Florida Jets 2020

The Road to Top Gun 2011

The Road to Top Gun 2011

As we reported last year for the 2010 Top Gun, we again are offering a sneak peek for some of the great models and the pilots who build and fly them heading into the 2011 Scale Invitational. At the Model Airplane News office, we want to keep stirring up the excitement for one of the best scale events in the world–Top Gun from Lakeland, FL. This pagewill remain an open book as we add information and photos of the competitors as we receive them. You’ll be the first to see these amazing planes and the Pilots/Builders that will compete in 2011.

As we put this page together, the event is about 2 1/2 months away so keep coming back and see who’s been added. If you want to have information of your own to share, contact us at man@airage.com or leave a comment below.

Here are some of the pilots/builder and their planes!


Updated: March 9, 2011


Jason Bauer, FeiBo SU-27 Flanker

(Above) A member of Team USA for the 2011 Jet World Masters Jason is entering his impressive 1/9-scale FeiBo SU-27 Flanker in the Pro Am category. It is powered with twin KingTech USA kerosene-start K-80S putting out 19lbs of thrust each. The Flanker has a scale cockpit, working speed brake, opening canopy and a working drogue chute. Its radio system is powered with a Duralite Spectrum Royal PowerBox, and 4 Li-Mn battery packs. This picture is from Florida Jets 2011 where it made its static debut but was still under construction so didn’t fly. We can’t wait to see this awesome jet in the air at Top Gun.



Here (below) are the latest update pix from Bob Fiorenze. He will be flying this amazing all-black F-14 Tomcat with articulated sweep wings. Bob’d entry is electric powered and you can find more information below in his original post for the Tomcat further down the page. An intersting fact, is that Bob was, back in 1988, the very first winner to hold the title of Mr. Top Gun. Click here: http://tinyurl.com/4jrsntz

Denny & Sean Cole, 100-inch-wingspan BT-13, Tampa, FL


 Here’s a sneak peek at this new team-scale entry from a father and son team. Dad Denny writes:

“My 18 year old son Sean and I will be competing in team scale with our 100inch wingspan BT-13A. It will be our first time competing at Top Gun. This BT-13 has been built based loosely on American Eagle, Pat Massey and Brian Taylor plans. . The plane is modeled after a BT-13A owned by Skip Enge, based in Apopka, Florida. I chose this subject because I like to do the less modeled aircraft and the BT-13 has always been special to me. I have tried using many methods to replicate polished aluminum skin on my planes but was never really happy with the many paints I had tried. I found an old roll of Home Depot roof flashing that had been in my shed for over 20 years. I pulled it out and was surprised at how light it seemed so I weighed it and calculated how much I would need to cover my project. Upon these calculations, it seemed that it would weigh less than if I used my caveman like method of glassing a balsa fuselage. I realized there were several compound curves that would need to be fabricated so I tried several pieces of aluminum and surprisingly I was able to make some respectable wing and tail fillets. I was hooked then and began planning and building with the intent of covering this model with real aluminum sheeting. Although I am still working on it, it looks like it will be no more than 34 pounds unless I add a smoke system which I plan on doing very soon.

I will bring some aluminum and tools to Top Gun and share how I have done this work with aluminum sheeting. Sean and I lo

ok forward to enjoying the company of so many modelers, please come by and say hello, we always enjoy talking full scale aircraft, scale RC airplanes and military aviation history.”




Bob Arnold, Lake Mary, FL  1/3-scale Morane-Saulnier AI

As a late entrant into the world of RC modeling, receiving my invitation to Top Gun 2011 was very special. I am entering a 1/3-scale Morane-Saulnier AI. I built it from the Balsa USA kit and I will be flying it  in the Pro-Am Sport class. My entry is modeled after an original full-size example owned by Kermit Weeks which is on display at his world-class facility, “Fantasy of Flight” in Polk City, FL.

My model is hand painted with Valspar latex house paint and powered by a Zenoah G-62 gas engine. I am using a Spectrum 2.4 radio for control.



David Wigley, Westland Wyvern

Here are some photos of my Westland Wyvern. It’s getting to be old news now…! Since the Beaufighter project isn’t ready yet I’ll be back at Top Gun 2011 with the Wyvern. I’m still working on squeezing more points in Static. You should tell everyone, that the model was a construction article in MAN and the plans are available at the www.airagestore.com website! (Editor’s note: We just did!)

Now that I have it dialed in the Wyvern really is a pleasure to fly. The only tricky part is crosswind takeoffs and landings. With that huge fin it wants to weathervane into the wind so you have to be on your toes with the rudder. I’m looking forward to trying out the new field and getting together with the best modelers around!

Jorge Escalona, Grumman Cougar, MiG-29

Here are photos of my Airworld Cougar that I will fly in Pro Am and my new (in progress) FiberClassics, MiG-29. It’s painted in the “Strizhi” Russian aerobatic team colors for the Unlimited Class.



Andreas Gietz, Thailand. P-47 Thunderbolt Razorback




The model is a Prototype for a new kit coming out by Composite ARF. It has a 112 inch wingspan, weighs 50 pounds, and is powered by a Moki 250 Radial engine.


Jim Prive, Tampa FL, 1/3-scale FlyBaby Bipe

This will be my first Top Gun. I have 23years in RC and I am in full-scale aviation as well. I will be flying a Zenoah 62 powered 1/3-scale FlyBaby Bipe in the Pro Am Class. I’m also an avid IMAC and Pattern flyer but have also had experience with rubber-powered free flight, pylon racing 3D aerobatics and floatplanes. I also enjoy helicopters and electrics from indoor to parkflyer. All the way up to full-scale Sopwith Camel restoration for the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome and many other home-built kit planes and other restorations.


Mike Barbee, T-34C

I will fly my T-34C in the Expert Class and I will be flying Eddie Newman’s Macchi in the Unlimited Class. The wing span is 117-inch, length is 113-inch and it weighs 46 lbs. The model is 26% scale from Bob Patton’s plans and molds. Retracts and brakes are from Robart Mfg., and the paint is PPG automotive base coat/clear coat. The graphics are painted with masks from Pro-Mark. This plane was tested last year but due to a seized cylinder I was unable to fly it. I did however finish third at the Scale Masters Championships with it in September. I am looking forward to both events and the warmer weather in Florida.


Richard Feroldi, Ansaldo SVA-5

My Ansaldo SVA-5 was scratch built from my own plans over

a 3 year period. Lee Henderson, Top Gun’s Color & Markings judge actually suggested it to me as a subject when I wasn’t certain what I wanted to build after my Airco DH-2 had timed out of Master’s Class competition. A number of things attracted me to the Ansaldo as a project: 1) It was rarely modeled which is always a priority for me, 2) its moments looked like it would make it a great flyer which turned out to be true, 3) it had a very colorful paint scheme, 4) it was a WWI aircraft where my main interest has always been (little known fact is that it was arguably the fastest WWI fighter), and 4) it was Italian and my grandparents came to this great country from Italy!

Basic Specs: 1/3 scale, Quadra 100cc engine, Futaba 12 channel, Approx 50 lbs, Bomb Drop, Leaflet Drop, Animated Pilot.

Ed Newman, Ft. Worth, Texas

My Macchi 200 is from plans done by Giuliano Raimondi. I enlarged the plans to ¼ scale which puts the wingspan at about 105 inches. I have been a draftsman for 38 years. So enlarging or drawing model plans comes easy for me. Years ago I did free hand lettering and sign painting which comes in handy when finishing a model.

The left wing is longer than the right wing as was the full size. First thing I did was contacted Darrell at Sierra to make the landing gear. He did a beautiful job and they work great. He also made the wheels and tail wheel unit. Next I made molds for the cowling, blisters, tail cone, canopy and the center section of the wing. Since then I have started another Macchi and have also made a mold for the headrest.

The plane weighs in at 44 pounds. Engine is a Fuji 86 twin cylinder gas. The airplane is your basic lite ply bulkhead/rib and balsa sheeting type construction. It was covered with 1 ounce cloth and Zpoxy resin. I used automotive primer and Klass Kote paint. All markings were painted on by myself. The emblem on the tail was a water slide decal made by Kyle Tankersley in Ft. Worth. Radio is a 12 channel 2.4 Futaba as are the servos.



Brian O’Meara, F-84


This is the first jet Brian have flown in competition and he now has over 100 flights on the model. Brian’s F-84 is from the “Phantasy In Blue” kit from Holland. It is powered by a Jetcat 200 turbine and is painted in 1958 Dutch Airship markings. The Dutch Airship team borrowed four planes from the U.S. for two weeks. This RC entry is the C.O.’s plane and he told the Dutch they could borrow it and repaint it, but they had to leave the nose art on it. Brian reports that it flies great. Joe Grice did the flight-metal finish and a local guy airbrushed on the artwork. The plane also has a smoke system.





This year, Graeme will be competing with his new 33% Super Cub PA-18. It is from his own plans, the same plans that I used for the Super Cub I did so well with at Top Gun in 2003, 04 & 05. The new one is modelled after a much different full scale. I started this project in 2004, and actually had it at Top Gun in 2005 in stage of construction at that time.

Here’s what Graeme has to say:

I have never taken so long to build a model. It kept getting pushed back because of all the paying projects that have come along over the past 7 years. This summer I made up my mind I just had to get it done. So it did get finished and I have about 20 flights on it to date. I am very please how it flies. There are a few things that I learned with the first one that were incorporated into the new one. For one thing, it has VG’s on the wings which really do make a difference, even on the model.

The construction of this model is totally scale from the same materials that are used in the full scale. I have been a fan of Piper Cubs for many years and have a huge library of Piper plans & catalogues, and 100’s of pictures I have taken over the past 25 years. I think this is the most accurate to scale model I have ever built. Will be interesting to see what the judges think!! I have known Dino Di Giorgio for a long time. I met him a

nd his Dad about 20 years ago and Dino has flown some of my models that long ago. However we have never ‘teamed’ in competition. So this year I have gotten together with him as pilot and entered in the ‘Team’ category. I want to dispel any rumours that Dave Shulman and I have parted company. We are still very much a ‘Team’ in the jet scene. But for this year our jet project just didn’t come together in time for TG. I am building Dave’s model for the WJM, and we will both be there together at Wright Patterson in July 2011.”


Mitch Epstein

Flying his 33% Scale WACO biplane built from a modified AMR kit, Mitch will be competing again at Top Gun in the Pro-AM Sport Class. Powered by a 5-cylinder Moki 215 radial engine , the model is covered with Nelson Lite Fab fabric painted with DuPont basecoat/clearcoat Automotive paint.Pink-It” tapes are added before the paint. Mitch’s radio is a JR 10X converted with a 2.4GHz. The model weighs 54lbs., has a span of 10ft., and has an onboard Sullivan smoke system.


Masters Scale—Italian Bird Dog


Paolo Bartotto of Arezzo, Italy, will be flying this amazing 50%-scale, scratch-built L-19 Bird Dog in Masters. It is around 175 inches in wingspan, weighs 77lbs., and is powered with a 3W 120cc boxer. It’s a replica of a full size observation plane still in pristine flight condition that flies in Oregon. The owner and pilot is a Vietnam veteran, friend of Paolo’s, who sent him pictures and documents of the full scale. Has great “presence” in the air, really easy to fly, including landing with full flaps.



Bob Fiorenze, Orlando, FL. F-14 Tomcat

Born in Brooklyn, NY. and moved to Florida in 1988. Have Three Daughters, Works in construction industry (Custom Homes) AIRCRAFT: Yellow Aircraft F-14 Tomcat 100″ Wing span weight 35lbs Radio JR 2.4 Variable geometry wing sweep capability W/ Spoiler system Power Twin BVM Electric batteries Thunder power 10S 6600ma per engine, Rotation Retracts and brakes Graphics By Pro Mark. Bob was the very first winner to top gun 1988 numerous other awards including Winner of Scale masters and AMA Nats. AMA Hall of Fame member.


Paul “Limey” Rice, Typhoon Mk. 1B

I’m located back in the UK helping out with my Mum and family. I am attending Top Gun this year with my Typhoon Mk. 1B this plane did very well in 2009 received a high static score considering I built it and finished it in less than four months, just the day befor the competition I was still painting and weathering in the back field hidden by the RVs then to top it off after static with the judges I decided to do a test flight and broke the wing into three pieces and spent the whole night re-building it so i could complete. I cleared all 4 rounds and after landing on the final round the wing fell apart again just after I called maneuver complete could not have been better LOL.

I have since re built a new wing and it is ready to compeat this year i hope i have better luck this time. Top Gun award winning planes, www.RCModelAirplaneBuilding.co.uk paul@rcmodelairplanebuilding.co.uk


Peter Goldsmith, Sydney Australia, Skymaster T-33

Been modeling for 35yrs Segment interests. Soaring, Racing, Scale Aerobatics Jets. Occupation: Marketing Position. Field Marketing Manager Horizon Hobby.

The Model for this year is a Skymaster T – 33. I purchased the model as a Kit, I E not painted etc and painted and detailed it myself. It’s pretty close to completion. Weight is 39lbs. Engine: Jetcat P-120. Transmitter: JR 12x.  Receiver: Spektrum 12ch Servos Rudder: JR 8411 Servos Aileron: JR8411 Servos Flap: JR 8711 Servos Air systems: JR378’s Batteries: Orion LIFe 2900mah. Break Valve: BVM Smooth Stop Paint Omini Base coat/clear.

Lou Cetrangelo, Saint James, NY. MK IX Supermarine Spitfire

My favorite airplane of all time always was the Spitfire. When Composite ARF came out with their MK IX Spitfire I just had to have one. I used Tom Duffy’s beautiful restored MK959 Spitfire as my subject. Some of the changes I made to the airframe were to make may own fiberglass strut covers, carbon fiber spinner, cannons, wing blisters, cockpit, antenna, scale aluminum exhaust, and landing lights. To keep the scale appearance with out having exposed engine parts showing, I used a 3W-110iR2 in line twin gas power plant. Cooling was a challenge but it works well using intake air from the small scale openings in the cowl. After passing through the cylinder fins the air is ducted out the right wing radiator with the help of two 12 volt DC fans. I am using a JR12 channel receiver with 10 Hitec servos. Power to run all the electronics, engine, fuel pump, fans and telemetry are provided by four 2,300 mah A123 NoBS batteries. The color and marking are done with Klass Kote epoxy paint. I used an air bush to create the soft edge between the dark grey and green colors. All of the markings were generated on my computer from the photos of the full size plane. Red5 used my files to make accurate vinyl paint masks. The plane flies very well and balances out perfect with no additional weight in the nose. Final weight came out to be 33 lbs which is not bad for a 102″ model with a lot of scale details.


Mark Frankel. Gladwyne PA, T-34B

The model is 1/4 scale. It has a 99 inch wingspan and weighs 42 lbs. it is powered with a Zenoah GT-80 twin cylinder gas engine. I’ll be flying the da-glo and white T-34B (pictures attached). The shot of me and Dave Malchoine Jr. was taken at Top Gun 2008 when the model was just completed. This was it’s first contest and it placed 7th in Team. In the next year it won the AMA Nats with Dennis Crooks flying. It also tied for high static score and won a special award given by the flight line judges for the most realistic flight of the event. Dennis will be my Team pilot this year at Top Gun.


Matt Lupri, Fw190 A-8 Vaillancourt Plans

I’ll be entering in Expert with my new Vaillancourt plan build of a Fw190 A-8. It is still in the works after 20 months, but getting very close to completion. It has a Moki 150 radial for power with JR 8 channel Radio, Sierra retracts and Glennis wheels. Looking forward to another fun filled event this year.

Rene Alvarez South Florida, F84G

This is an F84G from PST with a wingspan of 95 inches. It is done in Flite-Metal to reproduce the 1954 Thunderbird scheme. The model has operational canopy, speed brakes, flaps lights, etc. for power it has an RTI 2800 with 29 lbs of thrust. The model on takeoff weighs 42 lbs.


Updated: July 16, 2015 — 4:56 PM


Add a Comment
  1. 60. Hi there, I discovered your site by means of Google even as looking for a comparable topic, your web site got here up, it looks great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  2. I have started to build a Spitfire from Meister Scale. I know that Lou Cetrangelo has built one from Meister Sclae with a DA50. Could you put me in contact with Lou? I dont habe his e-mail.
    Felix from Switzerland

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