2017 Marion Spring Contest Sponsored by Wichita Historic Aircraft Modelers (WHAM) a Winner

By Jeff Renz

Things went well at the WHAM (Wichita Historical Aircraft Modelers) contest in Marion, KS June 3rd and 4th 2017.

Although there was always rain and T-storms in the weather forecast, it never actually rained on us during the flying time.  Wind was not really a factor.  There were some gusts on Sunday but it was still very flyable with thermals present.  (Note that the partly cloudy sky created stop and go flying due to cooling and heating of the prairie field landing strip).  Mike Basta and Jeff Nisley went down the Friday night before the contest to represent HAFFA and set up and test fly their models.  The local hotel rooms were difficult to obtain due to a large Marion city park celebration. Mike and Jeff Nisley were staying at Hillsboro the closest town over from Marion.  Jeff Renz made it down on Saturday morning.  Jeff’s sister Jana brought his nephew Ayden Johnson and niece Juliana Johnson over to fly from McPherson Kansas which is 40 minutes west of the Marion flying field.  There were competitors from Arkansas, East Texas, DFW Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado.  Lots of powered flights were completed which was very evident by the smell of nitro methane and the sound from high revving model airplane engines.

Many mass launches were held.  Jeff Nisley flew his Fokker D8 in the WW1 mass launch.  This was great because we have not had any HAFFA representation for WW1 FAC until this year.  Jeff Nisley’s Fokker D8 is a work of art and received many positive comments from the other contestants.  Don Deloach from Colorado Springs area spent time with Nisley on some flight trimming techniques.  Don also gave a primer on braiding rubber motors which was really informative.  Nisley is going to present the braiding method in our up coming business meeting. 

Mike Basta was able to make many flights with his tip launch discuss launch gliders as well as putting up his FAI coupe for several flights.  Mike flew his Jader 60 towline glider in NOS towline late Saturday afternoon.  During the tow up a sharp gust caused catastrophic spar failure and the wing separated in half.  The rest of the plane survived and will be ready for the October HAFFA Marion contest.

Ayden and Juliana Johnson flew AMA catapult gliders and had a ball.  This year Ayden entered a couple of rubber events.  P-30 and Open rubber.  Ayden got the surprise of his life when the plane he was flying the open rubber event and made an out of site flight claimed by thermal god HUNG.  The plane was Bob K s Flying Aces Moth.  Renz helped set it up in the stooge and had Ayden put 500 winds in the motor.  Ayden then launched the Moth and it made a 60 foot circle and spiraled into the tall grass undamaged.  Ayden seemed a little disappointed with the effort.   A 1/32 thick balsa shim was installed in the trailing edge of the stabilizer and another attempt was made.  Ayden was told to add 800 turns into the motor.   This time it was more exciting.  The Moth climbed up 50 feet and made a hard spiral right hand dive towards the ground.  Within 5 feet of the ground it pulled up gradually as the torque burned off.  It caught a thermal at about 50 feet.  It might be time to mention that during the installation of the balsa shim Ayden asked what the aluminum tube in the back bottom of the Moth fuselage was for.  Renz explained that was for the dethermalizer mechanism and that it would not be needed due to the fact that this was still a test flight and the old model was having difficulty flying anyway.  Ayden asked how the fuse should be installed.  Renz told him he would not need to install it or light it.  Hmmmmmmmm at about 500 feet Ayden said …uncle Jeff I think we should have used a fuse!  Bob’s Moth continued to fly north west towards the Marion golf course and directly over the city.  The model was a small spec in the sky when it went into the clouds.  Bob K had passed away several years ago but he got his model back!  He was heaven watching it I am sure.  I am sure he enjoyed watching the flight from above.  Ayden was stunned.  This was only the second time he had launched a fully wound outdoor stick and tissue model and it went OOS.  A flight we will never forget.

The FAC Jet Cat event was well attended. Jeff Nisley and Mike Basta did quite well.  Deloach helped Nisley with some launch techniques.

Over all the contest was well attended.  We would like to thank Chuck and Linda Powell and the WAHM club for putting on a great contest!  Thanks to Jeff Englert for running all the mass launch events and FAC events.

Just when we left the Marion field a real gulley-washer rainstorm hit Sunday late afternoon.  We were on the pavement finishing loading up the motorcycles and some airplane boxes when it hit. We were all able to make it home safely.

Just a reminder the up and coming Marion October 1st contest sponsored by our club is worth the 2 hour trip to Marion.  Even if you only go for the day.  Lots of socializing and commradry with modelers from multiple states who have a passion for flying freeflight models like we all enjoy.

Also would we would like to thank Lynn Chaffee, Jack Vetter, Charley Taylor and Liz for helping with the OPEN HANGAR DAY event which was the same day as the Marion Contest June 3 out at the Olathe Naval AirStation Commemorative Airforce event. They ran the build and take session for the foam plate gliders.  Their help was really appreciated so that we could attend the Marion Contest.

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