson

  1. Wally Farrell
  2. Don DeLoach
  3. Chuck Powell

The Greve Mass Launch.

Greve Mass Launch winners.

The Greve line.

WW II Combat

  1. Wally Farrell
  2. Don DeLoach
  3. Doug Greggs

World War II winners.

World War II Mass Launch.

Simple Rubber Scale

  1. Wally Farrell
  2. Pat Murray
  3. Dave Niedzielski

Simple Rubber Scale.

OT Rubber Fuselage

  1. George Bredehoff
  2. Ed Hardy
  3. Dan McCall

Old Time Rubber Fuselage.

Golden Age Combined

  1. Wally Farrell
  2. George Bredehoff
  3. Clete Shenkel

Golden Age.

FAC Embryo

  1. Don DeLoach
  2. Dave Niedzielski
  3. Paul Bradley

Again…. a full listing of the AMA and NFFS results can be found online here at: <https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vQvK5AG4nak53UDqXsc-1yYwALglL6jGa5KE6qemd4m9v4Xqp5HYrJp9DFx2qhrqZ2tYgnGQnaYuM7r/pubhtml?gid=379879557&single=true>

Cut and paste this into your browser for a full look.

C NOS Ramrod.

Junior Caleb Finn finished first in E20.

Clete Shenkle.

Clete's Chambermaid.

Dan McCall.

Darold Jones launches in F1G.

Dave Gerspacher.

Jack Murphy in A Electric.

Jerry Murphy launching.

Jim O'Reilly.

John Seymor in F1Q.

Dave Lindley explains Free Flight to AMA employees.

Let me help.

Mike Welshans, FAC vice president.

Ross Jahnke.


Mon, 04/11/2022 - 12:24pm Skeeter Surguine (not verified)

Outstanding coverage! Thanks Skeeter Surguine

Mon, 04/11/2022 - 12:18pm Joseph Pontecorvo (not verified)

What does NOS stand for? What is the small items that are awarded as prizes? I looks like a computer RAM chip. I use to fly a lot of Free flight in the 40's thru the 70"s, but a lot of the classes are different now, except for the old classes. Where can I find a description of the different classes?

Mon, 04/11/2022 - 12:18pm rachelleh

Hi Joseph. I believe NOS stands for nostalgia. The contestants were given tiny plaques with their names on them that will go on a large plaque.

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