This years SAM Champs was held on the Eldorado Dry Lake just South of Las Vegas Nv. Unlike previous years the arid lake bed would not be fraught with any visiting snakes or Fire Ants. We had here the perfect site some 5 miles wide by 7 miles long. The only thing to snag our models this year was the mountains some 8 miles away.
We had three electric events same as previous years, those being: Spirit of SAM, Electric Texaco and Electric Limited Motor Run. The rules were not any different this year but the competition was much tougher. As some of you may recall this year I was a marked man with a large bulls-eye on my back from a winning performance in '96.
Spirit of SAM
Eut Tileston's winning model Earl Stahl TaylorCraft
This year's Spirit of SAM was won by Eut Tileston flying his Earl Stahl TaylorCraft powered by a Speed 400. The model was very light coming in at about 16 oz and with a 46in wingspan. With this combination he could work the lighter thermals which were available at the time of the 3 man fly-off. Eut's a veteran champion of SAM competition and several time over-all Champion of the SAM Champs. It was only fitting that he finally won the competition since it was he who sponsored it into the well accepted event it has become.
Eut Tileston, winner of Spirit of SAM
Kirby Hinson's Spirit of SAM model from '38 Zaic Yearbook
A side note, I had visited Eut several weeks before the Champs and stayed over a few days at which time I had given him some of my secret "Snake Oil" which he applied to his model and gave him the edge.
As noted I was a second to Eut in the fly-off, an all up, last down flight to break the 3 way tie for first. I was flying my Lanzo Cabin same as my two previous years. Jerry Smartt placed third in the standings flying the same airplane as last year, his Heller's Mulvihill.
Dave Acker with his LMR model a unique Foote Westerner
with MEC brushless and MEC Gearbox. Great performer.
Electric Limited Motor Run
Next days event was the Electric Limited Motor Run and the event was won by Kip Merker flying a Lanzo Bomber with a Trinity Sapphire up front, running a MEC 3.6 to 1 gearbox. Grabbing the air for every last inch was a Aeronaut 16.5 x 15 a very good combo. Wow! can Kip ever build light. I think the open space in the model weighed more than the whole balsa structure. Kip is one of the best builders I have seen for making a structure just strong enough but incredibly light.
Kip Merker with winning LMR Lanzo Bomber, Trinity Sapphire power
Ken Kullman with his LMR Weather's Westerner
In a 3 way flyoff again, an all up last down, I came in second with my Cleveland Playboy powered by a Mega motor. Same plane as last year same set up but not good enough in light lift. Phil Pearce came in third flying his Lanzo Bomber.
Phil Pearce LMR model Lanzo Bomber
Day three was scheduled for Electric Texaco and here I had my new secret weapon with many improvements over last year. However this year in the desert Southwest, that arid parched landscape, with an annual rainfall of 2 inches-WE GOT RAINED OUT!
Eut Tileston back-up model, Stahl Rearwin Speedster,
came in second in SAM Concours
Well wait till next year. Sept 15, Muncie Indiana, at the AMA National Flying site will be the '98 SAM Champs. I've already got new plans and lots of Snake Oil. If you'd like to see more detail of the models and some of the unique motor combos please look for my article upcoming in Electric Flight Intl sometime around Spring.
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