Top Gun 2004
by Bob Violett

Always a challenge
and worth the effort.

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1st place - Terry Nitsch - BVM F-100F
7th place - Jack Diaz - BVM Rafale B-O1

Team Scale
9th place - Paul Bageman/Mark Taylor - BVM F-100D

1st place - Bob Violett - BVM F-100F

3rd place - Tom Dodgen - BVM T-33
4th place - Dustin Buescher - BVM F-86
5th place - Kent Nogy - BVM F-100D
7th place - Gordon Dickens - BVM F-86
12th place - Tony Masiello - BVM F-4 Phantom
17th place - Rei Gonzalez - BVM F-86

Special Recognition Awards
Mr. Top Gun - Terry Nitsch - BVM F-100F
Best Jet - Joe Grice - BVM F-100D

The following photo gallery shows BVM Jets with their pilots and callers engaged in the challenges that the Top Gun Scale Invitational presents. As much as every competitor tries to prepare himself and his model prior to this ominous competition, it seems that there are always mechanical gremlins and crosswinds to deal with.
Scale jets, prepared for this level of competition are complex and intricate machines that utilize all 10 channels with lots of mixing and Matchbox's, "umteen" servos to operate the basic flight and engine controls, retractable landing gear, gear doors, speed brakes, flaps, L.E. slats, wheel brakes, opening canopy and in some cases a drogue chute for aerodynamic braking on landing. Add four or five air systems, and one can imagine all of the possibilities for a mechanical, electrical or pneumatic malfunction.
The event started one day earlier this year to accommodate the addition of the Pro-Am class and to allow some practice flight time. Of course, the wind was down the runway for practice, and of course, it was 90° cross during much of the competition flying adding to the challenge.
The pilot's capability to handle the crosswind during takeoff, maintain the desired track over the ground during maneuvers, land on the centerline and roll out straight are the determining factors in how one places in the final tally of the best 3 out of 4 flights. The average of these 3 flight scores added to the scale judged static score, determines the winner in each class and the overall "Top Gun".
The competition is so intense that many times the top few places are separated by less than 1 point out of a possible 200.
As many of the "first time" competitors in the Pro-Am class discovered, it's not as easy as some may first envision. Competitive people seem to enjoy the challenge, the adrenaline rush, and the eventual pride and satisfaction in placing well.
The event organizer, Frank Tiano makes sure that his staff of judges, score tabulators, and flight line crew are expertly trained and I can say that throughout Top Gun's 16 years, it has been hard to find fault with the final results. We learn from each year's experiences and apply the lessons to the future.
The after hours social events are another trademark of an F.T.E. event that make all of us (and the ladies) look forward to this most rewarding annual occurrence.

One hundred and twelve competitors were invited this year including the forty plus new Pro-Am's. Contributions from the major and minor sponsors provided over eleven thousand dollars in cash prizes plus the elegant silver cups.
That's a thumbnail sketch of Top Gun '04, we hope you enjoy the photo gallery courtesy of Paul Lott, John Christensen, and BVM.

Look for extensive coverage in the model media from FLY R/C magazine and the D.I.Y. channel. Model editors from Korea, Japan, Brazil, Europe and Spain were also present along with SKS and Propwash Video.

Jack and Geraldo Diaz get assistance from Gustavo Campana during startup of Jack's twin Rafale.
Terry Nitsch and wife Shiela with their winning F-100F.

Kent Nogy flew the BVM F-100D in the new Pro-Am class.


Chart Boy

Dustin Buescher starts his Sabre for another round of Pro-Am competition.

After the final round of Pro-Am competition, Dustin finished in 4th place - a great accomplishment for this first time competitor.


Tom Dodgen flew the BVM T-33 (AFS) to 3rd place in the Pro-Am class, using a JetCat P-70 for power.

The BVM Super Bandit was once again the jet of choice for "Captain Salami" during the noon-time airshow. The "Captain" was non other than Frank Tiano. Bill Deverna added his expertise in pyrotechnics and helped "Captain Salami" break the imagined sound barrier.

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