By Ken Burdick
(See also Mel Lyne's report below)
All photos by Ken Burdick
Yes Folks, it's true,
Saturday July 19th will go down in the books as one of the best combat contests in 2008.
If you weren't there, you missed a good one. Some of you know that years ago I put out an email and phone survey to learn why so many people had stopped flying diesel combat, D-bat.
The answers were many and some just never got the hang of diesels, one more difficult component was "it's not fun anymore." Diesel Mania emphasized the fun factor by the addition of Duck-Duck-Goose rules. The crafty balloon was there if you were up to popping it during a match and collecting the extra cut by doing do.
Another fun event was the Piñata. The idea here is to put up four flyers, honk the horn and the first one to hit the wily lil' thing wins.
The "Secret Event" however went south due to my lack of foresight and pit men. It was to be a race with controlled pit stops by ditching your d-bat when the pitting signal horn was sounded.
This however can all be undone by a four person "simo-launch" and one person doing a loop in it all. I had just launched Mel while at the same time honking the "launch them" horn ... Started the five-minute watch and was looking for the button on my lap counter. I looked up to see all four flyers all doing figure 8's trying desperately to avoid each other.
Well.that having been said the event was stopped. Sometimes you hit a home run, sometimes you don't.
Photo: Diesel Mania combat pits.
Once again, the Alien, Menacing Mel of the Dreaded Canadian Contingent, was big on getting the balloons. He holds the record for hitting the mark in two thirds of his matches!
(Folks, this guy is dangerous enough without him getting extra points!)
Caroline flew Kenny-B in her first match and did well making some surprising and controlled maneuvers. She actually killed The Buzz Man but did not however win the match. She did take one match from The Combat Monster, overcoming a cut by better air time. The Combat Monster, after tearing them up at the Northwest Regionals, came to find what most of us know by now, it's a difficult event!
Don had worked harder than anyone by building a fleet not only for himself, but for his son, Tristan McKay, a budding new combat flyer. (Don and Tristan pictured at right). Pictured (at left) are some of Don's work. Beautiful Iron Mongers complete with much labored over Sharma .15's. Don began working on a new Sharma Tuesday before the contest and almost had it broken in by Saturday (not easy to do!).
In-spite of his hard work and long hours spent on motors and airplanes, nothing seemed to go right for Don and Tristan. They were however, the most organized contestants there and considering that this is Don's second attempt and Tristans first, look out!
The Combat Monster was not the only one working hard, Jeff and Ken had been rebuilding Kenny-b's aging fleet of Piranhas for the previous two weeks. Jeff has only ever wanted a good flying airplane and decent engine in this event so we worked to get him just that. Two days before the contest, his Sharma seized at the crankshaft for no good reason, I worked on it for hours to get it working right. We crossed our fingers and said good luck.
The Buzz Man, Jeff, Mel and Kenny-B were all flying hot as hot can get in this event. Jeff was dispatching flyers like the Terminator, Buzz was quietly winning match after match while Mel was his usual self and seemingly unstoppable.
The Awful Reality Of Diesel
The wheels came off of Kenny-B's bus when he flew teammate Combat Monster. Not using patience, Kenny hit the string and took the entire streamer. An additional benefit of this was the string wound up in the crankshaft to the point that Kenny had to take the engine apart and lost the match on airtime. Meanwhile Jeff and Mel put on a barn burning match with cuts flying left and right. In one of the closest matches of the day, Jeff squeaked out the win by a small margin of airtime and equal cuts. Both flyers elected to use consecutive loops in a turning contest you don't often see. The last cut made by Jeff to tie up the count, was in inverted pass that took the last shred of knot. Both flyers had cut away every point available.
Jim Green flew Buzz and although flew well, did not get the win. Jim gave a rematch to newbie Tristan who had been disqualified in their match for a dangerous takeoff giving Jim the win. Although Tristan did the best he could, the more experienced Jim Green won the match.
As the day progressed, there was one more promising match to be flown before the piñata event. This was Ken and Mel. Kenny-B and the Alien. Some say it was the ether, while others, the sound the engines make, whatever it was it had penetrated the Alien like gamma rays through a sieve. The Alien flew flat out, Kenny-B did the same. They used every trick and technique you could in D-Bat. Both engines were evenly matched with The Alien ship turning slightly better in consecutives. Cuts were flying folks, tricks were being pulled out of the bag in a blink of an eye, Kenny-B was one cut up when it happened. Kenny-B applied another fake that shivered the Alien, but it was too low for the blue Piranha and it landed inverted, putting Kenny-B in a fix. Less than 30 seconds later the Sharma was roaring back to life and in the hunt again. When you hit the needle valve inverted it's a conclusion you will lose your setting and that is exactly what happened. Kenny's motor was running rich and slow, it looked like an easy victory for the mind melding Alien. It would have been suicide to go up after Mel so I went for the balloon and that would give me another cut advantage if I could just hit the thing. The balloons were placed 15" above the dirt so you really had to try for them, tail heavy airplanes need not apply.
Mel immediately saw his advantage and was on Kenny-B like ... well like an Alien. I was pinned down as I lined up on the yellow flopping balloon hitting it dead center! As Menacing Mel screamed over me I hit the up button and got the final knot from his streamer.
We were both pretty well worn out but I had somehow won a match that there should have been no losers in. THE ALIEN HAS BEEN STOPPED!
"SEND IN THE COOKIE MONSTER!"
-- Kermit the Frog
To win combat is one thing, to win the entire contest you must have the highest score and yes, that means to hit the piñata and or win the secret event, each worth 2 points to the winner.
By the end of combat we had:
Jeff Rein, 6 points (pictured at right)
Buzz Wilson, 6 points
Ken Burdick, 4 points
We did not at this point know the disaster the secret event would become, I had decided not to enter any extra events and just run the havoc.
Since we had two beginners, Caroline and Tristan, it was agreed that they should fly separate from the other four entered in the now world famous event. The scene was set, Cookie waved mockingly to the pilots from the far side of the circle.engines were started and Tristan's new and not quite broken in Sharma seized binding up the front end. Tristan had to scratch so Caroline went after the blue 2 point cookie alone. Cookie Monsters are elusive and this one was no exception, she missed Cookie who waved and grinned.
Now it was time to get serious, four experience flyers were all pitted against the blue monster.
All four were to fly at the same time and at the horn honk, the pilot who dispatched Cookie, first would take the 2 points. The diesels were launched and all four were flying with ease that comes from many years of practice. One by one, Cookie Monster dispatched them. Some fell short of the mark while others crashed past him, the field dwindled to just Mel and Jeff. Mel came in low making a great pass but fell short of the target leaving the Rein Man alone to give it a go as they say. Lower, lower, watching his position, Jeff moved into range. At exactly 36.63 seconds after the horn had sounded, the cookie Monster was laid low in a punch to the solar plexus. The Rein Man had defeated his last opponent The Cookie Monster winning Diesel Mania 2008.
The Cookie Monster is recovering nicely at the Bod Buster Rehabilitation Center.
Our last report from Nurse Diesel is, he's asking for cookies" and rolling his googley eyes at me!
Kenny-b and the Bod Busters.
The top fliers in the Diesel Mania event, from left: Tristan McKay, Jeff Rein, Buzz Wilson, Ken Burdick, Caroline Wright-McPherson.
By "Alien" Mel Lyne (pictured at right)
A beautiful day, lots of interesting full size aircraft doing aerobatics and formation flying overhead, and a low-key "combat and nutty stuff" contest with an Italian sausage lunch thrown in as well ... What more could a combat flier want? Well...streamers, Pinatas and stinky motors and hot sun ... and ether wafting on the breeze .. Nirvana right?
The combat rounds began and had Caroline beating up on her opponents. Tristan McKay along with dad Don made a good showing. But it was difficult to pop the balloons during combat with the Duck, Duck, Goose rules. Mel got a balloon in each of his first 2 matches but they proved to be difficult targets. Jeffrey flew very well going unbeaten through 3 rounds. Ken and Buzz were also flying well. Caroline was looping over everybody and Jim flew some very tricky combat for a couple of wins. The nylon Taipan props didn't like the ground and kept breaking in dorks. We really need the Tornado nylon flexi props that regularly survive one point landings. Bob Carver dropped by to try a couple of diesel flights, "Good on ya Bob!" But the serious flying was done by the 8 dedicated combateers. At the end of the combat rounds Jeffrey was out in front with several fliers just a point behind.
Next was the "Bean the Pinata" event. Pinata this year was a very life-like blue "Cookie Monster" holding a large chocolate cookie. All the planes took off ready for their kamikaze runs. The horn went and the attacks began. First Mel missed and ditched in the dirt. Then Jim and Buzz missed and ditched, leaving Jeffrey to cruise around. He took his time, took dead aim and nailed Monster right in the cookie, summersaulting him 10 feet. The crowd went wild, and Jeffrey had won "Combat Mania." There was an attempt at a third event but a monstrous line tangle convinced the jury that it was ill-advised.
Big Italian sausage hot dogs were served up for lunch, and everyone went home stuffed tight. Trophies and kits went to the winners. Many thanks to Ken Burdick, Jeffrey Rein, Don McKay and the rest of the Bod Busters for organising, sponsoring and running this first class event.
1. Jeffrey Rein, 3 wins + Cookie Monster whacked
2. Buzz Wilson, 3 wins
3. Ken Burdick, 2 wins
And a good time was had by all.
This page was upated July 24, 2008