Model Airplane News|June 2020
A sneak peek at some of 2020’s impressive competitors

The 2020 Top Gun Scale Invitational is just around the corner, and so we are again highlighting some of the newest contestants planning to compete at Paradise Field in Lakeland, Florida. Hosted by Frank Tiano, this year’s competition takes place April 29 through May 3. As always, our annual “Road to Top Gun” feature and Model Airplane News online posts help to heat things up by highlighting several of the pilots and their amazing aircraft. All of the contestants are hoping to earn the ultimate title of “Mr. Top Gun” for this, the 32nd anniversary of the world’s greatest RC scale competition.


AaRahn Stewart from Beaumont, Texas will be competing in the Pro/Am Pro-Prop Class at Top Gun 2020. His aircraft is a Nick Ziroli P-47 and it has a 92-inch wingspan. It’s powered by a 3W 75cc gas engine and is controlled with a Futaba 14SG transmitter. The Thunderbolt has Robart retracts and it weighs in at 35 pounds. The finish is Alsa Corp Chrome with a mixture of Tamiya and KlassKote paints. The scale markings are from Callie Graphics. The plane took about two years to build with the help of a fellow club member. AaRahn has been flying for 22 years and has been in scale competition for about seven years. His model aircraft is a replica of Passionate Patsy, flown by Lt. Ralph Barnes of the USAF 310th Fighter Squadron and 58th Fighter Group.


Fabio Fanti, a transplanted Brazilian living in Miami, Florida will be competing with his Tucano Embraer T-27 in the Pro-Prop Class. The paint scheme is for the Esquadrão Demonstração Aérea (EDA: Aerial Demonstration Squadron) also known as Esquadrilha da Fumaça (Smoke Squadron) in Brazil. The model has a 90.5-inch span and is 81.7 inches long. Powered by a KT-45 TP Kingtech Turboprop engine, the T-27 weighs in at 26.45 pounds. Fabio is using a Graupner MZ-24 Pro transmitter with a Graupner 33516 GR-32 Dual Core, 16-channel HoTT receiver. Savox 1256 high-torque, titanium gear, digital servos control the ailerons and elevators, and Savox 256 MGs are used for the flaps and rudder. The retractable landing gear is from Phoenix, and a PowerBox 3-Axis iGyro 3 is also used. Fabio also chose a PowerBox 5.9v power regulator sensor.


For John Grooter from Orange, Texas, Top Gun has been a goal for many years, and he believes he has finally built something worthy of the competition. Entered in Team Scale, his unusual Curtiss YB-37 will be piloted by Larry Hebert. Powered by a DLE 85 turning a 26-inch prop, the YP-37 started life as a redesigned Nick Ziroli P-40 plans set. John spent three years completing the project, the majority of which was done in the back of his semi-truck while driving around the country.

Overall weight of the YP-37 is 36 pounds with Robart electric retracts. The model is painted with Krylon paint and has a flat automotive clear coat, applied overall after the weathering had been applied. John uses a Spektrum DX8 transmitter with variety of servos for control. John also scratch-built the unusual engine cowl. The pilot figure is from Warbird Pilots and it sits inside a fully detailed cockpit with a sliding canopy. The cockpit features an operating engine choke handle. The wheel wells are also lined with scale green canvas, as on the full-size warbird.



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June 2020