[Headline: Wenatchee turns a frown upside down]
The Red Apple Flyers annual Memorial Day Pattern contest in Wenatchee, Washington, continues to be a landmark event in National Society of Radio Control Aerobatics (NSRCA) District VIII. Besides being the first contest on the calendar, it continues to draw contestants from far away.
This year, in addition to the “Canadian Regulars,” Mike and Jean Greear made a 1,400-mile trek from Southern California, while first-timer (Sportsman) Steve Carothers and his (Intermediate) flying buddy, John Schauble, traveled more than 750 miles from the Salt Lake City area. The mere 400 miles between Boise, Idaho, and Wenatchee is a drop in the bucket compared to these long haulers.
“Build it and they will come,” from the movie Field of Dreams, epitomizes The Red Apple Flyers contest. It would be interesting to know who has traveled the farthest to attend an event at the club’s amazing flying site.
Author’s New Groove
Late last summer (2013) I was going gangbusters with Pattern-related activities. Then, in early March 2014 I got sick; I’m not sure with what, but I was sicker than a dog, so to speak. I missed an unheard-of four consecutive days at my day job, with two trips to the doctor’s office with no relief.
After two weeks of working back to a normal energy level, my groove was lost and I had zero interest in completing the Black Magic or newly framed-up Kaos—dead, flat, zero interest. Sell it all, I thought to myself night after night, droning on watching TV or listening to music.
To make matters worse, in late April my good friend and flying buddy, Jim Welch, passed away. Jim was never a Pattern flier, but he was a modeler’s modeler whom I was honored to have known. I credited Jim several times in this column.
With March and April past, May arrived without much change. Rotten weather became an easy excuse not to practice. I managed a few flights on my old Insight, but no real practice occurred.
Somewhere around the middle of May, Right Rudder Rex started scolding me for not flying Pinky. “Fly the airplane you’re going to compete with.” “Pinky flies better than the Insight.” My silent retort was, “The heck with competing; leave me alone.” Shortly afterward I started to brighten up and found the Insight a new home with a local Sportsman pilot, ensuring I wouldn’t be flying her anymore. The Insight was a sentimental journey that had come to an end.
Pinky hadn’t been flown since last August, and never with my current radio. Nevertheless, with Pinky set up to the best of my memory, off we went to Wenatchee. Pretty sorry state, if I do say so myself.
The first practice flight Friday afternoon revealed adjusting elevator servo adjustable travel volume (ATV) using the throttle ATV settings on the transmitter does not work well. With a bad idle and a guess at throttle exponential, flying we went. No surprise; flying Pinky is like wearing an old pair of jeans. You’re just hoping they don’t wear out too soon. Two more flights through the Intermediate sequence and it was time for dinner.
Saturday, under great conditions, I got my rear handed to me all four rounds. Maybe there is something to practicing and setting up your airplane before flying in a contest. Groove or no groove, regardless of excuses, my flying disrespected her ladyship, Pinky!
Through Saturday’s four rounds, tweaks where made and bad words muttered. By Saturday night, determination was gathered and my pride was restored. Sunday morning, Pinky won two rounds, easing the pressure of my tail between my legs.
Back home, after unpacking, taking a shower, and relaxing on the couch listening to music and enjoying libation, my wife walked into the room and asked, “Why are you grinning? You didn’t win.” Smiling, I said, “I got my groove back.”
The next day stabilizer fences were put on Pinky and I have been regularly practicing ever since. The point is that our hobby is great, regardless of the discipline. My choice is to fly Pattern, which has turned my frown upside down more than once.
Micro Charge Box
Mentioning “snap rolls” around Pattern pilots is sure to bring heated discussion. Another hot topic is “receiver power.” Manufacturers offer a wide assortment of gadgets to power our airborne radio systems. We have regulators, voltage increasers, ESCs, BECs … the list goes on.
Last fall, I chose to simplify my airborne setup. Out came the switch/regulator and its associated 2S LiPo battery. In went a new 1,100 mAh A123 2S pack connected to a heavy-duty “double-pole, double-throw” (DPDT) switch. My opinion is that eliminating the regulator removes a potential point of failure. Additionally, I was tired of removing receiver batteries from the airplane to charge them.
Last weekend I wired up a micro charge box for field recharge duties when a generator is unavailable. Essentially, a 3S 1,800 mAh pack was wired to a couple of banana plugs for my Cellpro Multi4 charger. I intend to use it to charge my flight pack in the airplane every four to six flights.
Sportsman of the Month
Steve Carothers is our Sportsman of the Month. Know a new Pattern flier? Send a picture so he or she can be Sportsman of the Month.