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Society of Antique Modelers Championships
1st Annual Control Line Event

Updated: Tuesday February 9th, 2016

Left Click to Enlarge This year, there was a new addition to the long-running SAM Championships. The event directors contacted Eric Rule of RSM Models, to be the contest director for running a SAM oriented control-line event to go along with the established free-flight and RC-assist events.

Every year, the SAM Championships rotate between a dry lake near Las Vegas, NV and the AMA home field in Muncie, IN. This year the Championships was held at the Las Vegas dry lake site. For all the years this contest has been held, it has been limited to the usual free-flight events with glider, rubber power, and gas engines. In addition there have been events for old time free-flight models with RC assist for ease of recovery. Never have there been any events honoring the old control-line designs, despite their dominance of the hobby in the late 40’s through the early 60’s.

That has changed. The “new” events, as they were flown this year, attracted some of the top talent in the country. No fewer than 3 former National Stunt winners attended. Many of the models had superb fit and finish. The scores were certainly competitive with any contest, anywhere.

North Las Vegas Airport was kind enough to provide an unused parking lot (about 20 football fields worth), sun shade, tables, chairs, free bottled water on ice, barrier cones and tape, an aide-de-camp, and a street sweeper to make sure the area was free of debris. They even provide little squares of carpet to assure that we didn’t drip raw fuel on their smooth asphalt.

Left Click to Enlarge The initial contacts were made by Bill Ervin, but it required the approval of Doug McNeeley, the airport manager, to make it happen. Bill was with us for the set-up day and the two days of competition. Doug stopped by, and was so pleased with what we were doing and how we were keeping the site clean, that he is inclined to provide us with future access, not only for the SAM event, but whatever we want to propose. Just for the record, there is no financial benefit to the airport for this munificent gift of personnel time and facilities. We also like to extend our thanks to Darla Hook, Department of Aviation Coordinator, for her efforts in bringing the logistics together.

The competition was held on Thursday and Friday the 13th and 14th of October, one day for each event. Yours truly drove up on Wednesday, and was surprised at just how easy a drive it is from Los Angeles Less than 5 hours with a breakfast stop and a pit stop. I stayed at the Fiesta, several other competitors were at the Texas Station; the Fiesta and Texas Station are literally across the street from the airport. The remainder of the flyers stayed on the other side of town at Boulder Station, which is SAM headquarters. I can heartily recommend the Fiesta as providing a clean, quiet, smoke-free room, great service, and superb, economical dining at their in-house restaurants.

Enough of the lead-in, lets get to the flying! First day was Old Time. For those of you not familiar with this event, the aircraft have to be replicas of Control-Line stunters from the beginning of time to the end of 1952. There are a lot of these models, and they range from those that could barely get around the circle reliably to a very few that can still be flown competitively in modern events. Judges were Eric Rule nd Robin Sizemore. First thing in the morning it was blowing about 15 mph, but by the time we were ready to fly, it had gone almost dead calm. A little too calm, actually, as we had to back up to prevent hitting our own wing wake. You just can’t please anybody!

Left Click to EnlargeLou Wolgast won, flying a Viking (also a large, light model, though with a much thinner airfoil and smaller tail volume). Lou had a Super Tiger .46 for power, so there was a bit more oomph available than when the model was designed. That with modern trim techniques makes the model fly like it never did “in the day”.

Keith Trostle came in second with his Pagan. This is a very small model powered by a .25 OS Max. Keith got the design from an old article in the British magazine Aeromodeler. It looks like an old team racer model, and is actually a semi-scale of a full size race plane. Keith has been campaigning this model for a few years, and it has racked up a pile of trophies (or he has, anyway).

Third place was a Jamison Special, flown by Leroy Black. He powered his with a Brodak 40. Currently, the Jamison is the hands-down most popular model in Old Time stunt. It features a large wing, generous airfoil, decent “numbers” for the tail size and moments, and very light construction. This wasn’t quite enough advantage to conquer superior piloting in ‘Vegas.

Moving on to Classic, which covers designs dating from 1953 through 1969. We flew this the next day with Leroy Black and Bill Ervin doing the honors, judging. Competition was very intense with the lowest score a 420! Weather was even better than Thursday with the wind just enough to keep the models from hitting their own wing-wake.

This time, Keith Trostle came out on top. Keith, by the way, is the only person ever to take first place in both open CL Aerobatics and CL Precision Scale at the AMA Nationals. He flew his Rabe Bearcat to top the charts with a 565.5. The Bearcat Keith flies is reputed to fly far better than any of Al’s original models. Modern materials and more years of experience since Al’s heyday make the difference, I guess. (Al is still building, and it would be interesting to compare his newest models to Keith’s) The consensus at any contest where Keith flies is “That model CAN’T be doing that!” The plane just does not resemble a performance stunter, but wow does it fly!

Left Click to EnlargeSecond place was another Nationals Winner, Bob Whitely. He had a beautiful “Green Box” Nobler, a replica of the kit as produced by Top Flite for many years. The finish included a gold leaf stripe down the sides of the fuselage, and in the lettering. Gorgeous finish. Bob scored a 562, so the competition was very close.

Third place was Pete Peterson, who was actually not flying a model painted yellow. If he hadn’t had a yellow Jamison along, we would have thought him an impostor. Pete had a very nice version of Jim VanLoo’s Chipmunk model powered by a Brodak 40.

The trophies were SAM prize plaques awarded for first through third place in each event. In addition, we had an ARF Smoothie donated by Brodak Models to be presented to the overall champion as determined by the highest aggregate score of all 4 flights in OT and Classic. Keith Trostle won this model. It was finished in yellow, and probably has some drool spots left over from Pete Peterson’s examination of it.

On Friday evening, we attended the SAM Banquet, and it had an excellent buffet followed by a simply astounding raffle.

I would like to extend the thanks of all the competitors to the crew from North Las Vegas Airport, Doug McNeeley, Bill Ervin and Darla Hook. In addition, the people who kept the show running need to be thanked individually. pecifically we cite Ken Kaiser for executing a marvelous job as Pit Boss. He is the man that makes the contest go smoothly. No waiting or delays with Ken on the job. Larry did the tedious job of scorekeeping. And last, but not least, Bill Holt who served as “runner” to carry the score sheets from the judges to the scorekeeper.

Left Click to Enlarge We all had a great time, the facilities couldn’t have been better. You can be sure “We’ll be back”.


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