RCU Review: Tucson Aerobatic Shootout

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    Contributed by: Leonard Cacciatore | Published: November 2006 | Views: 44847 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse Magazine Review: Tucson Aerobatic Shootout 2004
    Contributed by: Leonard Cacciatore

    RCUniverse Magazine Review: Tucson Aerobatic Shootout 2006

    This past October I made the trip out to Tucson, Arizona to check out the shootout. Now if you haven't heard about the Tucson Aerobatic Shootout it's growing into one of the top aerobatic competition here in the states and is starting to draw an International following. This year's prize payout totaled $85,000.00 in cash and prizes.

    I got very interested in going to the shootout after watching Wildberry Productions' DVD Tucson Aerobatic Shootout 2004 last year. If you haven't since this yet I suggest you either borrow a copy from a friend or purchase a copy from Wildberry.

    The one thing that I had to do this year so I could get to the shootout was convince my girlfriend that it would be fun to go out to Tucson and see the show. Well, I'm fortunate in that she really likes to go to these RC events to watch 3D/freestyle flying and she's a fan of Quique Somenzini and Jason Shulman. So booking the trip wasn't a really problem.

    I've done some review work for RCUniverse so after my trip was booked I spoke with Marc Vigod to see if I could cover the event for RCU. He thought it was a good idea since they were one of the sponsors of the event. I agreed to start an event thread on RCU to post event photos and information. If you haven't seen the official RCU Tucson Aerobatic Shootout coverage thread then click here to read it. You can also check out all the video coverage at RCUVideos.com.

    The shootout takes place over five days and follows the AMA RC Scale Aerobatics rules. They use the IMAC Known sequences and choose from the IMAC Unknown catalog to put together the Unknown sequences. This is for Sportman thru Unlimited classes. For the Invitational class the Known sequences are prepared specifically for the Shootout. These were released in August so the pilots had time to work on them. The Unknown sequences were drawn from the 2006 Edition of the Aresti System. The 4-minute Freestyle sequences followed the IMAC guidelines.

    The first 3 days of the event were dedicated to Sportman thru Invitational classes flying their Known and Unknown sequences and the last 2 days (Saturday and Sunday) had the freestyle sequences take place.

    At first I thought that this event might have a chaotic feel to it. This was my first big aerobatic competition that I attended. I was curious to see how they were going to get through 60 plus pilots flying 2 sequences and not going late into the evening. Well I have to tell you that Mike Marcillin (CD) and Dave Johnson ran a very smooth event.

    The sequence flying would have two pilots up at one time being judged on their sequence. At about halfway through the sequence the next two pilots would take to the air and stay out of the aerobatic box. Once a pilot finished their sequence they signaled that they were done and left the aerobatic box. The next pilot waiting would be able to set up to enter the box and start their sequence. They really had this working like clock work all five days.

    I thought that the first 3 days might be a little boring as compared to the freestyles but it was actually interesting. I started to learn more about what it really takes to fly in an IMAC competition by listening to the other pilots talking about someone's sequences. I realized there's a lot I need to work on before flying in a basic IMAC competition. This turned into a really good learning experience for me.

    We got a real special treat Saturday. Doug Bry from WildBerry Products invited everyone at the event to see a preview of their soon to be released Electric Flight School DVD. They had set up a large movie screen and projector out on the field. All we had to do was to bring chairs and the popcorn. If you want the full details about the Electric Flight School DVD go to the Wildberry site. My girlfriend and I found it to be really entertaining even after sitting out in the desert night and having temperature go from 75 degree down to 50 degrees by the end of the movie. I already have my pre-order in for this and their Top Gun DVD. So here's two items you can add to your holiday list if you haven't already.


    Frazer Briggs and his plane

    Jason Shulman and his plane

    Andrew Jesky's plane

    Mark Leseberg Jr's plane

    Kyle Woyshnis' plane

    Chip Hyde's plane

    Did someone say cheese?

    Jean-Claude Spillmann from Switzerland and his cheese head crew.

    Practice makes perfect

    Now this is something that you'll see just about every pilot doing during one of these competition. They practice their next upcoming routines using small scale planes. This especially helps them practice and visualize the Unknown sequences since they only recieve these in the morning before having to fly them.

    Frank Noll Jr. and son Jason working through one of the routines.

    Bill Hempel's 50% Edge 540

    This plane looks beautiful on the ground and in the air. Too bad it won't fit into my mini-van or my Town House. Listen to Bill talking about his new plane and see Jason Shulman flying it in his second freestyle.

    Go to BillHempel.com for more info on this plane.

    Bernd Beschorner's electric powered plane

    For all you electric guys out there you need to check out this plane that Bernd Beschorner was flying. He calls his plane the Raven. The only thing that was a little strange when he was flying wasn't that it was so quiet but more of the feeling that come over the place. I really don't know how to explain it but it was as if we were on a break. You could hear people talking and moving around. You didn't have the noise of an engine drawing your attention to the sky. It was a little more like watching a sailboat race as oppose to watching a motorboat race. I don't know if engine noises seems to add a little more excitement to the event for me.

    Go to Plettenberg-motoren for more info on the Predator motor used on the Raven.

    Check out one of his freestyle flights to see the performance of this plane.


    Here's some photos of the Invitational pilots during one of their known flights. Unfortunately I missing photos for Chip Hyde and Bernd Berschorner.

    Pilot:Mark Leseberg Jr
    Caller:Tony Russo

    Pilot:Jason Shulman
    Caller:Bill Hempel

    Pilot:Jeffery Szueber Jr
    Caller:Matthew Szueber

    Pilot:Jason Noll

    Pilot:Ivan Kristensen
    Caller:Dianne Kristensen

    Pilot:Frazer Briggs
    Caller:Mike Briggs

    Pilot:Bill Hempel
    Caller:Jason Shulman

    Pilot:Andrew Jesky
    Caller: Kevin Young

    Pilot:Quique Somenzini
    Caller: Joey Hayes

    Pilot:Frank Noll Jr.

    Pilot:Kurt Koelling


    There was vendors booths on Saturday and Sunday.

    You had Desert Aircraft showing off their engines and selling shootout merchandise. I've added the DA50 to my Christmas list and I have to figure out which one of the planes that I'd seen from AeroWorks, Dietrich Aircrafts or AeroTech R/C Models to also add to the list. I'll have to also get some field support equipment from AbellRC. Boy, I'm going to have to get a big Christmas tree this year so all of this stuff can fit under it.

    Desert Aircraft


    AeroTech R/C Models

    AeroTech's donated a fully configured 40% Sukhoi, DA150 and Fubata radio system with a special Tucson Shootout paint scheme. This is a new model coming from AeroTech this winter. The money raised from the raffle went to cover the prize purse for the freestyle event.


    Dietrich Aircrafts


    The Freestyle event is the big crowd pleaser of the show. The first freestyle seqence of the event took place on Saturday to a packed grandstand of spectators.

    One of the things that the crowd really loved to see was the down on the deck(DoD) flying. They went crazy for the low hovering, low rolling circles and low knife edge passes. One of the pilots that really stood out was Kyle Woyshnis. He was a real crowd pleaser. Some of the DoD type maneuvers don't qualify for scoring and any ground contact would result in a zero score for the sequence.

    This aspect of the freestyle sparked a bit of debate on the RC's forums of who's routine was the best. I know there was quit a debate over Quique and Kyle and who should have won the freestyle event after some of my video coverage was posted to RCUVideos.com.

    If you haven't seen any of the videos here are the links to Quique's and Kyle's first freestyle and a link to all the videos posted to RCUVideos on the Tucson shootout.

    Check out all videos and you decide who was the better freestyle pilot. I think they were all great.

    Jason Krause Heli Demos

    The only thing I can say about the demos that Jason Krause put on is WOW! I don't know how these guys can do these maneuvers and still know which way the heli is going. They are really something to see.

    Check out Jason's two Demo flights.


    Anna Wood was the scorekeeper for the event and she did an outstanding job getting the scores posted as quickly as possible. They had each event's scores and an overall standings posted by the end of the day on the DA web site.

    If you want to see any of the days results click the day below.


    For full Sportsman results

    Rank Pilot Total
    1 Ryan Archer 6,000.000
    2 D.J. Noerr 5,708.378
    3 Philip Oubre 5,665.222
    4 Curtis Pilcher 5,580.684
    5 Billy Adams 5,579.885
    6 John Murdoch 5,575.634
    7 Bob Condra 5,301.944


    For full Intermediate results

    Rank Pilot Total
    1 Eric Powell 5,920.994
    2 Pedro Brantuas 5,881.691
    3 Jeremy Holt 5,874.710
    4 Brad Hooper 5,820.680
    5 Tony Russo 5,801.224
    6 Shawn Best 5,619.782


    For full Advanced results

    Rank Pilot Total
    1 Dean Bird 5,900.026
    2 John Wondra 5,813.887
    3 Ryan Gonsoulin 5,780.844
    4 Jean-Claude Spillmann 5,680.158
    5 Larry Arseneau 5,494.955
    6 Bill Adams 5,436.531


    For full Unlimited results

    Rank Pilot Total
    1 Wayne Geffon 5,875.776
    2 Kyle Woyshnis 5,869.183
    3 Matthew Szueber 5,856.307
    4 Ken McGuire 5,693.658
    5 Will J. Berninger 5,501.043


    For full Freestyle results

    Rank Pilot Total
    1 Quique Somenzini 1,976.890
    2 Kyle Woyshnis 1,972.190
    3 Jason Noll 1,955.292
    4 Jean-Claude Spillmann 1,887.204
    5 Jeffery Szueber Jr 1,865.815
    6 Bill Hempel 1,828.848
    7 Zak West 1,814.671
    8 Chip Hyde 1,808.981
    9 Bernd Beschorner 1,722.546
    10 Jason Shulman 1,697.937
    11 Martin Muller 1,625.716
    12 Kurt Koelling 1,516.461
    13 Mark Leseberg Jr 1,000.000


    For full Invitational results

    Rank Pilot Total
    1 Mark Leseberg Jr 5,955.182
    2 Quique Somenzini 5,950.599
    3 Jason Noll 5,937.533
    4 Frazer Briggs 5,874.400
    5 Jason Shulman 5,867.965
    6 Bernd Beschorner 5,766.145
    7 Andrew Jesky 5,720.335
    8 Ivan Kristensen 5,569.213
    9 Jeffery Szueber Jr 5,556.759
    10 Frank Noll Jr. 5,462.953

    The Boat Races

    The first that I had heard about the boat racers was on Saturday of the event when Bob Sadler mentioned that after the awards ceremony on Sunday the boat races would be taking place with the US team taking on a team from the rest of the world. This sounded interesting but I wasn't sure what kind of event this would be. Here we are in the middle of desert there is no water around so how are they doing to have any type of boat race. Boy was I surprised to find out on Sunday that the event was a drinking race. This brought me back to my college days and made me feel old since I didn't think of this. It's been a while since I've been around a drinking competition. It was fun to see all the pilots cutting loose after the competition.

    Oh and yes the US team defeated the challengers from the rest of the world.


    I have to agree with Bob "Biff" Sadler with the thumbs up on this event and I must say that Bob did a great job announcing. He helped to keep the event rolling along and everyone informed and entertained.
    (Note: You'll have to check out the Electric Flight School DVD for the "Biff" reference)

    Thank you to Dave Johnson and Mike Marcillin for making us feel welcome and taking care of us with the press passes. You guys really put on an excellent show. Also a big thank you to rest of the crew from DA, all the volunteers and the sponsors that made this event happen. My hat is off to all of you. Great Job.

    My girlfriend and I got to make some new friends while we were out there. We meet Doug and Jill Bry from Wildberry and Jill got my girlfriend Alberta into a new hobby. She introduced her to bead jewelry making. Hey what can I say. At least it's something that she can do when she comes with me to our field or one of these events. If it keeps her happy, it makes me happy. Everyone wins here.

    Wayne Geffon, it was great meeting you and congrads on taking first place in the unlimited class. I hope that our paths will cross again.

    Curtis Pilcher and the Monster Energy drink crew: Curtis keep up the great flying and thanks for the Monster energy drinks. They helped to get through the days after a long night of posting photos and videos of the event.

    So if you haven't yet been to the shootout I would highly recommend making the time next year to see it. You won't be disappointed. It's a great event with a bunch of great pilots.

    Again great job everyone.


    Desert Aircraft
    1815 South Research Loop
    Tucson, Arizona 85710

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