Kirk's 2004 R/C Season

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[Combat Planes] [Paris] [Havoc] [Dixie] [FSA] [Nats] [CT] [Montrose] [FSA] [Lenox] [AGS] [Tenn] [Hanover]

2004 is Kirk's third season flying R/C combat. This year he will be competing in Open A, Open B, 2610 ("scale") and a few rounds of Open 1/2A and a few rounds of a provisional class known as SSC.

For B class, Kirk flies a modified version of the Skull Bandit with a Magnum .28 engine. For A Class, he flies his own design called a Rapier with a .15 Magnum engine. More information about the Rapier can be found at the MidAtlanticCombat site. In Scale, Kirk is flying his own design of a Blackburn Firebrand with either OS .25 or Magnum .25 engines. Kirk flies his Rapier fuselage with a modified Rapier wing in SSC. Kirk has one Open 1/2 A airplane, a mini-locust designed by Bill Davis, which uses a Norvel .061 engine. 1/2 A is the smallest size of combat airplanes.

Kirk's scratch-built Firebrand Kirk's modified Bandit Kirk's 1/2 A airplane.


This was a one day Scale contest outside of Detroit in early December. Kirk finished third.

Studley Shootout -- Hanover, VA

This was a one day contest outside of Richmond, VA with SSC and Open B. Kirk finished in first place in both classes, winning Open B by only 8 points over second place. The weather got better and better as the day went on, ending with lots of sun. The host club put on a nice event, with plenty of volunteers and spectators and prizes. Kirk won some fuel and two servos. There was no pilots photo.

Kirk on defense in SSC. Kirk flying very low defense in SSC. Kirk's red SSC plane getting a cut. Jack trying to get a cut on Kirk's streamer-laden SSC plane. Kirk having a good round in SSC. A mid-air in B class. Kirk's red B plane in some low pursuit. Open B action.  Kirk's plane with 2 cuts is at the bottom right. Kirk's B plane, with all the others' streamers.

Warbirds on the Cumberland

This was a two day scale-class only event, held west of Nashville. While it didn't rain during the event, the sky was very overcast the whole time, making it difficult to see the planes and streamers. Flying down low wasn't any easier with the mostly dark-colored planes blending in with the trees. Kirk had a few good rounds but struggled overall, finishing fifth.

The pilots.  Kirk is on the left of the front row. Kirk's Firebrand (darker one on the right) hitting another plane. The planes coming down afterwards. Kirk, on right, flying in pursuit. Top right, Kirk's Firebrand with a cut streamer on the wing. Kirk's Firebrand on right, losing its engine after a mid-air with Lee's Skyraider on left. Kirk just misses a cut on Mike. A badly damaged plane, near the bottom center. A cut in progress.

AGS -- Endicott, NY

Although the sky was a bit overcast, it was a pleasant day for combat, with moderate temperatures and only a light breeze. This was a small, one day contest with Open B and SSC. Kirk took first in both classes and won an assortment of parts from Microfasteners.

Some of the pilots. Kirk flying defense with his SSC-size Rapier, on left. SSC action, Kirk's red plane going for a cut on Earl. Kirk's red plane has 3 cuts on the wing in SSC. Earl pursuing Kirk in B class. Kirk flies low in B class, while his judge watches. Kirk, Jerry and Earl with their awards.

Melee Over Lenox -- Detroit

We were only able to attend one day of this two day event. Kirk flew Open B and Scale. He finished last in B, but that was because he only flew one round, in which a mid-air took out his only B plane. Kirk only flew four of the five rounds of scale, also because mid-airs damaged all of his planes. In spite of that, he still finished first in scale and won a new OS .25 engine.

The B pilots. Kirk's B plane on right. Kirk getting a cut in scale -- the white is the underside of his Firebrand. Kirk and Don V's scale planes after a bad mid-air. Parts continue to fall. Another scale mid-air, lower left.  Kirk's Firebrand top right. Kirk's Firebrand flying low defense with Scott G in pursuit. The scale winners.


This contest was held at Kirk's home field, with Open A and Open B being flown. Kirk finished first in both classes. His A class planes came through unscathed, but he damaged one of his two remaining B wings. There is no pilots photo.

Dave's B plane coming down after a mid-air. Dave with his damaged plane. B action.  Kirk's red plane, right-most, going for a cut on Dave. Earl being chased by Kirk (center) and Dave. Kirk going for a cut on Earl in B class. Dave's plane crashes while Kirk chases Earl. Kirk's Rapier during some very low defensive flying. Dave's Falcon was cut in half by Earl's Ripper. Parts of Dave's Falcon coming down. Kirk flying his Rapier, bottom, chasing Nathan's Ripper. Kirk's red Rapier chasing Earl's Panther.


This was a relaxed, one day contest with Open B and Scale. Kirk had a slow start and finished 2nd in Scale. He heated up for B though and took 1st by a large margin. His scale planes suffered only minor damage, although two B wings were more seriously hurt. Some of the other pilots' planes had a rough day too. The shifting clouds and light made flying and photographing more challenging.

The pilots. Kirk's Firebrand with streamers, going after more. Kirk prepares to launch his scale plane, while his judge helps with the streamer. Kirk's B plane with streamers. Wreckage from multiple planes.  Kirk's is the red one back near the trees. Just after a mid-air. Ouch! Kirk showing off while flying defense in B class. Kirk, standing on left, flying his red Go Devil.

Battle over Bloomfield

There aren't any pictures from this event because Melissa had to stay home to care for Maya, who was too sick to be left with a sitter that weekend. Bloomfield was a one day event with scale and Open B. Kirk finished first in scale and second in B.

Marathon before Muncie / Nationals

This was the big trip of the season, with four days of combat. Marathon before Muncie was a one day SSC contest held at a club 30 miles away from the site of Nationals. Kirk flew well and finished 2nd. Nationals was three days of flying, with ten rounds each of Open B and Scale. Kirk had some bad luck and a few low-scoring rounds in both classes. He ended up 12th in B and 4th in Scale. His scale planes came home largely intact, with only one wing being thrown out entirely. The B wings had a higher level of damage and Kirk made some overnight repairs at the hotel.

Sunday was windy after a morning rain shower passed through the area. The sun feels very strong there, and some guys had to cover their planes with towels after the sun started melting some of the plastic canopies. At the RCCA annual banquet on Saturday night, Kirk received awards for his finishes in the 2003 national points standing. He took first in A class, sixth in B and seventh in Scale. The lighting wasn't always ideal for photos, so a few of the pictures needed some software adjustments to make the details more visible (particularly the evening awards ceremony under the tent). There is no SSC or Scale pilots photo.

A TV crew from the Discovery Channel's "Monster Nation" show was filming on Sunday. They seemed to shoot at least some footage of or interviews with most of the pilots. They spent a bit of time filming Kirk judging for another pilot, and interviewed Kirk afterwards. Kirk's SSC plane flew during some of the staged for TV combat demos. We won't know until the episode airs sometime this fall whether Kirk or his airplane will appear in the show.

Kirk getting his 2003 NPS Open A award from Lou. The Discovery Channel TV crew at work during some Open B flying. Kirk with his award for 4th in Scale, with RCCA president Lou Melancon.
Kirk's red plane with streamers has a near miss with the yellow plane. Kirk's plane is to the far right in some SSC action. Kirk's plane in center with a cut on each side of the wing. Kirk going for a cut. Kirk's plane is in the center. Kirk's plane on right, flying some low defense. Kirk flying tree-top defense. Kirk's plane in center, with someone crashing in the lower right.

A mid-air. Scale action.  Kirk's Firebrand is the bottom-most plane. Some very close flying. Scale action.  Kirk is in the center with two streamers. Kirk, standing on right, flying his Firebrand low on the left. Kirk's plane is on the bottom right. Kirk's Firebrand being chased. A mid-air. A mid-air. Kirk lauching his Firebrand while his judge Don tosses the streamer. An unsuccessful attempt by someone to get a cut on Kirk's streamers. A different plane makes an unsuccessful attempt to get a cut on Kirk's streamers.

Open B
The pilots.  Kirk is near the center front row. B action.  Kirk's plane is 2nd from the left. Kirk with one of his B planes after a severe mid-air. Kirk's red plane on left coming down after being hit by the white plane. Kirk with the remains of the wing.  Other damaged airplanes are at his feet. Kirk's B plane at the bottom with a streamer on the vertical stabilizer.


Kirk's home club, FSA, hosted its first event of the year, with five rounds each of Open A and B. Although the sky was overcast, it didn't rain and didn't have the 'usual' FSA high winds. The contest was low-scoring overall, with a surprising number of mid-airs for a small contest. Kirk flew well though and finished in first place in both classes.

The pilots, from left, Earl, Dave, Tony, Viat, Kirk, Joe and Sergei. Kirk's B plane on left after being hit by Earl's plane on right. Open B action. Dave and Tony's wings coming down after a mid-air. Kirk's B plane chasing down Earl. Kirk's B plane at bottom with streamers. Kirk's red A plane going after Earl's streamer. Kirk (standing on right) flying low defense in A class. Joe's A plane after a mid-air.

Southern Fried Combat / Dixie Nats

Dixie ended up being a very mixed event. The trailer we reserved wasn't there when Kirk went to pick it up, leading to lots of hassle and frustration trying to find another one available at 5:30pm before a big holiday weekend. Traffic was awful on the way there and we ended up taking a long detour and not getting into town until close to midnight. The weather in Georgia was incredibly hot and humid -- the warm breeze was the only saving grace. One pleasant surprise was how quiet it was in Georgia. They don't have the cicadas buzzing all day like we have at home at the moment. During test flights, Kirk's fuel pump broke. He was able to buy a new one and get ready for SSC. He flew solidly and sustained minimal levels of damage. He finished 2nd out of 31 pilots. There were no Open B or Scale pilots pictures.

Scale was a different story. Kirk took 3 fuselages and 4 wings to the event. After four rounds on the first day, he didn't have any flyable airplanes. Saturday night he made some repairs and had 2 planes ready to fly for Sunday's 3 rounds. Unfortunately he lost both planes in the first two rounds and wasn't able to fly the last round at all. A number of electronic parts were also lost in the field as a result of all the mid-air damage. It is going to be a real challenge on many fronts for Kirk to create a new fleet of scale airplanes in time for Nationals at the end of the month. In the short time his planes were in the air, Kirk did fly well and finished 3rd of 10 in Scale. Throughout the weekend, many of Kirk's planes that crashed ended up in the very tall grass, which also contained nasty brambles and berry bushes full of thorns and prickers. Kirk was not the only pilot to end the weekend with severely cut up legs and hands from searching for downed planes. The scale pilots voted for the best looking scale plane at the event, and Kirk's plane tied for first with Lee's.

Open B started after Scale, and Kirk's first round ended in a mid-air which took out his first plane. Fortunately his luck improved a bit after that, and while he did have more mid-airs, most of the damage is repairable. The mid-airs did severely reduce Kirk's time in the air. He flew well during the time his planes were up, and finished 4th of 21.

The SSC pilots.  Kirk is in the front row, a bit to the left of center. Kirk's plane flying at tree-top level with lots of streamers. Kirk's plane is top left. Kirk's SSC plane with streamers near center. The SSC winners.

Clicking on the first photo will open a very large (approx. 4.6M) photo showing in detail the foam shower that was Kirk's scale plane. The white and pink 'dots' on the left side are bits of the foam that was Kirk's plane. Lee's twin, minus one of its engines and pods, is on the far right.
After the mid-air between Lee and Kirk's planes. Some of the parts that Kirk found in weeds. Scale action.  Kirk's Firebrand is bottom left. Kirk, standing on left, flying defense. The Scale winners.

Open B
Kirk's wing and fuselage coming apart after a mid-air in the top left. Kirk's plane with streamers on the defense. The Open B winners.

Havoc Over Hamilton

Kirk was still working on his airplanes until 2am the night before we left for the contest. All the work paid off though, as Kirk flew well and had a great event. The weather was warm and sunny, although windy on both days. The winds kept down the number of pilots willing to fly around and behind the tree line. Kirk was leading SSC until the last two rounds, when he had some bad luck and then a battery malfunction (which melted a hole in the fuselage). He ended up finishing second. Kirk continues to be thrilled with his new Firebrands for Scale. He narrowly edged out Don V. for first place. Don might've scored higher, but he and Kirk mid-aired -- Kirk's plane kept flying for the entire round, but Don's plane was heavily damaged and crashed. Open B was Kirk's weakest class, although he still finished in fourth place. For taking first in Scale, Kirk won a new, cordless Dremel tool. There was no Open B pilot photo.

Loading the car
At this contest in particular, many guys expressed some curiosity about how we got all of our stuff into our very tiny car. So this time Kirk took a few photos of what it looked like on the way home. Last year, we went to contests with even more gear in there.

View from the back. View from the driver's side back window. View from the passenger's side back window.
The SSC pilots. Kirk is near the center, holding up his red plane. Don P's plane going down after a mid-air with Kirk. Kirk holding his plane that was hit by Don P's. A close up of Don's engine, embedded in Kirk's wing. The yellow plane getting a cut on Kirk's red one. Low level pursuit, as Kirk flies defense.  Note the 'lawn dart' sticking out of the grass. Kirk's plane as a 'lawn dart' and with the wing still fluttering down after a mid-air. Kirk's plane on the left, getting a cut on Don P's streamer. A mid-air. Kirk, with 2nd place SSC trophy, and contest director John.

The scale pilots.  Kirk is on the left end of the back row. Kirk's Firebrand on the left, with 3 pursuers. Kirk making a low pass. Kirk's plane on left with 'the pack' pursuing. After a mid-air. Kirk's Firebrand on right. Kirk getting his Scale award from John.

Open B
Two planes stuck in the trees. Kirk's red plane flying 'in formation'. B action.  Kirk's red plane is flying upwards near the center with streamers.

Lonestar Nationals -- Paris, TX

Kirk's first event of the year, and our first time at this event. It took us about 20 hours of driving to reach the contest, which is the longest road-trip we've done. This is a big contest, with even more pilots than at Nats. Saturday and Sunday were long days at the field from about 7am to 7pm. Kirk wasn't as prepared as he would've liked for the contest. He placed well though, 10th of 53 in Open B, 5th of 62 in SSC, and 1st of 20 in scale. The event started out rough, as he mid-aired out of his first two rounds of B within the opening seconds of each round. His luck improved as the contest continued, and he finished B with a six-cut round. He then followed up in the first round of scale with a seven cut round. The third round of scale saw the severe mid-air, which destroyed the wing and damaged the fuselage (the fuselage damage isn't very visible in the photos). Kirk scrambled to repair the fuselage and put his spare wing on it. He launched the hastily repaired version just before the end of round four, which earned him 120 points for his original streamer. Without that last second launch, he would've finished 3rd instead of 1st in scale.

Texan cows like watching combat Socializing before the flying starts The north end of the tent line A section of the crowded flight line The south end of the tent line.  We're the blue tent near the center with the MD flag flying above. Pilots getting set-up for the day
Open B
The Open B pilots Kirk's B plane a few seconds into round one Kirk's B plane (on the left) a few seconds into round two Open B action.  Kirk's is the red plane near the bottom center. Debris falling after a mid-air - the white-ish specks in the bottom left are bits of foam Kirk's red B plane in pursuit of more streamers

Kirk with his Firebrand The scale pilots Kirk's scale plane, near center with a cut streamer on the wing The white underside of Kirk's Firebrand The Firebrand on left and other plane on right after a bad mid-air Kirk retrieving the damaged plane

The SSC pilots SSC action.  Kirk's plane is in the top right corner, covered with streamers. Kirk's SSC plane falling out of the sky. Mike's silver plane chasing Kirk's red SSC one. Kirk's and Mike's planes crashing after mid-airing with each other. Kirk's SSC plane flying with wing damage from a mid-air. A mid-air in SSC

More info after the next contest.