If you asked anyone that attended this last trip to Chamberlain you would hear what a great time we all had. The first two days of the trip we encountered overcast and occasional rain but the winds cooperated even on those days. By the third day the winds were blowing about 35mph (my guess) and the weather warmed up quite a bit. Sunday was warm and the winds were steady at about 15 to 20 mph, which made for great flying conditions.
About 25 people made the trip this year. Bill Grenoble and Rick Rensi drove all the way from PA to fly with us. Their van was packed with some great looking and flying models of all descriptions. Bill’s sense of humor added to the fun we were already having before we ever arrived in South Dakota. Back at the motel Bill and Rick both buzzed the parking lot with their small electrics and made a few carrier landings (that’s what they said they were in an effort to save face) on the roof of the motel building.
We also had some pilots from Sioux Falls drive in to join us on the hill. I don’t think these boys know how lucky they are to have such premier slopes right in their own back yard. But, now they do.
Larry Sorenson, Emil Weiler and our host, Rob Hurd had a ball D-Sing and putting on quite a show for some of the DS challenged pilots. (yes, that includes me. My reflexes are just too slooooooooow for that kind of flying) I heard speeds around 100 mph were being clocked on a radar gun that someone brought.
There were so many different kinds of models on hand that it would be hard to list them but the most common ones were JW’s or variations on the theme, Red Herrings, and Zagi’s. Kevin Kavaney brought a beautifully finished Bob Martin Coyote that really handled well. Bill Grenoble had several of his own design models that were all good looking and flew just as well.
Larry Sorenson dazzled everyone with his building skills. He actually began building a slick one meter Colibri slope model in the front seat of Dave’s van as they left Minneapolis. He was able to cut out the servo pockets, cut the v tail from a sheet of balsa while Dave handled the driving. He finish sanded the parts at a rest stop and finally got everything ready to fly that night in his hotel room. MAN! That’s impressive.Not to be out done, Ib Jenson started and finished a new JW in his motel room turned workshop. Ib went to work in the evening and by the next morning his newly covered JW was flying on the slope and flying quite well at that. GEEZE! It takes me a week to finish one of these birds!
Dave Engleson brought his impressive and very large scratch built A6 on this trip. He modified it (also in the motel room) so that he could do a bomb release from the belly of this monster. The bombs were tennis balls. He made repeated passes over the slope looking for targets to drop bombs on. Amazingly, Nick Trutwin (Mike’s son) was actually able to find the tennis balls after they were dropped.
Talking about the Trutwin’s, Mike brought his gorgeous F86 Saber. This was another scratch built model that was quite large and flew beautifully until it was knocked out of the sky by one of the indestructible foamy wings. The good news is that it will fly again. It just suffered some tail damage that looked like it will be easy to repair. Mike’s work is impeccable so it would have been sad to lose such a great looking model.
Rod Dahl, my son Lee and I had our own adventure one day driving to the slope. I turned one road to early. In an effort to make up for lost time I took a “short cut” down a dirt road. That proved to be an aggravating and expensive mistake. The road, freshly mucked up by rain proved to be too much of a challenge for my trusty front wheel drive van. We found ourselves stuck in mud up to the axels. It took a tractor to get us out. (Thanks Rob and Vicky for coming to our rescue) Later, when we were returning from the slope to our motel I realized that there was so much mud jammed into the inside of my wheels that they were quite out of balance so we couldn’t go over 40mph without being shaken to death. After two trips to the car wash we still were faced with the same problem. It required removing all the wheels to clean everything out. Luckily there was a gas station open with a mechanic that was willing to do the job early Sunday morning.
Bill Kuhl, an MRCSS member from Winona with little slope experience came ready to experience all that SD had to offer. Every time I looked Bill had one of his three airplanes in the air and best of all he came home with all of them in one piece. I should add, I think he did because I wasn’t there for the last hours of flying on Sunday morning.
I had to leave earlier than I would have liked. Just like in fishing, we heard how good it was right after we left for home. I’ll leave the final report for one of the guys that stayed on to fly on Sunday morning. I heard this might have been the best day of the trip.
No matter though, our threesome sure had a good time. Our host, South Dakota’s Rob Hurd and companion Vicky, went way out of their way (as usual) to make sure everyone had a good time. We sure did and if you were on this trip I think you’d say the same.
One last thing…… if you think you would like to join us, there are three airplanes I’d suggest bringing along. A JW is a must, a Red Herring would be a good one for light lift days or a light hand launch and the third one would be a “your choice” because just about anything will fly off these slopes.
I should note that the slope sites we fly from are all on private land. Permission to fly at these locations was granted to Rob and Vicky, NOT to any of us by ourselves. Therefore if you want to fly at these locations it would be a good idea to check with Rob first.
Lastly, I saw a few cameras at the slope. If anyone has pictures they would be willing to share we’ll get them on the site within the next couple of weeks.
Come join us. You’ll be glad you did. We’ll probably be going again in late May or early June, depending upon the weather and Rob’s willingness to have us back.