Top Gun 2010
by Bob Violett

Always a challenge - Always rewarding!

    This was the 22nd running of this, the most prestigious scale event in the world, and we were extremely proud to be a part of it.  The Icelandic Volcano cloud and subsequent air transport problems, coupled with a tough economy did suppress competitor attendance a bit this year.  However, I think that I can speak for all that did attend, we appreciated the learning experience and camaraderie with fellow scale modelers.

    During any 5 day event in Florida this time of year, the weather will vary and that is part of the Top Gun challenge.  Your time to fly is predetermined and so you fly when your number comes up, if the wind or sunlight doesn’t quite suit you, you must perform anyway.

    Preparedness is so important for success at Top Gun.  The model must be ready and totally tested and the pilot must be totally familiar with it and all of its systems.  We have found in our 21 years of participation that the more practice flights we can squeeze in before and during the event, the higher we place.  It can be a physically grueling exercise, but that is what it takes.  Top Gun is not for the faint of heart, but serious modelers thrive on this challenge and enjoy the rewards of their accomplishment.

    BVM's 2010 pilots flew BVM F-100's, F-86's, and Skymaster Hawks, and F-16's with JetCat turbine power.  The only electric powered jets competing at Top Gun were of course, all EVF powered BVM Sabre's, the F-80 Shooting Star, and our twin powered Phantom.  The crowd pleasing noon time show also featured EVF powered Electra's, the E Bandit, and Sabre Jets.  One highlight of the show was Rob Lynch's Electra that was radar clocked at an average 2 way speed of 200 mph and still managed a six minute aerobatic performance.

As always, our thanks to Frank Tiano and his courteous assistants for hosting Top Gun.

Photo Gallery

Betsy and Scott Harris campaigned this one of a kind Skymaster F-16.  The original A/C was vinyl covered for a static display.  Betsy found it on the web and Scott reproduced this Patriotic Falcon of the Vermont Air National Guard.
Rob Lynch's Target Tow FJ Fury showed well in the Pro Am category although a few judges objected to its speed.  Most of us familiar with jets at airshows appreciate high
performance passes.
Rod Snyder's Skymaster F-16 was adorned with this brilliant Dutch Air Force scheme and was very competitive with its JetCat P-160 power.
On the opposite end of flamboyant colors, is this more traditional Skymaster Falcon (JetCat P-160) flown by David Ribbe with David Payne support.
First time Top Gun competitor Brian Watts teamed with Matt Fehling to campaign this Sabre that was built from an early A.F.S. kit.  Brian mastered the art of applying a "Flight Metal" finish for an all-up weight of 18 pounds including the EVF 5612 and ThunderPower batteries.  Brian really likes this scale stuff, so watch his progress.
The pinnacle of EDF scale jets has to be this BVM twin
EVF 2 12s powered Phantom.  The performance is unmatched in the industry and to compete in scale, 6+ minute flight times are a requisite.

Tommy Wood was assisted by Tom Sr. and Francis Pischner and every flight was a show stopper.  This entry also suffered the wrath of a few judges as being "Too Fast" but placed 3rd in expert anyway.  The Aim 9 missiles and pylons accent the F-4's rakish profile.

David Payne from the Horizon group flew this BVM F-100D in Pro Am division.  David is an excellent pilot and managed a 9th place finish.  Pro Am is a highly competitive event.
Skymaster offers several paint schemes for the popular Hawk.  Peter Goldsmith (Horizon Team Manager) chose this Cougar scheme sample for his Pro Am subject.
A few weeks before the event, I decided to retrofit the EVF F-80 with flaps to allow it to be competitive.  The benefit to our customers is that we now have an upgrade on the parts and instructions for both the T-33 and F-80 Shooting Stars.
5th place or better trophy winners from the BVM team were Jack Diaz 2nd in expert with the F-100D, Tommy Wood 3rd in expert with the twin EVF Phantom.   5th in Masters was the EVF Shooting Star flown by Bob Violett with Kent Nogy as caller, and Dustin Buescher was 3rd in Pro Am with the Skymaster
T-45 Goshawk.
The noon time show featured this array of BVM and
Skymaster jets.
BVM Jets In-Action
photos courtesy of F.T.E.
The EVF 2 12s powered F-80 earned a 9.75 score for this slow speed fly-by.
The next maneuver received a full 10 points for this "Tank Drop" that occurred exactly show center.

Notice the stick-on HiViz panels that are legal at Top Gun.  After Tank Drop, the clean wing, aluminum finish on the Shooting Star at the extremes of the turn-around procedure can be a visual challenge.

The tank drop maneuver received 10s on every flight.

The BVM F-4 Phantom is powered by (2) EVF 2 12s units and ThunderPower 6500 batteries.  Tommy Wood built the BVM demo model so he was qualified to fly it in Expert scale.  Tommy is an expert craftsman and jet pilot, a rare combination in this ARF environment.  He well deserved his 3rd place finish.

BVM challenges any of our competition to produce a similar EDF twin scale model that can match the performance of the Phantom and log 6+ minute flights that are necessary for competition.

Jack Diaz receives his 2nd place "Expert" trophy from our host Frank Tiano.  This BVM Super Sabre has won many awards as you have seen in these pages.
One of the BVM Jets noon time demo models was this EVF 2 12s powered Sabre jet.
David Payne borrowed this F-100D from Vernon Montgomery and applied his talents to score well in the Pro Am division.
The highest scoring jet in Pro Am was this Skymaster T-45 Goshhawk expertly flown by Dustin.

Note:  The jets were penalized one percent of the fight score and the tail draggers received a 1/2 % bonus.  This has been done at Top Gun for a few years to keep the jets from sweeping all of the trophies.  It worked!

BVM enjoys participating regardless of the rule adjustments.  We have won all of the categories from time to time and Mr. Top Gun twice.