THE BLUE MAX 2020 - CELEBRATING WW I AVIATION
Model Airplane News|June 2020
Each year at the end of January, the annual Blue Max event is held at Sanford Aero Modelers RC Club field in Sanford, Florida. This year, the gathering ran from January 24 through 26. Now in its eleventh year, this is one of the events everyone looks forward to; not just because of the laid-back atmosphere and great camaraderie, but also because the weather is always beautiful at this time of year in Florida. For 2020, with temperatures in the 70s, Mother Nature did not disappoint.
DAVID HART
The Blue Max Scale Challenge and Fly-In is an event for anyone who’s interested in early aviation and the WW I aeroplanes that flew from 1903 to 1919. An RC celebration of the pioneer aircraft and the World War I fighter—and the pilots that flew them, the Blue Max is a great way for RC enthusiasts to get together and recreate those historic moments in time. History is preserved through events like the Blue Max, as there aren’t many museums or airfields left where you can see these vintage aircraft fly. In the not-too-distant future, RC events may be our only link to the past and early aviation.

HISTORY

The Blue Max event was founded by Mike Celesky, John Olson, and Ron Prestin, who all at the time felt that it was extremely difficult for WW I planes to compete against the more familiar heavy-metal warbirds. Documentation is just not readily available for WW I projects, so they wanted to create an event where the WW I modelers’ efforts would be recognized by other builders and fliers with similar interests.

The first two events were held at Kermit Weeks’ Fantasy of Flight Museum in Polk City, Florida. After the second event, a location change was needed to handle the larger-scale WW I RC aircraft. The event needed a dedicated flying site intended for RC planes, with amenities such as assembly tables and power outlets for charging. So, Scott Lee, the vice president of Sanford Aero Modelers, welcomed the opportunity to hold the event. The Blue Max moved to its permanent home at the Sanford Aero Modelers’ field in 2012.

ON THE FLIGHTLINE

This year, there were some 50 registered pilots at the event, with most of them bringing more than one plane. On Saturday alone there were more than 100 aircraft lined up along the flightline! Several pilots arrive early for the event to get their RVs set up and claim their space along the flightline by as early as Wednesday evening.

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