With the 2019 flying season around the corner, I thought I would post this story again about getting my giant scale Fokker Triplane in shape to compete at the 2016 Top Gun Scale Invitational. For me, being invited by Frank Tiano to compete, is a big deal. I was extremely pleased with how well my big Triplane performed since it had been several years since I last flew in front of judges. There’s lots to consider if you ever decide to compete with a big WW I airplane, so here are some of my personal notes of what I could have done better. The first thing you should do is go over every single piece of hardware and equipment and check to make sure it is all in proper order.
1. Turn and get lined up when my caller tells me to. Being off heading in front of the judges requires corrections which lower your flight score.
2. Check everything when inspecting your airplane. On my second round I had a dead-stick and landed in the rough damaging my landing gear’s sub-wing which required repairs. The clunk and pick up line in the tank came off! The little details count big time.
3. Slow down. Even though my Triplane is a model of a replica show plane which was faster and more powerful than a WW1 Fokker Triplane, I still flew too fast. This affected my Realism scores. Also, flying closer in to the flightline would have helped me slow down my maneuvers.
4. Much more practice needed on my vertical maneuvers, and of course centering the maneuvers more would also help. Oh also, next time no smoke system! A smoke trail looks great but it also shows instantly all of my flight corrections. The flight judges don’t need any help spotting piloting flaws.
5. Right after your last flight round, prep you model and get it ready for its next flight. Top off the batteries if you have too, refill the gas tank and go over everything to make sure all is flight ready, then you can relax under the Warbird Alley tent!
Overall, I had a really great time and I felt very successful. I came, I flew, I learned and I went back home with an airplane in the same number of pieces I left with. That’s a win/win/win in anyone’s log book.