The EMFSO (Electric Model Flyers of Southern Ontario) just held its first annual Ontario Electric Flight Expo. This was a 2-day electric funfly, held Saturday and Sunday August 14 and 15, 2004, at York Airport, near Hamilton, Ontario, close to Buffalo, New York. York Airport is a small airport that houses the Seneca Flying Club. This group of pilots enjoy the thrill of flying vintage (full-scale) airplanes. One of the members, Chris McHugh, arranged the funfly together with Robert Pike, president of the EMFSO. Overall the event attracted over 60 registered flyers, from the USA to Kingston Ontario, and nine vendors.
This was an amazing venue for a funfly, probably the best I have ever seen. The grass was cut extremely short, and there was a 3000 foot long paved runway! There were people who camped on site, those who stayed at nearby motels, and those who drove in from nearby cities (Toronto was only 1½ hours away). The potential for growth for future funflies at this location is superb.
In the words of one of the attendees, "The weather was PERFECT all weekend. You could fly anything from the largest model aircraft to the smallest, even slow flyers, as the wind was very gentle, and what wind there was, was directly down the runway."
Even before the official opening of the funfly, RC pilots got into action on Friday evening, flying until dark. People were already pulling in and flying by 8am Saturday morning and flying ended around 10pm Saturday night. There was night flying with glow sticks and high intensity LEDs. Flying started before 8am Sunday morning and the last flight was put in after 7pm Sunday night. There were approximately 200 model airplanes brought to the funfly, the vast majority of which were flown.
In previous years, a mid-August funfly called the George Ball memorial funfly, used to be held not too far away, dedicated to a passed respected modeler. In keeping with the tradition of honoring this modeler, the scale model award was called the George Ball Scale Award, and this was awarded to Andy Telzer for his superb micro scale rendition of a Fokker DR-1 triplane. (Not only is Andy a terrific modeler, but he also organizes the EMFSO indoor funflies and when not flying RC, is an Air Canada pilot.)
Pilot Raffle Prizes were donated by:
Midday Saturday saw some superb demos put on by some really great flyers.
Keith Shaw of Ann Arbor, Mich. flew several planes including his amazing King Crimson flying wing, powered by four Astro Flight 035 cobalt motors. Keith also flew his Bearcat, Jungmann and De Haviland Comet models. Marc Thomson (another Air Canada pilot) flew a turbine (it wasn’t electric, but it was fast!) sport plane. Chris McHugh flew his Great Lakes Biplane. There was an excellent multiple warbird fly featuring Ron Daniels (German B1 "flying Bomb") , Keith Shaw, Andy Telzer, Glenn Nikolaiko, and Andre Wedseltoft. Finally Adam Rogozinsky of Thornhill, Ontario flew his very fast JePe ducted fan F-16.
One of the vendors, Parker Leung of Whitby, Ontario, also put on a demo of a new ultra-light depron-type 3D/hovering flyer.
During the day we were all treated to the occasional takeoff and/or landing of some really well-maintained aircraft including a Pietenpol Aircamper, a Stinson Voyager (belonging to Chris McHugh) and several others. Several RC’ers were also treated to rides in these planes. Among the more exciting planes was a 60% Spitfire, as well as overhead passes by a 4-engined Lancaster (one of only two flyable in the world), a Stearman biplane and Texan, all from the nearby Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario.
On Saturday evening, a huge dinner was offered, catered by Dieter Remy, a member of the Seneca Flying Club, and professional chef. A superb hip of beef with all the fixings, including an excellent dessert and fruits table. 80 adults and 9 children enjoyed this fantastic meal in a nearby hanger. Dieter also prepared the lunch on both Saturday and Sunday.
Late Saturday night, a bonfire was lit and used to burn one of the crashed models from the day’s flying. This was a ceremonial service to the RC gods begging for a more forgiving Sunday. Unfortunately, the RC gods were not impressed; Sunday saw the destruction of two large warbirds, that went way beyond the reconstruction level.
The Ontario Electric Flight Expo is a fantastic event that will be repeated next year. Anybody within a reasonable driving distance of southern Ontario should consider attending. As I said at the beginning of this article, this is probably the best location I have ever seen for a funfly, and the atmosphere could only improve with the addition of even more fine electric models. The EMFSO is planning for bigger and better things in the future, so join us next year and be a part of a truly unique R/C event.
We certainly could have done more promotion, but remained a little conservative for the first year.
We'll get the word out better for next year and hope that you, and many others will attend. It's a great venue.
BTW, Keith was supposed to let you guys know about this event much earlier. What are we going to do with that guy.......
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