By Matt Neumann
Wednesday turned out to be a very interesting day. The normal chain of events is that all of the contestants are seeded into four groups. Wednesday and Thursday we each fly two flights in front of the judges. We then take the best score from Wednesday and the best score from Thursday and add them together to see who the top five are from each group. Friday, we then would combine all of the groups to form the top 20. We then fly two flights and add them together to determine the top five. Saturday we would then have the top five flyoff.
Well, this is not a normal year. First, we have moved the Nats from its customary July dates to June. And this June has thrown at us some unusual weather. And still is going to. It seems the forecast is for HEAVY rain and wind both Friday and Saturday. As in up to 4 inches over the two days. So, the AMA highly recommended that we condense things if we can. So, the hard decision was made to take the best flight from the two that were flown Wednesday to determine the top five from each group. Thursday morning, we will fly the top 20 with the top five in the afternoon, wind permitting. Yeah folks, this is going to be an interesting day for sure. Especially for the top five fliers and the judges.
Wednesday started out with cool, crisp air again. Jackets were even found on Northern inhabitants. A very light breeze was also in the air. It was quite nice to fly in actually. It stayed this way until the very end of the first round when things started to pick up with the wind. By the end of the second round, the wind was getting close to 10 mph. Or at least that is what it said on my computer here in the room when I got back. It was flyable but it kept the pilots on their toes.
The day warmed up as time went on. At one time, we were worried that a storm cell might be moving this way and would hit around lunchtime. Fortunately, it missed us. Its effects from the wind could be felt, but at least we did not get wet. So that was some good news.
I found this a little humorous if you will. It seemed flying just before me was not a good idea Wednesday. Just before my first flight, the pilot could not get his engine to start. He had to take an attempt. The pilot who flew before me on the second flight had his electric motor just inexplicably stop while doing his inverted flight. He tried to land it in the grass but unfortunately, he overshot and wound up on the pavement. Fortunately, the most damage was done to his pride. Only a damaged prop, rudder tip, and a small scrape on the wingtip occurred. It’s easily fixable. However, the reason for the sudden shutoff still remained a mystery when I last saw him. Hopefully, he will get it figured out before Thursday because he is one of the top 20.
So as it turned out, if you flew in front of me Wednesday, you would have problems. I guess I am a “Black Cat” as it were.
One flier had his nerves get the better of him. He completely had a senior moment and forgot what he was supposed to do next while flying an official pattern. He even repeated some maneuvers. Not to mention that I wish I would have taken a picture of the confused judges’ faces. That picture, I am sure, would be priceless considering the look on their faces.
Well, Thursday we are going to try and condense two days of flying into one. It is going to be one LONG and crazy day for sure. Stay tuned, the next report could be the most interesting one yet, all things considered.
A closeup of the marking on Howard's tail. It is a preditor in sheep's clothing.Big Blue as Joe Gilbert likes to call his plane.Bob Hunt heading out to the handle for an official flight, while William Demaru is ready to launch.Bob McDonald preps for an official flight while Eric Taylor does holding and launching duties.Dennis Adimisin's plane. His family's trademark is the V tail.Howard Rush hams it up for the camera. Or maybe he just needs a little more fiber in his diet.John Hill putting his plane through its paces. John resides in Texas.John Jordan gets the dubious honor of going up first.John Paris' articulated flaps.Judges Samantha Hines and Mark Weiss.L-R judges Mark Overmier, Mark Gerber, and Darrell Harvin.L-R Judges Steve Smith and John Simpson.L-R Judges Wes Eakin, Mike Eber, and Mike Stinson.Matt Colan's new plane.Rick Huff putting his great looking ME110 through a pattern.The lineup at practice before officials begin.Top 20 contestants from both the Advanced and Open class get a T-shirt commemorating their accomplishment.Tuesday, Todd Lee held for his dad, Jim. Wednesday Dad returned the favor as Todd gives the signal to launch for an official.