The Spring Opener for the Wichita Historical Modelers (WHAM) Free Flight Club turned out to be a great weekend contest, even though it was a windy affair. Everyone that attended had a great time, and was “up” for two days of contest flying and camaraderie. All of the modelers having spent a winter of isolated model building. Flying over the weekend happened on both days, and more or less followed the planned schedule.
Many of the modelers actually arrived Friday, with time to test fly in the early afternoon and into the evening. The winds at that point we’re probably about eight to ten miles per hour, and quite reasonable. Friday afternoon we were treated to a WW2 era Harvard AT-6 flyby while we were test flying our models at Baxter Field Airport. The several passes made for some great photo ops. After flight trimming, we headed to get set up for the night.
We managed to have cocktails at 5pm at the Country Inn Motel with Bill and Marilyn Schmidt, Dana Field and Robert Dunham, along with myself. The social hour was a great time! I always learn a lot about engines and airplanes with that group. The group ended up eating at the Town and Country Café in nearby Florence both nights. That food was really good! The 11 mile drive down to Florence did not really take that long so it was well worth it. Dana and I had pie both nights, along with roast beef and country fried steaks. We ate quite well! Definitely one of the highlights of the trip!
On Friday afternoon I presented a new twin pusher stooge built by, Jeff Nisley, to Linda Powell. Jeff Nisley built this stooge as a gift to acknowledge Chuck and Linda’s help last at the HAFFA contest year. Jeff had ordered the old rubber powered design “Competitor” kit from England, and needed help trimming his new creation. Chuck dropped everything, and helped Jeff get his airplane trimmed to fly properly. This was one of Jeff’s first rubber powered airplanes. Jeff was so impressed and appreciative with Chuck s assistance to get the plane flying, he said he would never forget Chuck and Linda being so kind and helpful. This is what free flight guys do. They are good people. Jeff added some design touches to the stooge for Linda that she noticed right away, some bird feathers on lanyards with colorful anchor cables.
Jeff Nisley is in the final stages of putting the plans for the twin pusher stooge on line. This will let everyone that wants to make one their own. All this will be explained further in two articles, written by Nisley, that present both the twin pusher and the standard stooge. The article, complete with drawings and a material list, will explain how to make both of them. These articles will appear on the KCFreeFlight.org website this spring or early summer.
Contest flying started at 8am both days. There were no problems with the field conditions, as the field was dry. We flew from the south end of the airport with wind blowing towards the northeast both days. Contestants came from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas City and Wichita, and all The “Usual Suspects” showed up to fly. Chuck, Linda and Jim O’Reilly did a bang-up job putting on the contest. Jim’s son Dave made the trip as well, and provided support, tracking and chasing models.
The power flyers were careful to set their DT timers their planes. Otherwise, with the wind, they would have been off the field. George Avila had an overrun on a timer when his fuel cut off failed on one of his big planes, which wound up landing in a tree north of the airport. Chuck & Linda’s son, Aaron, along with Mike Fedor, was able to get it down out of the tree. Mike Fedor had brought a very long extension pole but Aaron still had to climb up and use the pole in order to get the thing down.
Tim Pivonka made it down to Marion with a van full of scale jobs, such as his Halberstadt CL II, for the FAC events, along with some new catapult launch gliders from “Humming Bird Models”.
Marty Klein brought his “Sterling” Piper Cub to fly scale. He explained it had placed well out at Westfac couple years ago. It was a gorgeous model that flew quite well considering the wind!
O’Reilly, Chuck and Renz flew in the twin pusher event. It was amazing to watch those things fly in the windy conditions! They were quite stable considering the conditions.
Sunday, one of the events, “the “Sport of Kings”, Jet Cat, was quite interesting, considering the weather conditions. Flights were quite amazing! Those little scale jobs seem to hold up pretty well.
Suman Saripalli made the trip on Sunday. Thank goodness for Suman, because Chuck had 11 boxes of magazines full of Flying Aces and Air trails that he donated to our club. Chuck had originally received the collection from a Beech Craft CEO, who collected airplane memorabilia. We very much appreciate this kind act. These magazines appear to be in really great condition! It was very difficult not to crack the boxes open and just start reading on the spot! Anyway, thanks Chuck!
I would like to thank Aaron Powell and his wife Karla for making a lunch pizza run on Saturday. We had plenty! They ordered just the right amount, and no one went hungry. Also, Karla made pancakes for breakfast on Sunday. This was fantastic considering all I originally had was a granola bar. That was a very kind gesture!
Jeff Renz (click on photo link below) 150 photos.