Dirty Dan Rutherford's Cheater Streak in flight at the Western Canada Stunt Championships. Bruce Hunt photo.
By Dan Rutherford
I honestly do not understand what has happened with this contest over the years; nothing seems to have been predictable in any way. This year was no different. Uh, that's a good thing, by the way.
It has never been a big contest in terms of the number of entries. Further, this contest seems fated to never achieve high entry levels. While such confuses me, apparently it is takes more effort to get to the Vancouver, B.C. area than it does to go from Vancouver to contests in the U.S. Or border crossings are a snap for Canadians, a hassle for U.S. citizens. Or the exchange rate confuses us. Maybe the air is different somehow...
Then we factor in Mike Haverly taking both his Oriental (model) and his Oriental (Wifey Dear) to Alaska, Randy Powell's toilets blowing up, Wendy Moran's husband what's-his-name being engulfed in work, Bob Smiley off tromping around in the woods, etc., etc., blah, blah, and we were short some regulars.
Whatever it has been in the past, whatever it was this year, it makes no difference at all to the overall success of this contest. And I mean, like, every single year. Point of fact, the 2006 version of this contest proves my point in addition to establishing a high-water mark for GTC, Good Times in Canada.
We started off a bit low-key with three entries in OTS, this event continuing to decline in entry levels. OTS has its adherents and its own unique charms, but it is fading away. Chris mentioned to me that in 2007 the VGMC will probably drop OTS in favor of P.40 Stunt.
Neil Rogers entered his Nobler at the last moment, asking Keith Varley to provide advice from circle center. Not good enough. During his first-round flight Neil blithely ignored that wingover thing; it was bad example to set, although Howard Rush was at the time 150 miles away, see below.
At the end of Neil's flight I was wondering out loud if we shouldn't tell him about the omission when fellow judge Don McClave simply yelled out, "Wingover!"
Neil dutifully performed what was (maybe, probably) intended to be a wingover, but at the time conditions were such that one had to really nail the wind in order to pull a nice wingover. Neil missed it. By a lot. Only in the most liberal of terms could one call whatever he did a wingover.
My turn to give unsolicited advice: "Neil, you misunderstood! We said, 'Wingover'!"
Old Time Stunt. Judges: Don McClave, Dirty Dan
(NW standings points in parentheses for all events)
Chris Cox--302.75 (3)
Mike Conner--267.75 (2)
Notable Moment: Keith Varley is now on super-secret double probation when it comes to circle-center coaching.
Classic Stunt was merely a walk in the park for Don McClave. He continues to fly a 40LA which is said to be a piece Robin Sizemore built from parts during the 2006 VSC, Robin accomplishing an act none of us could ever pull off, weaning Don away from his beloved Fox 35s. His enthusiasm for the 40LA/Tucker Special combination is readily apparent, although tall grass at the Nationals this year proved a bit problematic.
Classic Stunt. Judges: Steve Helmick, Mike Conner
Don McClave--552.5 (6)
Bruce Hunt--533.5 (5)
Chris Cox--531.5 (4)
Notable Moment: Chris was flying his OTS model. And lookin' good doing it!
Following Classic Stunt it was clear to Chris Cox that we had opportunity to flesh out the schedule with another event, so on the spot he proposed we fly Pukey Profile, a.k.a. P.40, although after the fact it was variously referred to as P.20, P.21, our own version of IROC competition, Dirt's a Fool, and a couple names inappropriate for publication.
As word spread of the added event we came up with four entries and then Will Reeb added to the mix by paying the one-dollar entry fee for Bruce Perry, in effect sponsoring a ringer.
Okay, five entries. But not five Pukey Profiles.
"Ah, but Dirt has his Cheater Streaker and Dirtmobile II," someone was overheard to say.
True enough. And so it was that Bruce Hunt and I flew the CS. Neil Rogers, Mike Conner and Bruce Perry flew the Dirtmobile. No test flights. Well, less the fact that I had already flown the CS in Classic, an advantage I was unable to parlay into a class win, alas...
One of the surprising items of interest was that Bruce Hunt and I use the same handle adjustments, as do--at least within reasonable tolerances--Neil, Mike and Bruce Perry.
So it was that Bruce and I banged off a couple flights, we moved the Dirtmobile into the circle for a series of six flights as we flew out the second round and then simply reversed the order. Bruce Hunt and I capped it off with back-to-back flights on the CS.
Other than my failings in not one single time supplying a minimal amount of fuel--these models give almost no warning at cut-off and I was not interested in short-tanking anybody come time for the four-leaf clover--the event was run off in a most expeditious manner. I did all the starting and a couple one-click adjustments to the remote needle, whomever was at hand would launch the model, very little of the time-consuming act of dragging models and lines to the circle.
It is worth noting that once we had entries and models, the wind did pick up some, to the point where I was beginning to question the wisdom of foolishly saying, "That's a great idea!" And then the wind got pretty serious, for a few minutes we even had dust clouds being kicked up and swirling around. Oh, dread...
But shortly before officials the wind backed off noticeably, to the point where it was not a consideration of significance. It's still a bit of a pucker factor to look around and realize that this particular crowd was going to fly my models as if they stole them, all less Mike Conner had been flying flapped models, and that none other than Bruce Perry was included in the mix. When it comes to being a rascal, do not ever try to tell me Will Reeb does not know exactly what he is doing...
As it happened, one and all flew as predicted, as if they were flying their own models, and one cannot wince at that, nor can one complain after the fact. Even when Mr. Perry repeatedly drove it in hard, drove it in deep, which is what we expected from him, indeed almost demanded from him, cheering as he adjusted to the model. I could hear Will laugh and chortle throughout each of Bruce's flights.
Not predicted was Chris Cox--one of the judges, remember--blabbing mid-event concerning the capabilities of the two models. Look, the Cheater Streaker was built with the goal being to have it fly so well some folk would assume it to be illegal in some way. Thus the name. Plus a tie-in to my Cheater Slow of many years ago, another model with tank mounted to the inboard side of a profile fuselage.
Uh, said to much shuffling of feet, it has not worked out that way. As Chris pointed out--repeatedly I might add, albeit between rounds--Dirtmobile II actually does fly better than my plans-build model. I know why, but some of you might not so readily dismiss a properly-powered ARF Flite Streak...
As to Bruce Hunt's sharing the Cheater Streaker with me, he was given the choice of model to fly. He did not ask which was the better of the two. Sucka!
Will we be repeating this event? I'm willing, but suspect it was a one-shot deal. We rarely have time for this sort of thing, and truth be known we didn't learn anything we didn't already know. While actual scores were not easily predictable, going in Bruce Perry was heavily favored, Bruce Hunt and me are always ankle-biting each other over a few points one way or the other, Mike Conner flies Advanced at about the 470-480 level, Neil flies Advanced in the 450-460 range.
Dirty Dan prepares the Cheater Streak. Bruce Hunt photo.
Pukey Profile. Judges: Chris Cox, Joan Cox
Notable Moment: After nagging Neil Rogers that he might score better with a Dirtmobile than his own model--something he actually did a couple years ago--this time around it was Mike Conner who pulled off this trick. And not just by one point, as the results would seem to indicate. No appearance points in Pukey Profile. While the model in question does appear to be covered in slime, as I keep telling people it's a Q-ship. Or a "sleeper" if you prefer that word. Under the hood everything is up to par...
Saturday afternoon late and into early evening we enjoyed the usual thrash getting ready for PA. My stuff worked okay after a fashion, although I did go up a little lean twice and in the wind, well, I am beginning to (once again) find weaknesses in the Saito 56. Nothing major, but as the model gets better and I ask more of it, the power plant seems to be the weak link.
Having had one favorite prop for the 56, Alan Resinger sent along an identical prop--made from tooling developed by Alan and Chris Cox, using a Berringer prop as the master. With a spare in my flight box, of course I promptly buzzed the first prop, reducing my total inventory of "good" props right back to exactly one.
Personal note to PW: I am hoping we can come to terms over the prop you loaned to me. It is now significantly shorter and a little ratty at the tips.
The evening party was not at the home of Chris and Joan Cox this year, instead took place at the small airport where they hangar their Aeronca and now have a dedicated hangar/workshop for the RV-7, which is coming along wonderfully.
While it was a change of site, I did figure out what is going on: The party follows their airplane, last year it being scattered in the most entertaining of places, this including the living room as well as the garage.
This was all well and good, but it turned out that Chris was giving people rides in the Aeronca, one of those old dudes with in-line seating. As usual, Chris went above and beyond, literally flying friends around until it was nearly dark.
One of the funniest things to happen started with Kristen Hunt, Keith Varley and me discussing, for some weird reason, favorite episodes of Seinfeld. Keith piped in that he doesn't like a couple of the characters but that Kramer is clearly his favorite. Somehow that didn't surprise any of us.
Then about 15 minutes later Bruce Perry announced that he was cooking steaks. Keith reached inside his jacket and from a pocket pulled out his own steaks. "Really, Kramer is your favorite character? You pull steaks out of an inside pocket in your jacket and don't think we could figure that one out on our own?!"
Sunday morning was looking pretty grim. Rain, threats of more rain. We even heard thunder. Truly, it was dismal, especially after Saturday had been pretty nice.
Nothing happened at the contest site for quite a long time, but finally the weather patterns took a turn for the better and for most of the day we had really fine conditions. Okay, there was some wind, but all got used to it quickly and the direction didn't shift around much.
Apologies all around, but I didn't see any of the flying in Beginner PA. I did enjoy meeting both Bryan and Glenn, they are enthusiastic about getting into some competition and Bryan in particular is an engaging, outgoing gentleman, although maybe we can chalk some of that up to his winning this event.
Beginner PA. Judges: Ron Belcourt, Keith Varley
Bryan Carr--236.5 (2)
Glenn Little--200.5 (1)
Intermediate PA. No entries, no judges, no scores, no fun, trophies are to be recycled.
In Advanced PA it was really good to see Hube out flying and flying well. He had some challenges Saturday afternoon with engine runs, but the Stalker sounded real solid come Sunday.
Not sounding so solid was Mike's engine, although he kept working at it until things came around a bit. I did get a kick out of someone in the audience commenting during Mike's first-round flight that they had seen him fly better in the past. Well, yeah! Mike hadn't flown the model for almost a year, although it was hard to tell that by his second flight.
Ah, but all eyes were on our very own Stunt Chick With Child, Allana Perry now some 7 months into her pregnancy and with a new model--the Aviatrix--in tow, both looking terrific in all ways.
Okay, the model is still pretty new, Allana was having some challenges with balance and body position, plus she just flat got blown out of the hourglass. No matter, she flew alongside husband Bruce; she did what she could and did it with style.
I did try to calculate any "bonus" scoring factors. Let's see, a woman flying CL Stunt. A most attractive blonde woman flying CL Stunt. A most attractive blonde woman who is pregnant flying CL Stunt.
Left photo: Bruce and Allana Perry. Right photo: Mike Conner signals the judges, with Chris Cox holding. Bruce Hunt photos.
Advanced PA. Judges: Chris Cox, Bruce Hunt
Hube Start--476.5 (5)
Mike Conner--472.0 (4)
Keith Varley--457.5 (2)
Notable Moment: Allana, of course. Stole the show, she did.
In Expert PA Howard did something I never thought we would see: First round he did two loops, not three. Kewl. I was leading him by 20 points, hoping for a sudden rain storm and a one-round contest.
And then Howard got really lucky. I had launched his Impact for the second-round flight and was walking his junk back to the pits, counting off level-flight laps when I heard his model maneuvering. Hmmm, that wasn't six laps. I turned around to see Howard concentrating mightily on getting in all three loops. Pretty fine loops, I might add.
But no reverse wingover.
I thought this hilarious, as of course he was screwed and I would beat him in Stunt...finally.
As I walked out to get the model I told him, "We're going to start calling you "WO," Wingover Optional. Unless you have a really, really, like really good reason for not doing the wingover."
He was stunned.
But I was taken aback to hear the news that as Howard had not cut to inverted flight during the reverse wingover he had not bothered with, the flight was merely an attempt. Drat.
Bruce Perry has some of the strangest luck at these VGMC contests. He was flying quite well indeed, but called an attempt in the first round as for some inexplicable reason the model would not take fuel. Off to the side the cowl was removed, but no apparent problem and he went on to put in a solid flight of 568.
Second round it got weird. Bruce buzzed the prop shortly after launch. He called for an attempt. And then realized that we get three attempts for two officials and he was fresh out of Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free cards. So he burned one in.
Unfortunately, the judges took him at his word on the first call, just as one would expect from highly experienced folk like Steve Helmick and Mike Conner.
Only after the flight was over did Bruce get the whole story.
I don't know about you, but I tremendously admire the sort of sportsmanship exhibited by both Bruce and Allana Perry following what had to have been a very disappointing effort. Bravo! To you both...
Expert PA. Judges: Steve Helmick, Mike Conner
Chris Cox--570.0 (9)
Howard Rush--559.0 (6)
Danny Dirt--542.0 (4.5)
Notable Moment: Hey, check it out! I beat Bruce Hunt. And would have thumped Randy as well had he not been at home and dealing with raw sewage. Judging by the scores, Howard appears to have spent too much time in checking off maneuvers, counting the reps.
For me, the contest ended with an early exit, a goodly number headed off to the Flying Beaver eatery for a traditional post-contest dinner. (Real name for a real restaurant.)
In leaving I gave Dragon Lady a hug. She reacted as if I might have displaced a rib. Which could well have been the case, what with her surgery mere months ago. Sorry again, dear friend...
The border crossing was interesting. Earlier in the year I had gone to Canada for a practice session and upon returning to the U.S. was nicely asked to pull over for a search of the Hated Honda. Da Dirt pulled out of line for special treatment? Go figure...
The Customs agent was quite nice, seemed honestly interested in the models, did not do damage to a single piece of equipment.
Guess who was on duty last weekend as I pulled up to the kiosk? The same guy! "Hey, I remember you," a comment which is not always welcome when coming from this particular source.
But it was all quite pleasant. Almost too pleasant. While it could be an act I suppose, the guy does fly RC and had all sorts of questions about my CL Stunt models, the contest, how we can control the models when the lines get crossed, etc., etc.
It quickly got hilarious. I was fairly early to the border, but according to the radio news by this time there was a 90-minute wait behind me, the result of a really spectacular fireworks display in Vancouver. And here the agent, slouching against the door jam in a most casual manner, was discussing the various nuances to flying CL Stunt models as if we had just met at a bar and had hours to while away.
Many, many thanks to one and all in the VGMC. Special thanks to Joan and Chris Cox, their generosity and accommodations made toward one and all contributing mightily to the resounding success of this annual contest.
Steve Helmick's profile Cavalier. Bruce Hunt photo.
This page was upated Aug. 9, 2007