For three days in early February dawn to dusk, the serenity of the green agricultural fields surround the Coachella Valley RC Club (CVRCC) were awash in sounds of model turbine engines. Welcome to the Jerry Unruh Memorial Jet Rally 2023.
After months of preparation under the guidance of CD Dan Metz, we had almost 50 pilots registered. These radio control jet turbine pilots descended on the spectacular flying field, with their amazing aircraft in tow, some as far as Arizona, adjacent southwest states, and one from Brazil, placing the CVRCC on the international flying venue. For 2023, the club dedicated the rally to fellow club member and benefactor Jerry Unruh, who unexpectedly passed away in 2022. Being a skilled turbine pilot, Jerry loved flying his huge bright green CARF Mephisto to its limits. To Jerry, we salute you.
This year’s flightline was equally impressive with over 100 jets of all types and sizes. From the balsa kit built “Johnny Jet” designed by John Buckner to the massive crown-jewel MIBO twin turbine A-10 by Jordan Factor that took over three years and $30K to build. We also had several great flight demonstrations by amazing piloting skill by Team CARF Elad Fish’s 3D Mephisto, Jan Sunberg’s CARF MiG-17 and award-winning scale flights by Gabrielle Pellegrini’s Feiboa T-33.
In addition to participating pilots, we had great attendance by local communities’ spectators, many of whom had never seen such activities. Dan Metz and supporting club members distributed even flyers to nearby RV parks, Community Centers, and the famous Palm Springs Air Museum. Equally enjoyable was the on-site catering of authentic Mexican cuisine that kept everyone fed as pilots flew from sun-up to sun-down.
The Coachella Valley RC Club also recognize that we do not stand alone. The support and generosity of our event sponsors and club members is sincerely appreciated. Many of these sponsors join us each year, some with new projects not yet on the market. These include Banana Hobby’s Lancer B-1 EDF, Global Jet Club’s James Bond turbine BD-5J, Kingtech’s G4 K-85 turbine and new releases of radios from FrSky RC Inc.
Reflecting back on the three-day event, we cannot be happier of the outcome. The comradery of pilots, praises from spectators, support of our sponsors, club members and their families, and the financial gain from various proceeds. These moneys earned enable the club to support causes we endear including Wounded Warriors, Rebuilding America’s Warrior (RAW), and Tunnel to Towers. Thank you to everyone for their participation and support.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY RALPH SQUILLACE