I was feeling very hopeful, almost confident, going into Saturday’s Embryo event. My Tomahawk was dialed in. With the 7″ Superior Prop and one long loop of 3/16″, I can pretty much get 90 seconds in dead air – and Saturday was full of light to moderate thermals. On top of that, people (including me) were dropping flights, so no one was going to max out. My first flight was roughly 90 seconds and as I watched the slow climb-out on the second flight, I could tell the air was better. Eventually, I got that little wing rocking and it started an assisted ascent. As we were on the extreme eastern edge of the southern portion of the AMA site, you have to be mindful of tracking your model: if you take out on your chase bike and you’re relying on your timer to watch you for the “plane is down” arm wave, you need to stay on top of the various ridges on the gently rolling terrain. Well, I stopped on the last ridge and watched. As is passed through what surely was 2 minutes, I was pleased. Another minute later and I was getting concerned that it might not come down. Then, as it was approaching the far western edge of the site, it was clearly coming down. I saw it come down – into the corn field – over 4 minutes. It didn’t look like it went in too far, but mature corn has hidden many a model – including my trusty Tomahawk. There will be no third flight for that plane.
Even though the loss of the Tomahawk caused Embryo to slip through my grasp, we are all there to fly and have a great time. Flying anything is better than flying nothing. So I got out my Durham Mystery Plane – a rather unconventional Embryo design that I had built for the FAC Outdoor Champs two weeks earlier. It is a stubby, fat-winged, cartoonish little plane. The wingspan is no more than 14″ and the body is about 10″ or so. While I was building it, it dawned on me that this “could” have potential: the plane is essentially the size of a Peanut model with the area of an Embryo. Built light and flown like a Peanut, it could be thermal-bait just like any other plane.
Part of the fun that we have in FAC is battling with your buddies. I nearly always pit with fellow Cloudbuster, Winn Moore. This event was no different. After the Tomahawk flew away, I was recording flights for Winn and his Debut. Winn got a max in his first flight and a 90+ seconds on his second flight. I put up a couple flights in my Durham and got a 90 and a max (thermals are fun!) Winn’s last flight came in at 1:23. A little bit later he timed my last flight – it was 1:23, the same as his last flight! We were incredulous – did we tie and now would have to have a fly-off to determine the winner of Embryo? (Yes, we knew we were the leaders) We hurried over to the scoreboard where the scores are tallied for all to see. My first flight was exactly 90 seconds. Winn’s second flight was 95 seconds – my improbable little model had nearly beaten the vaunted Debut, losing by only 5 seconds and coming in 2nd in Embryo – what fun! Here is a photo on the Durham Mystery Plane on an official flight.