[Headline: The Heli Extravaganza]
I’m not shy about stating how wonderful it is to fly at the Triple Tree Aerodrome. I have loved the place from the moment I first stepped foot on that hallowed ground in Woodruff, South Carolina. It’s not just the fact that the Triple Tree Aerodrome is a world-class flying resort, it’s the atmosphere of the place that seems to get inside of everybody—an atmosphere of fellowship, having a great time with old friends and new, and maybe with a little RC flying thrown in for good measure.
It is hard to imagine an event being held there that is not an instant hit, and that’s the case with the Heli Extravaganza. It’s hard to believe that this is already the fun-fly’s third year, but there we were—160 registered pilots strong—about to begin one of the best long weekends I’ve had all year.
Steve Rogers of Castle Creations (see his interview about ESC governors in my September 2014 column), has done an excellent job of pulling this fun-fly together each year since its inception. Darrell Sprayberry has done an equally good job of being the event’s CD.
The vendors put in a great showing, too, and plenty of spare parts and accessories were available throughout the September 19-24 event. Experience RC brought its big rig mobile hobby shop from Michigan. It was loaded with goodies including the then-newly released Dromida Ominus quadcopter, of which there were plenty flying around throughout the weekend!
Camping is definitely the way to spend the weekend at Triple Tree, whether it is in a tent or an RV. For the primitive campers, there are great facilities including bathrooms, hot showers, and electrical outlets in the bath house. There also was food available during the event.
This year marked the start of the FPV obstacle course, headed by Tim King Jr. He did an excellent job of setting up the course, and graciously allowed me to fly it using one of his quadcopters. He got it back after I laid it down once, still mostly intact (sorry, Tim!).
For the obstacle course, pilots could use either a monitor or FPV goggles to fly their multirotors through the course. The route was marked by yellow caution tape on the ground, and wound in and out of trees, up over the “slingshot” (a tall tree that split vertically), and then modelers had a choice of either flying around the pond, island hopping across it, or flying beneath the two bridges. I chose the last option, and boy was that fun! The course seemed to be a hit, and I’m sure it will be more popular next year!
Everyone is there to fly helicopters, but that didn’t stop some modelers from breaking out the RC cars, boats, and even floatplanes (guilty!) to help them relax after some hardcore 3-D heli flying. The pond at the side of the runway proved popular for multiple types of RC, and everyone had a great time using it. (All except one pilot who had to fish his helicopter out of the pond. There’s been at least one every year, so far!)
The atmosphere was relaxed. There were no scheduled noon demos, but there were some top pilots at the event—including Kyle Stacy, Bert Kammerer, Jamie Robertson, Ben Storick, and Matt Botos. It was great to see average pilots hanging out and flying with some of the best pilots in the industry, and seeing those same pilots helping everyone out. It was a cool vibe.
Pilots brought their families with them, and there was even a special ladies’ luncheon for the RC widows ... err ... I mean pilots’ wives, organized by Kelley Rogers and held at the main hangar.
Several vintage aircraft are stored in the main hangar, and it is a great opportunity to get up close and personal with a T-6 Texan, Stearman, Piper J-3 Cub, or even a beautifully restored Spartan Executive. If you love to fly helicopters, the Triple Tree Aerodrome and the Heli Extravaganza are where you should be!
Ask the Pros
You have an opportunity to ask your favorite pilot something about his (or her) flying. Send your requests to me via the email address at the top of this column. Let me know which pilot you would like to ask and what the question is.
Some examples might be, “How do I learn to autorotate?” or “How can I learn to reverse piros?” It’s not restricted to 3-D pilots. Have a Scale question? Ask away. Whatever the question and whomever you wish to ask, I will choose one each month and feature it in this column.[dingbat]
International Radio Controlled Helicopter Association (IRCHA)
Triple Tree Aerodrome