Twelve O’Clock High has developed into a fun and relaxing model airplane fly-in for RC model airplane enthusiasts from around the world, and includes three days of beautiful Florida weather, fun, conversation, and flying, as well as a lot of thrilling moments thrown in.
At the 2014 event, held October 23-25, there were 74 pilots and 125 airplanes, huge monster-size airplanes, jets, propeller airplanes, experimental airplanes, and even 15 minutes of foamie fun. The Twelve O’Clock High Runway Walk gave all of the fans a chance to see the airplanes up close and meet the pilots.
First-time visitors to the event’s venue, Paradise Field in Lakeland, Florida, were amazed by the airplanes, and many of those with children wanted to know how to begin flying. They were directed to the Academy of Model Aeronautics and local RC airplane clubs.
Many were surprised that it does not take a fortune to start. The AMA offers free youth memberships for those under age 19 as of July 1 each year. AMA youth members can join a local RC airplane club and learn how to fly at no cost. Visit the AMA website for more information.
Warbird models represented included the F6F Hellcat, an aircraft that was responsible for approximately 75% of all the U.S. Navy’s air combat victories in World War II. The Douglas C-47, which, according to General Eisenhower, was one of the most important Allied weapons of WW II, was also represented. Jerry Deluyck brought his Stuka Ju 87 dive bomber, with its terrifying screaming siren. Stuka stands for Sturzkampfflugzeug, which is German for dive bomber.
Shani Studnik brought several jets to the event, including his 1/4-scale Skymaster T-45 Goshawk with a 96-inch wingspan. Mark Shapiro won the Best Jet award with his 92-inch wingspan 1/5-scale Airworld F9F Panther that features scale trim with an aluminum finish.
Todd Hicks’ monster 13-foot wingspan, World War I de Havilland D.H.1A biplane’s engine stopped during flight. The beautiful biplane still made it safely back to the runway with only minor damage to the undercarriage. It will be up in the air again soon.
Some of the pilots are like rock stars in their own way and much can be learned from watching them prepare and fly their aircraft. There are many outstanding role models for younger or less experienced pilots to follow—especially when things go wrong.
One of the unexpected events at Twelve O’Clock High was a chance to meet Nick Ziroli, one of the legends in model aviation. He only brought a couple of airplanes, including his AD-I Skyraider, but then he started naming all of the other airplanes he had designed that were at the event. There were approximately 11.
The new paved runway was a big hit this year. Congratulations to Frank Tiano Enterprises, CD Frank Tiano, and all of the sponsors, volunteers, pilots, wives, friends, family, and supporters, for another well run, fun, and entertaining event.
Frank wanted to thank Polk County Sports Marketing for all that the organization does for RC airplane events at Paradise Field. Frank flew his Macchi MC.200 several times, but also likes to fly early before the start of activities.
As a longtime modeler and AMA member, I would like to thank Model Aviation for the opportunity to cover the Twelve O’Clock High 2014 event. It was a great gathering.
For more information about the event, please see the “Sources” listing.
Frank Tiano Enterprises
Twelve O’Clock High
Illustrated Encyclopedia of Major Aircraft of World War II
by Francis K. Mason