Ken Myers likes to consider the Mid-America Fun Fly as a quiet get-together for a hundred of his closest friends. And that is what it has become over the years. Held the second weekend in July for as long as I can remember, the Mid-Am draws some of the best e-fliers from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Canada, South Dakota, and beyond. The Mid-Am is really 2 one-day events -- one hosted by Ken Myers and the EFO's on Saturday, and one hosted by Keith Shaw and the Ann Arbor Falcons on Sunday. This year the pilots were again guests of the Midwest R/C club at their premiere flying site in Northville, Michigan.
Pilots started arriving Friday afternoon, and flying began as Ken and Keith finished preparing the field. The Michigan Summer had cooled off a bit and calm breezes allowed the park flyers to come out in force. Marc Thompson could still be seen hovering his Shock Flyer as the Sun dipped below the horizon. Saturday and Sunday both started with some cloud cover, but the sun made many appearances as the temperature climbed into the 80's. Breezes were light all weekend and models of all types shared the sky, although not as nice as many had hoped. Several people joked that we should rename this event the Mid-Air fun fly as there were several mishaps over the two days.
Flying was casual and relaxed. There were several awards given out over the weekend for various categories, with the only restriction being that the model must fly. The only "official" event was the All-Up-Last-Down held on Saturday after the demonstrations. At noon on both days the flying was shut down for some demonstration flights. This year we were treated to a wide variety of scale and ducted fan models by Keith Shaw, Dave Grife, Chris True, Bob Belluomini, and Alan Mrock. Other than that, it was non-stop flying from sunup 'til sundown with few people having to wait more than a few minutes for a slot to fly.
With a hundred pilots, and hundreds of airplanes, it was difficult to cover even a fraction of the action. So here is a small sampling of the event...
Here is Bob Belluomini with his JePe F-16. This is the latest version of this model and is entirely hollow molded. It is launched with a dolly/bungee system which is fairly reliable. Power comes from the JePe Spyder Fan with integrated brushless motor. A 70A Jeti controller is used between the motor and a 5S2P 2600mAhr I-rate LiPo pack. This setup pulls 43A static and Bob can stretch the flight to 9 minutes. This model was easily doing over 120mph (so don’t expect to see much of it in the video report!).
Doug Jablonski's Newport was nicely finished, and I hope he get's back in the air soon.
Tom Hunt put his employer's new $25,000 Stereo Lithography machine to good use. For those of you who don't know what stero-lith is, it uses a laser to cure a liquid plastic one layer at a time. By controlling the laser, you can create just about any shape desired. Tom used this machine to "grow" a matched set of counter-rotating propellers for his foam P-38. These have to be the most expensive propellers a foam ARF has ever seen!
Saturday's AULD event was won by Walter Voyt, with a Zagi, of all things. I personally think this is the death knell for the AULD competition. The competition was limited to NiCad and NiMh batteries. Walter was using some new AA size 2200mAh cells and cruised to victory among all the gliders.
LiPo's enable just about anything to be converted from glow to e-power. Chris Balser's Lancair and Ryan STA are excellent performers.
Saturday night after the awards presentation and raffle, everyone was invited to a pot luck dinner featuring the famous Mid-AM steak sandwiches. This did not stop the flying, as people ate in shifts and flew well into the night. The highlight of the evening flying was Keith Shaw's Astro-10-powered Foker's doing some ridiculous aerobatics and high speed passes for 20 minutes.
Several vendors setup shop for the weekend and reported brisk sales.
E-Cubed R/C was showing some new MP Jet Outrunners. Azarr had an AC28/10-13 that is similar to the AXI 28-08 and an AC 28/20-7 this is similar to the AXI 28-20. These motors sell in the $55 to $60 range. He also had some new APC 26x15E and 27x13E props for serious modelers.
Z-planes had several foam park fliers including their Easy Fly 3D and Funstang. These kits will hover with a GWS 350D and 3S LiPo pack. Stan also had an F-15 kit that could be powered with a single EDF-55, two EDF-40's, or a GWS 350D pusher prop. The F-15 looked like a nice performer.
Radical R/C was present with their line of battery packs, chargers, kits, and hobby supplies.
Randy Kohr, the new owner of Dynamo Electrics, was there with lots of Mega motors, batteries, and other items.
Secret committees were roaming the field Saturday and Sunday seeking out models of distinction.
Every year at the Mid-Am, an individual is chosen to receive the Charlie Spears awards for furthering the development of electric powered flight. Past award winners include Doug Ingraham, Bob Boucher, Jim Bourke, and Jim Ryan. Keith Shaw admitted that this year’s award was somewhat of an oversight, but that it was being remedied now. Dave Grife was selected this year for his scale modeling expertise and leadership in showing us what is possible with electric flight. Dave has been at the leading edge of applying new power systems and technologies to his stunning fleet of scale models.
The 2004 Mid-Am Fun Flies were an unconditional success. Many thanks go out to Ken, Keith, the EFO's, and the Ann Arbor Falcon for their hard work putting on this event. Every pilot attending appreciated your efforts. Stay tuned for video coverage of the 2004 Mid-AM and mark your calendars for the 2nd weekend in July, 2005.
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