Sadly, I have to note the passing of Darrell Watts in November. Darrell was the grand master of float plane building and flying. He was active in the Michigan area for many years and for the past few years with several Kansas City clubs. Darrell was the driving force of the Heart of America Float Fly in Paola, Kansas.
In the short time I knew Darrell I was privileged to call him a friend. I’m sure countless others felt the same way. His enthusiasm and love of life was infectious. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and family.
Vintage fun-fly events are everywhere. Here’s a report by Dick Behrens from the Omahawks of Omaha, Nebraska, on the club’s last 2014 vintage event.
The Omahawks had its last monthly Old-Timer Fun-Fly this year on Wednesday morning, October 8. The wind was nearly calm and the food great. Roughly 20 people took part. Because it was the end of year, Dennis Bender surprised those taking part with steak, baked potatoes, and all the trimmings for lunch. The cost was covered by an anonymous donation.
One highlight was 1/2A Combat. Sixteen pilots signed in for a few vicious and furious matches.
Dean Copeland of the Western Flyers in Mead, Nebraska, passed on some information about an interesting unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) project he joined recently.
“This is a very interesting job I have with the University of Nebraska. The school’s agriculture department is doing some interesting research in crop, livestock, and watershed control. I am flying the school’s UAV which is a Tempest glider with a 120-inch wingspan.
“The airplane’s weight with computer, camera, and sensor systems is approximately 14 pounds. It has roughly a two-hour flight time. My primary function is to take off and fly to altitude. At that point, control is turned over to an onboard computer-controlled flight plan. After a flight plan has been executed, I take back control to retrieve and land the vehicle.
“The University of Nebraska is the only licensed operator of a UAV in Nebraska. We have to file NOTAMs with the Air Traffic Control for all operations. I am learning a lot about what it takes for serious UAV operation and am amazed by its capabilities. All of the software and system setup is being performed by a company in Colorado called Blackswift.
“For the past several months, we have been testing various flight plans and debugging problems associated with the different systems. Our longest flight to date has been a 160-acre survey taking 43 minutes.
The four man project team consists of Dr. Woldt, the directing professor at the university, an ex F4 Phantom pilot, a senior biosystems engineering student, and yours truly.
“It is an amazing experience and I am going to school on what new technology can do for our local farmers and agriculture agencies. I’m glad to be a part of it.”
I finally have room to show you Bruce Ream’s stunning Fokker D.VII. The D.VII won Best of Show and first place in World War I competition at the Warbirds Over Denver last summer. Bruce is a member of the Jefco Aermod’lers RC Club, in Denver and is a longtime Scale builder.
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Darrell Watts (no caption)
[Omahawks vintage fun fly -- ]
Omahahawks members at the October Vintage Fun-Fly: Ron Pacana, Frank Wisniski, Joe Cole, Chuck Buscher, Dennis Bender, Ed Paasch, Jeff Pinnt, Fred Wilke, Jud Bock, Bob Turner, Dean Copeland, Bob Zitzlsperger, Terry Chall, Frank Vanecek, Tom Floyd, Larry Inness, Dick Behrens, and Bud Mitchell.
[Bud mithcell miss America -- ]
Bud Mitchell’s new Miss America at the Omahawks’ Old-Timer Fun-Fly.
[Bruce ream Fokker d7 -- ]
Bruce Reams’ award-winning Fokker D.VII.