Hard to believe another Warbirds has come and gone again, and like some many of the previous meetings, it has been a stunning success.
After weeks of dry and reasonably calm days, we were forecast some rain and wind. Well the rain stayed away, cloudy on Saturday and Sunday was another hot sunny day in the Bay. The mornings' light sou'wester down the strip was quite flyable, and the afternoon sea breeze had a nice cooling effect. All classes of models coped and flew both days.
Pilots' briefing and welcome from Club President Alex Wardley and club Captain Mike Shears taking place in the "Hangar".Once again we were well supported by fliers from around the North Island some thirty-two visiting pilots and sixteen from MFHB giving a total of 48 registrations with over 120 aircraft. Flying was non-stop both days despite a slow and chilly start on Saturday, and as the temps warmed, so did the flying with up to five aircraft of like vintage and performance in the circuit at a time. The entertainment was appreciated and well attended by the visiting public and most of the pilots had a ball.
This year we had some notable visiting aircraft and pilots, and they were able to display them in single time slots to great advantage on a number of occasions throughout the weekend. Of great interest was the huge MIG 25 (Foxbat) twin turbine fighter built and flown by Clint Kraidy of Auckland.
This aircraft was scratch built by Clint two years ago as a school science project in his last year as a student at St Kentigern College. It is 4.2 metres long and 2.8 metre wingspan and weighs 55kg and is certified and flies under a CAA large model classification. Clint built a plug & mold for the composite fuselage and the wings are foam cored. The model is powered by two ATJ 170 Turbines, each developing 17kg of thrust. Clint flies this plane expertly and displays the aircraft which flies at scale speed, perfectly. This very accomplished and personable young man will undoubtedly have a great future in aviation.
As usual we were blessed with that smiley countenance of MFNZ's well deserved latest inductee to the Hall of Fame, Frazer Briggs who again wowed the crowd with his dazzling display of music accompanied freestyle aerobatics in his Raven aircraft. Several flights on Saturday and then the biggest “WOW WOW” on Sunday when part way through the routine, during a snap manoeuvre, the port wing blew apart and departed the model.
Frazer in his inimitable style kept flying the Raven in a knife-edge, completed two circuits getting the plane stabilized and positioned and set it down on the runway, rolling to very nearly upright as he put it down with minimal extra damage. A superb display of quick thinking, fast reactions and airmanship. Nice one “Bogan” !
The Briggs family also campaigned their latest aircraft above, a Russian LA7 Lovochkin, a big aircraft powered by a 250cc four-stroke five cylinder Moki which sounds magnificent. A huge job according to Mike, who built the aircraft up from a beautifully molded composite European kit. Needless to say, Frazer displayed the aircraft very realistically during its numerous flights over the weekend to the endless delight of all watching.
A superb aircraft with great sound and presence in the air.
Our Ladies under the guidance of Jane Wardley did a great job of feeding the multitude over the weekend with delicious hamburgers and sausages and drinks, operating from the new shelter, which was put to great use.
It served as a hangar overnight, a bonus for many not having to disassemble their aircraft, and also as a sheltered headquarters for registration, pound and broadcasting base. Awatoto field was a picture thanks to the hard work of our field team and all the facilities worked well with a number of visitors overnighting in their buses etc on site.
This year we had the services of the Hasting Squadron of the ATC, who manned the gate and supervised the parking, relieving members of that chore and doing a great job. They also maintained a tent display centre, and from all accounts were popular and enrolled a few new recruits. MFHB is able to make them a donation of $500 towards their funds, a win, win situation all round. Currently we are assisting them with their national Chuck Glider competition, and hopefully in the future this will progress to building and flying RC and infecting a few young souls who might join or come back to the hobby in the future.
Again, through the co-operation of the CAA and our president Alex, we able to get an exception for height clearance of 1000 feet for the weekend. Being in controlled airspace but outside 4 kilometres from the tower, we are unable to get a normal Notam and have to apply for an exception on a limited basis giving a minimum of 90 days notice. Otherwise we are limited to the normal 400 feet agl.
The following is a pictorial roundup of some the aircraft and events over the weekend..................
Zero twins down from the PMAC club in Auckland. Trevor Miller and Ming Lim in the startup sequence with two World Model Zeros, Ming's powered with a 36FG Saito (Petrol) and Trevor's with a Glow FA 220 Saito, both four-strokes and ran like a singer sewing machine, though somewhat faster ! Interesting talking to Trevor, who is an aircraft restorer, currently working for Pioneer Aero in Auckland and restoring a Tempest 2 Radial engined Warbird. We'll hope to hear more from him on that project ?
Ming Lim bringing his bird home for a very neat landing.
Trevor Miller also flew this very smart Lovochkin LA7, an 80 inch ESM Kit model powered by a 5 cylinder Saito FA325 R5 Radial engine, sounded sweet, just like five Singer sewing machines !
Alan Lawrence from New Plymouth MAC joined us with his Behotec 66 powered Douglass Skyray seen here coming in to land. As usual from Alan's stable the aircraft is scratch built and now about ten years old. Built in composite (lost foam construction) at a scale of 7.2:1.
Another interesting aircraft, this Bleriot 11. The model is now 32 years old and was built by its owner /pilot David Kenwright as a school science project when he was just 15 years old attending Havelock High School here in the Bay. It is petrol powered and the only change he has made in that time is the addition of Wing Warping.
We were well supported by the Turbine fraternity, and seen here a pair of likely lads. In the far corner is the Stiver family F-86-F Sabre, built in 2008 from a Trim Aircraft moulded kit and powered now by a Jet Cat P60 turbine. The model is 66 inches square. In the near corner is Andrew Farrow's Skymaster model Sabre, powered by a Jet Cat P80 SE which he says is better flown by his 12 yearold son James who has been flying for 5 years ! Great to see these sons overtaking their Fathers, nice one James.
Harvey's Sabre about to alight under Andrews control.
Tony Withey from New PlymouthMAC flew his big Air Macchi . This is built up and finished from an F.B. Jet Fiabio Kit and powered by a Behotech 130 turbine which developes 30 lbs of thrust. All up weight is 17.5 kg and the aircraft is now 5 years old.
Also from New Plymouth is this "Raptor" O/D from the brain and workshop of Rob Whalley. This aircraft is about seven years old and was developed from one of Rob's original delta flying wing designs. It is powered by a Jet Cat P60 which puts out 12 lbs of thrust and has been Radar timed at 280 kph. (Rob can't run that fast these days !!) Interestingly, it suffered a ten minute motor transplant before this flight, just four bolts and a couple of plugs, out with the old (something wasn't right !) and in with the new. Way to go !!
I brought my Profile Warbird series out on Saturday and got Frazer, Shaun, Huggy Bear and Mike to fly a display with them, seemed to elicit some favourable comments. More on them later...
A couple of nice helios in the pits, didn't see them take the air though.
Frazer and Shaun putting on another smokin' display of formation flying with their p-47s.
Matt Lord's Hellcat smokin' pas in a low level attack
As was this Tiger Cat, sounding great with its twin petrol engines.
Sunday afternoon saw the prize giving, and the following awards were given out..........
World War 1; To Ray McPeake, a hard working HBRF member for his Ettrick Taube.
World War 2 ; To John Sutherland for his Fokke Wulf 190.
Between the Wars; To "Aunty" Grant Findlay for his Tiger Moth, which must be terribly out of trim, I didn't see him fly a straight line all weekend with it during his crazy pilot routines !!
New Zealand Military; Went to Jeff Clarkson and his magnificent recently completed Tiger Moth.
Modern Military; Just had to go to Clint Kraidy for his wonderful MIG 25.
Pilots Choice; almost unanimously was awarded to the family of the late Brett Cudby, whose planes were on display in the pits over the weekend.
At the conclusion of the Rally, a "Missing Man" formation was flown in memory of Brett by his good friends and co-pilots, Shaun Mitchell, Grant Findlay and Frazer Briggs with their two P-47 thunderbolts and Frazer's Lovochkin. It was a very moving ceremony, there was hardly a dry eye amongst all the pilots gathered on the flight line to pay their respects.
A wonderful two days in the sun with families and friends, great flying conditions, some great aircraft and lots of good companionship and fun. What more could you want.
To finish up here is a compilation of some video taken over the weekend by Heather.
Our Special thanks to our CD Ken Duffell and his hard working co-members who put in many hours preparing this event and a lot of hard work over the weekend. We will be calling for feedback from both visitors and members to help make the Rally even better next time. And a big thank you to all the visiting flies for their continued support of this meeting. We look forward to seeing you all back again, for the last weekend in February in 2014, when Warbirds once again will be flying over Awatoto.