This year, it seemed that many of the noon demonstrations featured
team formation flying or coordinated performances. These two giant
42% Extras were flown by Gernot Bruckmann and Markus Rummer.
One aircraft is gas powered and the other electric.
Each day at noon, the main flightline is closed for demonstration flights and huge crowds gather behind the pit area. Top pilots
from around the world come to Joe Nall Week to be a part of the noon demos. Many of these pilots represent manufacturers and
are here to show their products, some come to debut new innovations, and others demonstrate extraordinary skill levels.
The event started, as most do,
in a very humble way. It was a local Giant Scale fly-in, put on
by two friends who shared their love for model aviation. The
first meet was in 1983. Pat Hartness hosted the event at his
personal flying site and Joe Nall ran the event. Joe continued
to emcee the event until he died in a tragic airplane accident
in 1989. In 1990, the event was renamed the Joe Nall Fly-In.
Today it’s known as Joe Nall Week.
The event has grown exponentially since its inception
in 1983. Each year, Pat adds to or improves the flying site.
There are now at least five separate flightlines, including the
main flightline, the pond for float flying, an electric-only field
and a 3-D electric field, along with the wild and crazy Giant
Scale 3-D line. There’s also an area with three CL circles and
a helicopter and multirotor flightline. This year there was a
special FPV obstacle course.
Camping, RV spaces, and facilities also seem to expand
every year. A few years ago, showers and a gazebo were
added at the 3-D line, and then later a charging station was
constructed near the electric line. This year, the crew built
small pilot stations that jut out into the pond for better access
to float airplanes.
A new building is going up that will house a learning center
with full-scale and RC flight simulators and other educational
facilities. This year, the vendor row was unified in a central
location, making RC shopping much more convenient for
those who come to the event just for that.
I love coming here to buy airplanes and equipment
because this is the one place where you can see, and even
test, equipment firsthand from a number of manufacturers,
I’m not sure if anybody has researched large RC flying
events, but I’d guess it’s safe to say that Joe Nall Week has
become the world’s largest RC event. According to the staff
at Triple Tree, there were more than 1,700 registered pilots at
this year’s event, held May 7-14. Along with spectators, friends,
and not counting the crew and workers, more than 13,300
people came through the gates.
I don’t know how many aircraft were there, but because
every pilot seemed to bring two or more, I’d estimate the
number is well into the thousands. Pilots came from 42 states
and nine countries, and at any one time there could be as
many as 40 aircraft in the air. I’ll bet that no one saw that
coming back in 1983!
These statistics are interesting, but they don’t begin to give
you the feel of attending the Joe Nall Week. As I walk from
flightline to flightline, I continue to wonder how to describe
the event. There are hundreds of people here from disciplines
that would not normally be seen flying together, yet everybody
is getting along famously and enjoying each other’s company.
The main flightline is crowded with canopies packed
30 Model Aviation SEP TEMBER 2016