TEXT AND PHOTOS BY PETER SCHAFFER
RC fun from the heart of “New Iceland”
Mega-size RC fun! The crowds enjoy the great weather and interesting RC models.
The “Heart of New Iceland,” Gimli Manitoba, is the site of the MAAC Zone D's fun-fly event known as the Gimli Model Fest (GMF). The Interlake RC Model Club hosted the eighth annual gathering of pilots, on their extremely flat and well-maintained prairie airfield, which is surrounded by fields of oats and barley. Eighty-nine pilots came from all places in between Thunder Bay and from as far west as Kelowna B.C. The GMF is so popular, that Enzo Riccio and his family scheduled their trip to Canada from Italy to coincide with the fun-fly. Enzo said that the main difference between this event and those in Italy is GMF's wide variety of airplane types and sizes.
ALL IN THE NAME OF FUN
A team of aircraft putting on a two-aircraft airshow.
The essence of the GMF event is hanging out and having great fun with friends. Campers start to arrive at the flying site eight days before the event. The weather was fully cooperative—hot and sunny days and cool nights. A debriefing of the day's activities took place every night around the fire pit. Tailgate parties took place around the aircraft hauling trailers and trucks as well as under the multitude of portable shade canopies.
The Gimli Model Fest Group Inc. was formed in 2004 for the express purpose of having fun and promoting model aviation in Manitoba and North Western Ontario. GMF proudly supports the activities of the Kiwanis Club of Gimli and the Gimli Art Club. The Kiwanis food catering trailer and the mini-donut stand keeps everyone well fed. The Gimli Art Club collects the admission at the gate and hands out the information brochures. The Mayor of Gimli brought greetings from the Municipal Council who are one of many groups that provide support and help for this event. It is a win-win arrangement for all involved.
All the pilots gathered for the “required” event photo.
The Avro Arrow in flight.
The runways and some of the facilities that were built for the WW II British Commonwealth Air Training program at the nearby full-scale runway are still been used by the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Glider Pilot training program. Their yellow aircraft with blue bands on the wings were a pleasure to watch as they made their approaches to the nearby runway. It was also exciting for the RC pilots to watch and hear the sound of the big round engines of the CL-215 water bombers as they were dispatched to their fire-fighting missions.
TIME FOR THE AIRSHOW!
Fred Young registering with Harold Kroeker. The administration was flawless.
Friday morning and afternoon was a dress rehearsal for the Sunday airshow. One hundred and forty-four 6–12 year old children and 30 staff from the City of Winnipeg Summer Escapes Camps, Community Development & Recreation Services Division arrived at the site by bus. They were very excited and happy to watch the various aircraft go through their routines. Colored poker chips were mixed in with the candy for the aerial candy drop. The tokens could be exchanged for time on the buddy box and for rubber-powered aircraft. The word “stampede” comes to mind in describing the charge out onto the airfield to collect the goodies. The children were divided into two groups based on age so that no one was left empty handed.
Saturday is a larger-scale version of what would occur on an ordinary club night. The difference is that there were over 200 aircraft of all types counted on the flight-line and that the airspace was usually constantly occupied by five aircraft at a time. This is a sport where everyone wants to see everyone else succeed. There was a constant flow of the sharing of parts, help and information from dawn to dusk and well into the night. The portable field shops brought by the pilot/builders and the ingenuity displayed in making repairs would make a bush plane field engineer proud and jealous.
The airfield is the veranda where people can visit with old friends and meet new friends. To top it off—there was a live five-piece band that played during supper until nightfall. Rockets were launched and aircraft equipped with LED lights took to the air. Enzo flew a routine that was choreographed to music. The color and the pattern of the lights on the aircraft constantly changed during the flight. No UFO reports were made.
The Sunday airshow which consisted of 38 acts over three hours began with an aircraft towing the Canadian flag, followed with an AVRO Aero aircraft while the National Anthem played. Don Forness provide a constant commentary about the various aircraft, their pilots and the relevance or history of the full-scale version. People could listen to the music and commentary over the field loud speakers or on a temporary short range FM radio transmitter that was set up by the Gimli Car Club.
So, if you like the smell of kerosene, glow fuel, a BBQ or the sounds of electric jets or the whisper of a launched sailplane or want to make wheel marks on the mornings dew-covered grass with the Dawn Patrol, then you have to come to Gimli in 2012. For more information, be sure to head to gimlimodelfest.com/
Winnipeg MAAC men launching a sailplane.
Len Carlson with 40-percent Yak 54 TOC Extreme model from Troy Built Models, wingspan 129 inches, 10 feet long, 3W 212cc QS 4 cylinder engine, weight 34 pounds.