New Zealands Team at the 2005
Tucson Aerobatic Shootout:
"Bogan" - Invitational Pilot
Briggs "Baldrick" - Bogans Caller & Moral Standards Officer
Belworthy "Ice Bitch"
Graeme Giles "Grumpy"
- John Glezellis
- Quique Somenzini
- Bill Hempel
- Kyle Woyshnis
- Frazer Briggs
- Jason Noll
- Andrew Jesky
- Jason Shulman
- Bernd Beschorner
- Marco Benincasa
- Chip Hyde
- Joe McBride
- Don Szczur
Once again we made
the annual trip back to the Arizona Desert for this years Tucson
Shootout. The weather back in NZ was not too bad during September, so we
managed to get several good sessions in at Waharoa with the big 260.
This years team for Tucson was once again the old man, Baldrick, Alan
Belworthy, and Graeme Giles who had never been to the US before….boy was
he in for a shock !
As always the weather is
stunning when we stay in Phoenix for some pre shootout practice. A balmy 40
degrees with no humidity, its shorts and jandals all the way. The field where we
fly for 4 or 5 days is an old airbase we call “the moon”, in the distance are
the superstition mountains, the scenery is very baron, so this is how it gets
its nickname. We’ve met some local modelers here who look after us, and some
fantastic bar-b-q’s are always the norm.
This years Tucson Shootout
had a few format changes. In the past the top class was Unlimited. Now they have
an even harder class especially tailored for the invitational pilots. An extra
day of competition with the event now starting on Wednesday. 5 known schedules
to learn, each one more difficult than the last. Sportsman through to Unlimited
being run each morning over two flightlines, and the Invitational being flown in
the afternoon on a single flightline. The new format worked really well. Not
having a Sportsman guy buzzing around randomly while you’re trying to nail a
sequence was superb.
The weather during the comp
was near perfect. No wind at all for the first three days. Picking the best
direction to fly took a lot of windsock gazing. In fact it was almost a case of
who could stand the extreme temperatures without making a mistake on the
sequence. It was a close battle for the top three spots between myself, Quique
Somenzini and Mark Leseburg. After the first three days, we had each won a round
or two, so it was shaping up to be a very close weekend. The weather was about
to turn nasty though, with strong winds forecast, plus with a chance of rain.
Here’s where practicing
back home in wind big enough to blow a dog off a chain pays off. The wind on
Saturday was tough, probably 30 to 40 knots, and a crosswind blowing directly
out. Yipee. Luckily no rain though. There’s only one way to fly when its that
windy, and that’s at full bore ! I won that afternoon’s known round, a great
lead into Sunday’s final day. Sunday was still as windy, but not a crosswind, so
not quite as bad. As expected the Unknown sequences were harder each day, with
Sundays being a real cracker. The last Known sequence was a real challenge, and
it needed to be. The judges have a tough job at this level, the sequences are
very complex, yet the flying is still near perfect.
During Saturday and Sunday
three rounds of freestyle were held. This year a few guys flew smaller 100” ARF
models. Looks like a good idea to me, the models are cheaper and easier to fix
if the desert jumps up, plus there is no risk of knocking yourself out of
contention from the main contest. The 100” / 100cc combo means they have a lot
more pace than the 3m models, so can pack more into the 4 minutes. Smokin' Joe
McBride from California came out a bit low on a 3D maneuver (a blender), his
caller wasn’t quick enough with the shovel, and it went in inverted with a
whack. His buddies set to work, a few bottles of CA and a borrowed canopy later,
he was soon back in business and ready for the next round of freestyle later the
same day ! He was not the only one to give his model a 50 grit desert touchup.
The public in attendance is a good size crowd considering the field is a 40
minute drive from Tucson. Of course they are primarily there for the Freestyle
On to the awards. I was
stoked to hang onto 3rd place in the Invitational class. Chip Hyde
made a late run moving from 6th to 4th on the last day.
Quique Somenzini was 2nd. Mark Leseburg won the both the Invitational
class and the freestyle.
So yet again a bloody good
trip, we’re already looking forward to next year !
Mark Leseburg 1st, Quique Somenzini 2nd,
Frazer Briggs 3rd
Team New Zealand
Kiwis and Germans
2005 Shootout Links
Flying Cirkus Gallery