What do several thousand feet of manicured grass, eight flight lines, aircraft flying nearly 24 hours a day, and the world’s largest gathering of old flying buddies have in common? They’re all part of Joe Nall 2017, the largest RC aviation event on the planet. Once again, the Triple Tree Aerodrome was home away from home to the aeromodelling community for 8 full days in sunny South Carolina.
For those who’ve attended Joe Nall Week before, it’s no secret that Triple Tree is always changing. Every year brings bigger and better facilities with this year being no exception. Over the past 12 months, an education center emphasizing the importance of aviation has been constructed enabling Triple Tree to be a place of learning and inspiration for youth of all ages. This state of the art facility will help secure the future of this great hobby. 2017 also brought further improvements to the grounds. Adding to what already looked like the world’s largest putting green, founder Pat Hartness and the gang added more premium campsites and have nurtured the grass in other camping areas into lush green landscapes. It’s difficult to imagine that Triple Tree could be any better, but every year brings new surprises and additions.
Now to the action! In addition to the classic flight line, 3D flight line, two electric lines, float plane station at the lake, control line area, and helicopter section (if all this wasn’t enough), this year an FPV course sponsored by Multi GP rounded out the meet. The FPV course consisted of 14 LED lit gates that were used for fun flying and formal competition both day and night throughout the week. Adding to the excitement in this area, several pro-level FPV racing pilots attended this inaugural event and wowed onlookers every time they took to the sticks. The sound of a quad running full power as it screams through the course at a right angle to the ground is incredible!
Highlights of the week included a twin turbine CARF B2 stealth, a blistering fast turboprop retrofitted P51, Jase Dussia’s insane noon-time demo’s, nightly aerobatics over the 3D pond with lights and smoke on, tow full rows of vendors/mobile hobby shops, a 5k run, and the list goes on and on.
One of the high points of the event came during the noon-time flight demonstrations on Friday. Right in the middle of the action, with a ton of spectators intently watching, a breaking announcement came across the sound system informing the crowd that the FAA’s ruling requiring the registration of model aircraft had just been overturned. Immediately, a huge applause with loud cheers swept across the field. It couldn’t have been announced at a more appropriate venue or time!
There are many facets to Triple Tree, such as seeing the world’s best pilots putting their aircraft through their paces, being with like-minded individuals and swapping flying stories, buying that new airplane from one of the dozens of vendors, walking through the hangar/museum, attending the annual meeting of the AMA against a backdrop of a full-scale P51, or watching the sunset with float planes silhouetted high above the glistening water. Triple Tree is more than just a place where an annual fly-in is held, it’s a magical escape from the everyday world and a place that inspires the passion for model aviation.
One can be lost for words trying to describe the atmosphere of Joe Nall Week, so here’s a gallery showcasing the week in RC paradise.