Sunday, October 12, 2008

a full week of ups & downs

What to do after watching last weeks stock market acrobatics? Go watch the Tucson Acrobatic Shootout of course! This is a giant scale radio controlled aerobatic model plane competition held every year in Tucson. It attracts world class pilots from Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Canada, and the U.S. to compete for over $100,000 in cash and prizes. The model airplanes being flown are LARGE, ranging from 1/8 actual size to a 1/2 scale Piper Cub. As you can tell from the radio controlled plane coming in for a landing in the picture above, it was a beautiful day out today!

My picture below shows one of the really cool things done at this year's event as a demonstration/show -- they got the FAA to approve having a piloted acrobatic "real" plane perform with a large scale radio controlled model plane. The upper plane is flown by acrobatic pilot (and American Airlines pilot) Matt Chapman in the plane while the lower plane is flown by radio controlled pilot Frank Knoll on the ground. [also see video clip]

The spectator's favorite part of the competition is the free-style event where each pilot performs a series of acrobatic moves that they have choreographed to music. I captured one routine on video below to share with you all. Note the pilot and spotter standing on the runway from time to time when the plane passes on the far side of them.

The video below shows part of the dual demonstration flight with the yellow plane flown with pilot Matt Chapman IN the plane, and the other plane being flown radio controlled by Frank Knoll on the ground. In the video they are both completing a full loop with their respective planes.

And my last video is of Matt Chapman's full size acrobatic plane being flown by him in the plane. He is describing his maneuvers over the PA system and you can really hear the G forces working on him. That's also one of the things that makes radio controlled airplane acrobatics so neat -- with no pilot on board they can pull way more G's and also take more risks. But I'd have to say Matt's performance this afternoon was very impressive! Not a bad way to spend $5 and part of a Sunday.

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