It's now late August and I'm just getting caught up on work and personal stuff from being away for 12 days attending the F3A WCs and US Nationals. My 2008 Honda Odyssey LX van equipped with aftermarket XM radio and GPS navigation made the trip comfortable and affordable. How many vehicles on the market can haul two 2-meter pattern planes with support equipment at an average of 75mph on the highway and get 26 mpg? Not many I'm sure.
I departed Houston the morning of July 27th. First stop was Southern Indiana to practice about 100 miles south of Muncie, IN. I arrived on schedule late morning of the 28th and put in several flights. Retired around 4pm to the hotel to regroup, rest and return the next morning for more practice. The next morning I was pleasantly surprised to find Mike Harrison already practicing at the southern IN super secret practice site. Mike decided to leave early to view some P-11 fights at the worlds. I stayed to practice the remainder of the day. My original goal was stay an additional day in Southern IN however I was contacted by a good friend which said there was a unanimous vote for me to join him and other D6 pilots who for years had been practicing at a super duper secret practice site nearer to Muncie. I headed that way the next morning and was blown away by the facility first, then by the land owner's hospitality second. Let me just say, how would you like to practice pattern on a 2500 ft north-south and east-west full scale runway with a flat (no trees) over fly area. The owners even went out of their way to provide a buffet style country lunch one afternoon. All dishes were made from scratch i.e. bread, pasta, deserts to name a few items. Truly pattern practice heaven.
This year I chose to fly a recently completed CARF Integral powered by a Hacker C50 comp 14xl. This is my first season flying ePower. There's a lot to learn regarding how to manage and fly with ePower equipment. I must say tho ePower does make it easier to schedule practice sessions around a busy work schedule. I'm looking forward to being better prepared and more efficient with ePower next season.
The 2011 Masters class participant list read like a who's who list. Four returning Masters champions, two former US F3A team members, and a former TOC competitor. Goes without saying it was tough going this year making it to the finals. Given the amount of practice I had before the Nats and flying a plane which only had 50 flights I feel pretty good finishing in 6th place this year.
The fourth annual Space City RC Club’s Spring Pattern Classic event was held this past weekend. Many thanks to the club and the members who made it possible to hold a very successful event for the 4th year in a row. This event has grown each year in sheer numbers of participants attracting an incredible talent pool of competitors and contestant judging. We are fortunate to have access to some of the top flyers in the country participate along with an extremely knowledgeable and experienced list of current certified judges among those who compete.
Flying conditions were challenging, wind gusts on both days were in the high 20s according to weather reports however the level of flying was some of the best I've witnessed all classes. The last several weeks it has been very windy in this part of the country leading up to the contest. Competitors came very well prepared for the conditions. We had 34 compete on Saturday with 30 returning on Sunday. There were 12 FAI which is an unusually large turnout. FAI flew 3 rounds of P and 1 round of F throwing out their lowest P round. In addition our Intermediate winner was 14 years old and we had 3 other young men in their late teens early 20s participate…Pattern is alive and doing well in this part of the country. To my best recollection 16 out of 34 flew glow remainder was electric.
If you’re ever in Houston Texas around the first weekend in May be sure to bring an plane and plan to attend the Spring Pattern Classic at the Space City RC Club located in Katy, TX a west suburb of Houston.
The Texas 2010/2011 winter months allowed many flight hours. Majority of these flights were spent flight trimming, battery break-in and trying different props on the Visa. I've ended up liking the APC 22x12 prop, the least expensive I've tried to date. Flew this in 20mph+ wind in the 2011 D6 season opener with great results. As for YS power at the end of the 2010 season I was very confident with the YS Integral setup. It proved very competitive in the final two contest in 2010 placing first in both. I still feel the Integral design is the best windy condition plane I've flown to date especially in quartering and cross wind conditions. Because of the favorable wind handling characteristics I've ordered another Integral with the goal to ePower it either with a Hacker comp 14xl or perhaps the Q80 11S out-runner. I was fortunate to fly a well trimmed local F3A competitor's Integral with the Hacker Q80 11S out-runner combo with a 22x12 APC, all I can say I am extremely anxious to get my own ePowered Integral in the air.