CDing the event was yours truly Rick Maida and Denny Baker with a new CD to help out Clark Stiles from Santa Maria. Clark ran the staging area taking over my spot so that I could actually get some flying in, what a concept. But Clark is a welcomed force. Thanks so much to Clark and his wife Debbie for the support.
The event is always scheduled on the Memorial Day weekend and starts on Thursday and goes till Sunday. This year we allowed some of the big groups to come in on Wednesday to park and get their stuff all set up for the festivities on Thursday. That made it nice for them to get an early start. We started chalking at 9am on Wednesday morn and were done by about 12:30pm. That is about 25 80lb bags of chalk. Then parking commenced. By Thursday at noon we were filling up. Flying started at high noon. This event is pretty much a family reunion for all that attend. Waiting for this event is always a rush of excitement with the anticipation of being there amongst friends and family. It has become a pretty special event. This year we had about 150 pilots sign up and about 280 aircraft were inspected over the 4 days. Not including the 300 plus aircraft sitting on the ground for either static or with a for sale sign on them. Lots of color.
This event is probably the largest in California and is always growing in popularity. Of course it is not a Joe Nall size event but it is big enough. Which brings up an interesting piece of info which is that our AMA rep Larry Tougas was not there rubbing elbows with all the other AMA folks. His loss bigtime.
We had our pilots meetings usually around 9am and flying started around 9:30am. I always try to spice things up a bit by doing different things at the meetings. Last year I was challenged to come as Superman this year. So I in turn challenged everyone else to dress up as their favorite super hero. That was a lot of fun. We had 2 superman, wonder woman, The incredibles, Captain America, Captain Caos, a really sexy wonder women. So next year we are going to build on this theme. Then to spice things up a bit this year we played Jeopardy. The category was ‘THINGS THAT FLY’ and they had to answer as a question. The reason for this was we have 5 flight stations and pilots try to get out there first in the air. Well this year you had to earn it. One of the questions was, name the eight tiny reindeer that pulls Santa’s sleigh. Lots of blank faces in the crowd. But Ernie Swiontek from Santa Maria named all eight. Great going Ernie. So when you come to the Castle event it is just not about flying airplanes. It is having fun and making great memories at the same time.
Photographers included our beloved Kelly Collin Coulter, Jeff Stein from GOING VERTICAL, Ron Jones, Walter Colby and our very own webmaster for the castle event whose name right now escapes me (Mike Matenkosky). All were snapping away at all the eye candy flying and taxiing around.
Saturday morn at 5:30 am we had a dawn patrol / memorial for our good friend, George Faulkner who recently passed away. Keith Fick, Dave Sullivan, Norman Poynter, Keith Roberts, Lenny Jantz, Rudy Caceras and others who knew George were out there flying some of George’s creations. We all turned into a bunch of crying babies. Kelly got some great shots of the planes silhouette against the beautiful morning sky. George has touched the hearts of many. Pretty emotional for all of us.
A lot of unique aircraft show up at Castle each year. I think the crowd favorite was Don Rice’s Vought Pancake. Yes folks the flying pancake. Don did an amazing job with this aircraft. Pretty cool. It is the Vought V-173 Flying Pancake. Wingspan 48”, weight 17lbs, Batteries, IOS-5000 flown on a JR with counter rotating 21×15 APC props. Keith Roberts and Scott Davis had their Moki 250 powered Balsa USA 1/3 scale Stearman PT17’s. Wingspan 116” weight 46lbs. Ken Silz brought out his thrust vectoring jet aircraft and put it through its paces. It is a Carf J-10, wingspan 63” engine type P-180 weight 45lbs with a smoke system. Pretty awesome. Lots of big warbirds. Jamie Fiffles brought out his outstanding big Corsair. F4U 122” wingspan Moki 250 sporting a 32×18 prop and a killer smoke system. Weight 55lbs. Robart landing gear in the plane. He also had a set of gear for a bigger Corsair that were amazing and yes, we are not in Kansas anymore Toto. Not as many 3D aircraft this year.
We had a number of first timers at Castle this year. It is always interesting to hear from them after their first very nerve racking flight with all the other pilots and spectators watching. It is a whole different world out on that flight line.
This year Don Rice and myself attempted to fly Frank Gagliardi’s big bombers around sharing the same sky. Well, we got them up but Don kind of had his hands full with an engine out situation. Great job Don, a bit of a handful can we say. But the B-29 and the B-24 did get into the air at the same time. Hopefully next year the gremlins will allow us to get into a formation. Let me tell you those two aircraft are really a work of art. Lots of stuff happens when you turn the transmitter on. Being my first time flying the B29, like Don says, you do not fly them, you feel them through the air. Lots of concentration to fly these aircraft. Let’s just say shaking in your boots is not an option. Here is the info on these monsters.
Boeing B-29 Superfortress, 168” wingspan, 4x Zenoah G-23 flying with 15×8 props, weight 63lbs, scratch built retracts.
Consolidated B-24 Liberator, 144” wingspan, 4x DLE20 flying with 15×8 props, weight 53lbs, century jet landing gear.
Between the two aircraft, that is a lot of stuff going through the air at the same time. Fantastic job Frank, Don and crew. Thanks again for the privilege of flying the B-29.
Tom Easterday, Dave Smith, Terry Raymond, Tim Foster, Don Corum and Chuck Hebestreit brought out those fire breather full blown unlimited racers. Representing the USRA. Unlimited Scale Racing Association. This is pure adrenaline at its finest. I’ve never seen Doug Killebrew shake so much while flying a Miss Ashley at 240 mph. I think he had a big ass marlin on the end of that 2.4 ghz antenna.
Lots of big jets this year, which is really awesome. Peter Liu, Ken Silz, Joe Reichlin, Jose Macias, Monty Welch, Chris Dillinger, Keith Fick, Rudy Caceras , Paul Stenberg also the ZAP guy, and many more. Always an eye opener when looking at the plumbing inside of one of these beasts.
With all the big jets and high performance racers and aircraft in the air we could’nt of done it with out the help of Rich Tajeda the air traffic control person. So Scott Malta, airport mgr would request the large flying box through Rich and he would check the pattern around Castle and then if clear we would have the big box. I tell you, it does not get any better than that. Thanks so much Rich.
This years night flying was a huge success. I always enjoy the after 5pm group. Then things that come out at night. I want to thank all the pilots who put up with the request of the FAA UAS number if you want to fly at Castle. No one was without a FAA UAS#. Great going guys.
Tim Cassidy showed us what Lipo batteries look like when they go off. Good thing they were not in his airplanes. As far as feeding the airplane gods this year, we had 5 aircraft rekitted. Reasons, dead batteries, arfs with big motors, dumb thumbs. You know the same old stuff.
Vendor showing this year. Zap, Zurich sunglasses, EMS, Roth airplane stuff, and a few more. Thanks for your support. Hope to see you next year.
All had a great time this year. Already looking forward to next year. Also do not forget about Crows Landing in Sept. If you want more info on any of these events, please contact me: Rick Maida email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I also want to thank all the workers who helped at Castle this year. We are small but have mighty results. The registration desk was killer as always. Barbara Baker, Merriam Maida, Karen and Ron Bowser, Ed and Evelyn Martin. Cannot con any of these folks.
So until next time,
Watch your 6