The U.S. Combat Team after 2009 trials. All photos contributed by Jeff Rein.
By Jeff Rein
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Northwest's Jeff Rein, of Covington, Wash., participated in the 2009 U.S. Combat Team Trials, as the team was formed for the 2010 World Championships. This is his report and photos. For complete results and further details on the TeamTrials, go to the Team Trials report on the Miniature Aircraft Combat Association web site.
Don McKay and I went to the team trials this year for the experience, and I personally wanted to give it a fairly serious effort. I decided to use my speed limit airplanes which I felt were competitive enough when I bolted on my Profi F2D motors. And they were. A little heavy compared to Ukraine built planes, but I could fly the R&B planes better because I know exactly how to fly them.
The weather was perfect! 37 of the best pilots in the Country showed up to fly for a spot on the US Team. It was truly a thrill to see so many good pilots and great matches.
Here in the NW, maybe once or twice in a contest you would see a real smoking match where the audience would cheer and clap. At the team trials, about half of the matches were ones to write home about.
Obviously when the talent and experience goes up, so does the quality of the matches. Don flew well with his first plane in each match, but had difficulty with his backup plane which led to 3 losses. One highlight was he killed Mike Wilcox, and Mike never got a cut back on him, but downtime prevented a win for Don.
I was lucky enough to fly 3 former team members in my first 3 matches. I lost my first 2 matches on points in very aggressive, clean matches with George Cleveland and Ron Colombo. I won my third match against Andy Mears, but it was a bit sloppy with a couple of collisions. At least that brought me back to play on Sunday.
My next and final match was with Bob Burch. Going into the match I felt I had a very good chance to beat him, until something went terribly wrong. I lost sight of my plane for a split second, (His large profile blocks out about 1/3 of the circle), and we collided. No problem, my backup plane was ready to go. Then in the heat of the match, brain fade happened. I put my handle down to go drag the plane out of the circle, but I placed it in the circle which is a big no no, and DQ'd myself out of the contest.
Oh well, so much for my attempt to make the Team. I learned 2 things there. One, I am not intimidated anymore about flying the big boys in F2D. No different then a day flying Ken at the Chehalis Cup. Wiggle the handle, get cuts, and stay out of the ground. The other thing is there is no better way to prepare for F2D then flying F2D using all the rules. I know the rules, but automatically applying them in the heat of competition without making fouls is another.
It is a very fun event with lots of actual combat being flown. The rest of Sunday, I took pictures. I hope you like them.
Photos show flying action, with the circle marshal keeping
a close eye on the pilots for the many possible F2D rule infractions. At
bottom, author Jeff Rein, who topped the Northwest's combat standings in
This page was upated Oct. 20, 2009