Florida Jet Week

Scale, aer­o­bat­ics, freestyle, and for­ma­tion—some­thing for ev­ery­one!

Model Airplane News - - CONTENTS - By Rich Urav­itch

Florida Jet Week is a com­bi­na­tion of the an­nual 22-yearold Florida Jets fly-in and the newer Red Flag com­pe­ti­tion. Pro­moter and Top Gun orig­i­na­tor Frank Tiano con­ceived it as a means of bring­ing to­gether RC en­thu­si­asts with a love of sport and of scale jet mod­els for an ex­change of ideas and to pro­vide an event that is truly ex­cit­ing for spec­ta­tors, even those not in­volved in the hobby. For the “fun fly” Florida

Jets por­tion, there is no judg­ing or scor­ing, just pure jet­ting around a near-per­fect Florida sky. The Red Flag com­po­nent, how­ever, is hotly con­tested with cash prizes and is based on par­tic­i­pat­ing fliers per­form­ing a series of ma­neu­vers within dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories. The freestyle cat­e­gory had some ex­cep­tional fliers putting their mon­ster jets through amaz­ingly pre­cise and some­times dra­matic ma­neu­vers, all chore­ographed to mu­sic. Some of these fliers came from over­seas and far­away places to pro­vide a vis­ual ba­sis for com­par­i­son among the skills of fliers from other parts of the world. All were ex­cep­tional. The

Team cat­e­gory re­ally cap­tured my in­ter­est, with five teams en­tered; watch­ing them bat­tle it out for top hon­ors was truly an ex­pe­ri­ence. When the smoke cleared (lit­er­ally), Team Viper bested the group, fol­lowed by Team No­body and Team Elite.

Al­though it was ini­tially chilly for the event, those com­ing from north­ern climes and over­seas were al­ready ac­cli­mated and those of us na­tive trans­plants suf­fered a bit. The breeze was steady and not al­ways right down the run­way, chal­leng­ing the fliers on hand. Clearly, the new breed of large “sport” jets have an ad­van­tage, with the heav­ier mod­els seem­ingly touch­ing down at just above walk­ing speed. And these large jets dom­i­nated the event in vir­tu­ally all cat­e­gories. Elite Aerosports Hav­ocs and CARF Mephis­tos seemed to be ev­ery­where, along with a good mix of Leonar­dos, Vipers, and Dol­phins among the sport jets.

One thing was ev­i­dent to me as a wan­dered around the week­long event: Jet mod­el­ing, at this level, is not for the faint of heart or shal­low of pocket. Mak­ing a rough cost es­ti­mate of the “typ­i­cal” jet on hand, I came up with $7,000 to $8,000 as an av­er­age. That’s on the ramp, ready to go. Think I’m kidding? Do the math: “kit,” tur­bine sys­tem, re­tracts, ra­dio, and other good­ies... the num­ber is easy to de­ter­mine. Now, some guys pre­fer to have some­one else, with per­haps more ex­pe­ri­ence, put all those com­po­nents to­gether to pro­duce a ready-to-fly pack­age. Add $$ for this ser­vice and 10 grand be­comes a re­al­is­tic num­ber. Talk­ing with a lot of the par­tic­i­pants, how­ever, I con­cluded that cost is rarely part of the con­ver­sa­tion. It’s not used as a yard­stick by which any­thing is mea­sured. In spite of the costs in­volved, the peo­ple who pur­sue this seg­ment of the hobby en­joy their pur­suits just like the folks who fly their foamie F-4 on the week­ends. And that’s as it should be, right?

The thrust-vec­tor­ing, 102-inch-span, 52-pound CARF Mephisto flown by Markus Rum­mer has a unique paint scheme.

Not all tur­bine-pow­ered ma­chines need be aerial hot rods; scale sailplanes work well also. This is one of two on hand for grace­ful, quiet aer­o­bat­ics.

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