In the times in which we live, with the disappearance of brick-and-mortar hobby shops, obtaining supplies and modeling equipment necessary to participate in CL Combat seems to require the Internet. The delivery of any ordered products is generally good through either the United States Postal Service or other private delivery services such as UPS or FedEx.
You must be willing to spend hours on your computer researching individual products and sources. You will also have to be mindful that some of the once reliable sources are no longer viable. I dealt with ViKo Models in the Ukraine for many years and had good results, but that is no longer the case.
Yuvenko in the Ukraine has been reliable for many years. The company will give you an estimate on how long it will take for you to get your order. (Yuvenko appeared to be backlogged as I wrote this early in December of 2013.) I know Vasyl Yuvenko and I have also seen the name Alexander Yuvenko on some of the models.
Russ Graves and Bill Maywald recently received shipments of models from Yuvenko. All arrived free of damage and in well-packed boxes. The quality of the company’s models is outstanding and there is a variety from which to choose.
A source closer to the US is in Canada and run by Yaroslav Melnikov. Several members of the Southern California Combat Team have recently ordered from Yaro.
Although I have only purchased products from Alberto Parra of Spain during the World Championships, he offers plenty of Combat equipment for sale.
Nearly all CL Combat competitors these days fly RTF models. Alan DeVeuve, Lester Haury, Phil Cartier, Pete Athans, Howard Williams, Russ Hester, and James McKinney are a few exceptions.
Lester Haury manufactures a high-quality kit that you can order from him. Some of the other pilots design their own models and cut all of their own wing cores. I am happy with the way RTF models perform and at approximately $50 each, I would rather use my shop time to repair and rebuild than build from scratch.
Chuck Schuette runs MBS Model Supply and always sets up his hobby shop at the AMA Nats. He has plenty of the common items such as bladder tubing, syringes, lines, Nelson glow plugs, etc. The pilots who have ordered from him get great service.
New Pilot Support
I started an email group notification system for Southern California Combat enthusiasts. I send messages every Thursday telling everyone when we will be at the field for the upcoming weekend.
New pilots are included in the email group. They can come to the field and get assistance from more-experienced pilots. I sometimes sell used models that still have plenty of serviceable hours left in them. Many of the new modelers have modified them to accept 80 mph engines and use them as trainers.
Don Repp is our local engine guru who can make nearly anything start and run. He has set up engines that pilots can easily start and operate. It is essential that the new pilots feel successful in operating engines and flying their models.
My fellow club members and I attempt to teach new pilots how to recognize a flooded engine and a dry one. We also show them how to remove warps from a less-than-perfect model.
We have been coaching the novices on flying. We have them repeatedly practice certain maneuvers then move on to something else. We are lucky in Southern California to have a dedicated site and weather that supports year-round flying. The most important aspect of helping a novice pilot is to make him or her feel welcome and part of the group.
It often appears that some of the rules are designed to prevent competition by disqualifying someone even before he or she begins. An example of this is the helmet chinstrap rule. If the strap is unfastened after the match begins, the pilot will be disqualified even if his or her mechanic is the one with an unfastened strap. I have seen this happen at world championships and local contests.
I believe in safety and never want to see anyone hurt. In this case, a solution might be to have the jury members, judges, cut counters, or center marshal remind everyone to fasten his or her chinstrap. This would help in deciding the match based on competitors’ flying abilities.
Although everyone likes to win, sportsmanship and the thrill of competition should be a goal for all. Having flown a good match with a top pilot can be satisfying—win or lose. I have seen too many contests decided by a pilot electing to crash land, knowing that he or she is ahead on points and that the opponent cannot make up those points.
Now that the on-demand shutoff devices are mandatory, we will likely see more of that type of behavior. Is that sportsmanship in its true meaning? It will take a brave judge to call it unsportsmanlike conduct and disqualify a competitor.
Red Flag Phoenix
The last big contest of 2013 was held in Phoenix in November. Twenty US pilots attended.
This year, some Minnesota pilots made the trip to get out of the cold and get some flying in. Dave Fisher, Steve Wilk, Aimee Olson-Bagley, and Jim Ehlen brought a trailer full of models. I had not seen Aimee for more than 20 years. The last time I saw her she was a junior being coached by her dad. I am glad to see that she has picked up the handle again.
Dave and Steve are competitive F2C Team racers who dabble in Combat.
Mexican F2D team members Leonardo Silva and Arnulfo Delgado made the trip to the US for some extra practice. Bill Duane traveled from Florida to participate. Greg Wornell, from Massachusetts, had to get accustomed to the hot, dry weather before he could fly.
California was represented by Russ Wilcox, Russ Graves, Darrin Albert, Bill Maywald, and me. Bobby and Andy Mears always bring their wives, Jan and Arlene, to represent west Texas. The only “Sun Devil” was Alex Rennick, who was battling in the F2D event.
Current F2D Team members Josh Ellison and Richard Stubblefield attended to brush up on their skills for the 2014 Poland World Championships. Josh showed his good form and won the competition, besting former World Champion Mike Willcox. Alan DeVeuve managed a third-place finish.
Andy Mears won the Friday F2D/Fast event, and Russ Graves finished second with his new fleet of Yuvenko models and new FORA engines.