All Hail Scale!
Obviously, I’m a scale nut! I think it seriously runs in my blood. I actually cut myself once and started bleeding Federal Standard color chips! 😉 In all seriousness, the big scale projects I build, I’m always building with scale contests in mind…it’s kind of a sickness. When I found out that the US Scale Master’s (USSM) championships are once again being hosted by the Woodland-Davis Aeromodelers this year, I knew that this year was a contest year for me! You see, I had attended the championships in 2013 at Woodland-Davis and had an absolute blast and have been hoping for a chance to go back and fly with them again!
April 23-24, the Gilman Springs RC flyers hosted the USSM Western Regional Qualifier. This is a new home for this event as years previously it had been hosted by the Hemet Model Masters. The Gilman Springs venue is great for flying since it’s on private land and has minimal limitations for airspace and aircraft type that can fly out there (rare for sites in SoCal these days). The runway was in pretty rough shape this year which did wreak a little havoc on some of the aircraft (mine especially), but with a nice new slurry, this venue has the potential to be one of the best available in the area. There was a nice showing of aircraft at the event with a total of 22 pilots overall.
If you’ve never tried a scale contest, it’s worth a try! With the different categories available, it’s really open to any number of aircraft whether foam, ARF, composite, built up, etc. The camaraderie in this friendly competition is what really makes it fun and there’s always some beautiful airplanes to watch fly. Here’s a quick summary of the categories to give an idea.
- Pro-Am Sportsman — Category for entry level competition pilots that focuses most of the points on the flying scores. Aircraft don’t require full documentation, only proof of the aircraft for a maximum of 5 static points allowing for virtually any type of aircraft to be entered.
- Pro-Am Pro –Category for more experienced competition pilots that focuses most of the points on the flying scores. Aircraft don’t require full documentation, only proof of the aircraft for a maximum of 5 static points allowing for virtually any type of aircraft to be entered.
- Advanced — Category for pilots who’ve not built their aircraft (ARF’s or purchased, etc.) or is part of a team. The aircraft is provides full documentation for static judging the same as the team and expert categories.
- Team — Category for a team of builder and pilot. The builder provides full documentation for static judging and the pilot flies the aircraft in competition.
- Expert — Category for the builder and pilot who both builds and flies the aircraft in competition.
So, here are a few pics and videos of some of the airplanes at the contest. I competed with my recently repaired Mirage IIIRS (long story short, I crashed it…so had to fix it…). In the process of the repairs, I had ended up swapping out the E-Turbax fan with a JetFan 120 with a Neu 1917/1y motor on 12 cells (both fan systems are available from jethangar.com). I’m happy to report that the JF120 system not only provided a slight increase in performance but also increased my flight time significantly (lower current draw from the previous system) which really helps a ton in the competition realm. I had one flight requiring over 5+ minutes and only had to recharge 4500 mah into a 6000 mah pack. Overall I was very happy with my performance (finished 3rd in expert with a high static score of 99), but unfortunately the runway caused some damage to the airplane (more repairs…yay…) which made the 3rd round flight difficult. I’m happy to say though that I did qualify and will be heading to the Championships in Davis. I can’t wait!
1st Place Expert – PT-19 (This is the nicest PT-19 I’ve seen. A well deserved 1st place!)
2nd Place Expert – F6F Hellcat (My favorite airplane at the event. It was sweet!)
3rd Place Expert – Mirage IIIRS (The vid and pictures were taken at my home field shortly after I finished repairing the airplane. Turn up the sound, it’s EDF but the airplane sounds like it’s turbine powered! :))
1st Place Team – Sopwith Pup (Museum scale doesn’t event describe it. Even the prop was laminated and carved by the builder by hand!)
Pro-Am – T-6 Texan (Built from an old Midwest kit think. From what I understand the model was over 20 years old. You’d never have known to look at it, it was really nice!)
Pro-Am – Messerschmitt Bf-110 (this was a re-finished Dynam foam airplane. The repaint really made the airplane stand out and looked great!)
Fokker DR.1 Triplane (This triplane was flown after hours and was a blast to watch. We can only imagine if the Red Baron had this kind of power in WWI! I’m not sure he’d be doing 3D like this one though.)
Oh, and to kick off the event on Saturday, there we were all treated to a couple passes from a full scale Midget Mustang. The passes were insane! The pilot came in LOW and HOT!!