Epic day at Bluff Cove
Sunday started for me up at Cajon, for what was going to be my fourth day of participating in the PSS Fest.
I arrived at 9:15 am to find that it was bitter cold, gloomy, and not very windy.
Phil and David (who were camping up at Cajon), were getting some stick time, but they were dressed like Eskimos. They were even using gloves on thier hands.
As I began to unload my planes, my thin Hawaiian blood was not too enthusiastic about the conditions. Before I could get a plane ready to fly, I received a call from Ian Gitttens (Bluffman on R/C groups). "Dude," he said, "It's blowing 20 at Bluff Cove already and it's going to get stronger. You should get your butt out here fly with me. It's going to be good!"
Nuff said. I bade my fairwells to the guys at Cajon, and set out for the coast. I'm sure glad I did! Shortly after I left Cajon the wind up there shut off. Not so at Bluff. We measured the winds several times, and the average was in the 30's, with much higher sustained gusts, and the highest reading we got was over 50.
When I got there, Ian was flying his Russ Thompson designed Spitfire, and a fellow named Jim was flying a Higgins F20. The 87 ounce Spittie
was shredding it up. Ian gave me some stick time. Very nice flying plane, but just a taste of what was to come.
Later, Ian threw out his 90 ounce Slope Scale Me-109, and Mori threw out his Slope Stream, and the show was on. Ian is the undisputed master of Bluff Cove. His plane was sreaming. Huge pumps, blistering speed. jaw dropping beach runs, screaming horizon runs, multiple rolls, just insane stuff in the huge lift. It's really hard to describe the speed and excitement. Videos don't even convey the experience.
At bluff, the cliff is almost vertical below the launch, and Ian likes to come screaming down from insanely high pumps and blast pass himslf on the lip, almost close enough to reach out and touch the plane. (Don't try it, you might lose your fingers...). It was really a show to see.
Next, the guys let me waste some good air by flying an EPP BD-5 I borrowed from Morri. The BD was a blast, and I had a great time doing every aerobatic move I know with that plane. I even nailed Bluff's intmiidating pop and drop landing zone. It was fun, but when it's blowing at Bluff, you have got to fly heavy metal.
It was time to fly my Nikko. The Nikko is a built for Fermin sled that I bought a couple of years ago, and I have been storing it at Ian's place between trips to California. I've flown it a few times before, unballasted, in moderate winds. It flew great, but was not outstanding.
This time it went out fully ballasted in 40 mph winds, on a huge vertical cliff, and look out! I let Ian toss the plane and check it out in the big air. Morri was flying one of his Slope Scale Cobras. After a few passes Ian said, "Dude, this thing is fast! I think it could keep up with my Rodent." (Ian's Rodent is 110 ounces of pure, mean, badass big wind flying machine.)
Then Ian checked out the roll rate. Holly crap! I've never seen a PSS plane roll faster. Absolutely axial, and too fast to even count. The wings would literaly become an almost invisable blurr as they went around. Ian proceeded to put on a big air, lead sled flying show like I have never seen. It was amazing. Eventualy, Ian forced the transmitter into my trembling hands, and I had no choice but to scare myself silly flying the fastest, highest pumping, quickest rolling airplane I have ever flown. It was incredible.
After a while I gave the tranny back to Ian and went to change out my shorts... Ian flew it for another 30 minutes, and it just freaking rocked.
Eventualy, it was time to land. Ian offered to let me do it. I ran for the cars.
As Ian walked back to the LZ, he said, "I have no idea how I am going to land this thing." His first attempt slowed from 100 mph down to about 98. Several more attempts got closer and closer to being landable. Finally he set it down perfectly, and the crowd cheered wildly!
What a day. I've flown the California coast many times over the years, but this was the best experience I've ever had. Way too much fun.
Attached is a video uploaded to Vimeo, directly from my iphone. Forgive the shaking. It's hard to hold a cell phone steady in a 40 mph wind. In the Video, Ian flies his Me-109 and Morri flies his Slopestream. I have video of the Nikko flying, but the late afternoon sun was front and center, so the lighting is poor. Vimeo only allows one HD vid posting per week, so I'll let the Nikko vids wait. The video fails to really capture the excitement of the day, but it's better than nothing. Hope you enjoy it.
Last edited by Brian Courtice; May 30, 2011 at 12:26 PM.
Great stuff Brian, and thanks for the info - love the line "slowed it down from 100 to 98..." Sheesh, those planes were moving incredibly fast, and the height! Wow. Thanks for the video too, something tells me words just would communicate that experience clearly enough!
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