Print this articlePrint this article

Written by Stan Alexander.
Read an abridged version with bonus photos and videos.
Full event coverage featured in the September 2013 issue.
JOIN NOW to start enjoying the magazine and more AMA member benefits.

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!
Stan Alexander

2013 Results

Pro Prop
Pro Jet
Pro-Am Sportsman
Special Awards

Event Footage Highlights

Event Photos

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!

Similar Articles

Ohio Dawn Patrol 2012

Written by Mark Lanterman

Online exclusive event coverage

Warbirds Over The Rockies 2012

Written by Stan Alexander

Read the full featured on page 35 in the January 2013 issue of
Model Aviation

Warbirds Over Delaware 2012

Written by Scott McClurg

Digital exclusive event coverage


Digital edition is cool... I still prefer magazine as I can pass old magazines to newcomers...
I accept digital edition app with reasonable yearly charge...

Add new comment