The Can-Am Team: Mike Hazel (left) and Paul Gibeault with the winning Formula 40 airplane, also won the National High Point Speed award. Warren Gregory photo.

Mike & Paul's most excellent adventure to the 2022 AMA Nats

By Paul Gibeault

I guess my decision to enter the Nats started when I was asked to be the Team Manager for the Canadian R/C Pylon team (aka: Roy Andrassy). I enjoyed being Team Manager for the last pylon world champs in Australia, so I figured why not? Turns out that once I committed to being TM, then Roy couldn't buy a caller for love nor money. So I became Roy's caller as well. We hadn't called for each other for ~ 25 years when Roy won the Brandon Nats back when there was still Formula 1 (High Nitro) pylon racing. Roy won with a perfect score and I blew the wings off my model just after I completed my first race when I ran my mouse race fuel in my Cyclon 40 ... Ah those were the days!

So, with the pylon world championships being the week right before the Nats, Roy decided of course to reserve a room at the Comfort Inn Muncie for the whole works (23 days!).

Come to Muncie, he said. It'll be fun he said. I'll drive your models over in my van and you can fly over to INDY in Business Class at you leisure. The Nats will be even more fun, he said.

I totally forgot how hot and humid " Muncie Bootcamp " is in the summer!

So what to bring? Certainly my Formula 40 Speed (that didn't work at The Regionals) and what else? I heard that Mike Hazel was planning on attending, so I called Mike to ask him if we could be a race team. Mike was elated upon hearing this and almost p...ed himself (or something like that) he said. Alrighty then, Mouses, GY, TQR & Fox Racer. Mike was flying B Speed, Carrier & Racing, so we were going to be busy! I've all but forgotten that at age 65, I'm no longer a Spring Chicken / Ironman that can fly anything all day long. THIS busy schedule was going to bite me in the arse later on, I found out.

I guess I never read the memo that July was a real bad time to be flying, especially if one was going through Canada's worst airport ,Toronto International. It all started after I checked in early for my flight with Air Canada. Nine hours before departure, I received a terse text message. "Your flight has been canceled." I started a slow meltdown as Roy (already in Muncie) said " I don't care if you have to rent a car & drive your a** down, you can't just not show up, we have a world champs to fly in!" (No pressure here, you see). Long story short, I arrived into INDY 2-1/2 hours late in a bad mood because I paid for Air Canada Business Class and ended up in Economy with the flight attendant with attitude. I began to hate airlines and airports, but this was just the beginning.

I guess I kinda forgot from previous that Roy just "pounds" when at a contest. He flies from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. every single day. His pace is relentless! Anyway, we made it through the world champs and unfortunately placed poorly due to multiple equipment failures. I was glad the serious W/C's was over so I could look forward to having some FUN flying control line at the Nats.

Sunday was a free day and Roy and Dave (pylon guys) helped me practice. My Fox Racer worked fine, but my Mousers were either slow or low on laps (like 8 laps on my best motor). I found that the epoxy clear coat on my new Goodyear, did not cure and was a sticky mess when I unpacked it. I moaned to Bill Bischoff, who said, rather than fight with a sticky model, offered me the use of his wife's Polecat instead. (Best advice I ever had!) Then I fueled up my killer F-40's regulated bladder tank and found that it would not draw fuel out of the newly installed Huber regulator. ARRRRGH! I was so flustrated that I never thought to back pressure the regulator ball valve, to see if that would help. All I was thinking of was to revert back to a standard bladder that lately gave me a huge burp on takeoff (killing my first lap time). So much for practice!

Sunday night I met up in Patrick Hempel's motel room to mix up some fresh Mouse fuel. I had to endure Bill Lee who balked at making fuel in his hotel room. Patrick (who supplied all my ingredients) came to my rescue and told Bill " We're mixing it on my side of the room so pi** off." It didn't take long to mix a whole 200 ml of rocket fuel, so under Patrick's supervision I was done pretty quick. In the meantime, Bill was chatting to Henry Nelson and didn't notice until after we were all done. I just hope this is worth it, I thought to myself.

Monday morning Roy dragged me out to the field early and Mike picked me up later at the pylon tent and off we went to the Racing circle. My mood improved considerably when I started my No. 1 Mouse engine and it ran FAST! I ran up my No. 2 model and it ran up really fast. We didn't bother with a test flight. In Heat One, we were off right away, but running rich. I was amazed that even so Mike was lapping everyone else! With one brief coffee break/ pitstop, we turned the fast heat time of 2:30. I though about standing on that time but did want to try Model No. 2 (with the fuel pick up now attached this time). Mike was feeling a bit peaked by this time and for my second heat I borrowed Chuck Barnes Jr. as my pilot. Again no test flight because ... well, it didn't matter with fast time on the board. Again we were off at the start and with this engine right on tune, it was going UNUSALLY fast with great range. We were rewarded with a 2:15 just 3 seconds off the AMA record. I fumbled around a lot during the pit stop and that's what prevented us from breaking the record. Lack of practice and poor preparation. Oh well, I still got a nice "Nats Champion" T-shirt out of the deal.

Tuesday was Profile Carrier and Mike won second place with his 45-year old "Cro-Magnon Air Force One," with a great 100 landing and score of 180.2 points. It was a magnificent effort after early engine failures in Mike's first two flights. Mike nailed the landing, which was really good under the conditions.

"I can't believe it." Mike said.

"See what happens when you fly with ye olde reliable!" I replied.

2 Mike Hazel 63.7 16.5 100 0 180.2

Wednesday was Texas Quickie Rat and I was all set with my all conquering TQR. The Nats times were not fast (by Dallas standards) so I was very hopeful. I started and tuned my engine as Mike and I entered our first heat.

I had a good start when the engine coughed after takeoff and at that exact time a gust of wind blew my model into the ground! And THAT was the end of our TQR efforts! It was then decided too windy for Goodyear racing so Sportsman Goodyear was postponed until the next day.

On Thursday morning, our team strategy was to be the first on the Speed circle, crack off the winning flight (like Jerry Rocha) and return to the Racing circle for the rest of the day. We were first on the circle all right, but shortly after takeoff my engine starting having lean spasms. Worse, I left the pylon too low and after the model disappeared over my left shoulder, I got out of the pylon on lap 13 (for a DNF) almost crashing in the process. Upon landing I found a big crack in the pavement that dumped my model over and broke my good Schuette prop. AGGGH! That kinda worried me as I've never had a model get ahead of me like that before. I left wondering if it was caused by my new medication or something. The label did say "May cause dizziness" ... Hmmmm! We returned just after lunch for "Part Deux."

Nats winner and F-40 record holder Chris Montagino offered to act as our starter. Previously in the pits Chris did say: " After seeing your last flight Paul, I sure hope you've taken some dancing lessons."

"I'll get the pylon height right this time" I muttered under my breath.

I changed to an experimental prop and the bladder fueling went well. Once at the handle, with multiple tries my Nelson just would not draw any fuel. (I initially thought the bladder had burst, but there was no fuel leaking anywhere.) Chris suggested, "Maybe just try refueling". So I did and then heard the timer say "30 seconds!" With 15 seconds left I raced to the handle. As soon as I put on the safety strap and looked up, Mike started the model first pop and let 'er rip!

With the proper pylon height now, it was a piece of cake. My big-crank Nelson sounded strong and at 17 laps, I started to lose control and put it into the pavement! Apparently the tail had started to come adrift. "Houston, we have a major malfunction" I muttered. Well, at least I got a decent run, in I thought. "170 MPH for 17 laps" I heard as I left with the pieces.

Elapsed time was 160.8 mph, and good enough for the High Point Speed Award at 98% of the record. I gave that Nats Champion T-Shirt to Mike so that we would have matching T-shirts. Never could have pulled it off without Mike, my southern part of the Can-Am team.

Mike brought out his new B Speed ship but we couldn't get it to run right in the pits so, he thought it best to put it away until the fuel system could been sorted.

Thursday was also Carrier Day for Mike and it was a great day. Look at these results!

Skyray Carrier

Place, Name, High Speed,Low Speed,Landing,Total

1 Mike Anderson, 22.89, 181.3, 100, 257.9
2 Pete Mazur, 23.36, 130.9, 100, 232.7
3 Mike Hazel, 24.46, 48.50, 100, 193.4

Nostalgia Profile Carrier

1 Mike Hazel, 27.64, 67.39, 100, 100, 377.3
2 Benard Suhamski, 29.4, 56.56, 0, 100, 249.41
3 Robert Hawk, 35.89, 0, 0, 120, 170.3

Thursday was busy as we were double entered in both Sportsman Goodyear and Super Slow Rat.

In SSR (Super Slow Rat), we placed sixth and seventh out of eight. Obviously the venerable Fox 35 is no longer competitive in SSR with any of the newer engines. I'll leave my Fox racer at home in the future!

As well, Mike's venerable O.S. 25LA is not in the same league as the AAC Brodak (not even close). We were only a minute slower than the rest of the field...!

Sportsman Goodyear was the best racing event, attended with 12 entries. Mike's new SH powered Goodyear ran OK, but it seems this particular brand of motor appears to be underpowered compared with the powerful Magnum XLT motors. On the other hand, Mike proved very competent pitting my Magnum-powered pink Polecat and we ended up in third place in the "Gold Final." Very respectable for our first time out together!

Sport Goodyear 80 laps

1. Bill Lee, 3:58.42
2. Patrick Hempel, 4:06.24
3. Gibeault /Hazel, 4:10.39
4. Richard Kucejko, 4:11.87
5. Mike Greb, 4:15.14
6. Bob Oge, 4:15.18
7. Hazel /Gibeault, 4:58.03
8. T.J. Vieira, 5:22.9
9. Bill Bischoff, 5:27.23
10. Bob Heywood, 5:38.6
11. Charles Barnes Sr., DNF

Thursday evening we all gathered for the NCLRA pizza dinner and THAT is all she wrote ...

Mike and his wife, Laura, took a leisurely drive back with his trailer. I spent the next 19 hours flying home via the "milk run" ( Indy -> Detroit->Toronto -> Edmonton) and NO I wasn't flying back to Australia!

I now hate Delta Airlines just as much. (I paid for Business Class, was flown in economy and got refused entry into their Business Class lounge, what a ripoff!!)

Gibeault /Andrassy Team. It all started 45 years ago! Ron Salo photo.

Paul Gibeault's winning Schnuerle-ported mouse. Streaker V Rules! Fast Heat Times 2:30 and 2:15; winning Final time 5:00 flat. Tim Stone photo.

Paul Gibeault and Mike Hazel prepping Paul's rented Polecat for a fast race. We're getting too old to be kneeling down for this anymore! Tim Stone photo.

Mike Hazel's new Sportsman Goodyear. A great effort, but his SH engine is underpowered relative to the others. Tim Stone photo.

How's this for Nostalgia? Mike Hazel's Cro-Magnon Air Force One placed first in Nostalgia Profile Carrier. The plane is at least 45 years old. Mike Hazel photo.

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This page was upated Sept. 2, 2022