Monday, March 14, 2011

20th Annual MCRC Dick Coles Memorial IMAA Fly-In

The 20th Annual MCRC Dick Coles Memorial IMAA Fly-In is a three day event held every year at the Manatee County Radio Controllers flying field on the second weekend in March. It is held on the Friday before the weekend, and then the two days to follow. This year we were especially lucky with ideal conditions on the weekend, however gail force winds restricted flying on Friday to only two and a half flights...

Since I attend school, I missed the event on Friday, but I heard that due to the weather I didn't miss much. However I did make it to the event both days on the weekend and had a blast! Saturday morning I was up bright and early and was out at the field by 8:30 A.M.  There were many campers and cars, and even though we showed up before the flying event officially started on Saturday, we still had trouble finding a parking spot! 

When my dad and I arrived we were warmly greated by the smells of morning dew on the grass and the airplanes. We were also greeted by the MCRC President Bill Cryer, by Jim Holloman who was our CD for the event, and also by the high quality sound system and twelve speakers lining the pits playing soft background music.  I knew that I would only be flying the noon time demo with my 48" Velox that day since I do not own an IMAA airplane, but I registered, paid my $10 landing fee, and received my pilot meal ticket and raffle ticket for pilot prizes. The $10 landing fee is worth it even if you don't fly, and pays for itself if you stay more than one day. I then took my plane out of the car and had the safety inspector do his walk around check on my airplane. He gave it the okay and I set it in the shade until noon.

As a volunteer worker for this event, I was assigned to parking duty for the several hours until I needed to get ready for my demo. It started out rather slow but as soon as ten o'clock rolled around, cars were coming in by the dozen and I had to call in back-up. Once my friend Liam got out to the parking area, things got a lot smoother. We parked over one hundred and twenty some odd cars before noon alone!

Back at the concession stand the multiple cooks and servers were busy keeping the crowd full and happy. All went well and we managed to sell out of our food for that day.

Before we knew it, it was noon and time for the demos. As Tony Ianucelli flew his scale model of an MD-500 helicopter with camo colors, scale missle pods, and a .90 size glow helicopter motor, I readied my Velox for my freestlye demo. When Tony finished his impressive flight, I took to the air with Aerosmith's "Devil's Got a New Disguise" playing in the background. After I landed everybody was safe to get out of their "take cover" positions and stare in awe at Troy Hawthorne's giant scale model of the legendary B-17G Flying Fortress.

Troy is an excellent modeler with a lot of building hours under his belt. After he finished assembling his scale ARF, he took it above and beyond what the manufacturer ever dreamed for this airplane. He custom made a bombay with working bombay doors, and a loading hatch on the top of the fuselage so he doesn't have to flip the plane over to load the bombs. Not only that, but he also custom designed twelve replicas of 500 pound bombs to drop from the bombay.

As far as Troy's modifications, we haven't even scraped the surface. He also equiped the bomber with scale retractable landing gear, moving and firing machine guns, and cockpit details using very simple yet impressive ideas. Visit to see videos, pictures, and more of his B-17G.

Back to the event; Troy flew his noon time demo and dropped candy for all the kids in the crowd. One lucky winner won a gift card to go White Water Rafting in the Carolinas.

After the noon time demos I went to have lunch, and enjoyed a top of the line cheeseburger combo with a choice of drink at bag of chips. It was all delicious!

As the event wound down the runway was opened to aircraft of all sizes. Later that day we enjoyed a delicious steak dinner that our President, Bill Cryer, whipped up for us along with baked potatoes and several scrumptious sides provided by some of our guests. For only about $10-$12 a person, it was well worth it.

After dinner we all went out in the dark for some night flying. Boy is it cool to see a plethora of lights floating around the sky against the pitch black sky. There were many pilots that flew that night, and I think there may have been a few reports of UFO's in the area...

The next day I was a bit behind because of the time change, but the event went on as usual and everyone got their last dose of fun for the weekend before we all packed up, took out the trash, and headed home. Another great event is added to the MCRC record book. Come on out next year! You won't regret it!

Below is a video I created of the event. Enjoy!

--Tom K.

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