The Flying Aces Club (FAC) held their 2014 NATS competition at the Geneseo, NY airfield this week and by all accounts it was a great event! I was able to attend on Friday and did so with my wife, Dale. We both enjoyed the day!
I brought my repaired Kharkov with me to fly and will report on the results of that endeavor in a separate FlyBoyz Flight Report post.
The event was well attended with a row of tents and cars that made for a very long flight line. There were folks from all over the country as well as many Canadians in attendance. Several FAC Squadrons were represented with their own tents and banners on display. We set up our ‘hanger’ next to a trio of Canadians and enjoyed their company throughout the day. We found everyone we encountered to be friendly. I was very pleased with how helpful and willing to share information everyone was when I asked questions. And of course, everyone was more than happy to show off and talk about their planes!
I was very pleased by the fact that there were many young folks in attendance. Of special note was young Erika Escalante who was there to compete with her P-51 Mustang. And compete she did by making it into the second of three fly-off rounds during the WWII Combat Mass Launch with a first round flight time of 59 seconds! She was disappointed not to make it into the final round but I think she can be quite proud of her performance. By the way: Erika was most insistent that she is ‘almost 10’ (on July 30). I don’t think anyone will want to be competing with her when she is ‘almost 12’!
I also had the pleasure of being drafted for ‘Mechanic’ duty for the WWII Combat Mass Launch competition. I served as mechanic for Steve Blanchard who was flying a P-39 Airacobra. Steve had an awesome first round flight time of 92 seconds. At 63 seconds, his second round flight time was not enough to make it into the final round but he had nothing to be ashamed of with his performance. Thank you, Steve, for letting me help you, I enjoyed it!
The WWII Combat Mass Launch competition was won by Wally Farrell who just ‘flew away’ with the event in the third and final round. When I took Wally’s photo after the competition, he was insistent that I include his mechanic, John Ernst, in the photo stating that John has assisted him in two of his event wins. I thought this was a great display of true sportsmanship on Wally’s part. Their ‘team’ photo is included in the photos with this post.
The flying was constant throughout the day and there was always something up in the sky to watch. To me, the highlight of the event was the planes themselves which were awesome! The degree of building skill and craftsmanship on display was impressive and was reflected in the planes on display. Of particular note was Tom Hallman’s Seafire which I reported on in an earlier FlyBoyz post. This Seafire has to be seen to be believed…just totally awesome!
My wife, Dale, also got into the flying action by building and then successfully flying the small (Smithsonian) Spitfire that I had purchased for her the week before at the Geneseo Air Show. Of course, photos of her and her plane are also included in this post!
There is much else that I could report on here but at this point, I’ll let the photos I took do the talking. The photos presented here show some of the planes and action from our day at the NATS. Most of the photos are captioned with pilot and plane indicated, however, I was not able to capture the name of everyone who is displayed here. If you know who one of the un-named pilots is, please let me know so that I can give them proper credit (don’t forget to identify their plane if you also know what it is). The photos are displayed in both a ‘Gallery’ format (above) for quickly scanning thru them and also in a captioned ‘Lightbox’ format (below) which allows for zooming in on individual pictures by clicking on them. After the photos, there is a video of the final round of the WWII Combat Mass Launch competition. Don’t miss it. Enjoy the NATS!
Video of the final round of the FAC WWII Combat Mass Launch competition: