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Written by Dennis Norman
Clouds, wind, rain, and other bothers
As seen in the June 2017 issue of
Model Aviation.

Following the close of the 2015 Non-Nats, the Flying Aces Club (FAC) reserved the entire Geneseo, New York, Quality Inn hotel for the 2016 FAC Nats, to be held July 13-16, 2016. For unknown reasons, the employee taking the reservation failed to enter it into the hotel’s records. This would have far-reaching effects for the FAC’s 2016 gathering.

My wife, Linda, volunteered to be my copilot for the 2016 trip. Linda had worked earlier in the day, so I suggested that she sleep while I drove. As we moved east along Lake Erie, I noticed a long finger of darkening clouds ominously pointing the way to Geneseo. It stayed with us for the whole trip.

Our delayed departure meant that I missed the Scale judging, but I had made plans to meet with Ralph Kuenz and Paul Boyanowski at 8 p.m. for a late supper at the Denny’s restaurant next to the Quality Inn. We arrived in Geneseo shortly after 7:30 p.m.

FAC veteran Tom Arnold won the Blue Max and thrilled the crowd with his B-26B Martin Marauder. Photo by Clive Gamble.

After checking in, I left Linda to rest and went to Denny’s. Ralph and Paul were not there. Puzzled, I drove to the flying field, to find that they were not there either. I stayed at the field and watched test flying until well after sunset then I went back to Denny’s, only to be chided by Ralph and Paul for “being late.” After explaining what had happened, all was forgiven. We visited, told jokes, and reminisced until 1 a.m.

On July 14, we awoke to a cloudy sky and intermittent rain. Linda elected to spend the morning at the hotel. She had books to read, her computer to browse, and hoped to spend time by the swimming pool. We agreed that I would return for lunch. When I arrived at the field, I was greeted by my friend, Richard Miller, who was celebrating his 88th birthday! Richard looks and acts 20 years younger and is an inspiration to all.

Next, I drove to pick up a golf cart. After a brief orientation to the cart’s controls, I drove it to Charlie Sauter’s tent because he had agreed to share the cart with me. I then chatted with friends for a couple of hours. One of them was Don Srull, who observed that the weather was “terrible, terrible.” By early afternoon, I returned to the hotel.

July 15 began with sun, clouds, and 20 to 25 mph winds! When I arrived at the field, I discovered 11-year-old Ben Dion sitting on my golf cart. Thinking that he was hoping to take a ride, I invited him to join me for a tour of the flightline. We stopped to pick up Ben’s young friend, Gryffin Syme.

Doug Beardsworth’s fantastic Kawasaki Ki-46 Dinah is at rest before winning FAC Giant Scale for 2016. The aircraft is a magnificent flier. Photo by Charlie Sauter.

As we continued, Ben told me that Charlie had let Ben and Gryffin use our cart the day before. It turned out that they had accepted tips from grateful FAC members who hopped rides with them. When I inquired as to how much they had received in tips, Ben said, “About $60!” Upon further questioning, Ben clarified that he and Gryffin had received only about $12 in tips, and that they had split the money to buy gliders.

Our tour continued to the area of dense beans that were planted by the runway on the north side of the field. As we arrived, we noticed several people searching for models that had disappeared in the beans. I spotted one, sent the boys to get it, and had them return it to its grateful owner.

The bean field was deceptive. Initially it appeared that the plants were only 6 inches or so above ground, but when Ben laid down in one of the trenches between the beans, he disappeared completely! Beneath the leaves were trenches approximately 18 to 20 inches deep.

We spent a couple of hours helping FAC pilots recover their models from the bean field and gave several free rides on the golf cart to exhausted searchers who were struggling to get back to their tents. The boys were genuinely impressed by the kindness and generosity of FAC members and enjoyed helping them. I explained that helping is a big part of the FAC spirit.

Matt King poses with his colorful, but damaged, Fokker D.VII after its unfortunate crash during the World War I Combat event. Matt’s skill at model repair will happily put the Fokker D.VII back in action on a later day. Photo by Vic Nippert.

One final story involved Paul Morris, who launched his handsome ducted-fan Hawker Hunter, only to have it go out of sight into the bean field. After a lengthy search, Paul gave up and we drove him back to his tent. His model was soon found and returned, and Paul gleefully celebrated by entertaining everyone with musical interludes throughout the day.

Gale-force winds were howling by 1 p.m., just minutes before 23 pilots launched their models in the FAC Greve Trophy Race. The race started as scheduled, but most of the models were dashed to the ground and damaged. Richard Zapf was declared the winner with his Goon, but flying stopped for the day because of the weather.

On Saturday, July 16, I stopped on the way to the field to get gas. A wind gust suddenly—and forcefully—slammed the car door into my right leg just above the ankle. The wound bled profusely and forced me to go to the nearby Noyes Health emergency room.

The fabulous Brit, Mike Stuart, built his golden Cessna 310 from Chris Starleaf plans. He delighted the FAC crowd during one of Geneseo’s rare moments of clear sky. Gamble photo.

When I finally arrived at the field, I drove Charlie to the World War II mass launch. As he prepared for it, I drove the cart a safe distance away to see the models launch.

Forty-one contestants participated in the launch, which proved to be one of the most spectacular of the show.

Charlie Sauter captured the spectacular launch of 21 low-wing military trainers. Despite Wally Farrell’s (extreme left) launch of his Fiat G.46, Tom Nallen Jr. won the event with his de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk. Sauter photo.

The FAC’s closing banquet was held on the State University of New York at Geneseo campus at the MacVittie College Union student center. MacVittie served us a tasty buffet and there was an open bar for those who wanted (or needed) it. As usual, the after-dinner program was long, but conversation with our table companions, the Nipperts and the Timmons, made for an enjoyable evening.

The announcements revealed that 135 contestants had competed with hundreds of models flown. Despite the weather, 1,286 official flights took place. The Jet Cat event, with 173 official flights, was the fastest growing event of the Nats.

Hall of Fame winners Don Srull and Wally Farrell check out Wally’s handsome Bestetti-Nardi BN.1 before making another outstanding flight. Photo by Clive Gamble.

Veteran photographer Alan Abriss joined the FAC in 2015. He produced a 118-minute DVD with highlights from the 2016 FAC competition, which is available through Homegrown Television Productions.

Event Facts

• 2016 was the Flying Aces Club’s (FAC) 20th celebration of its biennial Nats.
• 135 contestants participated in 2016, versus 130 in 2014, and 148 in 2012.
• Hundreds of superb Free Flight Scale models were judged on July 13, 2016.
• 31 FAC events were flown.
• Computer tabulation of the results soared.
• Musical interludes were offered by Paul Morris.
• Participation by Junior competitors continued to rise.

Tom Hallman Journal

Tom Hallman sent me an email stating that he wrote a journal that includes text, photos, and videos from the 2016 FAC Nats in Geneseo. The entire journal can be accessed through the link listed in the “Sources,” and he welcomes readers to view it.

I’ll see you in Geneseo July 19-22, 2017, for the FAC Non-Nats. Hopefully, by the time you are reading this, your hotel reservations will have already been made!

2016 FAC Nats Event Winners

Event Total Class Entries Winner Airplane
FAC Rubber Scale 27 Tom Hallman Hodek HK-101
FAC Jumbo Scale 7 Tom Hallman MiG DIS
FAC Giant Scale 7 Doug Beardsworth Kawasaki Ki-46 Dinah
FAC Pioneer Scale 3 Tom Hallman Blériot XXVI
FAC Power Scale 7 Don Srull Pterodactyl
FAC Low Wing
Military Trainer 21 Tom Nallen II de Havilland DHC-1
FAC Golden Age
Multiwing 4 Tom Hallman Waco YKC
FAC Modern Civilian 19 Don DeLoach Pilatus PC-6
FAC Modern Military 8 Don DeLoach Bearcat
O.T.R., Fuselage 18 Pat Murray Jabberwock
FAC Jimmie Allen 16 Don DeLoach Skokie
FAC Simplified Scale 19 Matthew King Piper PA-16
FAC Dime Scale 24 Jim DeTar Waco E
FAC Jet Catapult 21 Vic Nippert Hawker Hunter
FAC Fiction Flyer 5 Jack Moses Booth Ranger
FAC Thompson Race 23 Don DeLoach Cessna CR-2
FAC Greve Race 23 Richard Zaph Goon
FAC Goodyear Formula Race 15 Tom Nallen II Leighnor Special
FAC WW I Combat 23 Don DeLoach Bristol Scout
FAC WW II Combat 41 Wally Farrell Heinkel 100D
B.L.U.R. Race 5 Tom Hallman Mr. Smoothie
1/2 Wakefield 16 Don DeLoach Blunder Bus
Golden Age Monoplane 27 Richard Zaph Cessna CR-34
Old-Time Rubber Stick 6 Don DeLoach Red Buzzard
No-Cal Profile 17 Glen Simpers P-40
Phantom Flash 13 Pat Murray Phantom Flash
Embryo Endurance 26 Oliver Sand Maxout
GHQ Peanut Scale 16 Wally Farrell Chambermaid
WW I Peanut 16 Tom Hallman Martinsyde S.1
Stout 2-AT Mass Launch 15 Dave Mitchell Stout 2-AT

2016 FAC Nats Award Winners

Award Winner(s)
Founding Fathers Award Michael Sand
Dave Stott Award Oliver Sand (highest-scoring Junior)
Lin Reichel Memorial Mentor Eddie Elfaro, John Murphy, Scott Richlen
Vic Didelot FAC Spirit Award Ralph Kuenz
FAC Nats Perfect Attendance Ross Mayo, Jack Moses, Fernando Ramos, Ray Rackow, John Stott
FAC Hall of Fame Inductees Don DeLoach, Wally Farrell, John Houck Sr., Roger Willis

Milestone Kanone Winners

300 FAC Victories Wally Farrell
200 FAC Victories Tom Nallen II
100 FAC Victories Winn Moore, Mike Nassise
Blue Max Award Tom Arnold, Dave Pishnery
2016 Overall Grand Champion Tom Hallman
2016 Grand Champion (Scale) Tom Hallman
2016 Grand Champion (Non-Scale) Pat Murray

-Dennis Norman


National Free Flight Society (NFFS)

Ross Mayo, president

Geneseo Quality Inn
(585) 243-0500

Homegrown Television Productions

Photography by Alan Abriss

Geneseo 2016—A Journal by Tom Hallman

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