Road Trips: New England Jet Rally
By Nels Anderson
Most of us who are interested in flight simulation also have a broader more general interest in aviation in all its forms. We may do plane spotting, visit museums, go to air shows, etc. One other outlet that in many ways is analogous to flightsimming is R/C or radio control flying.
I tried R/C many years ago but due to a combation of things never actually mastered it. Shortly after that I discovered flight simming and then flying real planes and found the real thing easier to fly and flight simming a good substitute too. But on occasion I still enjoy watching people fly R/C as there are some real masters out there and the planes and the flying are quite good.
Perhaps the ultimate in R/C is jets. Not just planes that look like jets but miniatures that sport real jet engines with the sounds and sensations of the full size thing. I've seen these in videos but never had the chance to see the real thing until just recently when the New England Jet Rally was held at a nearby airport.
Arriving shortly after the day's events had started the air was already full of the sounds of turbines, something which went pretty much non-stop all day long. Many of the planes were modeled after military aircraft, including the F-15, F-22, A-10 and even an ME-262. There were also planes not based on real world models but which offered some amazing performance in the air, beyond what a real pilot would be able to tolerate I suspect.
The A-10 model took the prize for most realistic and was one of the few that actually had twin engines (many of the others had a single engine deep inside though externally looked like they had twins engines to match their real world counterparts). The ME-262 was by far the loudest, but unfortunately never did fly as each time it was taxied out one engine would shut down.
Jet aerobatics are different from what the civilian aerobatic experts can do in their Cap-10's and Extras and most of the planes flown where looped and rolled as you'd expect. There was one bright red plane, modeled after the Eurofighter so I was told, that actually was doing the type of aerobatics you'd expect to see in a small prop plane. It was pretty spectacular! One of the other stars was an F9F Panther that had an onboard smoke system, using the same smoke oil that the real jets do. He was one of only two planes I managed to photograph in flight as the planes were generally too small and too fast to follow. These guys are doing up to 200 mph after all...
It was interesting to note that they did this without shutting down the airport, so every so often a real plane would land or take off and the R/C pilots had to pause briefly. The SAIA Marchetti SF260 seen in the photo even put on a little show for us.
All in all, a great day and yet another way to enjoy aviation. R/C rallies are held all over and if you find one in your area I'd recomment you do attend and see how other people simulate flying planes they could never afford in full scale.
Continue on to Page 2 for some videos I found on YouTube of the event...