Saturday, October 25, 2008

New link added

Hi folks

I have added a new link for Mark's website.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Team Trials - Epilogue

Hi again folks

We slept in today... it was great and a nice change to have a relaxed start to the day . Mark made his special scrambled egg dish with bacon and it was very good. I think Mark should cook for us all the time!

I was busy getting the FedEx package organised while Harry gave the guys a tour of his work shop in the basement. With the planes all packed and the van loaded we said our goodbye's and headed to Pearson Airport.

A quick stop at FedEx then over to Terminal 1 to drop the rental van off. Dinged for $100 each for our plane boxes we checked in and headed to our gate. A quick bite and a beer and we left Toronto.

After a stop in Vancouver we connected to our Victoria flight and Robyn picked us up. She dropped me at home and after a short discussion decided that the European Championships next year would make for a great trip.... stay tuned :-)

I'll finish with a big THANK YOU to the Ells for their hospitality and thanks to all those the did the hard work to run this event. Hope everyone enjoyed the blog.

Mark says he will make some comments on the trip when he recovers :-)

Monday, September 1, 2008

F-09 and Team Canada 2009- (Updated)

Hi folks

Ok lets bring you all up to speed on the final day of the Team Trials……

After our breakfast we loaded the vehicles up with the awards, freshly charged batteries and headed North West to the flying site. Weather was pretty much perfect with clear skies and a very light breeze. Mark and I traveled along uneventfully on our now familiar route with virtually no traffic to speak of. Hey it’s a holiday.

Both Dan Venables and Harry were also driving up together just behind us when Dan, doing a mental check of airplane parts, realized he had left his wings back at the farm! Harry pulled over and called Rosemary, whom was following all of us, and had her go back home and pick up said wings. Thank heavens for cell phones. Dan’s heart resumed beating.

We all eventually arrived at the field and the competitors started to assemble their planes. There was much discussion on the scores and the carry forward going in to today’s F-09 sequence. There was such a tight race for the last spot that it was really going to be interesting. Further was the fact that both Mark and I had really concentrated on the P-09 sequence and the F-09 had not been flown nearly as much... especially by me. This of course is not the position you want to be in but we would do the best we could.

Ivan has his demo plane sound checked.

Harry had Ivan fly a demo round for the judging panel and I personally was most impressed with Ivan’s flight. In my opinion, had he signed up for the team, he would have made it. Not bad for a guy out of pattern for several years!

The panel was then treated to another demo that they now scored except that Ivan threw in a couple “wrong” maneuvers that I saw. Nice guy! With the demos completed & judges debriefed, the planes were measures for size and the competition flights began.

Ivan briefs the judges following his flight.... all this under the watchful eyes of some competitors.

Chad was up first and put in a very solid round after his noise test. I followed him and put in probably my personal best round of F that I have flown. (This according to Mark) The others followed suite and we all watched the flights progress. We had lost one flyer in Richard Vigneault as he decided he had no chance and headed home so only 8 pilots flew.

After each flight the planes were checked for weight compliance and unfortunately Paul Hepworth was well over so his score was zeroed. He knew he was not going to make weight but flew for the experience anyway.

Marks plane on the scale
The second round commenced after a short judges break and panel change. The flight order was also changed and things got going again. You could see the pressure in the flying as everyone had a few rough areas. Once again Chad flew a pretty solid F although not as nice as the first… I suspect the pressure was off him :-)

With the last round completed, we all gathered around and took some photos of the competitors. We also took a couple flights to burn down some packs and took some pictures with the Canadian flag that Paul had brought.

group shot.

The scoring was taking quite a long time as they had to make sure the results were correct. The score was so close for the last spot on the team that they went through all the raw score including P and double checked the math.

I think this process took its toll on Harry and after and hour of scrutinizing the scores simply put the result sheet up on the board for all to see. Ivan jumped in and read aloud the results. Chad, Dezso and Dan were announced as the team with Xavier as alternate. The scoring difference between third and fourth was only .28 of a point so that’s why they did a recheck.

Does it get any closer? Wow!

We all congratulated the winners and then they posed for the traditional group shot. It was time to pack up and head back to the farm to start breaking down the planes and start the road home to Victoria.
The 2009 Team ..... Chad Northeast, Dezso Vaghy and Dan Venables

It was a pretty well run event and although there were some lessons to be learned I think the club members and Harry did a great job in putting together a combined Nationals. It was a lot of work for them and at times can be a thankless job.

I congratulate the winners, all the competitors whom spent countless hours practicing (as well as hard cash!) and the event organizers whom made this event possible.

Special thanks to Rosemary and Harry Ells for taking us into their home this past week and making us feel so welcome.

More pictures added.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Contest - Sunday

A little more relaxed pace this morning as we headed out to the field at 7:30 am. We stopped along the way to take a picture of a road sign that we never see out west in BC.

The sportsman fliers had to finish up their 4th round before the scoring computer was ready to produce the results. Unfortunately Mother Nature decided to play another trick on us and enveloped the field in thick fog.... so thick even Dezso drove right by the field.... even with a GPS. Everyone milled around and talked shop about the Saturday results. Just after 10 the fog lift and quickly burned off. The flying started and we all enjoyed the morning sun.

The battles continued and the round 4 scores were finally posted. Mark had jumped into fourth place as I thought and this set the stage for FAI. All the classes had tight scores at the top so it was going to be a make or break day for most competitors. We all put in our 5th & 6th rounds under sunny skies and a light blow in wind that could not make up it's mind which way to fly. Most flew right to left with the odd exception. Both Mark and Xavier had good rounds and even I had a couple of nice once... yes shocking I know:-)

We were lucky to have the nicest charge station I have ever used. Thanks Ivan!

Harry called everyone over and made the award presentations after announcing the results.

Results are as follows.





FAI Prelims

The FAI competitors that signed up for the Team Trials will now fight it out for the chance to represent Canada in Portugal (2008) Their average score will carry forward and be counted in the best 2 of 3 with two F-09 rounds flown Monday.

After the flying ended the FAI pilots kept their planes out in order to practice F-09. Both Mark and I did a couple rounds... including my patented "Low Knife Edge Loop Pass" :-)

I'll be uploading pics shortly.... off to bed now.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Contest - Saturday. (updated)

A six o'clock start today as we need to be up to the flying site early. Harry had all the gear loaded for his CD duties so they led the way up.

29 competitors arrived to battle it out for National honors and the beginning of the Team Trials. The grounds were awash from the previous nights rain which unlike BC, stays on top of the clay and awaits evaporation. There were numerous wet patches all over the field and impound that everyone walked around, over, or through. Wet feet was the order of the day but at least we know it's clear skies for the rest of the contest. By Monday it should be dry :-)

CD Harry Ells gave the pilots the lowdown on the event and reviewed some of the rules for judging. The hot topic was the pause after the 2/4 in the first manouver in P-09.

Mark was first up in FAI and put in a solid round. The 11 other FAI pilots followed suite as the other flight line catered to the remaining classes. Jeff Stevens kept the flight lines & judging order going.

The pilots rotated through judging assignments and the rounds went by pretty smoothly. Paul Hepworth had his plane go into failsafe on the trim pass but managed to get it back down ok. He was unable to sort out the problem so the plane was grounded.

Chad easily outdistanced the rest of us with solid rounds in FAI. As the winds were a blow in from the North West several people struggled to maintain distance. Ivan returned to the skies as well and it was a pleasure to watch those great stall turns he does. (I always remembered those from the 2000 Nats in Vancouver, BC) He looked like he was enjoying himself.

Sportsman flyer Ethan Chariandy, whom just passed his wings test, was doing very well from what I observed. (He got a bullet in round 1!) Watching his dad call for him reminded me a little of my past flying with my own son. Ah... memories. Phil Stang leads right now going into round 4.

Scott McNaught and Bert Armstrong have a real battle going in Intermediate with only 7 points separating them after 3 rounds. It's going to be another tight race.

Advanced has Bev Cowell out front but there will be pressure applied by both Jim Eichenberg and Ross Erwin on Sunday.

In Masters we have a great battle between Steve Miller and Ken Velez going. It will start to shake out after the rounds get dropped but Ken is coming on strong after having major TX problems. Seems his TX fell over while being charged in the vehicle en route. The charge plug broke and a short was created within his TX. Suffice to say the TX was "unserviceable" after the melt down period. He used his backup TX (for foamies) and trimmed during the first flight this morning. Tim Pascoe was having wheel issues as his plane shed them on landing.... too wet to glue them on. (Harry has a fix for him though)

We managed to almost complete 4 rounds with the Sportsman fliers to finish up in the morning.

Scores after 3 rounds (4th not completed yet.)





FAI P-09

Once the fourth round is posted things will change again. Mark should move up as he had a solid 4th round... Xavier had a great 4th round going too but had snap switch issues (seen that movie myself!) It will be a tight race going into Sunday. As Chad said... it ain't over till the large lady sings... hang on tight!

I have struggled with my own flying today and my scores reflect that. Consistency and execution have been my nemesis this season and it has become quite frustrating frankly. I'll give it my best shot tomorrow and try and improve my flights. In the meantime, Mark is in the hunt for a team spot so I'll do my best to help push him through.

After the flying ended we packed up and headed to the Peterbourgh Boston Pizza for dinner.

I have been going for 16 hours now and I am completely beat. Type later.

New Pictures posted.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday.. and the rains came!

August 29, 2008

Out of the rack at 7 a.m and joined the rest of the folks for breakfast. The weather was going to be an issue as we could not see past the edge of the side yard. Low cloud, fog & drizzle enveloped the house.

Harry was having connection problems with his new provider and was hunting down the problem… router reset etc. In the meantime Master Chief Marko Mechanico created a great scrambled egg dish that we all enjoyed. I handle the toast prep under the watchful eyes of Chef Marko. “Toast ready?” he asked..... “Yes Chef” I barked back.

With the vans loaded up we headed north to the Lindsay field with some trepidation. The weather was poor at best for our purposes but we hoped for a break later in the day.

Ivan and Diane Kristiansen, along with Chad Northeast arrived in their beautiful Dutch Star Motor coach. They had to do some maneuvering to get down the access road and into the parking lot but Ivan made it look easy. The Honda van, loaded with pattern planes, made for the ultimate tow vehicle behind the RV. Hope my wife doesn’t see the pictures!

Xavier Mouraux & Dezso Vaghy also arrived and we spent an hour or so under the canopy catching up on news and travel exploits. The weather improved little so they head into town for lunch. Richard Vignealt and his wife also arrived from Sept Iles QC but headed out after surveying the weather from the comfort of their van.

We hung out at the field and rested in the van awaiting the weather to lift. Our mini van has a neat back up camera built into the dash… check out this shot.

We had a nice visit with Ivan and Diane in their motor coach. I even had a little tour and was most impressed with the layout of the RV.

The skies eventually started to clear and Mark was the first one up after weighing his plane numerous times. The ceiling was still low so, after disappearing on a vertical, he opted for some trim pass and “lower air work”. Everyone else started to assemble planes and prep for some practice rounds.

With all the flyers present it was suggested to fly two flight lines but after some discussion we elected to just fly one. Everyone was ready and the flights progressed smoothly. Ivan had an issue with a bad lead on one of his stab servos and needed some repair time. Once fixed, he took to the skies and we all enjoyed seeing him back flying pattern again. He still has the hands!

I flew two practice rounds and Mark managed another 2 as well. The guys are all stoked for the competition tomorrow and a few had game faces on. It will be fun if nothing else!

We headed back to Harry’s place to prep dinner for everyone as we were preparing BBQ hamburgers with sweet potato (yam) fries. Charging was all done so its off to the rack for all of us… up at 6 tomorrow!

More pictures posted at

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Practice Day

Up at 7 a.m. to finish charging packs…. It never ends! We followed Harry & Dan North to the flying site and set up for the days flying. We were greeted to windy conditions out of the South –Southeast but the temperatures remained relatively comfortable.

Dan gave Harry a hand with the marker poles as we set up our planes. After a trip into Lindsay for more paint, Harry finished spraying in the box lines and then they headed back to the farm as Harry had chores to do. Dan elected not to fly as he was awaiting his supplies that he had shipped from Lethbridge.

We had a good day and managed 6 rounds each before our fatigue started to take its toll on both our bodies and flying quality. We packed up early and headed back to Harry’s place to recharge packs and get cleaned up. Mark and I also took a side trip into Cobourg and purchased several wines for our gracious hosts. The downtown core is a very neat spot to walk around.

We were treated to a great BBQ steak dinner with fresh corn, potatoes & tomatoes … I love the farm life! The rains have now started so hopefully they will move through tonight.

Mark is going to prepare a delicious scrambled egg dish in the morning so we will be ready for the day. As the planes stay in the vehicle we will be able a quick departure in the morning.

By the way, Mark is flying really strong and I fully expect him to give Chad a run for his money and take home the top spot on the team.

Mmmmmm,,,,, never leave your computer to check batteries…. Seems someone snuck in a comment re: their flying.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The trip out...

Up early as Mark & Robyn picked me up at 20 past 4 in the morning. As Mark and I are traveling on a pass, the loads out of Vancouver to Toronto were hammered so we elected to jump over to Calgary to connect to YYZ. The check in was seamless and our flights all connect well with on time departures all the way. Chad and Dan are three hours ahead of us as they caught the 7:30 am flight out of Calgary. Dan will be waiting for us and will hitch a ride to Harry’s place near Cobourg. Approximately 75 minutes drive from the airport.

Chad will be staying with Ivan and Diane tonight and then using their motor coach as he gave up a spot for Dan.

On arrival in Toronto we met up with Dan, picked up the rental van and away we went to Cobourg. We had stop & go traffic for 50 kms…. hey it’s rush hour… then, after stopping at Wal-Mart for supplies we headed to the Ells Farm.

We started to assemble the planes and after a break for a great dinner, finished the assembly job and continued to charge our packs. BTW They arrived just after 2 P.M. in great condition.

We will be on our way up to Lindsay in the morning to check out the field and help Harry get set up. There is no internet at the field.

Off to bed now.

BTW New pictures posted. I'll do captions later :-)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Here we go again!

Well once again we have dismantled the planes and packed them for the trip to Ontario. The Canadian National Precision Aerobatics Championship and Team Trials will go this coming weekend. I will have limited access to update the blog but I highly doubt that you will see the up to the minute reporting that you may have witnessed from the US Nats. I was just a spectator at that time so updating was easy. This will be different ;-)

Pictures will be uploaded when I have the chance to the Picassa album. The link is on the right side at the top.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pattern West News - Connection difficulties ;-)

Hi folks

For those looking for your daily fix of pattern news I have been down in the states and cannot upload to my Shaw server through Comcast.... put a man on the moon... sure, connect to a way :-(

Anyhow I have added the Pattern In The Valley pictures to the photo gallery. Thanks to Scott Esplen for sending me the pics. I'll get some captions done shortly.

Through in a blown hard drive on my PC at home just for fun.... arghh!

Back home soon... Dave

Monday, July 28, 2008

More Pictures

Aside from the Picasa web album I have at

Ivan Kristensen has publish more photos here

Thanks to Ivan for sharing these with us.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

27 Hours and Counting

From the desk of Marko Piloto :-)

Who said flying R/C airplanes isn't exhauting or hard work! It's 06:00 Pacific time and we are waiting in Vancouver for the last flight of our journey home. Our day began yesterday at 06:00 Eastern ( 03:00 for you west coast folks) and we are now into our 27th hour of Friday. The term TGIF has a whole different perspective right now. LOL

We did manage to get a couple hours of nap time this morning (what day is it??) before checking through our baggage. A quick stop at the Reaville's for some planned coffee and banana bread then Dave and I are heading out to the field to put in a few rounds. Yes Kelly, he is not yours until tonight! LOL
The week that we spent in Muncie was once again a great experience. Lots of flying and laughs shared between the boys and their toys. Congratulations to Chad on his 7th place finish in the finals. We all know that Chad is a very good pilot but his consistency was the factor this week in reaching his goal. No more DA first rounds as his metal toughness has improved significantly.
Back to the grind on Monday of planning and practicing for the Canadian Nationals and Team Trials to be held in Ontario at the end of August. Honey, (Robyn) see you in September.
Marko "Piloto"

Final Results and Heading home :-)

As Get Smart would say “Missed it by that much!”

Well I guess by now you figured out that we had to leave for the airport in Indianapolis. We waited as long as we could but hey those are the breaks you get in life.

Troy & Quique pose with their Euphorias

We know Jason placed first but it was a real battle for the top three spots. All the top guys put in good rounds in the last unknowns. Both Brett and Andrew had solid Unknown #2 flights. Sadly Quique was only able to complete two rounds (both were solid BTW) after having engine problems on his last two flights. He seemed to take it in stride though. This was the tightest battle I have witnessed as it came down to the last flights scores to determine the US Team.

Mark and I said our goodbye’s and gave our chairs to Chad & Nedim to take back to Calgary. They had lots of room because Chad had sent his backup plane home with Harry Ells (for the Canadian Team Trials in August). He was the only pilot that did not have a backup for the Finals. He didn’t need it as it was probably the best 10 rounds he has strung together at any competition.

At 5 pm the Pattern West Blog went “dark” as we changed clothes and headed to Indy for our 19:50 flight to Toronto. All went well and we arrive in plenty of time to catch the flight. The Thrifty boss drove us in our van right to the check at United (Air Canada). Plane boxes & baggage were quickly processed and we were through security in less than 15 minutes curb to bar. Man I was impressed!

Chad had phoned as we were gassing up the rental so I didn’t have a lot of time to talk to him. He gave me the rundown on the results and his 7th place finish. I was very happy and proud for him as I know how hard he works on his flying. The sacrifice his family has to make for him to achieve this goal has been a topic with all of us pattern guys at one time or another.

Final results:

Dez finished in 19th spot, Mark 26th, Dave 27th, Nedim 30th and Harry 32nd.

Great to see Quique take the fourth spot even though he only put in two rounds… sometimes life has a way of rewarding you when you are patient. Always the gentleman, he has represented the USA very well. You should all be proud of him.

We arrived in Toronto and cleared Costums & Imigration, picked up our planes and rechecked them for our Vancouver flight. They could not check our bags through to Victoria so we will have some work to do when we arrive in YVR. No big deal as we have 6 hours plus on the ground.

I am blogging from Starbucks at the Vancouver Airport right now 02:00 Local and we are both tired and exhausted. The big comfy seats upfront helped a little ;-) I have also updated the Nats Pictures 2008 with the last ones I took before heading out.

Mark sleeps.

We will arrive back in Victoria at 08:20 Saturday morning and be home at 9 am. Mark will go home to bed and I load the trailer and grab the ferry to the mainland for a week of camping at our friend’s beach house looking at the San Juan Islands… it will be tough but I will make it.

Hope everyone enjoyed the blog and I apologize for leaving everyone hanging…. Sorry but our time at the AMA Nats had come to an end.

Depending on Team Trials results we are considering a return again next year.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Finals - Round 4 Unknowns

Drama is building as the unknowns will determine the US Team.... Chip, Andrew and Brett are battling it out. Chad is flying well but of course will not be on the US team even if he has a great last round..... he's ours!

Jason was first up but made some errors and will not score at the the door is wide open for a 1000. It could go any direction for the battle to represent the USA in Portugal 09.

Bill just landed and he's followed by Dave Lockhart. Chip has now flown and the raws are starting to come back. Andrew up now.... winds have picked up from the SSW.

Seems like a bit of a delay in getting scores. Just hope they keep bring the raws over from the clubhouse... not sure if they will hold them to make the announcement of the team...??? They did bring Jasons :-)
Ok I see the golf cart again... Troys up now... Quique had engine trouble again and was forced to land... I'll try and find out what happened.... Quique says that the power issues have appeared at the same time with both airframes... after changing ignition systems the result was the same... so back home to test the equipment and find the cause.

Meanwhile we await the raws... Jeopardy Music plays...

Andrew. 1484
Brett.... ..1472
Chip....... 1447
Chad...... 1385
Dave...... 1356
Jason.....1290 (couple zeros I believe)
Bill......... 1230
Quique... 135 (power problems again)

Special thanks to Mike Wickizer for helping me obtain the raws in a timely fashion..... heck we even beat Jason to the posts! Now that is fast!
Chatting about the event. Awaiting scores.
Well it's been fun doing this blog... lots of work though! We leave at 5pm sharp so it's quite possible that I will not get the results in time :-( If this happens go to RCU - Pattern - Nats or go to the Nats News link. I will stay close as long as I can.
The US team will be

Finals- 3rd Round - F-09

Ok they are just reviewing all the details with the judges... should be starting shortly. Peter Collinson is now doing the demo flight with his Integral.

BTW The time on the bottom of the post is 3 hours behind Muncie Time... you'll have to do the math ;-)

14:04 local - We are more than half way through the 3 round with Troy, Shaun, Brett, Bill and Dave Lockhart finished... Chip is in the air now.. er just landed and Andrew is up.

Brett, Bryan and Quique discuss Brett's 3rd round.

Raw stcores are on there way as I see the golf cart coming ;-) They do the scoring at the Farmhouse so score sheets go back & forth.

Sean...... 1657

Troy........ 1675

Mark messes with Nedim as he sleeps.

Chad & Nedim before his last F-09... He flew well.
All the raw scores are coming back and it looks like Jason has clinched a spot on the US team.

Quique was just starting his sequence when his engine sounded like it went lean. He had to bail and landed his Euphoria without trouble. He was obviously dejected.
Jason.......... 1833
Andrew....... 1823
Chip............ 1761
Chad ......... 1740
Brett.......... 1738
Troy........... 1675
Shaun......... 1657
Bill.............. 1656
Dave........... 1653
Quique....... 627

Finals - Unknown Round 2

AC Glenn is flying the Unknown sequence for the judges right now 10:45 Standby for more...:-)

Everyone watches the unknowns for the first time.

Just had this past to me.... top six raws are :

Jason 1854, Brett 1795, Quique & Chip 1792, Sean 1775 and Andrew 1756... Ill get the rest asap.

Andrew is now up first and everyone is watching.

Chad on approach after his round.

Chad had a pretty good round with some errors in his rolling circle. He also exited the reverse Knife edge inverted and into the figure nine upside down... two zeros arghh. It's tough when your string these together and although inverted they looked great ;-)
More pictures on the Nats Pictures 2008.

Here is a shot of the sound meter readings for the first round.... hey I am inquisitive on your behalf ;-)
Brent just landed and had a very solid round, he was followed by Dave Lockhart and then Chip... I will update with raws when I can get at them.
Ok latest raws I have from my "source" are:
Jason ......1584
Andrew.. 1436
Chad........1267 (two zeros...ouch)
Judges are taking a break as Nedim and I check over the scores.... Time for Chad to step it up in the next two flights.

Friday Finals - Round 1

FYI Go to the bottom for latest updates this morning....

First off I want to apologize to all those folks looking for Masters results and info... as we have shifted to support mode in Chad's efforts in the Finals and the fact we all fly FAI :-)

We loaded the van with all our gear and head to IHOP for one last breakfast. Arrived at site #1 and cruised around taking pictures. All the planes and pilots are ready but we are on Muncie time and have not started to fly... it's 08:26 a.m... not sure but everyone is just standing around.
Scuttlebutt has it that some paperwork was left in a Muncie hotel room.... not sure if a hot Hells Angels girl was involved. (Canadian Joke:-)

Nedim is trying hard to handle the pressure of calling for Chad but he will do fine. Chad is very relaxed as he has already met his main goal of just making it to the finals.

Nedim took this shot of me in my "blog" position.

Stay tuned... looks like they are starting. Peter Collinson is doing the demo flight for the judges right now.. 0845. New Pictures on the "Nats Pictures 2008" link

Down to Andrew now as he is putting in a pretty good round... slight flaws. Chip appears to us to be in the lead right now with the best flight. Chad next.

George Kennie

Ok Chad had a pretty good flight with some minor deviations. It was not as solid as he has flown in the past... he seems to be taking it in stride. QQ just flew but it appears his plane did not make sound... they have impounded it. Yikes!

Shaun up now. He had a strong flight and will be in good position I think.

They retested Quique's Euphoria and it passed.

Ok Brett and Jason have just flown. Prior to that both Quique and Chip were tied with Andrew right behind. We will have to wait for the results. Quique is having engine problems and has been running up his airplane... he may be going to the backup for the first round of Unknowns.

It's break time before the demo pilot takes the judges through the 1st Unknown round.