Wednesday, August 31, 2011

2011 US Nationals Re-cap

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.

Here are a few pictures from the finals.

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