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  1. #1
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    2005 NATS Experience

    I would first like to thank my Lord, Jesus Christ for saving me and my son's life during the trip to the NATS. That was the sole purpose of the trip. We were run off the road in Ohio by a motorist that lost control of her car and plowed into the right side of my Ford Taurus. After being launched into the grass median and upon looking directly at the oncoming traffic, the Lord took control of the car and kept it from skidding into oncoming traffic. After getting the car back in control and stopped. I realized that my son, Joseph was ok, the airplanes were ok, apart from a slightly crunched left side fuselage and broken stab adjuster on the primary Brio. After fixing the stab and test flying in Dayton that evening, I concluded that the airplane actually flew better, requiring less left rudder trim. You have to find the positives in these kinds of situations.

    We arrived at the required NATS judges training Sunday morning.... To be continued, (bed time).

  2. #2

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    RE: 2005 NATS Experience

    Don,

    Thank the Lord for His mercy--it's comforting to know He has a daily supply for those who belong to Him.

    Congratulations on your great flying at the Nats!!
    Jim Oliver
    Revver Brother No. 51

  3. #3
    Pattern freak's Avatar
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    RE: 2005 NATS Experience

    Amen!!!!,

    The lord takes care of his people,he`s my pilot!!!!!.Thank GOD nothing worse happened with you and your son Joseph.

    Congratulation on your 3rd place Don great flying!!!!!!,i really though you were going to pull it off again...!!!!.

    God Bless...!!!

    Greg.
    www.arubarcclub.com
    G.S.Winklaar.2nd Place is the first loser.
    www.arubarc.com

  4. #4
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    RE: 2005 NATS Experience

    After I realized that I would be flying at the NATS, it really put everything back into perspective. The judges training was conducted by Don Ramsey. I always learn something new each time I attend this training and Sunday was no exception. The crab angle held at a constant angle approaching a stall and spin entry is no downgrade for FAI, but any offset from the (runway track) in AMA classes was grounds for downgrade by 1 point per 15 degrees. When I judged Masters later in the week, Don Ramsey's prediction was true "no one can get a 10 on this maneuver in a downwind". Everyone held a crab angle and had to take a downgrade. The other interesting item was the emphasis on the 30-60-90 calibration method for determining the vertical box. Don noted that many judges do not place their arm at an appropriate position and end up sighting about 50 to 55 degrees rather than the 60 degrees. In other words, 60 degrees is higher than it seems. I'm not sure there is a real standard for this, even internationally. Perhaps a sighting device with pilots flying that high would be helpful as part of the judges training (on the flight line).

    The Pilots meeting came Sunday evening, and the F3A and Masters pilots were each separated into side-meeting to discuss the NATS functions. Future FAI events will continue to include unknowns, with some kind of F07 incorporated as a semi-finals event (even if all the competitors make the semi-finals). The main issue is equal exposure. The rules state 3 F07 sequences be flown in semi-finals. Hard to do this on one site with that many pilots. The idea would be to somehow roll this into the NATS, keeping a four-day event. There is a lot of emphasis on flying; 4 flights is not enough for some to justify a trip to Muncie, while 6 rounds has been well received by the pilots flying the preliminary sequences, but who don't make the finals. A trade-off may be the top 15 making the semi-finals, with the top 8 making the finals. The bottom line is that future NATS will move more toward the FAI rules

  5. #5
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    RE: 2005 NATS Experience

    Monday through Wednesday were the priliminary rounds. The way the contest was run, each group of pilots (normally 6 or 7 per group, with 4 groups) was mixed up each day. Some people never got to fly in a group with Quique, for example. But overall it allowed a mix of pilots and normalized scoring for somewhat accurate placings after each day. Consistency was the key to this part of the competition. For example, I did not win either round on Tuesday at my site (Frak and Dave Lockhart each won a round) but finished close enough that I maintained first place throughout the week. I wanted to hit hard early and keep the pressure on throughout the preliminaries. I did that! I had some technical issues. A fuel line split at the filter just after takeoff on round 5. I was a little dissapointed, but came back on the second round to win that one, which more than made up for the setback. That was the first missed round due to mechanical issues that I had since 1991. That is 14 NATS worth, plus several team selection tournaments. I prepared exensively for the P05. Hindsight was I prepared too much for the preliminary sequence and not enough for the F05 and unknowns. Did the opposite last year. It was close competition though.

  6. #6
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    RE: 2005 NATS Experience

    The Airplane- The Brio. A great flying plane. I plan to stay flying this design. But its been a challenging year. For some reason, I don't know what there was, but I've never had as many technical issues in pattern season before. Things started back last September, when I picked up the prototype Brio. I really wanted to get a lot of time on the plane, get familiar with it. On the second flight as best as we can tell the switch turned off. It was one of those switch mounts with a pin coming out the side of the fuselsage and you pushed in to turn it off. We think it was turned off when we got the wreakage. Next Brio I picked up in Myrtle Beach, SC in April. It was windy at that contest. So windy that someone's tent blew through the parking lot smashed though my windshield. The other tent pole was resting next to the car parked next to mine- Dave's SUV with, you guessed it, the Brio sitting in the back. Had the tent pole gone another 3 feet it would have punched though his side window and right through the fuselage of the Brio. Not to be out-done. While I was carefully loading the plane into my car, a gust of wind picked up the fuselage (no elevators or wings, just the fuselage) and when I turned back around the fuselage was rolling accross the ground (a couple of guys caught it). Then there was Romilly in June. The Brio just did not want to make the trip there, favoring the U.S instead. I think I convinced it that its ok for it to compete, since that's what its designed for. Won that argument with the plane, but then there was the broken wire in the voltage regulator, causing this plane to plant two weeks later. Then the trip to the NATS. The lady hit me on the right side, guess where the fuselage was.... on the right side. Got to the NATS and was practicing on Tuesday evening. Took Joseph for a walk while the batteries were charging, came back and everyone said "you are lucky you still have your airplane". A gust of wind had come out of nowhere and spun the fuselage around, almost smashing into the transmitter before guys dove at the plane to secure (hold it down) til the wind passed. I never felt even a light gust from where I was, probably 100 meters away. I said " no big deal, par for the course". Finally, to prove that this airplane has something going on, Lamar Blair was asking how sturdy the fuselage on the Brio is (he was commenting that the Genesis fuselage must be handled carefully). He also asked to get a picture of the inside with the canopy off after the flight. I went up and pinged the fuselage side with my fingernail pretty hard, demonstrating that the fuselage is stiff, and can take abuse and still look flawless. I even kicked the fuselage a few times, for effect. Showing that its really sturdy. Well the plane did not like that because on the next (last flight of the finals) the plane got me back by ejecting the canopy. I told Lamar, "well get your camera out to take your picture, now that the canopy is off'. I went out to retrieve the canopy (hardly a scratch) but lost the flight, and the NATS, but at least the plane is in one piece... so I promise to treat the Brio with respect from this point forward....talk about a plane with a personality... remember, respect it. And snug those forward wing bolts with a socket driver, just in case...

  7. #7
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    RE: 2005 NATS Experience

    Unknowns. This is really a fun, exciting, and challenging part of the competition. Chip and I. 2003 I think there was three quarters of a point or something like that. Last year he came out 3 1/2 points ahead. This year, a tenth of a point. He said it might as well be a thousand, as it does not matter, but I told him I gave him a tenth of a point back from two years ago... mind games, of course.

    The downwind rolling loop. It might be enough to cause a pilot to fly the sequence down wind, so that the rolling loop would be upwind... It worked, I came ahead on that round.... While Chip and I were worried about each other Quique was putting on some burner flights, and winning the competition.

    Its interesting about the unknowns. Its every man for himself. Everyone wants to put maneuvers in that he thinks will put him at an advantage... Dave puts in the two loops with two half rolls (he's great at integrating rolls with loop segments), Chip puts in the rolling loop from inverted (up wind on the second sequence), Someone puts in a positive snap hoping it will pop a wing wire on a another competitor's plane... someone puts in the vertical square 8 cause I missed the half roll (actually did two) back in a past Team Selection sequence. Even at the World Championships, every man for himself for the World Title. The Team trophy is determined by the preliminary rounds. Every man for himself. Going through taking turns putting in maneuvers is really neat. Frak puts in a square loop with half rolls on the corner, then a six sided loop. He know geometry. Someone puts a 45 degree up 2 of 4 opposite, knowing Chip missed a similar maneuver three years ago. Its fascinating. This is really an exiting part of the competition. Then we all go back to the hotel, try to learn the first unknown before falling asleep for the night... at least those of us that could sleep.

    For the finals, I had the same strategy going in at the prelims. Go in hard and keep up the pressure. The first round of F05 was ok. Tied with Quique just behind Chip, who took the round. (Dave Lockhart put in a really good flight and got above Quique and me as well. Everyone was flying better in the finals than last year. A year to learn the sequences. Expect you will see the same at the World Championships. Be ready for everything. P05, F05 and Unknowns. Good luck in France guys! I was first up in the next flight. Still did very well considering as such. Then came lunch, I ate an early lunch, before the second flight, and did not eat at the lunch break. I just did not have the phisiological (energy) and my hands were shaking when I landed after the second F05. I was not nervous, just out of gas. I ate a good lunch and felt much better for the last Unknown. Wanted to really put the steam on. It just did not come together, and after the canopy came off, well that was that. Chip mis-flew a maneuver on his last unknown, so that was it for both of us! The door was wide open but it did not even matter. Quique flew superbly. I kept telling people that of all the electrics I saw fly, the way I would fly one was just the way that Quique flew his. He used a lot of throttle managment to keep a constant speed, and flew closer in. It hurt in the wind earlier in the week, but throughout the finals, it presented absoluetly superbly. Congratulations Quique!

  8. #8
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    RE: 2005 NATS Experience

    Best of luck to the U.S. team in France next Month.

  9. #9
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    RE: 2005 NATS Experience

    ... and best regards to all the competitors and friends who will be in France for the Worlds...

  10. #10

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    RE: 2005 NATS Experience

    What setup is using QQ on his BRIO
    (motor, prop, batteries, weigh of his Brio,........)?

    BR

    Ales Zapletal

  11. #11

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    RE: 2005 NATS Experience

    Hi Don,

    Congratulations on flying so well throughout this year! It was a pleasure to fly on the FAI line at this years nats. I'm looking forward to it again for next year!

    Jim W.

  12. #12
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    RE: 2005 NATS Experience

    There will be an equipment matrix in the magazine Model Aviation. Eric Henderson is the author.

    Great contest

    Don


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