2016 Marion HAFFA Annual Outdoor Contest a Success


 The 15th Annual HAFFA Outdoor Contest / NFFS National Cup Meet was held October 1-2, 2016

In Marion, KS, the first weekend of October brings the HAFFA National Cup Contest to Baxter Field at Marion Municipal Airport. With very light and variable winds all weekend and temps in the 70’s, 23 flyers from 5 states enjoyed the best flying weather we’ve ever experienced for this October contest.  This was amazing considering that another free flight event, the SAM Championships, took place the previous week. Some of the regulars like Jim O’Reilly and Grant Carson were not present due to the conflict.

The main part of this weekend is for National Cup points and participation was strong in all events.  Mark Covington dominated the glider category with 1st Place in Cat Launch and Classic Towline and 2nd Place in HLG.   Rubber power events were more spread out with Chuck Powell 1st in P-30, Bob Hanford 1st in Moffett and Nos Rubber, and Don DeLoach on top in Mulvihill.  The various power events were also spread out with 1st places taken by Bob Hanford, Robert Dunham, Mike Fedor, Gene Smith, and George Avila.Three juniors flew competitively this year:  Gene and Lynne Smith’s granddaughter Mia Lynne Smith from Tulsa flew P-30 (1st place) and two Glider events (1st place in OHLG, 2nd place in OCG) Chuck and Linda Powell’s grandson Bradin Powell from Eldorado flew catapult glider and P-30 with great success.

  Jeff Renz’s nephew Ayden Johnson was attending his second Marion Contest this year.  Ayden managed to win the catapult glider event with a Thermal Piglet completed at the contest.  Under Jeff’s direction, he built the wing during a Commemorative Air Force “Open Hangar” event earlier in the Fall.Mass launch events seem to be a favorite at any contest and we had 5 events over the 2 days at Marion.  Don DeLoach won WWI and Thompson/Greve and finished 2nd behind Gene Smth in WWII.  After 2 rounds in Half-size Gollywock, Jeff Renz was the victor and, in SAM Twin Pusher, Chuck Powell had the longest flight of 2min 56sec to win over 6 other flyers (someone said we had more Twin Pushers than the SAM Champs).

Jerry Murphy from Colorado entered a great looking F7U Cutlass in the Jet Catapult event, however Chuck Powell’s Canberra won, beating the other 7 contestants in this very popular FAC event.  P-30 and Catapult Glider were also very popular, with 7 and 9 participants respectively.  Mark Covington was on top in Cat Glider while Chuck Powell took first in P-30.

It’s always interesting to see Bill and Marilyn Schmidt drive up to the flight line.  Once again, Bill did not disappoint anyone with his trunk full of glow power models and another version of his 1952 Air Trails Perky.  The impeccable Bill Schmidt building standards were very apparent.  Sometimes I think these models need to be in a museum instead of the flying field.

We would like to thank FAC and SAM modeler Jeff Englert for running the FAC and SAM events.  We really appreciate his time and expertise in coordinating the most fun and colorful aspect of the contest.  WWI, WWII, Thompson/Greve, and Twin Pusher mass launches were an absolute blast to watch and participate in.  It should be noted that his Beagle, Muffin, won the social butterfly award.  The Junior flyers gave Muffin lots of attention and even the more seasoned flyers were handing out treats to get her attention.

     HAFFA members Charlie Taylor and Elizabeth Besser drove from Independence, MO to Marion on Friday night, as did Club President and CD Mike Basta, Suman Saripalli, and  Club VP Jeff Renz.   Charlie brought his Embryo (Big Cat), Half-a-Gollywock, and Half-a-Wakefield.  He was able to test fly them in uninterrupted fashion in the large space at Marion and picked up many tips from the modelers at the contest.   Suman Saripali flew one of Carl Perkins’ old models, a Double Feature, in SAM Small-cabin and hooked a thermal for a 9-min flight when the dethermalizer failed.  Jerry Murphy also had a DT failure with his P-30 resulting in a 2-hour flight.  Kudos to Don DeLoach for helping him retrieve it.

Jeff Renz won the Half-a-Gollywock mass launch and only destroyed one Twin Pusher this year.    Many thanks to Mike Basta for his Twin Pusher technical advice.  Jeff’s twin pusher flight would never have happened if it weren’t for Charlie Taylor’s large box of rubber, Suman’s assistance with fixing prop bearing, Elizabeth’s assistance holding the prop clutch for each prop, and Paul Meganthorp’s good eye to correct Renz’s error during the motor winding – hard to believe how many people it took to get this one Twin Pusher in the air for a 4-sec flight in the mass launch.   All members put up many flights during the 2-day contest.

Once again we were blessed with wonderful meals at lunchtime on Saturday and Sunday; local chef Gretchen Unruh provided the lunches which included her pulled pork burritos and chili along with fresh-baked, homemade bread and sweet rolls.  Her lunches provide a really special part of the overall experience of flying at Marion.  The Saturday night meal provided by “Cindy’s Place” was also a highlight.  Gretchen assisted Cindy in preparing the banquet of steaks and ribs plus all the side dishes and desserts. None of us went away hungry that night!

Cindy – of Cindy’s Place restaurant  –  is Cindy Taylor; she and Gretchen have kept HAFFA flyers well-fed for all of the years we’ve been flying in Marion.  Shortly before the contest we heard from Jeanice Thomas (Jeanice is HAFFA’s ‘guardian angel’ in Marion) that Cindy was experiencing some serious (and expensive) medical problems.  Since everyone wanted to help in some way, Mike came up with the idea of a 50/50 raffle with 50% of the proceeds going to Cindy.  At the end of the flying day on Sunday, the winning ticket was held by Charlie Taylor who had left instructions that if his ticket was drawn he wanted his half to go to Cindy as well!   That kind gesture allowed us to donate 100% of the raffle proceeds to Cindy as a partial thank you for all of her kindnesses to HAFFA over the years.

Our club would like to thank Mike Basta for the many hours of planning, coordination, and follow-up reporting that go into holding a successful  contest each year; in addition, we thank his wife Dianne for her assistance with designing the flyer and award certificates and helping to output the numerous reports required following the contest.

Finally, we would like to thank the City of Marion for welcoming us each year, Jeanice Thomas for all her good works as our ‘Guardian Angel’ in Marion, and Dick McLinden for coming out to the airport on Sunday afternoon to present the Marion Cup.  The presentation always provides an additional level of authenticity to the HAFFA contest and provides for good interaction between civic leaders and model flyers.

Don DeLoach, representing the Magnificent Mountain Men of Colorado, walked away with the Marion Cup having earned a total of 49 points overall; Chuck Powell was in second place with a total of 41 points.  Congratulations!

Submitted by Mike Basta
President, Heart of America Free Flight Association