Fliers line up in Portland, Ore., along with their Ringmasters during the 2016 global Ringmaster Fly-A-Thon. From left, Don Curry, Richard Entwhistle, Dave Royer, Bill Lee, Scott Riese, Darrin Bishop, Doug Powers, Ron Anderson, Leighton Mangels, Gary Harris, Robert Ladd, Jim Cameron, Nancy Goldberg, Phil Goldberg. Barbara White photo.

Northwest fliers again make big showing in Ringmaster fly-a-thon

Braving weather that wasn't always perfect for flying, control-line model aviators in several Northwest locations put up flights on various kinds of Ringmasters over the Oct. 1-2 weekend as part of the worldwide Ringmaster Fly-A-Thon sponsored by the Brotherhood of the Ring.

The flights took place in Auburn, Wash., Portland, Ore., and Waitsburg, Wash. These are the flights that we know about; there may have been others not yet reported to Flying Lines. All Flights were reported to the Brotherhood for counting in the worldwide effort to fly as many Ringmasters on a single weekend as possible.

This year the worldwide flying event surpassed the 2015 record of 3,487 flights with a new record of 3,777 Ringmaster flights. See a tally of where all the flights took place and comments from the groups that flew.

Here's a roundup of the Ringmaster flying sessions by flying site:

Auburn Airport, Auburn, Wash.

By Dave Gardner


The weather was not very forgiving and the turnout was lighter than expected, but some of the hardy folk put in flights between wind gusts/blasts and that watery stuff from the sky.  Rod Claus, Dave Gardner, Mike Haverly, Steve Helmick and Kris Millard had a total of 15 flights among them.

All planes, props and pilots survived this day with no damage, however.

We finally gave up about 1:30 pm and retired to Dairy Queen for a bite, debriefing and commiseration about the day.  The weather proceeded to break -- a little -- but the activity and enthusiasm had left the building.


With a clean 9 a.mm start, cloudy and calm weather and temp around 60°, we had setup, layout and five flights completed before 10 am!  The Saturday group of suspects was joined by three more participants, two of whom couldn’t remember the last time they had flown CL!

They did have their Ringmasters, though, and came ready to fly.

Steve Helmick flew Ron Canaan's "brought back from the dead" Ringmaster, with DG's Fox 25BB snarling away up front, fed by a 1-oz. clunk tank.  He managed more flights than anyone else, then the 38-oz. ‘Flying Pig’ was flown by a couple of others.  There were some vibration issues, with ‘milkshake’ foaming of the tank, but it carried on.

Later in the day, club president Mike Potter, normally a Navy Carrier flyer, took a shot with the beast,  then Dave Gardner (who brought the RMFP) flew the final flight of the day and the last flight at our lost Auburn Airport site.

Steve managed to get 15 flights in, with Dave Gardner and Kris Millard each having 11 flights.  The flight tally sheet is attached for reference.

Toward the end of the day, apparently some concentration was lagging:  Dave Gardner was doing a series of "low bottom" outside loops, but recovered into an upwind position, with no line tension.  While he was wondering what happened to the line pull, the RM ARF decided to have a meeting with the paving, almost flat on its back.  The tail surfaces, the prop, the fuel tank and the needle valve all underwent "adjustment," but the wing and fuselage survived relatively intact.  All or parts will survive to live another day!

Kris Millard had a similar experience on his last flight, with too low a recovery from inside loops.  His very old Ringmaster, apparently built from scratch by an unknown modeler, had its very old silkspan and doped wing shatter extensively.  The final post-mortem has not been completed yet, but the power plant (OS 25LA) was not damaged.

All together, we managed 50 flights with 8 pilots over the two day session, soundly trouncing last years’ effort of 20 flights.  We’ll see how this looks in the overall activity, once it is all tallied by John Cralley of the Brotherhood of the Ring.

Several of our members were notable by their absence, but we’ll get them out next year to make at least 100 flights for our group, wherever we find a flying site by then!

Rod Claus launches Mike Haverly's Ring Rat in Auburn. Dave Gardner photo.

Three of the Auburn Ringmasters. Dave Gardner photo.

Steve Helmick starts the engine on the heavy "Flying Pig" while Kris Millard holds. Dave Gardner photo.

Rod Claus takes off after Kris Millard's launch. Dave Gardner photo.

Rod Claus holds as Kris Millard prepares to take off. Dave Gardner photo.

Jim Walker Memorial Control-Line Field at Delta Park, Portland, Ore.

By Barbara White

The Northwest Fireballs gathered at Delta Park under just-barely-not-raining skies on Sunday, Oct. 2, to participate in the annual Worldwide Ringmaster Fly-a-Thon.  And to eat hot dogs and Don Curry’s famous baked beans.  And to have our last at-the-park monthly meeting for the year.  We guaranteed good weather by bringing five canopies and wearing rain gear; flying started before 10 a.m. and the last people to leave moved out at 4 p.m.

Of the 16 people attending, 13 put up a total of 47 Ringmaster flights, both over the paved and the grass circles.  Largest Ringmaster was Don Curry’s Imperial; Don also brought the only four-stroke-powered carrier Ringmaster.

Robert Ladd’s Ringmaster, also built by Don Curry and powered with a Fox .35, flew a couple of times.  Phil Goldberg’s Ringmaster, built from a RSM kit, silk span and dope, also flew twice.  It was powered with a slightly-difficult-to-start McCoy .35.

Scott Riese flew his Ringmaster S-1, O.S. .25LA-powered, tissue and dope.

On the grass circle, Doug Powers flew two 1/2A models, both old and repaired many times.  Both of them, the PT-Ringmaster and a Baby Ringmaster, were powered by Cox Baby Bee engines.  These were flown by Doug, Jim Cameron and Gary Harris.  Bill Lee also brought a 1/2A, which sadly expired after a figure 9. Bill says services for the downed pilot are scheduled for Thursday.

Richard Entwhistle flew a dog-eared hand-me-down (from Scott Riese) Ringmaster, powered by an OS .35 converted RC engine.

Leighton Mangels’ Fox-powered Ringmaster was completed just in the time for the event.  He dealt with a defective new-in-the-box fuel tank on Wednesday and an out-of-balance prop on Friday -- but all problems were resolved and she flew perfectly on Sunday.

Ron’s Anderson’s two Ringmasters, both powered by OS FP motors, took to the air.  He flew one; Jim Cameron flew the other.  Actually, Jim flew a number of planes on Sunday, including the carrier and 1/2A models. More people flew ... Dave Royer and Darrin Bishop, for two -- but details escaped me.  It was a fun-filled day of flying and companionship.

Don Curry prepares to start the engine on a Ringmaster set up for Navy Carrier flying, as Doug Powers holds. Bill Lee photo.

Don Curry's Ringmaster Imperial is in the foreground as Scott Riese watches Richard Entwhistle fly and Dave Royer works in the pits. Barbara White photo.

Lunch at Delta Park! Barbara White photo.

Waitsburg, Wash.

By Joe Just

We had a gathering of seven pilots for the Ringmaster Fly-a-Thon.  We had a total of 75 flights, using just six Ringmasters. There were three newbies there and had a great time.

Dave Miller of Pasco, Wash., checks an errant glo plug. Watching are Bob Gore of Kennewick, Wash., and Bob Nichols of Prosser, Wash. Seated is Jason Just of Waitsburg. Joe Just photo.

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This page was upated Oct. 23, 2016