Fun For All Ages!
Event: Flite Fest 2015
Date: July 9-12, 2015
Location: Furey Flying Field – Malvern, OH
Team Hitec Attendees: Mike Mayberry, Shawn Spiker, Nick Frederick, Jason Cohen
By: Mike Mayberry
When some of the coolest people in the industry, and our close friends Josh, Alex and Austin from Flite Test decide to put on an event, they really do it right! Last year was the first annual Flite Fest and it was so incredible, we knew we had to attend again this summer. Acres upon acres of fun is the best way to describe it!
The Hitec crew included Team Manager Mike Mayberry, Sales Manager Shawn Spiker and Team Pilots Nick “Nacho” Frederick and our newest and youngest addition Jason “Hashbrown” Cohen. We arrived bright and early on Thursday morning…well it’s wasn’t that bright and ok fine, not that early either but we made it and were ready to rock and roll! And what better way to rock and roll than with the new Multiplex Rockstar biplane! We’ve had one of these planes for the past month and didn’t dare fly it, because we didn’t want any accidental mishaps (Mike’s colorful flying record and all) and find we had nothing to bring! If a crash would occur at Flite Fest, at least there would be an audience and a story to tell, right?
We also brought other assorted models including the Speedy Dogfighter, Fun-to-fly Pilatus and easy-flying Shark to tear up the sky with! Let’s not forget all the cool Hitec gear too like the new Flash 7 & 8 radios along with the X2 AC+ charger!
After taking a walk around to check out the incredible facility which is, in fact, the personal property of the Furey’s (Austin’s folks,) we were in awe of the sheer size and beauty of the location and amazed at the size of the crowd that was already there! Two massive build tents were set up across from us with tables and chairs filled with people building the cool Flite Test foam kits and more. Pop up tents seemed to span for miles down the flight line in either direction! Our 20×20 tent was situated close to Show Central which was perfect! Once we got the tables, banners, flags and product all set up and were ready to go out and fly, the skies opened and we spent the rest of the afternoon under the tent! Oh well…we had lots of visitors and got to show off our stuff which is what we were there for anyway! Unfortunately, the rain didn’t let up, becoming increasingly heavier. Throw in a Tornado warning and the evening was shaping up to be something Jim Cantore would report on. We decided at some point to head out to dinner but Mother Nature had turned the dirt field into a mud bog and our front tires were just spinning and flinging mud everywhere. Alas, with the help of a few strong gentleman and Shawn’s foot on the gas, the four of us pushed and managed to get the car out and onto the asphalt driveway! Done for the day, we headed out and hoped we’d have better luck with the weather on Friday!
Friday morning came and while it wasn’t really raining that hard, it was still drizzling and when we got to the field, we realized that Flite Fest had turned into Mud Fest! The Flite test crew and volunteers were quick to respond and soon there were scores of people with hay in hand spreading it over the really wet and muddy areas! The rain finally stopped around noon and we could finally get out and fly! And fly we did!!!! We put several flights in on the Dogfighter, Heron, Shark and Pilatus but were still saving the Rockstar for Saturday when it was supposed to be sunny!
We awoke Saturday to glorious weather and a packed field full of happy modelers! Today was the day for the Rockstar! We moved to an area of the flight line that wasn’t as crowded. It was pretty crazy out there! Team Pilot Nick was given the honors of taking it up for a shakedown flight. I have to say that the Rockstar is one sexy beast! We did a final preflight check and with a thumbs up, Nick punched the throttle and off it went! The role out was short and jumped into the air, climbing out like a homesick angel! A couple clicks of the trim switches on our Flash 8 and it was tracking straight as an arrow. Wow…this plane looked even better in the air than on the ground! The plane was responsive so Nick dropped the rates to low and did some nice graceful turns and rolls. He brought it down a little lower into a high alpha harrier…there was a little wing rock but not too bad! Then as all good pilots would do, he pops it up into a hover…NICE! A little wobbly at first but then it locked in and he punched the throttle and it climbed right out…plenty of power Nick proclaimed! Time to set up for landing…nice approach and as it settled down on to the grass, Nick held a little up elevator to keep the tail down and….The grass was a bit too tall and over the Rockstar flipped onto its lid! Oh well…it can’t always be perfect! Needless to say we were all very pleased with the performance of the models and we managed to get in a half a dozen more flights throughout the day. The Rockstar definitely lived up to its name!
Some of the most fun we had was competing in the “Combat” events! We actually lost more planes when normal flying than when there were 60 planes in the sky all trying to hit each other! Seems to me, when there are dozens of planes flying all over, you don’t hit a soul; but when a handful of planes are in the air, they suddenly have magnets attached to them!!
As day turned to dusk, the lights came out and we enjoyed a glorious sunset and painted sky! What a fitting display for a fantastic event that was put on by a great group of guys and volunteers. I think the final tally for pilots was somewhere north of 900! Are you kidding me?!?!? Next to the granddaddy of them all, Joe Nall, this was probably the biggest aircraft event in the country. It was definitely worth the trip out to Ohio to be a part of it! We met hundreds of great people, destroyed a few planes and made some new friends in the process…what more could you ask for?!?!
A special thanks to our good friends, Josh, Alex and Austin at Flite Test for putting on such a great event and for taking such good care of us! It’s always great to see and hang out with these guys and this time was really special! We’re looking forward to next year! See you next time!!!
– Team Hitec