Written by Stan Alexander.
Read an abridged version with bonus photos and videos.
Full event coverage featured in the September 2013 issue.
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The Eagles song, “The Long Run,” reminds me of Top Gun and a few events held each year across the US. Frank “Mr. Top Gun” Tiano created this event to promote Scale competition. With other like-minded Scale fliers, he has made this event a pinnacle of Scale competition for modelers around the world.
Holding a Scale contest of any magnitude takes work, time, organization, and money as well as sponsors and a host of volunteers. Top Gun, as do many others, takes dedication and year-round work to pull it off.
The 2013 Top Gun, the 25th annual event, was held May 1-5. It has been held in Florida and in Arizona in years past, including three different sites in Florida alone, but Frank hopes the move to Paradise Field on the south side of Lakeland Lender Regional Airport will be the final change of venue.
Special thanks go to the Lakeland Lender Regional Airport manager. The venue has a specially prepared surface of Bermuda Celebration grass, freshly mowed with its own sprinkler system. The site is rolled for a full day before the competition begins.
On the first page of the Top Gun rules, there is this statement: “As the name implies, this contest is designed to find the best RC Scale builder/flier in the world. It is aimed at the contestant who is already considered somewhat of an expert in this field. So, you might ask, ‘What provisions exist in the rule framework for the average modeler?’ And the answer is none.”
It was a great competition and a fun time for friends to get together. The many parties and banquets were well attended. The press from around the world covered Top Gun 2013. Although an hour east of the venue it rained the entire week, the weather remained relatively dry at Lakeland.
What’s next for Frank and his crew? The 26th Annual Top Gun Invitational is scheduled for April 30 through May 1, 2014. If you haven’t been there, plan to attend or enter the competition yourself. It’s a great time for all.
Read the entire article in the September 2013 issue of Model Aviation.
Fair skies and tailwinds!
Event Footage Highlights
This is a look at the halftime crowd on Saturday during the airshow. Attendance was up this year and Frank ran ads for Top Gun on television.
Stephen Thomas’s Nieuport 11 started as a Balsa USA 1/3-scale Nieuport 17 kit. With many modifications and an uncommon color scheme, the model is impressive in flight.
The F-100 Super Sabre by Marco Benincasa from Italy, has an 85-inch wingspan and is powered by an evoJet 180 turbine. The model finished sixth in Pro-Am Jet Class.
Entered in Team Scale, this twin-turbine-powered Messerschmitt Me 262 was built by Bob Rullie and flown by Mitch Buckley. They finished second.
Top Gun’s static and flight judges took time out from their huge responsibilities to gather for a photo. Thanks guys!
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