Power Slope Scale Festival (PSS) 2004 - RC Groups

Power Slope Scale Festival (PSS) 2004

Competitor Kevin Huckins provides a great detailed look at the PSS Festival, from the pre-event fly-ins through judging and awards, including a creative and enjoyable slideshow of photos and text on this neat event!

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Spring has come and summer is almost upon us. As the high deserts start to warm, the cooler valley air below is drawn up the passes and canyons and produces some of the best lift you will find in California. The Inland Slope Rebels take advantage of the beginning of the season by holding the largest PSS festival on the west coast.

The ISR PSS Fest was conceived to bring together people who build and enjoy the power scale aspect of slope gliding. This gives people with similar interests a chance to see some of the latest technology and building methods plus see some awesome planes. This year's PSS Fest was the 7th annual, held Memorial weekend, May 29th and 30th, at Cajon Summit (elevation 4200ft). The event was well attended with over 50 registered pilots from across the United States including pilots from Alaska and Hawaii.

The day started off by registered pilots signing in and receiving their bag of goodies put together by the CD, Brian Laird. The bags contained T-shirts, magazines, stickers, name badges, fliers from some of the event sponsors, and a key chain with the ISR logo on one side and the event dates on the other.

PSS Static Judging & Flight Scoring

It was explained to the pilots that there would be 5 carpets laid out -- one for each category -- and planes to be considered need to be placed on the appropriate carpet. This method of organizing the static display helped the judges tremendously.

This year there was an additional method for scoring points, flight scoring. If a pilot attempted to fly his plane but was unsuccessful, 10 points were be added to his total score. If a pilot attempted to fly his plane and two successful passes were obtained, 20 points were be added to his total score. This was a great rule to make sure planes are actually built to be PSS gliders, not just hangar queens.

The static judging criteria were as follows:
Original Design / Scratch Built10
Workmanship / Craftsmanship30
Color and Markings30
Accuracy of Outline30
for a maximum of 100 pts. Static + Flight Score

There were 5 different categories for the aircraft. Sometimes certain categories are more popular from one year to the next. This year the Foam and Prop categories had some tough competition.

The Clinic Workshops

There were three clinics provided this year to share different techniques of building/finishing your models. Brian Laird demonstrated airbrush camouflage. Richard Spencer shared his secrets of custom decals and proper application, and Jack Cooper (Leading Edge Gliders) showed us how to make a Coreplast laminated tail. This is the second year for the ISR to hold these clinics and judging by the crowd that surrounded the tent during the clinic, it was a popular part of the event.

Paul Naton from Radio Carbon Art was down for the entire event, including the Pre-fest Point Fermin Run, filming for his new movie coming out late this summer on PSS. I saw his camera dialed in on all the clinics and I am sure I'm not the only one hoping it will be included in his newest movie.

Award Presentation

The Inland Slope Rebels went all out and were able to present awards through 5th place in all categories except Expert. First place winners were given engraved plaques with clocks on them, second and third place entries received engraved plaques, fourth and fifth place received nice medals.

Jet Class, from left to right, in the picture above:

  • First place Brian Koester with his scratch built EPP Foam SU-35
  • Second place Chris Behm with his CSD F-80 Shooting Star
  • Third place Kevin Huckins with his K&A L-39 Albatross
  • Fourth place Bill Delhagen with his CSD F-20 Tigershark and
  • Fifth place David Cairns with his scratch built B-52 Stratofortress.

Expert Class, from left to right, in the photo above:

  • First place Carl Maas with his FI-103 V-1 "Buzz Bomb"
  • Second place Jeff Vosburg with his ME-209
  • Third place Brian Laird with his ME-P1101.

My hats off to these gentlemen who show a level of craftsmanship that modelers everywhere aspire to obtain.

Prop class, from left to right, in the photo above:

  • First place Mitch Schwartzburg with his outstanding scratch built AF3S "Guardian"
  • Second Place Richard Spencer with his scratch built Hellcat
  • Third place Russ Thompson with his scratch built ME-109G6
  • Fourth place Tim Neja with his scratch built Mig 3
  • Fifth place Kevin Huckins with his CSD P-51B Mustang.

Mitch’s Guardian and Richard’s EPP Foam Hellcat are planes that really need to be seen in person to appreciate the kind of work that goes into these planes.

Civilian class, left to right, in the photo above:

  • First place Tim Neja with a LEG Tsunami
  • Second place Kevin Carlson his "Miss Merced" Seafury
  • Third place Dan Schramm with his scratch built Gulfstream G-5
  • Fourth place David Massongill with his LEG P-63 Kingcobra

The Foam Class left to right:

  • First place Richard Spencer with his scratch built ME-109
  • Second place Brian Koester with another scratch built SU-35
  • Third place Brian Laird’s scratch built F4U Corsair
  • Fourth place Jack Cooper (LeadingEdgeGliders.com) with his 72” P-40
  • Fifth place Gene Serrano with his scratch built TA-152.

Carl E. Maas Craftsmanship of the Year Award

The Carl E. Maas Craftsmanship award is presented to one person as an honor for some aspect of the R/C slope soaring achievement in excellence. The award is determined using many factors of building skill, innovation, quality and dedication to the sport of R/C Slope Soaring. Carl E. Maas personally selects and awards this honor to the deserving person. (from InlandSlopeRebels.com)

Mitch Schwartzburg received this award this year for the quality of his scratch built Grumman AF-3S Guardian. His plane was built using the lost foam process of a fuselage. It had a functioning torpedo bay and fully detailed cockpit. I heard rumors of this plane weighing in at 120 ounces. Excellent job Mitch!

The Raffle

This year's raffle was outstanding. There were several radio systems including 2 Hitec Eclipse systems, 2 Airtronics Vanguard RD6000, and a complete JR system. There were too many kits for me to count from Leading Edge Gliders, California Sailplanes, Cavazos Sailplane Design, Cermark, and many others. Many thanks to the events sponsors for one of the greatest raffles I have ever seen.

Day 2 of the Festival

Sunday is more of a "fun fly, have a great time" sort of day. The wind was the best we'd seen in the last four days of flying. The crowd was half of what was there the previous day and it was more of a relaxed atmosphere now that the judging was completed.

RCGroups sponsored the second day of the Festival with awards for fastest pass in the foam and glass categories. There were two radar guns manned for three hours as pilots attempted to continuously raise the bar for the speed to beat. I had my infamous 25oz P-63 up for the entire three hour ordeal but wasn’t able to reach the triple digit numbers that the fast guys were getting.

Tim Neja took the foam lead early in the contest with a 106mph pass with a LEG ME-109 but Steve Greenfield took that away in the last few minutes, with a 112mph pass with a Tuff planes U2. Brian Laird set the bar high in the first few minutes with a 114mph pass for the glass category and nobody was able to touch that the rest of the day.

The results for the fastest passes:

1st Brian LairdCSD- Tucano 54"12:43114mph
2nd Tim NejaCSD-Tucano 60"2:27103mph
3rd Carl MaasCSD-ME-1092:1392mph
4th Stuart CheldecottCSD-ME 1091:2779mph

1st Steve GreenfieldTuff Planes U-22:43112mph
2nd Tim NejaLEG ME-1091:27109mph
3rd Eric ScratchME 2622:44107mph
4th Jack CooperLEG 60" P-632:43106mph
5th Kevin HuckinsLEG 48" P-631:2793mph

The members of ISR continue to hold a great event year after year and the smiles on everyone's faces show the appreciation of their continuing effort to make the event better than the year before.


The sponsors of the event recognize the level of professionalism that the ISR PSS Festival attracts and their donations are greatly appreciated. (When you shop these vendors, please be sure and tell them you saw them on Liftzone of RCGroups.com and thank them for their support of this great event!)


Editor's Note: My apologies to any sponsors whose websites I could not locate, or any typographical error in listing your websites!

Final Picture Gallery

The number of quality planes that were in the flight-ready area and that were on the carpet was outstanding. I have included a couple of them here but this only represents a small percentage of what was there to see. I recommend to anyone who has even the slightest interest in Power Scale Soaring to come check out this festival next year, you will not be disappointed.


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