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Nats 2016

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Old 07-17-2016, 07:14 PM
  #1
Don Szczur
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Default Nats 2016

Great event this year. Many stories. Sequences were difficult, with the F17 sequence probably the biggest leap in difficulty since the introduction of turnaround. Powerplants included the YS 185's and Contra V'4's among the list of Hacker, Pletty and other motors and batteries.

Some pictures below.

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Last edited by Don Szczur; 07-17-2016 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:53 PM
  #2
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I would like to thank my sponsors, YS Performance and Horizon Hobby, Thunderpower and Morgan Fuels- Cool Power.

I had spent most of my time over the winter flying the Pegasus using the Hacker motor and Thunder Power batteries. This Pegasus was Dale Arnold's old airplane which I traded him my 40 percent Extra. It worked out well since I don't have a place to practice IMAC effectively and he does (I hear he has been flying it a lot the last couple of years), and I did not have a pattern plane handy since the Black Magic went in last year (loose connector on the switch harness after 6 years of continuous flying).

The P-17 sequence is not too bad once you get used to it. Topped out at a 980 normalized on round 2 (if my memory serves) putting me in something like 9th or 11th place in the prelims. F-17 is a different story all together. It has increased in difficulty by an order of magnitude over all previous pattern sequences. I've had a couple months (and several contests) to mull this over and here in D2 only two contests had F17 sequence. The pilots generally groan when its time to fly, and judges at local contest expressed their challenge at keeping up with the maneuvers since everything happens so fast.

So at the NATS I moved down several positions during the semi-finals. I know now that I'm at a turning point since more and more of my time is going toward doing the team support for Joseph. I have got some additional ideas on preparations, and tackling the reverse top hat and big "M", so I'm very excited about pattern and preparations for the NATS next summer (as this is written the November World Championships venue for 2018 are under reconsideration by the F3A world championships venue selection committee).

It was, however, a very exciting NATS for Joseph as he finished in the finals for the first time ahead of some very tough competition. This year the NATS were earlier than normal by a week or two. That coupled with his not getting out of high school until the end of June only gave him about a week of good focused practice (disrupted by a trip with his cousins to the Jersey Shore for a weekend). He did extremely well with his new airplane. The Contra Allure flew consistently and had a very solid presentation. It was great to see Joseph excelling in his flying passion.

On to other topics. Overall aircraft designs are changing to lighter, larger airframes that fly much more consistently at all airspeeds. There were some strong IMAC and Freestyle pilots (some of Joseph's friends) which gave Pattern a try and ended up doing pretty well! One won Advanced, Chuck Edwards. There was an NSRCA meeting which constructively discussed strengthening the NSRCA districts and pattern flying in general. Expect to see some model aviation ads, outreach events and other activities. I do plan to extend (give back) to the local clubs by participating in training days, club meeting presentations, and local airshows. I expect we'll see a strong return of D2 to the NATS in the future!

A note about the Contra V4 and the YS Performance. First, I took a half dozen flights to set up Joseph's Contra V4. The motor and speed controller (Mezon 110) ran much warmer than the Contra V3 and Castle speed controller on the Pegasus (on some 95+ days, downright hot) but carefully made some duct work, and never had any heat issues that affected performance. The V4 is very "linear" in feel as compared to the V3. It also has better speed control (high end and low end). The unit is significantly lighter, in fact I've got to move the battery tray back this winter to shift the CG back and longer tray to accommodate larger batteries for the unknowns and F sequences.

Now, the YS. I've gone back to glow. I'd like to thank Archie Stafford for lending me his YS 185 for the NATS. This engine is awesome in that it swings a big prop for slow speed on downlines with strong torque and a large speed range for overall flight performance. Since the NATS I've switched back to my YS 170. I'm running a 19x11 APC and will be switching over to the larger Carbon Fiber APC for the YS 175 that I have from the Black Magic. It took a couple of months to get back on the learning curve for glow (I developed my own foot-activated glow driver for spinning starts on the engine). This setup has been running very consistently (fuel, fly, fuel, fly).

Anyway, that's the NATS (and after-NATS) report for this year. As usual we had a blast and enjoyed spending time with everyone in Muncie during this great competition. A special thanks also to Matthew Stringer and his dad. Dinner was not enough to repay you for your help!

Don

Last edited by Don Szczur; 09-07-2016 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 09-06-2016, 06:06 PM
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:47 AM
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Don,

That was a great little write up that you have done for the NATS! Your Son has a very bright future ahead of him in F3A, just have to keep him focused through these next few years of girls and cars, I mean High School! Anyway, I am the IMAC convert that won Advanced. I guess a better way to put it is I am an old time pattern flyer that found IMAC around 2006 then switched back to pattern when they have failed to keep their poop in a group so to speak. I have really enjoyed the move back to pattern and the fun I had at the NATS! There are so many new friends that I have made, I just wish I would have had more time to make it over to watch more of the FAI flights. I am already planning for next years NATS, see you guys there.

Chuck Edwards
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:22 AM
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Excellent write up Don !! It's interesting to hear what top ranked pilots are doing and planning for the future in pattern. I think the NSRCA population would enjoy this type article from pilots. We are interested in more detail as to who flys what and why. With the talk of pattern in a decline we need to communicate more effectively with contest reports ect. This plug and play world has it's good and bad effects on everything including the pattern world.

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Old 09-08-2016, 04:22 AM
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I agree Maustin. The one thing that IMAC has going for it is that their website has forums for members to go onto and share information. It would be nice to see more of that for the NSRCA. There is no one good place to discuss the finer points of pattern and contest reports.

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