Bladder Grabber 2008

Triple-elimination fast combat tournament, Aug. 16-17, Snohomish, Wash.

Bladder Grabber winner Mel Lyne (right) gets the traditional champion's dousing at the trophy ceremony. Others placing were (from right) Bill Maywald, second; Max Boyd, third; Gary Harris, fourth; John Thompson, fifth. Gene Pape photo.

Mel Lyne defends title in Bladder Grabber XXX
Skip to Mel Lyne's contest report and Bladder Grabber photo gallery

They called Mel Lyne, of British Columbia, the "Alien" after his win in Bladder Grabber 2006. After a one-year hiatus, the contest returned in 2008, and Mel proved that he was no foreigner to the winner's lineup. Mel not only repeated as winner of the most prestigious control-line model aviation fast combat tournament, he did so without taking a loss through 10 rounds, an unprecedented performance.

Flying truly brilliant combat, Mel managed to go through the entire contest with a single airplane, another unprecedented feat for a Bladder Grabber winner.

The 30th (almost) annual celebration of the biggest, fastest, loudest and most thrilling form of control-line model airplane combat competition was a rousing success, as the Broadway Bod Busters, led by Contest Director Jeff Rein and a host of helpers, brought the contest back to Snohomish, Wash., after a one-year hiatus. The contest ran smoothly for the two full day. The new requirement of line-tension shutoffs also proved to be a success, with two flyaways shutting down immediately and gliding harmlessly to earth right near the circles.

Those involved in conducting and officiating the contest included Jeff Rein, Ken Burdick, Ron Enos, Steve Helmick, Dave Robinson, Scott Newkirk, Norm McFadden, Jim Green, Howard Rush, Clay Parker, Mike Moreland and several others whose names your FL editor didn't get down on paper.

There were 19 entries and a contest remarkably free of midair collisions and crashes, with most matches ending in kills.

Congratulations to the Bod Busters and thanks for a great meet. We hope to be back again to do it next year.

Here are the results (Northwest standings points in parentheses):

1. Mel Lyne, Garibaldi Highlands, B.C., 10-0 (19)
2. Bill Maywald, California, 7-3
3. Max Boyd, Covington, Wash., 6-4 (17)
4. Gary Harris, Banks, Ore., 6-3 (16)
5. John Thompson, Eugene, Ore., 5-4
Ken Burdick, Kent, Wash., 3-3
Jeff Dawson, San Antonio, Texas, 3-3
Lee Letchworth, Rodeo, Calif., 3-3
Tom Strom, Seattle, Wash., 3-3
10. Tristan McKay, Redmond, Wash., 2-3
Gene Pape, Eugene, Ore., 2-3
Bob Smith, Roy, Wash. 2-3
Tim Soukup, Texas, 2-3
14. Milissa Huber, Stanwood, Wash. 1-3
Tony Huber, Renton, Wash., 1-3
16. Mike Hazel, Mehama, Ore., 0-3
Don Jensen, California, 0-3
Don McKay, Redmond, Wash., 0-3
Buzz Wilson, Belfair, Wash., 0-3

Results of this contest are reflected in Northwest CL Competition Standings

Photo: Max Boyd (left) and Gary Harris duke it out. Howard Rush photo.

A view from the top
Report on Bladder Grabber XXX

By Mel Lyne, Flying Lines combat reporter and Bladder Grabber XXX champion

A great site, great weather, a great team of combat volunteers putting on the meeting lots of old friends and some new ones....and having such a good just doesn't get any better than that.....just a  GREAT FAST COMBAT BLADDER GRABBER contest and weekend! A little bit more relaxed than previous "Grabbers" with CD Jeffrey Rein setting an easy pace, something us  "very well experienced" fliers really appreciate.

A first class job was done by the crew of CD Jeffrey Rein, pull testers Steve Helmick and Dave Robinson, judges Ron Enos, Scott Newkirk, Mike Moreland etc, and Howard Rush, Jim Huber etc. on the scoreboard, and of course the Broadway Bod Busters and Ron Enos, sponsoring and organizing the contest. 30 years ago Bob Carver envisioned "The Best Combat Contest In The World" in Bladder Grabber. The tradition continues....

Only line tension-type shutoffs were permitted and every plane was shutoff-tested before the start of every match. There were five cut-aways in the contest and each one shut down immediately and glided down. There was not a single fly-away.

The draw was designed to have fliers from different regions fly each other. Oregon's "Beaver State Combat Team"... John Thompson, Mike Hazel, Gene Pape and Gary Harris, Washington State's "Broadway Bod Busters"... Ken Burdick, Buzz Wilson, Don McKay and Tristan McKay, and "The Dreaded Canadian Contingent" represented by Mel Lyne, led the charge.

California's Bill Maywald, Don Jensen and Lee Letchworth, Texas' Jeff Dawson and Tim Soucup, and Washington's Tony and Milissa Huber, Tom Strom, Robert Smith and Max Boyd were all in the hunt for cuts and kills.

The FAST action was intense as expected with a few shutoff mis-fires, but the matches ran the whole gamut from "Rat Race" up and down affairs through some spotty combat to some barn-burners with all-out pursuit and many near misses. There were several solid mid-airs, with one of Lee Letchworth's planes helicoptering down minus a wing. Mel and Tim had a barn-burner going in round 4 that ended in a solid mid-air, both planes gliding down with Mel's lines gone and a crack in the Fora's case. Milissa was up there working her "Killer Combat" magic once again, but she met up with performer/juggler Lee who anticipated her over-fly and neatly cut her string using one of Milissa's own classic moves. The mid-air carnage was surprisingly low but line tangles were numerous. Four rounds were flown Saturday with a very welcome lunch break with hot dogs and the trimmings supplied both days by the Bod Busters. Saturday was very hot at around 90 degrees. Sunday was cooler with some cloud. At the end of four rounds some fliers were out and some were down to a single life. Max Boyd, Mel Lyne and Bill Maywald had no losses.

Sunday's action got more intense with John Thompson and Gary Harris still charging for the Beaver State Team. Lee, Jeff Dawson, Tim, Max, Tom, Mel, Bill, Ken and Tristan were flying hard. Tristan, the youngster, had been flying 80mph equipment with good results(his opponents kept overshooting his string), but he tried the Nelson Fast equipment of dad Don and had some "trimming" problems. So he ended up flying another 80mph model in his final match.

The attrition continued with Max, Bill and Mel leading the field. John and Gary were still in the hunt at round seven. Max dispatched Gary and Mel killed John to leave Gary in 4th and John in 5th place. Mel flew Bill and got the kill. Mel then flew Max and got the kill again leaving Mel with 9 wins and no losses. Max and Bill flew-off for 2nd and 3rd.

Jeffrey Rein emceed the prize ceremony with cash prizes from 1st through 5th as well as Macadamia nuts, tea shirts and goodies from the Bod Busters and Ron Enos.

Many thanks to all the competitors, workers and sponsors for making Bladder Grabber XXX a real FAST COMBAT success. See you at the next one!   

More Bladder Grabber photos

Busy pull-test area. Flying Lines photo.

Left photo: Mel Lyne is already in the air as the Beaver State Combat Team pit crew's starter Gene Pape steps out of the way and Mike Hazel prepares to launch John Thompson's plane. Right photo: The match in progress. Mel killed John in two matches. Howard Rush photos.

Left photo: Ken Burdick is the starter and Tom Strom the launcher, for pilot Max Boyd. Right photo: Bob Smith (left) holds and Lee Letchworth prepares to start as Mel Lyne awaits the match start signal. Howard Rush photos.

Left photo: Beaver State Combat Team members, from left, John Thompson, Gary Harris, Mike Hazel, Gene Pape. Right photo: Tim Soukup holds as Jeff Dawson prepares to start for pilot Bill Maywald. Howard Rush photo.

Some of the real men of fast combat, from left: Ron Enos, who flew in from Hawaii to work as a contest official and donated some of the prizes; Jeff Dawson and Tim Soukup from Texas, Bill Maywald from California. Howard Rush photo.

Nice fantail planes built by Jeff Dawson. Jeff builds the planes to order. Flying Lines photo.

Results of a midair collision. H&R shutoff and Nelson engine still intact. Flying Lines photo.

Left photo: Max Boyd, third place finisher, wearing the Bladder Grabber XXX shirt, with the slogan "Real Men Fly Fast." Howard Rush photo. Right photo: Always gregarious Jeff Dawson with one of his fantails. Flying Lines photo.

Gene Pape of the Beaver State Combat Team. Gene returned to combat after many years off, and brought out successful new Millennium Underdog airplane. Flying Lines photo.

Bill Maywald's very nice airplanes. Flying Lines photo.

Tom Strom prepares a Mejzlik airplane for a match. Flying Lines photo.

Tristan McKay flew his first fast combat matches -- and got a couple of wins. Flying Lines photo.

Contest Director Jeff Rein at the prize table. Flying Lines photo.

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This page was upated Aug. 13, 2018