A beautiful Dragon Rapide biplane rolls out for
Don Kunin flew his beautiful Gilmore Red Lion and was
awarded Best Scale Airplane at WATTS over Owatonna.
Having a seasoned farmer on your side when you’re
planning an outdoor event is a big bonus. Farmers know the
weather and know when we’ll have the best chance for clear
For those of us in southern Minnesota, that time of year is
roughly the end of July and early August. Taking place on the
first weekend in August this year, WATTS was blessed with
excellent weather, mild temperatures that peaked in the low
80s, and winds that stayed below 10 mph. Blue skies and calm
winds made for a busy flightline and sky.
The event officially started on Friday morning, but the club
invited people to come early and fly on Thursday. This helped
those bringing new airplanes and people who wanted to get
accustomed to a new field. More than 50 pilots were at the
field by Thursday evening for the pre-event spaghetti dinner
put on by the SMMAC club.
Friday morning brought more great weather for the pilots.
As early as 6 a.m., with the sun peeking above the horizon,
pilots were out on dawn patrol with slow fliers and enjoying
the calm skies. The club’s kitchen was busy making pancakes
and sausage for the early risers. Registration was moving
quickly and after a brief pilots’ meeting, the flying continued.
Most of Friday was dedicated to open flying. Two flightlines
were set up to make the most use of the field and give the
pilots more area in which to fly. The main flightline, with eight
available flight stations, was primarily used for larger sport
The main flightline was staffed by a crew that included
members of the Twin Cities Radio Controllers club. The group
made sure that everyone flew safely and the landings and
takeoffs were coordinated. Their hard work helped keep things
moving smoothly and kept
At the top of every hour,
the main flightline was
reserved for 3-D flying.
This allowed the 3-D fliers
dedicated time to open up
and not worry about the
general pattern. It was well
used by many of the 3-D
Helicopters were also
given a time to fly following
the 3-D fliers, and a few
made good use of the open
At the west end of the
property, a park-flyer field was set up so pilots with smaller
and slower aircraft could enjoy the time without being
overrun by larger and faster aircraft.
This flightline was a popular place for 3-D foam airplanes,
micro RTF airplanes, some smaller helicopters, and multirotor
machines. Having available space and multiple flightlines
helped pilots feel as though they could get more flying in
without worrying about mixing small and slow with large and
Saturday brought more amazing weather and more pilots.
A light breeze down the runway kept people wanting to fly all
day long. The only break in the general open flying was a few
34 Model Aviation MARCH 2014