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T.O.C.1976 Las Vegas

Now it’s finally ready! Thanks to the German aeromodelling legend Günter Hoppe and the editors of Model Airplane News, we are able to present the report of the 1976 Tournament of Champions (T.O.C.) with a unique photo report. Click here for the original MAN report from February 1977.ON THE Scene at Las Vegas during the 3rd Tournament of Champions, the DeFrancesco girls, Chrissy on left and Yvonne holding Phil Kraft’s Super Fli with Phil’s full scale Super Fli in the background. Clothes furnished by Mr. B. Clothes and jewelry Entempo II, both located at the Circus Circus Hotel, 2880 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas. Photo by Billy Root.

It’s over—the third Annual International Tournament of Champions has pulled in its sails and all of the dust has settled with a happy winner plus so-so happy runners-up and an exhausted but very warm feeling group of organizers.
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lt might be trite and one of the oldest cliches to say that it was bigger and better than ever but they are the only words to describe this, the world’s finest pattern competition. The meet organization and planning was faultless, the contest management headed by Jerry Nelson was flawless, the flying was superb, the judging was outstanding, the venue is unbelievable as Circus Circus was totally professional in dressing up the place in-cluding carpeting the judging and pit areas to hold down any possible dust, plus decorating the trash cans and porta johns with the hotel color, pink.

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The weather can’t be believed as the range was from 51 degrees in the morning (the coldest) to 81 degrees the warmest with an average of approximately 73 degrees with winds from 0 mph to maybe 3 or 4 mph when it did blow which was seldom. All this over a period of ten days for me and an average of 6/ 7 days for most of those who were there.

There was a period on Sunday, the day of the finals, in the morning from 9:00 am until 10:50 a.m, that was overcast and windy (about 8/9 mph)

toc1976 07
In background Mike Birch

In 1974 an experimental concept for 12/C competition was unveiled on a small asphalt strip in the desert north of Las Vegas, Nevada. This concept, a brainchild of Bill Bennett and Walt Schroder, involved bringing together pattern’s best flyers to compete for a large purse in a contest meticulously organized with the best judging available;  days provided nearly perfect pattern conditions, warm temperatures and very light winds.

toc1976 08
Mike Birch

The ideal conditions removed any weather induced problems and made selection of the winners a much easier process. Field arrangements have consistently been improved with a substantially lengthened landing strip as this year’s forward step.

The field was built specifically for the Tournament two years ago on a tract of land in North Las Vegas Regional Park. Bob Mearns, of the Las Vegas lt. C Club, was instrumental in the property acquisition with Circus Circus and the City of North Las Vegas as co-developers of the property improvements.

toc1976 09
Mike Birch

Field design is excellent with a 600′ long paved strip, plenty of width and situated such that sun is never a problem for  pilots. A low rail fence surrounds the site and provides a fine safety feature that eliminates spectators wandering into the flight area. While this facility was developed for the Tournament it also provides a regular flying site for Las Vegas based modelers. It’s a super site to these Eastern eyes so accustomed to sub-standard flying Fields.

toc1976 10
Ivan Kristensen

As Eine an R/C site as the North Las Vegas field is it takes second place to its surrounding scenery; distant high mountains and virtually untouched desert terrain—open and flat. Green is a rare natural color but one quickly becomes accustomed to Nevada’s warm and earthy colors of yellow, brown and purple. The beautiful as the sun tracks westward. 1974’s Tournament started with an $11,000 purse that increased to $21,000 in 1975 to the latest $30,000 in cash awards.

toc1976 11
Ivan Kristensen

Every flyer left Las Vegas a winner—not always true for other Vegas visitors—with $500 the minimum prize up to first place’s $10,000. Big cash prizes are used in virtually everySport and the sponsors reasoned that R/C as matured to a level where substantial cash awards would develop public interest as in golf and tennis.

The Las Vegas purse is beginning to develop that public interest in our corner of the sporting world. We can see national recognition of this event in the not too distant future with tangible advantages to the entire R/C hobby/ sport.

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Dave Brown

Coupled with the winner’s cash award was a spectacular trophy that was an exact scale model of the Wright Brothers’ first airplane. The collector’s item was handcrafted of 17 Troy ounces of sterling silver with 24 karat gold highlights. The trophy was donated by Model Airplane News in honor of its founder, George Johnson. While four days of competition were scheduled, most flyers arrived much earlier for practice sessions. Practice took place at the contest site and also at Henderson Dry Lake, a huge open area near Las Vegas used  regularly by local R/ Cers. Visitors to practice sessions saw deadly serious efforts by the contestants to hone down the difficult elements in the new maneuvers stipulated for the rueet.

toc1976 13
Dave Brown

A huge quantity of fuel was consumed as flight after flight sharpened the flyer’s ability to snap and come out on heading or to finally nail down that devilish Circus 8 or Rolling Circle. A number of comments have been made by flyers (and this writer in recent columns) about the difficulty and challenge of the Tournament schedule of maneuvers. There have been thoughts advanced that special designs would be needed, that huge control surface throws with dual-rates would be mandatory, that the maneuvers were so difficult proper preparation during a contest season would be impossible, that some of the maneuvers were simply impossible to do—the discussions went on and on!

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Practice sessions showed all flyers had practiced and were able to do their “homework” during a regular FAI pattern season. The question of preparation  brought about this year’s Tournament’s only real controversy. Some flyers wanted to revise the schedule to include finals’ maneuvers in the qualifying schedule. These flyers felt this would insure all finalists had prepared for the finals’ schedule rather than just concentrating on qualifying schedules. A vote of all participants defeated this change and the meet was held exactly as scheduled. As it turned out all five finalists (qualifying rounds eliminated seventeen of the original twenty-two) did a credible job on the more difficult final pattern. However, the point of view that it would be possible to qualify and not be ready for a tough finals’ pattern was a valid one and we believe the contest management will take this into consideration for next year’s effort.

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Interestingly, all aircraft flown except one were of normal FAI design with familiar names. This exception was “Super Circus” that was specifically developed for Las Vegas by Australia’s Jeff Tracy; more on this machine later. Hanno Prettner’s “Curare” had some interesting coupling modes for control, notably between elevators and flaps, but the design was essentially that which he uses for FAI competition. Dual rates proved to be nearly standard and on a variety of functions (elevator, aileron and even some rudders). Tremendous throws ‘were necessary in normally smooth FAI designs that had never before seen a snap roll. Regular designs did indeed handle the snaps; but some were hard pressed. Snap maneuvers we observed in practice made us feel that judges were going to have a problem defining the maneuver.

toc1976 16
Wolfgang Matt with his Atlas

Some flyers were really only rolling with rapid rudder oscillation, some were doing flick rolls, some were presenting true snaps. The problem was discussed at judging sessions prior to official flying but frankly almost any kind of weird roll was accepted when the meet was held. Judges were selected from a group of our most experienced American judges with a number of foreign judges included as well.

toc1976 17
Bill Salkowski`s Stiletto

American members of the panel were Frank Schwartz, Travis McGinnis, Bob Reuther, Dave Lane, Bob Upton, Bill Johnson and Ralph Brooke. Foreign judges were Masahiro Kato (Japan), Helmut Kirsch(Austria), Max Eichmann (Liechtenstein), Geoff Franklin (England) and Warren Hitchcock (Canada); a more blueribbon international group could never be found—all were outstanding modelers, experienced in judging; many were R/ C champions in their own right. Even with all this experience, Chief Judge, Jim Edwards held lengthy orientation sessions and flying warm-ups. Unquestionably, these procedures led to the very stable and accurate judging we observed. Warmups were conducted before each round with Joe Bridi and Norm Cassella providing the visual experience. Bridi used his well known “Dirty Birdy” while Cassella flew his famed “Pulsar” biplane.

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preparing for the start

Both mentogether and represent the modelers who compete in the A. M.A. events of Rat, Slow Rat, Scale Racing and V2  A Scale Mouse racing. lt was also suggested that a newsletter be issued by this organization to further stimulate the interests of the racing competitors. I was asked by John Kilsdonk to start this project but I had to decline because of an impending change in residence. But now with the help of Dave Tisdale as editor, we will be able to offer the racing competitors an organization and newsletter for their special interest. The organization will be known as the CLRPM, Control ine Racing Pilots and Mechanics. The newsletter will be titled RPM and should be ready for mailing by February of 1977. The CL-RPM’s intended purposes are as follows:

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preparing for the start
  1. Be a forum for its’ members to voice their ideas and opinions.
  2. Members will have the opportunity to vote on rules, proposals and cross proposals. The results will be published and forwarded to the Chairman of the CLCB and other interested A. M.A. policy-making bodies.
  3. Establish a national ranking system for each racing event. lt is hoped to have an award for each event as an annual competition.
  4. Publish contest events and report results.
  5. Establish a consistent guide for contest direction of the racing events. Also, to provide selection of officials for future National Championship contests.
  6. The exchange of competitive and infomative ideas.
toc1976 20
Benito Bertolani with his Mariella preparing for the start

We realize these goals are ambitious, but they are possible with the help of a responsible membership.

If you have an interest in control line racing events and want to be involved, then join us in the CL-RPM.

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Benito Bertolani with Kosmo 3

Send your name, address, A.M.A. number, events in which you participate, with $5.00 to CLRPM, 725 Bauernschmidt Drive, Route 41, Baltimore, Maryland, 21221. You will receive a membership card as your receipt. The first newsletter will be available by February of 1977. We would like your ideas and comments.”

toc1976 22
Phil Kraft`s Super Fli

While we are on the subject of racing a nice product that you may not know about is available from REV Model Products, 430 D. Kay Street, Addison, Illinois, 60101. REV is an acronym for Robert E. Vojslavek (1 think I spelled it right this time) who has a lot of racing experience under his belt. Bob markets a bass wood wing blank for Rat Racing and Speed. lt costs $2.25 and measures 5/ 16″ x 4″ x 30″. The reader is encouraged to purchase the item through his local hobby shop though single orders are accepted at the factory. You might want to send Bob a self-addressed stamped envelope for the new REV price list. R & R would like to welcome Ron McNally as the new Chairman of the AMA’s Control Line Contest Board. Ron walked into the very formidable task of leading the Board and the flyers through the two years that will see 90+ proposals  processed and incorporated into the new 1978-79 rule book. If you fly competition, it is only fair that you let your wishes be known. Contact your CLLB member, his address is published in every issue of Model Aviation.

toc1976 23
Phil Kraft`s Super Fli

We’d like to give some recognition to the Flying Dutchmen of Reading, Pa., a ten year old club that has very strong interest in U-control. Bob Diefeinderfer, the publicity chairman, and I were finally able to meet at last year’s Nats; we have corresponded for some time prior to that. Among their activities are a twenty-four hour flight to raise money for the Shriners Children’s Hospital, an AMA sanctioned contest, a seven week course in model planes for the Campfire Girls and Blue Birds, and flight demonstrations have been presented for the YMCA Boy’s Camp. In addition to these, several club fun flies and the like were also given.

toc1976 24
Jeff Tracy with his ‘Super Circus’ during start preparation

Bob, who has given a lot of thought to club organization offers the following idea. There should be a turnover in officers to get new thinking, but this must be balanced against having officers who cannot or do not want the job. He stresses this is difficult to achieve, even in their 30 member organization. The Carlos Aloise family is quite unique among competition flyers. For three years running they have won the Junior and Open Profile Navy Carrier event at the Nats. Carlos, Jr. also won the Senior category twice before entering the open age category at which time he proceeded to wipe out me and all the rest of us old men.

toc1976 25
Jeff Tracy`s  ‘Super Circus’

Carlos, Sr. is a die sinker by trade and has an uncanny feel for proper fit between two metal surfaces. He and Carlos, Jr. have acquired the machinery necessary to rework engines for high performance events. They specialize in TD and Super Tigre 35 though I’m sure they can do a fine job on any motor. You might wish to send them a stamped envelope if you have any specific questions about their services. Contact them at 2314 Loy Lane, Los Angeles, California, 90041. We had a few other topics but maybe we’ll wait till next time as I am over my photo allotment and already a little wordy this month.

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R/C News had worked many hours before getting to Las Vegas to be ready to fly the new maneuvers. The results were apparent and either man could have done a good job in the regular competition. The maneuvers they flew were not perfect but all were recognizable; just as it turned out with the twenty-two invited competitors. Jim Edwards asked Bridi and Cassella to throw in a few “mistakes” to keep the judges on their toes. Norm Cassella’s response was, “No sweat Jim, we guarantee you some mistakes!” Olympic scoring with instant revelation of each judge’s score was used as at past “Tournament of Champions.” This procedure was most appreciated by all spectators and we still wonder why it isn’t done at all meets. Jerry Nelson was once again Contest Director and he can well be proud of his administration’s results. All facets of the meet moved smoothly; frequency control and flight line procedures were excellent; spectators could see everything and were in good control throughout—it was just beautifully put together.

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Of course, most of this fine organization resulted from careful preplanning for many months by co-managers Bill Bennett and Walt Schroder with Nelson. Invited contestants to the third “Tournament of Champions” included the reigning World Champion, national champions, well-known foreign pattern R/ Cers and a selection of America’s best pattern flyers. Italy sent Benito Bertolani, winner of six European Championships and a ’75 Las Vegas competitor. Mike Birch, six time British champ and a ’74 Tournament flyer came from his island nation. Former World Champion, Bruno Giezendanner, represented Switzerland in his first Las Vegas event as did West German Champion, Gunter Hoppe, represent his country for the first time. Three Las Vegas affairs have found Benny Kjellgren of Sweden in contention; Kjellgren is both Sweden’s and Norway’s champion. Ivan Kristensen, three time Canadian Champion and fifth placer at the ’74 Tournament represented our northern neighbor.

toc1976 28
Bruno Giezendanner`s Scorpion flying

From Japan came its current champion, Isao Matsui, The current World Champion, Wolfgang Matt, came from Liechtenstein for his third Las Vegas affair-2nd in ’74 and 4th in ’75. Matt also carried the credentials of European Champion, an honor he captured in Belgium this year. His brother, Norbert, was also a contestant making Liechtenstein the only foreign country with two participants. Hanno Prettner, winner of the past two Tournaments, represented Austria and Jeff Tracy, Australian champ, rounded out the list of foreign competitors. Americans in attendance included Tony Bonetti (N.J., ’74—’75 Tournament flyer), Dave Brown (Ohio, 3rd place at Las Vegas in ’74 and ’75), Ron Chidgey (Fla., two time Nationals champ, ’74 contestant), Steve Helms (Calif., third time at Las Vegas), Phil Kraft (Calif., former World Champion and three time Tournament competitor), Don Lowe (Ohio, 7th in ’74 and 10th in ’75 Tournaments), Rhett Miller (Fla., current USA National Champion and 2nd at last year’s Vegas affair), Mike Mueller (III., third try at Las Vegas), Jim Oddino (Calif., first Tournament), Mark Radcliff (Ohio, 4th and 5th in previous Las Vegas efforts) and Bill Salkowski (Calif., Tournament of Champions contestant in 1974).

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Bruno Giezendanner preparing his Scorpion for take-off

Twenty-two of the best and the stage was set for six qualifying rounds with two separate schedules and four finals flights for the five finalists making the cut. In all, over 150 flights were to be flown! It’s no secret by now that the 1976 winner was Hanno Prettner as he was in both previous Tournaments. Hanno is rapidly becoming wealthy in Las Vegas with a two year purse collection totaling $23,500. As Bill Bennett said at Saturday’s banquet, “Welcome to the Hanno Prettner benefit tournament!” How did the Austrian Wonder do it? By simply being the best flyer at Las Vegas. He took command in the first qualifying round with a 268 point score (320 would have been perfect), improved that with a 274 in round four and ended as top qualifier at 1069. Prettner not only held the lead throughout qualifying, he also had top single flight with the 274 point flight and high score for every single round.

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I. Matsui at the start

Since each round was before the same set of judges for every flyer, Hanno’s win was complete and his flights were directly compared to every other competitor. Unlike regular FAI competition, the “Tournament of Champions” scoring eliminated K factors with all maneuvers scored on a 0-10 scale. Prettner averaged 8.6 points per maneuver in his high flight. His overall maneuver average in qualifying was 8.4 points; not half bad for a brand new pattern. We had an impression that Prettner was never seriously threatened, except by Matt, for top qualifying spot and that, if pressure had been applied, he could have called on some inner resource and upped his score. “Curare” (M.A.N. December 1976), Prettner’s airplane, was fast and was flown in big, smooth maneuvers, except when snaps were called for.

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Japanese I. Matsui`s Corsair

These snaps were so quick as to be almost impossible to really see. lt was in the snaps that we felt we really saw fantastically quick flick rolls. The speed of these “snaps” kept Curare right on heading and speed didn’t drop so any climb needed after snap seemed easy for this machine. Second qualifier was Wolfgang Matt at 1040 an average of 8.1 points per maneuver. Close, but not close enough! Third qualifier was Gunter Hoppe at 999 and 7.8 maneuver average. Rhett. Miller proved to be the only American qualifier with his 4th spot. Miller settled in with an average maneuver score of 7.7 and a total of 980. Roun ding out the qualifiers was lsao Matsui at 974 or 7.6 per maneuver. Those seventeen flyers cut after six qualifying rounds should hardly feel embarrased by their showing, just heing invited was honor enough.

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Tony Bonetti

Fifth qualifying spot was open to question throughout final qualifying rounds with Helms, Lowe, Radcliff, Kristensen, Chidgey and Brown as strong possibilities. For some reason the fifth and sixth round was scored fairly low for most flyers and Matsui locked away fifth spot with a 249. Helms, Lowe and Mueller made a good run with final round scores above 250 but Matsui held a better second flight for the series. There wasn’t a more dedicated, harder practicing competitor at Las Vegas than Tony Bonetti. Tony spent four full days flying and he looked very good for a qualifying spot. We saw two flyers handle the Circus 8 very well; one was Prettner, Bonetti was the other. Unfortunately, Tony’s Las Vegas luck continued on the bad side and he dorked his 111 machine 30 minutes before round one. He had a back-up but, as any contest flyer knows, even similar aircraft require different timing and in this competition that was enough to drop the Albanian Prince to 20th place. Bonetti improved in every round but he never reached the potential he showed with his 41 Triple Trouble.

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We mentioned Jeff Tracy’s “Super Circus” earlier as the only design specifically developed for Las Vegas. “Super Circus” is a redesign of Tracy’s FA1 design with shortened moment arms and altered balance; both changes to enhance the aircraft’s ability to snap roll. The plane is a low winger, Kraft 60 powered, with plenty of lateral area and a fast look. lt doesn’t just look fast, it is! “Super Circus” departs from usual pattern prac tice by featuring a two wheel, panted landing gear. To some degree this is an even lower drag set-up than usual trike arrangements since there are no longer wheel well openings. particularly in the nosetrea. Since the Las Vegas pattern did not include landings and take-offs, any minor deficiencies in ground handling were unimpor tant. Interestinglv, “Super Circus” tracks as if on rails. Tracy’s two wheeler, of course, reduces weight and complication as well. We believe take offs and landings prove link and should be dropped in all patterns and we suspect that day is not far off.

Steve Helms flew a “Dirty Birdy” with Kraft equipment and engine. “Dirty Birdy” was also Phil Kraft’s entry equipped as you might expect and Mike Mueller’s bird -Pro Line radio and OS FSR. Phoenix served Don Lowe (Pro Line and OS), Mark Radcliff (World and OS) and Dave Brown (World and OS). Ivan Kristensen flew his Saturn (M.A.N. October 1975) with Pro Line radio and OS 60 FSR. Atlas (M.A.N. March 1976) served well for Norbert Matt (Simprop radio, Webra Speed) and Ron Chidgey (Pro Line radio, HP 60 engine). Bill Salkowski flew his venerable T2A with S&O radio and Kraft engine. Scorpion was Bruno Giezendanner’s entry, Pro Line radio and ST 60. Benito Bertolani flew a fast Kosmo 3 controlled by Simprop and powered by OPS 60. A modified Mach I controlled by Kraft and powered by Webra Speed was used by Benny Kjellgren. Jim Oddino flew his newly designed “Stiletto” that has the cleanest look at Las Vegas. His machine proved to be very fast and should become popular with pattern fans in coming seasons. S&O radio handled controls and Lee Veco 60 power requirements. Triple Trouble was Tony Bonetti’s entry. This familiar design was Kraft controlled and powered. Mike Birch after crashing at Vista used a borrowed El Gringo design, an old timer by Ted White we believe. The airplane was just not able to keep up with more modern pattern designs and kept Mike from any reasonable score level.

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Marlies and Gunter Hoppe

This coupled with some engine problems really gave the “Happy Briton” a tough row to hoe. Mike even changed in mid-stream by trying Don Lowe’s back-up Phoenix. Mike’s valiant try against impossible odds won the affection of competitors and spectators alike. When the action moved into finals’ round the story was similar, Hanno Prettner! He set the pace for the first finals round and had top score in every other round. Prettner’s 2902 finals’ score was followed by Wolfgang Matt at 2789, Rhett Miller at 2668, Gunter Hoppe’s 2622 and Isao Matsui’s 2452. Average score per maneuver was 8.0 for Prettner, 7.7 for Matt, Miller 7.4, Hoppe 7.3 and Matsui 6.8. No one flew a perfect pattern but there was no doubt about the winner. Hanno Prettner picked up a check for $10,000 for his efforts along with the George Johnson Memorial Trophy. Matt’s check was for $3500 followed by Miller’s $2500, Hoppe’s $2000 and Matsui’s $1500. Each flyer mounted the pink Cir cus Circus award stand at the closing ceremonies to be congratulated by Bill Bennett, Walt Schroder and this year’s “Miss Tournament of Champions”, Lois Silver. It was a pleasing mo ment for winners and Sponsors alike. lt is difficult to understand why Hanno Prettner was such a stand-out at Las Vegas. He has faced Matt at all of them and has won. Con versely, he has been runner-up to Matt at both the World Championships and the European championships.

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Benny and Lena Kjellgreen

Unquestionably Prettner has momentum in Las Vegas; somehow he rises to the occasion and is virtually untouchable at this meet. We understand that following the Euro pean Championships Hanno.did not compete this year to devote all his practice time to the Vegas pattern. If this is so it certainly showed. Prettner flew his “Curare”, as described in Dec. 1976 M.A.N. construction article, with Simprop Contest radio and Webra Speed power.

Engine was equipped with a tuned pipe that seemed to add a substantial amount of power in that “Curare” had the ability to accelerate rapidly and to vertically climb without ever running out of steam. Keep in mind that this power came from a non-nitro fuel, bäsic FAI fuel of 80% methanol and 20% castor oil. The Webra also featured a new carb that was adjustable in flight and that could receive an additional squirt of fuel in flight when the engine seemed to be going over lean. We watched with great interest when Curare did a stall turn to see if it wobbled on its downward path—it didn’t! Prettner had claimed that his anhedral stabilizer removed the characteristic wobble most planes exhibit after a stall turn. We don’t know why, but the idea seems to work. Propeller on the ship was an epoxy job by Webra, finish was Mono Kote over basic wood and foam construction. “Atlas,” Wolfgang Matt’s design, is now quite familiar to most American flyers as a result of that plane’s kitting by Southern R/C Products; ship is also a M.A.N. design. Simprop was Matt’s radio choice as was the Webra Speed for power.

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Kraft, Reuther, Benett, Bridi and model Dirty Birdi

A tuned muffler was part of the set-up and again, rapid acceleration and obvious excess power was the result. American flyers showed a great deal of interest in tuned pipes with their power advan tage and relatively quiet operation. We expect to see greater use of the device by next contest season. “Atlas” also featured Southern R/C retracts and balla/ foam construction. Rhett Miller flew his very familiar “Compen sator” with Kraft Signature radio and Webra Speed power, no tuned pipe. “Compensator” is also kitted by Southern R/C giving them a two man parlay in the finals and is a M.A.N. design giving our favorite mag a clean sweep of the top three places. Rhett also used a Semco muffler, Rev-up 11 x 71/2 prop and Southern R/C retracts; fuel was 15% Red Max. The “Tallahassee Flash” was the only single stick flyer in the top five. “Compensator’s” construction is the nearly stan dard balsa/foam with a K&B Super Poxy finish. An original design, “Sultan 5,” was Gunter Hoppe’s entry. This ship, a bit smaller than most, was clearly the fastest plane at Las Vegas in level flight but it did not have quite the punch of the tuned pipe machines vertically; plenty of drive but there was a difference. Hoppe used Microprop radio and Webra Speed power. Con struction was balsa/foam with an acrylic finish. Webra Speed dominated Las Vegas results and is clearly a popular choice for European flyers. Isao Matsui had an unusual entry in his mid wing, in-line “Corsair.” His machine appeared to have a strong “Eyeball” influence but that may be a case of two minds with the säure thought!

toc1976 38
Clara and Don Lowe

In any event, the in-line concept was shown to be an excellent one by Matsui in his smooth, fast patterns. Japanese aircraft feature beautiful finishes and this one was no exception with countless coats of hand-rubbed Aero Gloss dope. Matsui employed Digiace radio and YS .60 power in his aircraft along with Rhom retracts, MS 11 x 7 propeller and built-up balsa construc tion. During lunch breaks and between rounds a number of demonstration flights were presented. Norm Cassella showed a fine flair for free-style, biplane aerobatics with his “Pulsar” that made a number of Tournament competitors wonder if a biplane might not be a wise choice for the Las Vegas pattern. Bob Violett put on a great demonstration of his fantastic, ducted fan A4D proving not only its flight potential but the prac ticality of its propulsion system as well. The B-17 as kitted by Wescraft Mfg; was flown once by Terry Prather and any doubts as to that huge machine’s flying capabilities were laid to rest. Terry made a number of low passes that were all thunder and lightning; lwas World War II all over again. He rolled the machine once and then attempted a loop; the thinner Las Vegas air nailed down another victim as the 25 pound monster pulled out about ten feet under the desert floor. The crash must surely have registered on siesmographs in the area; we’ve never heard a thud like that in all our years of modeling!

toc1976 39
Mariella Bertolani

Terry said the plane had been looped many times before, always gaining a bit of altitude over the entry point. But that was in Los Angeles, some 2000 + feet lower in altitude—it does make a difference! Wescraft’s B-17 is, however, quite an achievement and we can recommend it to any modeler with a penchant for something different. The big demo hit was Phil Kraft’s full size “Super Fli” as flown by Steve Nelson at noon time on each of four days. Steve flew the machine last year but this time he came in much closer to the assembled throng and flew at much lower altitude. His year of experience flying Kraft’s fine performing airplane really showed in precise, competition aerobatics. Phil followed each demo with a flight of his model “Super Fli”. A show as great as the third Tournament of Champions leaves one with a number of memories: . . . fabulous Las Vegas where night is turned into day by the “Strips” lights—if you can’t find it in Las Vegas it’s just not worth having! . . . Circus/ Circus pink; on the award stand, contestant’s jackets, even the johns! . . . Prettner’s almost machine-like, precise con test presentations that he followed with a riotous comedy at meet’s end with an unbelievable 40 powered “Curare”; costumes on his father and helper had to be seen to be believed. . . Jeff Tracy’s presentation of his “Super Cir- cus” to this writer, and all I wanted to do was fly it! We were touched by this unusual act of generosity!

toc1976 41
Hanno Prettner preparing for the start

. . . contest group at the Dunes courtesy of R/ Cer, Ed Morgan, for their great, Casino de Paris show; R/Cers do unwind! . . . Phil Kraft, still a solid, viable competitor, serene in the knowledge that he has done it all and can still show the youngsters a thing or two. . . . “Over the Hill” charter member, Don Lowe, proving that middle age doesn’t necessarily mean slippage for R/C skills. Don simply loves R/C flying, R/ Cers in general and good competition. . . . tabulation workers at Las Vegas; without those ladies it could not have been such a great meet. . . . Mel Larson’s unbelievable hat and Lynn Crawshaw’s equally unbelievable patience with the all important details and requests by so many. . . . Bill Bennett’s obvious modesty over his tremendous contribution to the hobby/sport. We all owe you a great debt Bill and the standing ovation at the banquet teils you how we feel! . . an always visible smile on Mike Birch’s face no matter how bad things got.

toc1976 03
RC Curtiss Jenny

. . . Sam Crawford’s willingness to pick up the slack in any area to make the whole operation work; Sam is a human dynamo, always on the go. . Mike Mueller’s last ditch effort when his lan ding gear failed; Joe Bridi hand launched Mike’s “Dirty Birdy” for his high flight of the meet. . . . Tony Bonetti’s tremendous pre-meet effort only to be smashed moments before official opening—he never quit. . . weather that was great in a week when New York went into the deep freeze—we could have stayed for a month. . . young Rhett Miller’s serious approach and ability to stay on top of other American con tenders.

toc1976 06
Bob Violett`s A4D

Nice to see modeling pick up some of the tuition costs at Tulane. . . . Jim Edwards’ always present good humor and great commentary for Steve Nelson’s flight demonstrations. . . . Jerry Nelson’s big “Hi Guy” for everyone. . . my boss, Walt Schroder’s obvious pride in the Inas Vegas accomplishment—a great cap to agreat modeling career—and he has more up his sleeve! . . . Circus Circus’ ability to serve a hot steck, prepared properly, at a banquet of over 400-1’11 never figure out how they do it! . . . spectators from every corner of America and all over the World; they saw a great show and were an important part of the Las Vegas scene. . . .

toc1976 051
Bob Violett`s A4D

Charlie Hampton’s flight with a high performance electric bird powered by a new Mabuchi system as imported by Polk’s Hobbies. . . . a moment’s thought on how far R/C has come since 1950 when I entered this phase of the hobby—it boggles the mind! . . . warm hospitality from all we met; Las Vegas is pleased to host this show. . . . maneuvers that showed even the best have a way to go!!! We had such a great time that we’re already looking forward to the fourth Tournament of Champions. We bet Hanno Prettner is as well; won’t you join us?

toc1976 man
ON THE Scene at Las Vegas during the 3rd Tournament of Champions, the DeFrancesco girls, Chrissy on left and Yvonne holding Phil Kraft’s Super Fli with Phil’s full scale Super Fli in the background. Clothes furnished by Mr. B. Clothes and jewelry Entempo II, both located at the Circus Circus Hotel, 2880 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas. Photo by Billy Root.

Thanks to the management of Model Airplane News for sending us the great text of this article which was originally published in the February 1977 magazine.


Place Competitor Points Prize money
1. Hanno Prettner 2902 $10.000,00
2. Wolfgang Matt 2789 $3.500,00
3. Rhett Miller 2668 $2.500,00
4. Günter Hoppe 2622 $2.000,00
5. Matsui 2452 $1.500,00
6. Steve Helms 969 $1.000,00
7. Don Lowe 968 $850,00
8. Mark Radcliff 968 $800,00
9. Ivan Kristensen 964 $750,00
10. Ron Chidgey 960 $700,00
11. Dave Brown 959 $650,00
12. Mike Mueller 940 $600,00
13. Phil Kraft 930 $575,00
14. Bill Salkowski 917 $550,00
15. Bruno Giezendanner 916 $525,00
16. Benito Bertolani 909 $500,00
17. Benny Kjellgreen 909 $500,00
18. Norbert Matt 904 $500,00
19. Jim Oddino 889 $500,00
20. Tony Bonetti 887 $500,00
21. Jeff Tracy 855 $500,00
22. Mike Birch 761 $500,00

Images: Günter Hoppe, Classicpattern, MAN

Text copyright MAN


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