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For those of you unfamiliar with the world of R/C flying, a pattern competition is a graceful display of pilot skill where predefined sequences of difficult aerobatic maneuvers are flown using two-meter long radio controlled airplanes weighing under 11 pounds. Maneuvers are objectively judged by scrutinizing the geometry and scored accordingly.

This contest was some of the first flying I’ve done in more than two years. It was also some of the best flying I have ever done, and it felt wonderful to get back into the sport. The first day was gusty with winds out of the NNW at 15 knots. Approaches into the airfield were difficult as the wind gradient was steep and trees were causing a great deal of mechanical turbulence. The second day was calm and uneventful. It was nice to catch up with old friends from out of town. Tom Gilkey and I had some great conversation between judging the Advanced class. Masters pilots Mark Woytassek and Vincente Bortone gave me some great constructive criticism and helped me perfect the top hat maneuver with 1/4 rolls, as they literally wrote the book on it.

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