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Asia Pacific F3C Open
American Adventure
JR Challenge 2004
How to setup your rotorhead
9Z for Dummies
3D Downunder
Victorian F3C Champs
Visit to Model Engines
Flying the Fury Tempest FAI
Pilot Profile - Pete (Panos) Niotis
Australian Trip 03
Introduction to the Century Predator
Building the Fury Tempest FAI
Professional Aerial Photography
Pilot Profile - Dwight Schilling
Pilot Profile - Russ Deakin
Pilot Profile - Dwight Schilling
Toolbox Essentials
Setup for F3C
Vigor Refit
Pilot Profile - Curtis Youngblood
JR Challenge 2003
Pilot Profile - Len Sabato
Helicopter Resources
Comparing the Webra 91AAR and the YS 91ST
Engine Tuning
Curtis Youngblood in New Zealand
Futaba GV-1 Governor
Pilot Profile - Malorie Zastrow
Scale: Flybarless Heads
Pilot Profile - Jason Krause
JR 10X
Pilot Profile - Mark Christy
Futaba 9Z WCII
Pilot Profile - Alan Szabo Jr
163km/h with a Vigor CS!
Raptor 60 V2
Low cost, high camera!
TSK & the Squirrel Part (V)
Follow up - Hirobo Freya
Follow up - Hirobo Shuttle RG
Sceadu 30 update
Hirobo Shuttle RG
Vigor CS - My thoughts
Bye bye little Ergo
Kyosho Caliber 30
OS 91
JR Voyager 50
Hirobo Sceadu
TSK & the Squirrel Part (III)
NZ Team Returns from Heli World Champs
Hirobo Freya
OS 50 Review
Millie vs CS (Part III)
Living with the CS
TSK & the Squirrel (Part II)
Promoting the Hobby
Ergo Z230 Gasser
Millie vs CS (Part II)
Millie vs CS (Part I)
TSK & the Squirrel
TSK & the Squirrel (Part IV)
Curtis explaining some concepts with us.
Curtis' home made gyro built by his father
Vigor into a piroetting launch
Entering a funnel
Tail stand launch
Watching a Curtis demo
Curtis Youngblood in New Zealand
Simon Lockington

For approximately nine months a group of six helicopter pilots have been working on bringing World Champion pilot Curtis Youngblood to New Zealand.
The Australians were also planning a funfly and were also working on bringing Curtis over so we worked in together to share costs to bring him down this part of the world. The Australians had set their funfly for the weekend of the 29th and 30th of November so we decided to have ours the previous weekend.

It was decided to hold the event in the tourist town of Rotorua in the central North Island of New Zealand. Rotorua is known for it's thermal activity and tourist attractions. The local club agreed to host the event and preparations were begun.

The organizing committee split up and assigned tasks and even though ours was going to be a fairly small funfly by international standards (40 or so pilots) there was still a lot of work to be done, catering, transport, accommodation, etc.

One of the earliest hurdles to overcome was that of nightflying. Here in New Zealand, night flying is not endorsed by the national modeling body on account of regulations enforced by the Civil Aviation Authority. As such, the liability insurance would not cover night flying activity at the Rotorua field. Another location had to be found.

As time wore on the pieces started to fall together and before we knew it Curtis and his wife Carla, arrived at Auckland International Airport on November 20th and had a day of rest to catch up on the jet lag and recover from the trip.

On Thursday the organising committee members met at the field to finalise preparations. The weather was awesome, clear skies, and very hot which was encouraging due to the changeable weather that New Zealand had been experiencing over the past couple of months. The local club had prepared the field very well with taped off areas and very nicely mowed grounds.

Friday morning dawned to overcast skies but thankfully, no rain. The cloud dissipated during the day.
As each pilot registered they got an issue of Model Helicopter World included in their 'gift pack' which included a six pack cooler bag, pens and various other items. During the day raffles and prize giveaways were held which included two books and two Model Helicopter World subscriptions that were kindly donated by Traplet Publications in the UK.

Curtis setup himself up amongst the rest of us and as can be expected, a small crowd gathered when Curtis and Carla arrived so his machines could be 'inspected' and the first of what would be many questions were rattled off. As the helicopter he was flying was pretty highly modified, there were many questions.

One of which was to do with the gyro, which no one could recognise. When asked about it Curtis replied that it was a home made gyro built by his father using what he thought was the same silicon material that Futaba uses in their gyros. We all looked at each other a bit perplexed. People make their own mountings and linkages and things, but their own gyros???

Another modification was the shorter head center. This had been machined up by a friend of Curtis' and meant that the extended ball links could be replaced with the shortened ones which apparently hold up better in crashes.
Also on the helicopter was the new OS C Spec 91 engine with a Perry Pump and Hyperhead. The carb wasn't the three needle version that comes with this engine, but the normal two needle version that comes with the SX-H. The reasoning for this was Curtis had only received this engine shortly before he was due to leave overseas and knew that the existing carb worked and so used it. Ofcourse, a Muscle Pipe 2 was the exhaust system.
While I can't remember what servos were on this machine, Curtis did mention that he'd re-geared them. This gave them blistering transit times, must faster than the Futaba 9252's that I'm used to.

Soon enough Curtis was ready for the first flight of the event and everyone positioned themselves to watch. I was looking through the lens of my camera aiming to get some pictures. Curtis hovered his machine for about five seconds or so before landing. All of a sudden I saw the machine explode off the ground pirouetting violently and I quickly looked up to see what I swore was going to be flying parts, only to see the Vigor screaming down the field backwards inverted. Needless to say I missed the picture and didn't bother trying anymore as I stood there with my jaw dropped looking like a fool.

On his next flight I stood beside him prompting him with tricks to try. Nothing really prepares you for being right next to the helicopter when it launches, the ferocity and intensity of the helicopter matched with the grace and accuracy of Curtis' flying is something you don't forget. One of his more popular tricks was to come in on the knife edge and as the heli began to slow and fall he morphed the knife edge into a very low level funnel right there in front of me. I must admit to taking a step back as the CS slowly rolled around on it's tail, never once stepping out of line, about a foot off the ground, five meters in front of me.

I wanted to see a low rolling circle and as soon as I said it, the Vigor was rolling round in a circle, as calm as a cucumber Curtis says "I can actually do these better backwards…" so the heli shot off down the field for a backwards run, but before he could get started, someone yelled from the crowd "CHAOS!". Instantly, the heli exploded into a perfectly controlled slow travelling chaos down the field and as soon as it reached the end went back into full speed backwards flight and did the reverse rolling circle.

It's difficult to describe in words a Curtis demo. It's like gravity doesn't exist where the helicopter is as it never really loses height unless it's told to. It's also like the helicopter just gets more and more angry throughout the flight like a caged lion, yet becomes a placid kitten on command.
Oh, and that home made gyro never ever stepped out of line. The tail was locked in throughout each and every flight…

Shortly after I asked him for help in sorting out my Webra 52 powered Voyager 50. I had originally thought this to be underpowered and not too exciting. When I started it up that morning it was very doggy and rough running. 25 minutes later after Curtis' attention, it was piro flipping across the sky and steaming round faster than ever as well as running much smoother! He taught us how to correctly set needles and throttle curves and how to identify the different noises an engine makes and what it's trying to tell you.
I learned more in that 25 minutes than I have in two years of flying.

Saturday was open to the public and the weather was great, beautiful clear skies with little or no wind as the flying began. One thing that was noted by many early on in the event was how the level of everyone's flying had increased lately.

Entry to the event for the public was a $5 donation per car and the public started rolling in, wandering up and down the flight line looking at the variety of models on display as well as looking at the vendor stands setup by RC Helicopters NZ and Galtech Models.
Again, Curtis spent most of his time answering questions and diagnosing models in between his amazing displays. At the conclusion of one such display a member of the public was heard to say "That American bloke isn't too bad is he? These other jokers aren't doing half of that stuff!". How true.
We also had two other display pilots putting their aircraft through their paces. One, Dave Hodges, flew his newly built turbine model in an amazing display of low level, very high speed control. I've seen Dave fly his ducted fan (which as been clocked at 323km/h) and he's not scared to make his planes work! He was telling me one of his future goals is to build one that will go around 450km/h…

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