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2010 NATS Article

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Old 07-23-2010, 10:51 PM
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Don Szczur
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Default 2010 NATS Article

Here is an article I'm writing as I have the opportunity, regarding the 2010 NATS experiences, impressions and such.

A few sound bites:

Bob Kane photographing Peter Collinson's pitt crew.

I changed my judging criteria as a result of Brenner Sharp's airplane.

Flying less is sometimes more.

Details, details and more details.

Melodrama.

The Kids are Allright.

Wing tip plates

Why build your own airplane from a kit or scratch?

New friendships made.

Will write more going to bed now...

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Old 07-25-2010, 09:11 PM
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Don Szczur
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Default RE: 2010 NATS Article

I changed my judging criteria as a result of Brenner Sharp's aircaft. The contra-rotating propellors provided such as smooth transition between maneuvers and during radius segments, I added between 1/2 and 1 point per maneuver. Some electrics were too fast going up and too slow going down, which was particularly distracting and very hard to judge line and roll segments. Some glow planes were the opposite (although presentation was much better) than some of the electrics. Best overall electric presentation with regard to constant speed was Stephen Byrd.
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:58 PM
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Default RE: 2010 NATS Article

Pictures of this innovation. I can see how Sebastiano does so well with his twin in competition as this is a very smooth flying setup. The closest comparison on the Neu large diameter prop. The YS combo is easiest to manager, however- less variables (i.e., speed variation) to manage. Twin props definitely opens up the performance and braking envelope though.

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Old 07-26-2010, 11:06 PM
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Don Szczur
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Default RE: 2010 NATS Article

At the Pilots meeting the night before the finals (to pick the Unknown maneuvers) Chip made it known that his group (consisting of himself, Matt Kimbro, and one or two others) wanted (and had been practicing) one and two rolling circles rolling left. They got both a one roller to the outside from upright rolling left and a two roller to the outside rolling left. Dave Lockhart was deep in thought, but picked the figure Z. This was an excellent maneuver and one which he performed flawlessly in the sequence.

Dale Arnold presided over the group, and roughly two hours later we left the meeting with call sheets and aresti diagrams in hand. There was one mistake on the aresti which Chip pointed out as we were walking out the door (it only took him about 15 seconds to find it). Tom Miller went to each and every finalist and indicated the error prior to flying the next morning. Still, one or two pilots flew the second maneuver (turnaround stall turn 3/4 roll up 1 1/4 snap down) with a 3 of 4 up. There was another stall turn in center which did have a 3 of 4 up but that was later in the sequence.

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Old 07-26-2010, 11:11 PM
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Default RE: 2010 NATS Article

Joseph was carefully following all the standings as the week unfolded in Masters. Here is compares notes with Chris Odom and Stephen Byrd.

Fellow FAI competitor and Canadian, Chad Northeast, prepares for his flight. Several aircraft pictures.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:17 PM
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Don Szczur
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Default RE: 2010 NATS Article

We went out for a celebratory dinner. Hey, how come my FAI trophy is so much smaller than Joseph's awards? After a rainstorm blew through the area on Tuesday evening, the most colorful rainbow appeared. It soon turned into a double rainbow. We snapped these pictures outside the Texas Roadhouse in Muncie.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:47 PM
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Don Szczur
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A breif word about my equipment.

The Black Magic is from Competition Airframes of America (Mike Hester). I know Mike has been out for a while due to health reasons, but this aircraft is really a work of art to put together (if interested, I did a complete building thread on this plane). I hope someone picks it up and offers the kit again. I feel that building the model, as painful as it is, provides a closer connection to the plane- keeps the interst level peaked and motivates me more. If you spend any more then a few hours a week on-line (I know I do) then you have time to build a kit. I did a couple of tweeks to the plane, on my own. I tried a smaller profile on a cantilizer which worked pretty well and a good compromise between the tall one I had on my first black magic, and how when it flew with no cantilizer. The plane does not need a cantilizer if you fly faster like Arch Stafford, but my style is slower and the cantilizer creates some extra side lift and (pitch and roll) stability particularly at slower speed. The other item I used was barn door ailerons on the Focus wing. This was an AA wing that Dave Guerin put together several years ago when AA was just getting started. The wing provided clean and predictable snaps as a result. I did have to increase the aileron differential by about 3 percent.

I used YS 170 DZ with glow plug. An attached picture shows the simple setup with a single wire held in place with black smoke tubing. The smoke tubing works better than any head locking device I've ever used. It shrinks slighly with the heat (keeping the wire on the top glow plug) but flexible to provide strain relief to the wire.

The YS ran flawlessly all week. It is a CDI engine and I ran lower oil (down to about 7 percent oil). The fuel mileage is much lower than with CDI, but I felt the reliability (for the NATS) kept things simple. The cool power fuel has kept the engine running cooler and well lubricated. I don't have any special ducting within the cowl for the engine. I do run it slightly on the rich side.

The JR 12x and servos were precise and performed extremely well. I like the expo curves and flight mode options for the 12x. I reduced the aileron and rudder for the spins with provided clean entry and more precise exit. I used 8411 servos on the ailerons, 9411 servos on the elevators and 8611 on the rudder.

One of the things that surprised me was how many complements I got during the week regarding the plane and my flying. Dave Lockhart indicated that he could tell the plane was new and that I was connecting better with it. Many folks really liked the finish of the plane. I clear coated the front and canopy (after a trip to the paint store to get perfectly matching red paint). The DU-4 urethane enamel looked (and looks) wet. It practially was, since we just got it clear coated less than a week before leaving for the NATS. With almost no sanding (and no sanding at all on the canopy) the clear coat flowed well and blended all the paint-to monokote/ ultracote lines. Of course Joseph gets credit for picking the tail color scheme and JR graphic.

I was more relaxed this year and enjoyed making many new friends. Maybe its because I'm getting older, maybe its because I'm not taking this flying thing as seriously any more. In any event, I missed making the team by two people which was a really big deal since I had not finished that strong in the placings (with the full field of top FAI competitors) since 2004 (Quique and Sean are missed, however). A big part of enjoying the event had to do with my caller, Bill Ahrens. We met briefly in the past, but this week he asked for some help Sunday evening, and we both agreed to help each other throughout the week by calling and assisting each other. Bill's goal was to make the semi-finals and my goal was to make the finals. We changed our goal and improved our attitude after the first (poorly flown) round. Bill made his goal to get in the finals and my goal was to make the team. Everything we did from that point forward was different and constructive. It made a big difference in how we performed, most notibly our attitudes going into, and exiting each round. Thanks Bill for all the help during NATS week.

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Old 07-26-2010, 11:56 PM
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Default RE: 2010 NATS Article

Glow plug setup as previously discussed... I'll go back to the CDI when I have the opportunity. Plane came out right at 10lbs 5 oz. I'm using aluminum tubes, a medium-to heavy battery, heavy solid backplate spinner and two ounces of lead in the nose. With even the slightest amount of effort, I could have got the plane under 10 Lbs. However, I like the Black Magic at a heavier weight so it has worked out well.
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Old 07-27-2010, 08:41 AM
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Default RE: 2010 NATS Article


Quote:
ORIGINAL: Don Szczur

Glow plug setup as previously discussed... I'll go back to the CDI when I have the opportunity. Plane came out right at 10lbs 5 oz. I'm using aluminum tubes, a medium-to heavy battery, heavy solid backplate spinner and two ounces of lead in the nose. With even the slightest amount of effort, I could have got the plane under 10 Lbs. However, I like the Black Magic at a heavier weight so it has worked out well.
Don,

You can buy neoprene shrink tubng from McMaster Carr for the plug wire. If I understand what you did correctly that is.
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:53 PM
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Don,

I've been reading your posts since way back on the IMAC list (when Doug was still President of IMAC) and I've always found them thoughtful and informative. We've never met however. How do you pronounce your last name?
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Old 07-28-2010, 10:06 PM
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We had a good time hangin' with Joseph, George and Riley
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Old 07-30-2010, 10:00 PM
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Don Szczur
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Default RE: 2010 NATS Article

Pronunciation is French for scissors.

The tubing is simple smoke tubing. I'll have to check out the neoprene kind further, but when I tried the standard fuel-type tubing it slipped off after a flight or two. The black smoke-oil type tubing hardens slightly with the heat, thus protecting the wire from flexing while staying snug on the end of the glow plug.

Melodramatic moments: Me running around trying to change out batteries in Joseph's plane while he was on the clock (he had put in an 80% charged pack which probably would have been fine if I left it alone). Was ok- he won that round. I was standing in the peanut gallery doing a lot of body language before, during and after each of his maneuvers on that flight.

Mark's discovering he could not qualify. This created quite a bit of emotions prior to the finals unknown selection meeting. I was in utter shock and was speachless to hear of this situation.

Chip's animated story of his garage as we awaited the hard copy aresti sequences. (P.S. do NOT use one of those jump start portable units to charge any type of battery). I enjoyed watching Bret roll over on the part about trying to get the fire engine driver's attention.

I was not there, but heard of difficult emotional strife experienced by some of the mid-air pilots during Wednesday's Masters sequences. Two mid-airs in like 30 minutes.

Zeroing rounds from missed judging assignments and no numbers (been there done that on the no number thing).

Melodrama on the competitive front. No shows added drama, much animated discussion, and interest to the prelimary groupings and resultant score impact. No Jason Noll, No Quique, No Sean McMurtry, no Troy Newman... In some respects the NATS were very different this year without these great pilots. Almost like back to the future with Chip back on the team. He was hungry, well prepared- probably better prepared than I have ever seen him. Congratulations to the U.S. team and best of luck in 2011.

Regards,
Don
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