Held from April 28 through May 2, Top Gun 2004 was a grand showcase for some of the most impressive scale aircraft from around the world. Contestants from all over the country as well as from Argentina, Brazil, England, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Venezuela made this year’s scale invitational truly an international event. Top Gun continues to be popular with pilots because it is always being tweaked and improved. This year, a new category-the Pro/Am class—was introduced specifically to increase contestant participation. Unlike the other three classes (Masters, Expert and Team), models flown in Pro/Am do not fall under the “Builder-of-the-Model” rule (pilots don’t have to be the builders of the models they fly). Pro/Am rounds were flown on Thursday and Friday, and the top 15 pilots went on to compete in the final rounds on Sunday. As usual, four rounds were flown on Saturday and Sunday for Expert, Masters and Team. The best three out of four flight scores were tabulated and added to the model’s static score to determine final scores.
When you boil it all down, the pilots and the airplanes make Top Gun the event that it is. The Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (home of the EAA full-scale Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In) is a scale pilot’s dream; whether you want a long strip of tarmac or a grass runway, Top Gun has it covered. As usual, the competition this year was very close, and the level of expertise shown by all the builders and pilots is the highest you see anywhere. From turbine jets and multi-engine bombers to WW I and II fighters and classic civilian aircraft, there’s something to satisfy everyone.
All those associated with making Top Gun such a successful modeling venue, including the static and flight Judges, the scorekeepers and the members of the Imperial RC Club, deserve a big “Well done!” For more information on Top Gun, check the FTE website at franktiano.com.
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