The Giants of Free Flight
April 1973 American Aircraft Modeler
and Rockets website visitor Michael M. wrote to request that I post this article, along with the ones for the
Satellite 1000 free-flight champion,
and one on covering with Mylar. His reason was that he
wanted to get his flying team back together again in Bill Hunter, who passed away recently.
This article reports
on the November 1972 San Valeers Annual contest. As the title suggests, it was attended by the big players of the
day. Although not an "invitational" type like the Top gun R/C competition of today, the wheat was separated from the
chaff by the entree fees: $50 for each class - huge for 1972! ($271 in
2011 dollars). Master builder/flyer
Bill Hunter won 1st place for the Night Flying event, and 2nd place for Class C and Class D events. Bill's father,
Bob, who designed the Satellite series of models, was there and tied son Bill for 1st place in Night Flying with a
time of 12:00 - to the second! So, was the exact performance due to the airplane or the genes of the two fliers? I'm
See the e-mail that
Mike Schwartz sent regarding the
The Giants of Free Flight
By Bill Hunter Photos by C.P. "Lucky" Moody
The San Valeers Annual (November 1972) was a very special meet. In terms of events and prizes, it was the biggest
club-held Free Flight Contest ever, but there was more still. This contest had something for everyone. Twenty-seven
events filled the Free Flight bill with 80 trophies and a half ton of merchandise. All Gas events were (J) (SO) with
Hi Time Junior receiving a K&B 40 RR. Team competition was encouraged by trophies through third place team. Power,
Non-power, and Overall Grand Sweepstakes trophies were presented. FAI events were directed by Bob VanNest and the
S.C.A.T. Club (Southern California Aero Team). Old-Time classes were handled by Bruce Chandler and the S.C.I.F. Club
(Southern California Ignition Flyers). They both did a great job! Thanks to both clubs for your cooperation. A special
Commercial (foam) HLG class was flown just before the end of the meet for AMA contestants and spectators alike (J)
old but potent Johnson 35 pulls Bob DeShield's "Hawkeye" aloft.
Blended in with our regular events and using official contest times was a money jackpot for each event.
The highest time recorded by a jackpot entrant won the loot regardless of his placing in the event itself. Then to
top it all off, the "Gold Coast Eliminations" for the big Gas classes, "C" and "D." The Gold Coast Eliminations were
offered for those who felt their ships were hot enough for some real competition. After all, what better way to prove
confidence in a particular design than to raise the stakes! The entry fee? "Fifty dollars each class." The fee had
to be posted before official flying began for the day.
Our events originally were split up equally over Saturday
and Sunday, but due to a very unexpected rainfall that lasted all of Saturday, the CDs, Chuck Thompson and I, were
forced to postpone Saturday's flying until Sunday, and change to Cat. II. Rain stopped at 6 pm Saturday and Night
Flying started at 7 pm.
After an official flight, Schwartz's
right onto the flag pole at the officials' tent.
Open spaces needed when flying the big ones. Ralph Prey releases the colorful "Hi Carumba " 1200 with its screaming
releases the Class C-D recordholder,
a Satellite, with an ST 65. Design was published last year in AAM's May issue.
Carl Taylor is known for his canard design flown in many sizes.
Team Satellite member Hulan Matthies sends his Rossi 60-powered Satellite 1300 aloft.
For those who have never seen Night competition, I can tell you it's the greatest. To hear a C or D class engine
roar to life in the dead of night, then to watch the big job disappear into a black sky with only one or two pen lights
for visibility, is breathtaking. A ship must be well trimmed for this event. There is no room for adjustments from
one flight to the next. Class C and D ships are most often flown in night competition as they are least affected by
the added weight of batteries, and because of their size they have more inherent aerodynamic efficiency. Be sure your
ship is well doped or use Mylar -"A wet bird never flies at night!"
Unlike daytime flying, the air stabilizes
after sunset. In other words, there is no help from big thermals. It's almost like flying indoors. Everything depends
on a consistent climb and very low sink rate in the glide portion of the flight.
Official flying began Sunday
at 7 am and was to last until 4 pm. Maxes came fast and furious from the start and, before the day's end, 451 maxes
C and D competition was well represented by all the top California modelers. Jerry Dyer
of Canoga Park (San Valeers), was quick to max out in D with his Torp 41-powered "Star Duster 900," and just for good
measure put up a fourth max to take the early lead before switching to another class. Jerry was flying for the sweepstakes
awards and had to move fast as all his events were being flown that day.
Mike Schwartz; also of Canoga Park (San Valeers, Team
Satellite), began flying his ST-powered "1300 Satellite" official a little later and didn't quit until he had racked
up six straight maxes taking the lead in D.
Bob Vinson of Costa Mesa (SHOC) was next to post three maxes.
Lee Hunt of Canoga Park flying a K&B 41 on the business end of his "Condor 800" was stopped by an overrun on his
fourth flight. Mel Schmidt of LaHabre (SHOC) powered his "Shocer Design" with an ST 46. The ship goes well.
Ralph Prey of Inglewood (San Valeers) had his beautiful mylar-covered 1200. sq. in. "Hi Carumba" trimmed perfectly.
A pacifier burst on his second flight at five sec., but he still only dropped 44 sec. on the flight. From a VTO an
engine cutoff would be disastrous for some ships, but Ralph pulled out right on top. He went on to max on his third
Bob Hunter of Arleta (San Valeers Team Satellite) with his "Satellite 1300" ST 65 put up four maxes
before hitting a hole. I flew my "1300 Satellite" to the fifth max when I had to switch to Class C as it was 2:30
and I hadn't flown any C flights.
Sal Taibi of Lakewood, flying one of his famous "Star Dusters" had five
maxes on the board. Great to have you back in contemporary Gas Sal. Jim Scarbourgh of Lakewood (SHOC) and his "Texan"
had four maxes and a 2:07. Walt Prey of North Hollywood (San Valeers) flew his "Series 60 Satellite 800" to maxout.
Bob DeShields of Canoga Park (San Valeers, Team Satellite) had a new 800, but had pacifier
trouble on the third flight causing a short run. He dropped only one second on this flight. Good show Bob. Dick Myers
(Gridey, Calif.) just missed his fourth flight, but did win the ST 65 raffle later in the day.
of Lomita (San Valeers, Team Satellite) had a new "1300 Satellite" for C. The ship powered by a Turning Rossi 60 flew
to the fourth max despite developing a cracked rotor which drastically reduced the Rossi's power.
all this was going on, Walt Ghio of Stockton was sitting on a substantial lead of 20:24 with his C "Witch Doctor."
A hard time to beat.
I put up my first C flight at 2:45 in the afternoon and, as fast as I could, put
up four more. Then decided to switch to my new 41-powered "1000 C special Satellite" for the rest of the flyoff flights
being five-sec. runs. The "1000" went up for the fifth and sixth max. On the sixth max however, there wasn't time
to retrieve the ship, so the 1300 was used on the seventh flyoff. A foursec. run on this flight caused me to come
down four sec. short of Walt's winning time. Unfortunately Walt hadn't entered Gold Coast Eliminations.
A great thrill of the contest is night flying. Author's model blasts into the still night with
only a small penlite strapped to fuselage for visibility.
|GOLD COAST ELIMINATIONS
Class "C" - Bill Hunter, Satellite
Class "D" - Mike
Official Contest Results
For Big Gas Classes: CAT. II
1st Bob Hunter, Satellite 1300, ST 65 12:00
1st Bill Hunter, Satellite
1300, ST 65 12:00
3rd R. B. McKenna, Matador 800, K&B 40 10:36
Walt Ghio, Witch Doctor, K&B 40 20:04
2nd Bill Hunter, Satellite 1300, ST 65 20:00
3rd Sal Taibi, Star
Duster 900, K&B 40 17:35
Mike Schwartz, Satellite 1300, ST 65 20:10
Bill Hunter, Satellite 1300, ST 65 15:00
3rd Bob Hunter, Satellite 1300, ST 65 14:04
Posted October 9, 2011