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The Carolina Criterium, Huntersville, NC, October 2013

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Post  Mark Boesen Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:01 pm

Nice article!

p.s.
Remember, from now on and for the rest of your life, if someone asks, you can say: "I flew competitive control-line aerobatics"
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Post  roddie Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:05 pm

Great post Rusty!!! I felt like I was there! What a great experience. My Dad and I attended (spectators) a 1992(?) NATS in Chicoppee, MA at Westover AFB... if I'm not mistaken. A wonderful memory for me.

You must have been on cloud 9...
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Post  RknRusty Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:05 pm

Well, feeling good about Saturday, back at the motel I reworked my battery box, which turned out to have black crud in the brass anode contact. After supper I visited the pool for a while, and then the ice cream party on the other side of the motel. All the Philly Flyers had come for that. Ice cream, not beer and Irish whiskey, no wonder they dominated on Sunday! On the way back to my room, Mike Londke gave me a brand new 1/2A combat wing, ready to have the controls and tail feathers mounted. I had given him an old but untouched .35 size Guillotine kit earlier in the day, so I consider that a great trade. I can build mine in a hour.

So off to the pilots' meeting scheduled for 8:30 Sunday morning. They work on a loose time frame around there, that's good for me. I had time to get my flight box and plane unloaded, but had no idea what do do with them. So at the picnic shed I just walked up to the crowd and asked anyone who would listen... "Uh hey, I'm flying beginner, can anybody tell me what I'm supposed to do?" As usual I was shown where to place my plane and gear and to check for my name on the event board. When I went to the taped off area to put my plane down, the only other plane there was a beautiful pristine canary yellow and checkerboard Cardinal. Oh no, I recognize that one. I've seen it every week for the past month. It's Wayne's Cardinal. And he can fly the crap out of it! I think he was just messin' with me because he was judging intermediate while Beginner was flying.

So anyway, at the pilots meeting I was waiting for them to call out the order of events. I was like a 7 year old baseball player in left field who's thinking, Please god don't let him hit it to me! He finally got around to the beginner list and the first words out of his mouth were, "First, Rusty Knowlton..." Shocked That's what I get for worrying about it. Actually it suited me fine. One of the Philly guys, Larry was flying beginner too and we were chatting while I fueled up waiting for the judges to assume their positions on the upwind side of the circle, which is the only vantage point from which they can tell the shape of the stunts, and especially the wingovers. So that makes a good reference point, if you lose track of the wind, you can figure the judges are more or less upwind.

They waved to us that it was time, and Larry carried my lines as I carried the plane to the field. Later it occurs to me that I should have moved back upwind slightly so I would have more tailwind to launch and a shallower climb, but my brain skipped that part of the program, and I placed it directly downwind. Duh! As I went through my cranking routine, Larry kept repeating calmly, "Hurry but don't rush, there,s plenty of time. Hurry but don't rush..."  That helped. It was good advice. I choke and flip to prime, tilt and flip to get everything wet, hook up the battery, turn the prop and feel for a bump, raise my hand high and confirm a response from the judges, the clock has started.

The Thunder Tiger came to life and I listened as it warmed up. It sounded like the needle was fine. I started to walk out and almost forgot to check the leadout clips, so I backed up and pulled them tight all the way to the handle, and there I was, standing on the center spot. All this time, fiddling, cursing, and practice had come to a head. Lines tight, wiggle the controls and gave the wave and off she rolled.

I had a good rollout, and a smooth liftoff. Remember the part about not starting farther back... as soon as she was pointed upwind the climb jumped to 8' in the air. Nothing to do but fly now, and count laps. It seems harder to count to six than it used to, but I did. My wingover was pretty good, it usually is when the engine is right. I told the judges that sometimes I would do three instead of two laps between stunts, and they said that was fine, but it was good that I mentioned it. Time for my insides, and I did okay, but wound them up smaller like I usually do. I was hoping I wouldn't, but my transition to inverted was fine as were my inverted laps, which are not scored in beginner. My first outside loop was waaay to tall, resulting in the next two being a little funky. My squares were kind of small but not bad I think. It's hard to tell from the camera angle. I could have made them bigger which always makes them better. I'm reverting to my bad habits a bit. My figure 8 was okay but the exit was a little tight. Next comes the overhead 8. I pulled up into the wingover and made the first two turns okay. The wind was screwing everybody's overheads on Sunday, so I wasn't the only one. I turned into the last one a little tight and the engine stumbled... it hates tight turns. When it coughed I lost line tension and pulled out. Some of the others did too, some made it through them okay. I ran it out of fuel and made a good descent and a fair landing, but with a couple of bounces on the grass. End of round one for me.

I watched the others fly and we took a break. The second round went about like the first. I think I did better loops, but my landing was a disaster. I wanted to avoid bouncing and came in too fast and bounced worse. It finally settled down, still rolling and suddenly flipped tail over nose. I was pretty stunned at that, it's one problem I've never had. Once it started rolling to a stop, I thought all was well, but she had different plans.

So here's the movie. I was more satisfied with myself before I watched it. I have a pair of good stunters to pick up where the Shoestring left off and I'll give intermediate a go of it in May. So for better or for worse, there ends the rocky epic saga of Rusty and his Shoestring. I hope y'all enjoyed it. I enjoyed writing about it.
Rusty

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Post  JPvelo Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:00 am

Nice! You are an inspiration Rusty! Makes me want to polish up my skills and try a contest.

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Post  Kim Sat Oct 26, 2013 5:21 am

Ditto what Jim said Rusty !!!!

Hope these reports are NOT copyrighted as I've got a Notepad "Rusty File" where I copy and paste them for re-reading when I get caught with no internet service, and want to peruse some good stuff!

Your accounts of the personal interactions are just as inspiring as the flying and, like the other guys, it's cool to know this kind of focused camaraderie still exists!

As others have said...Keep Up The Good Work !!!!!!

Inspired Kim
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Post  Cribbs74 Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:07 am

Thanks Rusty, I appreciate the video. It helps me immensely. I always thought it would be a little busier leading up to the release. If I didn't know better you would think that was in someones back yard.

Grass landings are always tricky due to the extra drag on the gear. You can mess with gear positioning to help eliminate the bounce or the noseover if you have some wiggle room with the CG. Then again, sometimes crap happens.

I am happy you made it through and did as well as you did. Hope to see you compete in intermediate next year.

Ron
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Post  RknRusty Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:37 am

Thanks for all of your comments. I'm so happy y'all enjoyed it. Part of the reason I'm here is that I like to write, and this is a great outlet and I love my audience.

And hey Mark, I flew competitive control-line aerobatics!

I love it. I can do something not many people can do. That's cool.
Y'all have fun,
Rusty

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Post  RknRusty Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:14 am

Cribbs74 wrote:Thanks Rusty, I appreciate the video. It helps me immensely. I always thought it would be a little busier leading up to the release. If I didn't know better you would think that was in someones back yard....
Yeah Ron, really more people watch you practice than compete. Everyone else is occupied with their business of the day. Getting your fueling and cranking routine streamlined is of the most importance. I'm fueled up well in advance of my turn, in practice and competition.

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