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Article by Lee McDuffee.
Expanded coverage interjected with a historical narrative.
Includes videos from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
Dawn Patrol Rendezvous was featured in the February 2015 issue of
Model Aviation.

The dawn of the 20th century saw the empires of Europe on a course of action that would ultimately result in a Great War, a World War, a war that would have lasting consequences for all nations even a hundred years later. We look back during the centennial of the Great War, at a time when historical rivalries had not been resolved, where perceived wrongs could be corrected and territories lost previous conflicts could be rightfully reclaimed. And the new technologies of the 20th century, notably the machine gun and the recently invented aeroplane, would stand out as tools the militaries envisioned helping them achieve their goals of reclaiming lost territories and glories.

They all thought they’d be home for Christmas 1914 . . .

The Dawn Patrol Rendezvous is a unique fly-in / airshow hosted by the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton Ohio, in conjunction with the Great War Aeroplane Association, and features full-scale WW1 replica airplanes, giant scale R/C models, antique automobiles, re-enactors, historians, and vendors. Typically run on alternating years, the Museum made the decision following the 2011 event to move the date of the 9th Dawn Patrol Rendezvous back an additional year in order to coincide with the centennial of the start of the Great War in 1914.

While planning was underway by all groups almost immediately following the 2011 event, we actually didn’t have our first full planning meetings until the winter of 2013, primarily due to restrictions on the Museum caused by the budget battles in D.C. and sequestration (which had also led to the previous year’s cancelling of the popular D.O.G.S. Giant Scale also hosted by the Museum). And that first conference call gave us quite a scare regarding the R/C portion of the Rendezvous.

The Museum had come up with a revised layout for 2014 with the R/C models simultaneously flying at right angles to the primary full-scale flight line, in an area that was maybe only 1/3 the safe minimums recommended by AMA standards! We were finally able to sort this out (after reviewing and rejecting a number of alternatives) once we got down to the reason for the change. The Museum was hoping to create an atmosphere of constant activity at the Rendezvous by having full-time R/C flying along with the full-scales flying. Fortunately, we were able to show how the proposed layout would not work (many thanks to AMA Associate VP Randy Adams for sitting in on those early meetings), and that we would be more than happy with a layout similar to past events and with a schedule having us alternate with the full-scale flying.

While many of the heads of state of the great European Empires and Kingdoms in the early 1900s were related, there was no love lost nor familial loyalties amongst the empires. Instead, long-standing rivalries had led to treaties being forged that would entangle nearly all in the coming struggles.

The Empire of Germany had recently combined all the major kingdoms of Germany under the Kaiser, and forged an alliance with their large neighbor to the south, the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Kingdom of Italy was originally a part of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire looked favorably on aligning with those Central Powers, and Bulgaria and Romania were also being heavily recruited.

In turn, France and Russia formed an alliance to counter the Triple Alliance while Great Britain signed agreements with France (the Entente Cordial), and also made agreements with Russia; the three interlocking bilateral agreements became known as the Triple Entente. In addition, many smaller countries and kingdoms also aligned with one of the great powers, notably Serbia with Russia, and Belgium with Great Britain.

And all the great powers were in an active arms race developing new weapons for the upcoming conflicts all could see on the horizon.

With the general layout and schedule resolved by spring of 2014, Contest Director Doug Cox and I could start preparations for the event in earnest. Previous events had been limited to around 60 R/C participants, while for 2014 we opened the attendance to more than 80 fliers. Word was also coming that we could see as many as a dozen (or more) one-half scale airplanes in attendance; there was no question that the 2014 had the potential of being the biggest Rendezvous yet.

Summer of 2014 came and went as we received registrations while making preparations for the event. Our pre-event concerns mostly centered around getting our event shirts completed in time (they were, and were quite well received by the participants), getting information out to the participants (barely accomplished, as updates were still very sporadic in coming from the Museum), and (mostly) the weather. Heavy rains had put a damper (literally!) on the 2009 and 2011 events, and even though the event site was being shifted somewhat to try to avoid some low-lying ground used in previous events, we knew that a LOT of the event’s success or failure would hinge on Mother Nature.

From 1908 through 1913 a series of annexations, political maneuvering against Austria-Hungary and two regional wars (the First and Second Balkan Wars) greatly destabilized southern Europe between Austria- Hungary and the Mediterranean. Regions first broke away from the fracturing Ottoman Empire, and then Bulgaria fought a losing battle with Serbia and Greece. The entire region was known as the Powder Keg of Europe.

The fuse was lit on June 28th, 1914 when Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot dead in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six assassins that were part of a Serbian separatist movement. The assassination led to a month of diplomatic maneuvering, all unsuccessful, as Austria-Hungary, believing correctly that Serbian officials were involved in the plot, delivered an ultimatum to Serbia on July 23rd; a series of ten demands intentionally made unacceptable to provoke a war with Serbia.

Even though Serbia actually agreed to most of the demands, Austria-Hungary broke off diplomatic relations and on July 28, 1914 declared war on Serbia. This in turn caused Russia to mobilize against Austria-Hungary in defense of Serbia, which caused Germany to mobilize against Russia, which caused France to mobilize against Germany. More ultimatums were exchanged while armies were positioned and war plans reviewed. Finally, on August 2nd, 1914 all-out war was declared when Germany went on the offensive, executing their pre-war battle plan of attacking France from the north by first invading Luxembourg, and then Belgium (who refused permission for German troops to cross its borders into France). And once Germany’s attacked Belgium, Great Britain declared war with Germany on August 4th.

Thursday, September 25th was the primary arrival day for all participants in the Rendezvous - R/C, full- scale planes, re-enactors, vendors, etc. Very quickly the R/C pit area started filling up with dining flies and some outstanding scale R/C airplanes. We would ultimately have 82 R/C participants at the Rendezvous with around 120 planes. One fun part of the Rendezvous was seeing fliers greeting old friends for the first time! Many of our pilots are also very active on several of the internet forums (R/C Universe and R/C Scalebuilder, to name a couple), and while many frequently converse on the web, this was the first time they’d actually meet in person. Some great looking R/C models were brought to the Rendezvous, with most models either one-quarter or one-third scale, a few in smaller scales, and five models one-half scale or larger!

Keith Zimmerly of Mercerville NJ brought two halves to the Rendezvous, a one-half scale Nieuport 11 bebe and a Nieuport 28 in Swiss markings. Paul Westrich of Cincinnati OH brought his familiar one-half scale Fokker D.VI, now resplendent in a brand-new paint scheme with lozenge markings replacing the previous violet/green colors. Billy Thompson of Boggstown IN had his new one-half scale Sopwith Camel at the Rendezvous as well as his familiar quarter scale Ansaldo (repaired and flying after famously mid- airing at the 2011 event), and Gary Denzler of Brookville IN brought his popular 62% Santos-Dumont Demoiselle (it was rumored that there would be a full-scale Demoiselle at the event, but unfortunately it ended up being a no-show. We had hoped to see those two sitting side-by-side at the event!).

The daily schedule had the morning hours from (pre) Dawn until 9:00 am devoted to R/C, as well as the evening hours from 5:00 pm until dark. The in-between times were split between full-scale and R/C, depending upon the day. On Thursday the only full-scale activity would be two waves of airborne arrivals (which turned out to be a pretty cool gaggle of WW1 planes arriving en-mass mid-afternoon), so R/Cers had the air mostly to ourselves on Thursday, and it was a busy flying day up until the evening. Three large storage tents were made available to hanger the R/C planes overnight and were 2/3rds full by the time my wife Helen and I left the field Thursday evening for dinner and hotel.

And the weather forecast was calling for excellent weather throughout the event. I really hoped that for a change they’d be right!

In the Balkans, the war did not initially go well for Austria-Hungary, who had to split its forces to fight both Serbian and Russian force. Ultimately, success or failure in the Balkan Campaign would be determined by which countries aligned with whom. Italy would actually decide to align with the Entente Powers (forgoing its previous alliance with Austria-Hungary and Germany) as would Greece and Romania, while Bulgaria would join the war on the side of the Central Powers as had the Ottoman Empire.

The majority of German forces, meanwhile, would be committed to the attack of France through Belgium (hoping for a quick victory there prior to committing troops to an Eastern Front against Russia), and it was in the fighting there that it became apparent that current military tactics had not nearly kept pace with technology. It was much easier to create strong defensive positions, with barbed wire, improved artillery and especially the machine gun making crossing open land to attack entrenched troops a nearly hopeless cause. And in the sky, the aeroplane was proving its worth as observation planes on both sides were able to track troop movements; it was now much more difficult to mass troops in secret to stage an attack.

By September, with both German and Entente forces stalled, they then attempted maneuvering to the north trying to outflank each other in what became known as “the Race to the Sea”. That maneuvering ultimately failed, and as each side found themselves unable to outflank each other, unable to advance, and unwilling to retreat, the only recourse left was to dig. The Western Front would become a line of uninterrupted trenches from the Swiss border in the south to the North Sea coast of Belgium.

Friday at the Rendezvous had been set aside as “Media Op and Dress Rehearsal” day, and would be the first Rendezvous to have these activities on the schedule. As Helen and I arrived at the Rendezvous at a bit after 7:00 am, R/C was already in the air with just a bit of light ground fog adding to the ambiance – a GREAT weather start to the event! R/C would again fill in the hours between the full-scale operations, and there was no shortage of pilots taking advantage of the good air.

RC Event Director Lee McDuffee (right) looks on as Contest Director Doug Cox reviews safety items at the pilot’s meeting (photo by Larry Masters).

Full-scale Fokker Dr.I Triplane replica (photo by Larry Masters).

Model and Full-Scale replicas of Lothar von Richthofen’s Fokker Dr.I Triplane (photo by Mike Pennell).

Nieuport has been “shot down” during the full-scale airshow (photo by Larry Masters).

Doughboys rescuing downed Nieuport pilot (photo by Larry Masters).

The Media Op at 10:00 finally gave Doug Cox and I a chance to have our opening Pilots Meeting and to review the event’s coming schedule. We pointed out that as in previous Rendezvous’ the schedule was going to be subject to sudden changes, and so for everyone to always have planes fueled and be ready as we could be called on to fly at any moment! One attention-getting sight during Friday morning’s full- scale operations was a classic Fokker Triplane moment when a rotary-powered Fokker Dr.I went into a bit of a ground-loop after landing and used its wingtip skid for all it was worth! Fortunately there didn’t appear to be any damage (at least from our vantage point!).

The “Dress Rehearsal” was a chance for the full-scale pilots and planes to interact with the ground troop re-enactors as they planned a “shoot-down” and “capture the pilot / rescue the pilot” skit as the closing act for their flying sessions Saturday and Sunday. It appeared to go very smoothly from my vantage point, although quite frankly I saw very little of it during the show as the “shoot-down” (one of their planes landing with smoke-on, and then being captured by ground troops after clearing the active runway and shutting down the engine) was the signal for R/C to start staging our planes, as we would be flying immediately following the drama.

One highlight of the Rendezvous, as in previous years, was the “Meet & Greet” in the Museum itself Friday night. Buffet tables set-up in the Early Years gallery with food and drink, and it was a chance for all participants to mingle, as well as an opportunity for all to tour the Museum which would be staying open until 10:00pm. Helen and I didn’t stay nearly that late – our Saturday would start well before Dawn after all . . .

Trench warfare would prevail on the Western Front from September of 1914 until the German Spring Offensive of March of 1918. Frontal assaults and associated casualties became inevitable as the continuous trench lines offered no open flanks, and casualties of the defenders would often match those of the attackers.

Early trenches were simple constructions, and according to pre-war doctrine packed with men fighting shoulder to shoulder, which led to heavy casualties from artillery fire. This, and the length of the front to be defended, soon led to front line trenches being held by fewer men. In addition to the trenches themselves, barbed wire was strung up to impede movement, with nightly wiring parties going out to improve these forward defenses. The small, improvised trenches of the first few months of the war would grow deeper and more complex, gradually becoming vast areas of interlocking defensive works, able to resisted both artillery bombardments and mass infantry assaults.

The space between the opposing trenches would become known as “no man's land”.

Once again planes were in the air as Helen and I arrived Saturday morning, enjoying another beautiful sunrise. As I conferred with Rendezvous Air Boss Dave Egner and got the day’s current schedule, he commented that he thought one of the R/C planes may have had a problem before I arrived. I responded that I sure hoped not, as so far we only had a couple broken propellers over two days of flying. Dave said we were doing better than they were, as he had two full-scales with scraped up wingtips! As it turned out an R/C Sopwith Pup had cartwheeled on take-off Saturday morning, but that would be the only aircraft, R/C or full-scale, to come to grief during the entire event.

Full-scale replica Wright “B” fly-over, Saturday morning (photo by Larry Masters)

Just prior to the opening ceremony on Saturday at the end of the R/C morning flying session, we were treated to a flyover by a full-scale replica Wright “B” Flyer. I made sure our pilots knew it was in the area so that they could land (if they wanted to watch it) or so spotters could keep an eye on it to avoid any conflict with our models. The Wright made two fly-pasts, safely well above our operating altitude and was a very impressive way to kick off the Rendezvous weekend.

A quick all-participant photo-session at show center offered a great mix of full-scale and R/C planes (many in the same markings) along with the antique cars and re-enactors. Following that soiree it was a chance for us to gather the R/C participants together to review the weekend schedule, our “Best of Show” balloting and to also wish our CD, Doug Cox, a happy birthday!

We had three categories on our “Best of Show” ballots, and the winners would be determined by the R/C participants themselves (the ballot would also serve as their door prize ticket, ensuring we’d receive plenty of votes!). We would be awarding a framed event poster with a brass plaque stating “Best Entente Powers”, “Best Central Powers” and “Best of Show”, and in addition, through the generosity of our primary sponsor Balsa USA, the winners would also be collecting kits – a quarter- scale BUSA kit for the Entente and Central Powers winner, and the Best of Show winner would be taking home any Balsa
U.S.A. kit of their choice!

One of the most popular sayings of 1914 was that the war would be “over by Christmas”. Many a young man felt that the war would be done in a matter of a few weeks, and if they didn’t join soon, they’d end up missing the entire affair and not seeing anything. It soon became clear, at least to those men in the trenches, that the war was going to be anything but brief.

Meanwhile, the war in the air was one of reconnaissance, with as little regard for weather or conditions as possible. Entente Power aircraft soon carried markings of tricolored cockades ( roundels, to identify friend from foe to nervous troops in the trenches below, while Central Power planes sported iron crosses. Fliers would occasionally take pot-shots at each other with rifles brought along, but were just as likely to wave at each other during the early weeks of the war.

The R/C portion of the Rendezvous featured a LOT of great flying by all the participants. Just a few of the highlights from my vantage point included:

The early morning sorties (the guys were flying before the sun rose) were a great image to start each day. And we had excellent weather every day as well, so each morning gave us a great sunrise as a backdrop to our flying.

Sometimes there would be upwards of eight or nine planes in the air at once, keeping me on my toes all weekend directing traffic (and reminding the lads not to run out of fuel!). We did have a few deadstick landings during the event, as well as several times when a wheel would fall off a plane (we had a rash of that going on all weekend, for some bizarre reason!). But the resulting emergency landings were expertly handled by all with no real damage to the planes. I’ll also note we had many times when only one or two planes would be in the air, so there was plenty of relaxing flying opportunities as well during the event!

Keith Zimmerly and his one-half scale Nieuport 28 in Swiss markings (photo by Larry Masters).

Keith Zimmerly’s one-half scale Nieuport 28 (top right) in formation with Paul Westrich’s Fokker D.VI (photo by Larry Masters).

One-half scale Fokker D.VI by Paul Westrich (photo by Mike Pennell).

Flightline at Dayton. Jim Suchy’s Gotha G.IV is in the background (photo by Mike Pennell).

Jim Suchy’s one-quarter scale Gotha G.IV bomber (photo by Larry Masters).

Sopwith Pup emergency landing with one wheel missing (photo by Mike Pennell).

The planes and pilots of the Museum’s A/V photo session. Mike Wartman’s captured Sopwith Pup, Art Shelton’s Fokker Dr.I and Greg Emerick’s Sopwith Pup – all three models from 1/3 scale Balsa USA kits (photo by Mike Bealmear).

We featured two of the half-scales at the close of our morning flying sessions on Saturday and Sunday, and both Keith Zimmerly with his Nieuport 28 and Paul Westrich with his Fokker D.VI did some outstanding aerobatic and formation flying. As a side note, word reached me later in the event that on one occasion while Keith was flying his Nieuport 28, the airshow Air Boss David Egner noticeably paused for several seconds during a meeting with his pilots before deciding that he was watching a model in the air, and not an errant full-scale plane when none should be up (not the first time that one of Keith’s planes has caused a brief panic at show center as it was mistaken for a full-scale plane instead of a model!).

Jim Suchy got in several good flights with his award-winning Gotha G.IV bomber, and was a crowd favorite all weekend long (we kept hearing kids asking “when is the Gotha flying?”). We ended up making several trips onto the airfield to retrieve the bombs he’d drop at show center.

One morning we had a visit by the Museum’s audio/visual staff, who wanted to interview one of our pilots while he was flying (I volunteered Art Shelton for that little task), while at the same time Mike Wartman and Greg Emerick would be doing some Sopwith Pup formation flying with a Go-Pro camera mounted to Mike’s right wingstrut. The Museum’s YouTube page featured both of these videos:

And the Balloon Mission . . .

Fred Jungclaus of Martinsville IN once again brought a large observation balloon replica, this one a replacement for the balloon lost (literally, it flew away when the line broke!) in 2011. The original plan was to launch the balloon as the finale of our Saturday and Sunday afternoon R/C sessions while a gaggle of R/C planes would attack, but after a successful test on Friday, it was apparent by Saturday mid- afternoon that the balloon was struggling to stay in the air – its helium supply was rapidly leaking away. So we assembled nine volunteers with quarter-scale models to fly the mission against the balloon. Not quite the dramatic battle we had envisioned, as the intrepid balloon crew tried to “kite” the balloon to altitude into the wind – all the while the gaggle of R/C fighters circled above. The balloon was finally dispatched, releasing dozens and dozens of brightly colored helium balloons (many by this time less than buoyant in the air!), this was followed by vain attempts at knocking out these same little balloons by the gaggle. We can report that all planes and pilots (including the intrepid balloon crew) safely returned after the mission was completed!

Friday Observation Balloon test flight (photo by Mike Pennell).

Observation Balloon above the “Flags of the Great War” display (photo by Mike Pennell).

Observation Balloon “explodes” after attack by R/C airplanes (photo by Larry Masters).

The Balsa USA team, led by Mark Enderby (left) with their new Sopwith Camel after a successful mission against the Observation Balloon (photo by Larry Masters).

By late December 1914 the troops were still firmly entrenched, and it was apparent that no one was going anywhere, let alone home.

But in many areas of the Western Front, a spontaneous break in the war occurred around Christmas of 1914 as a wholly unofficial truce took place. Candles were lit and evergreen trees decorated, while British and German troops met in No-Man’s Land, some exchanging gifts such as cheese or cigarettes, joint burial ceremonies took place, and even carol singing. The same thing took place (albeit not to the same extent) between some French and German troops, as well as some Austrian and Russian troops on the Eastern Front.

There would be no similar “Christmas Truce” in later years (certainly not to the scale of 1914) as officialdom on both sides sent word down that there would be no such fraternization in 1915 or beyond.

We awarded our door and raffle prizes mid-Sunday morning, as well as our “Best of’s” to give those winners a chance to visit the Balsa USA trailer and pick out their reward. Donated door prizes included the new one-third scale wheels by Williams Brothers, courtesy of the estate of Del Johnson (one set of wheels had also been awarded at the Ohio Dawn Patrol in July in Del’s memory), two hand-made kiddie swings (Nieuport and Fokker) by Mike and Donna Smith of Pekin, IL (MANY thanks to Donna for helping out in headquarters throughout the event), “Ghost of the Great War” calendar and book via Mike Bealmear, a number of donated framed posters, and as a special door prize, a one-third scale Vogelsang Oberursel replica rotary engine, also via Del Johnson. Del, I think, would have been quite pleased to learn it was bound for a one-third Fokker Triplane under construction by its winner Charles Thomas.

We also raffled off a brand-new Zenoah GT-80 (via Hamilton Hobbies – thanks, John!), won by Ken Alcorn (much to the great disappointment to everyone else who had bought tickets!) and one of the new Balsa USA Sopwith Camel kits, won by Donna Smith (Mike, we know what you’re getting for Christmas!).

This all led up to the awarding of our Our “Best of Shows” for the 2014 Rendezvous (as voted on by all the attending participants themselves):

“Best Central Powers”: Paul Westrich and his one-half scale Fokker D.VI “Best Entente Powers”: Keith Zimmerly and his one-half scale Nieuport 28 ”Best of Show”: Billy Thompson and his one-half scale Sopwith Camel Billy had been very disappointed not having the Camel airborne with Paul and Keith during the show, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying all weekend to get a stubborn engine running; his efforts and craftsmanship were still recognized and rewarded by his fellow modelers.

Some of the awards, door prizes and raffle prizes at the Rendezvous (photo by Mike Pennell).

Billy Thompson (left) with his “Best of Show” one-half scale Sopwith Camel (photo by Larry Masters).

Another view of Billy Thompson’s Best of Show one-half scale Sopwith Camel (photo by Steve Percifield).

Mike Bealmear (center) with his Certificate of Appreciation, presented by Doug Cox (left) and Lee McDuffee(right) (photo by Rhonda Shelton).

Art and Rhonda Shelton are recognized by Doug Cox (left) and Lee McDuffee (right) at the Dawn Patrol Rendezvous. (photo by Mike Bealmear).

Lee McDuffee (left) thanking Dave Lewis (center) for his support of World War One modeling. Dave is clutching the plaque awarded to him by Balsa USA Vice-President Mark Enderby (right) (photo by Larry Masters).

We also had a surprise for the R/C participants during the Sunday evening Banquet at the Museum. Along with thanking the Museum and our sponsors, we also singled out a few modelers whose efforts in the Dawn Patrol movement hadn’t gone unnoticed. Framed certificates of appreciation went to Mike Bealmear (his photos on the internet are well familiar to fans of the many Dawn Patrols he’s attended) as well as Art and Rhonda Shelton (we always look forward to Art’s enthusiastic guidance towards “mission flying” at the Dawn Patrols and Rhonda’s photography talents are equally appreciated). Two more certificates would be handed out later, as their recipients had already left the event. Both are well known for their Midwestern Dawn Patrols which are must-attend events each year: Steve Percifield for the Hoosier Dawn Patrol (as well as his popular YouTube and facebook pages on the events) and Paul Westrich for the Ohio Dawn Patrol (and for being one of the pioneers in the one-half scale movement with his Fokker D.VI).

We had one more certificate to award, but we deferred instead to Mark Enderby, Vice-President of Balsa USA, who had asked if he could give out a plaque in recognition to one of his team. Anyone who’s contacted the helpline at Balsa USA has talked to Dave Lewis, lead designer of many of their products, and his knowledge and support of World War One modelling was definitely well deserved.

As winter settled onto the battlefields of 1914, restless aviators were looking for ways to turn their aeroplanes into true weapons of war. Early machine guns were heavy and somewhat unreliable, and there was no way to fire the weapon without danger to the airplane and propeller. The obvious approach to the problem was via large two-seater planes with both a pilot and an observer/gunner, sometimes using aircraft with the propeller to the rear of the machine, but these were far from being true fighting machines with the relatively slow and sluggish planes carrying the extra weight.

Meanwhile in France, a famous pre-war exhibition pilot was on a visit to the Morane-Saulnier Works in December of 1914. Roland Garros was intrigued by Raymond Saulnier’s idea of mounting metal deflector plates onto the propeller of one of their single-seat monoplanes, and then mounting a light machine rifle in front of the pilot shooting straight ahead. Perhaps this might make a more formidable weapon . . .

And with that, the 2014 Rendezvous was all but completed. By the time Helen and I arrived back on the field Monday morning (just a wee bit later than the past days oh-dark hundred wake-up call) most everyone had already departed the field. Many were in fact headed east to another popular Dawn Patrol event, the Mid-Atlantic Dawn Patrol hosted by the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, VA, taking place the weekend following the Rendezvous.

The 2014 Dawn Patrol Rendezvous was by any measure an outstanding success. The Museum reported an estimated 15,000 visitors on Saturday and another 8,000 on Sunday. The weather had been spectacular all weekend, with just a bit of excess wind on Saturday – just enough that the full-scale planes were kept on the ground an extra hour while R/C carried the show (which we gladly did). The cooperation between models and full-scales was fantastic, and between us we kept machines in the air for the public (and for ourselves, yes!) through the entire weekend.

MANY thanks are in order to so many who helped make this such an awesome event, starting with Contest Director Doug Cox; his organizational skills had registration and headquarters running with minimal issues. Thanks as well to Donna Smith, Doug’s wife Cathy and my wife Helen for their work in headquarter as well; their efforts allowed me to fully concentrate on running the R/C flightline each day. Thanks also to good friends Tony Gronas, Paul Wiley and Stephen Hill-Harriss making sure Doug and I got in some flight time at the event! Thanks as well to so many of the pilots who helped make the event special, including Doug and Doc and Art and Mike and Greg and Paul and Keith and Jim and Fred and Joe, just to name a few!!

MANY thanks as well to our sponsors starting with the generous support of Balsa USA, without whom Dawn Patrol flying in the U.S. would be very much more difficult (better than half the planes at the Rendezvous were from their kits). Thanks as well to Williams Brothers, the National Museum of the United States Air Force (in particular Specials Events Coordinator David Thomas), Mike Bealmear, Hamilton Hobbies John Snell, Bob Reed, and to the late Del Johnson, whose presence was sorely missed at the event.

Dates have already been announced for the 2016 edition of the Dawn Patrol Rendezvous, which will follow a similar schedule as in 2014:

September 22nd, 2016 – Arrival Day

September 23rd – Media Op and Dress Rehearsal
September 24th and 25th – Public Event (Saturday and Sunday) September 26th – Departure Day
We’ll be looking forward to seeing everyone early in the morning at Dawn Patrol Rendezvous 2016!

Links of interest:

The National Museum of the United States Air Force event page:

Balsa USA:

William Brothers Model Products:

Glenn Torrance Models:

Vogelsang Aeroscale:

Hamilton Hobbies:

The event thread on R/C Universe:

Mike Bealmear’s RC Dawn Patrol Facebook page:

Steve Percifield’s Hoosier Dawn Patrol Facebook page:

The Great War Radio Modelers site with Dawn Patrol information and schedules:

And the following sites for full-scale and historical information:

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