Jets, Jets, JETS!!
In case you couldn’t tell, I love RC jets. I suppose that comes from a combination of a secret desire I have always had to have been a military fighter pilot (my eyes went bad in Jr High, so ended that dream which led my trajectory towards engineering) and growing up watching my dad fly RC jets most every weekend. He was one of the early pioneers of RC jets helping to make common place ducted fan and later turbine powered scale jets. In fact, he was one of the first 10 to even hold a turbine waiver in the US. So I suppose it’s a family passion that runs multiple generations, haha!
The Arizona RC Jet Rally
When it comes to events, the Arizona Jet Rally is probably mine and my Dad’s favorite event of the year. My dad has not missed this event in it’s entire 27 year run thus far! Always held on the weekending before Thanksgiving and hosted at Superstition Air Park in Mesa, AZ by the Arizona Model Aviators, the event is a great time. The club is an awesome and hospitable group of folks and the field features a beautiful manicured runway nestled amidst the Superstition mountains providing a picturesque desert landscape that is just incredible. Being in the fall, the AZ sky is about the purest blue imaginable and provides sunsets of blue and red that are absolutely unreal! It gives you a new appreciation for the state flag and what inspired it.
At the event, I was flying the new Freewing F-14 Tomcat production prototype (kit review coming in my next article) along with my A-7 Corsair 90mm EDF (pics in gallery) and logged a ton of flights. My dad logged a number of flights on a Freewing T-45 (his F9F Cougar wasn’t quite ready). Also, our dear friend Ted and his wife from England came to visit and worked out his stay to coincide with this event so he could join us! That made this trip all the more delightful and enjoyable. In the day leading up to the event, he and my dad put together a Phase III F-16 foam jet so he could have something to fly. Of course, every time he visits he brings a transmitter with him just as any proper RC’er should do when staying with another RC’er! 😉
What’s so great about this event is that it’s all about flying. There’s not an insane number of pilots and so there’s not usually a wait for the flight line. So folks can rack up flight after flight however they choose. The weather on Friday was about as perfect as perfect can get….seriously, perfect! That day alone I logged over a dozen flights between my two airplanes! Unfortunately the winds picked up on Saturday and so there was less flying to be had as a whole. One thing to note, there was a resurgence this year of some of the more high-end heavy metal RC jets (vids featured below). They were all way too nice and were scale which I always appreciate. My favorite of the event was probably the large 1/5 scale F-84F Thunderstreak (featured below). Finished completely in aluminum tape (I’m guessing Flite Metal brand) with rivets etc. it was absolutely gorgeous.
1/5 Scale F-84F Thunderstreak — My favorite jet of the event…absolutely perfect in every way. Built to perfection (aside from the missing main gear doors) and flown beautifully smooth.
1/5 Scale F-16 — This ARF was pretty insane. Owned and flown by Barry Hou of Kingtech Turbines, it was monstrous in size and had all of the nice scale features one could hope for. It was flown absolutely scale and looked like the real deal in the sky.
1/4.8 Scale ME-262 C-1 — The timeless shape of this ME-262 looks absolutely perfect in the blue AZ sky! Shades of Europe 1945.
1/5 Scale F-86 Sabre Flameout and CRASH — This one was hard to witness. The airplane was so nice and flew so well. Unfortunately on a go around, the engine flamed out. The pilot did everything right to clean up the airplane and try to get it back, but unfortunately he ran out of altitude and energy.
Large Scale Rafale B01 — Owned and flown by John Redman of Jetcat USA, this airplane featured twin turbines and the performance was pretty nuts. Fast straight and level with vertical for days! It was painted in a fictitious blue adversary color scheme. I’m a sucker for a good blue camo!