THE ROAD TO TOP GUN
Model Airplane News|June 2020
A sneak peek at some of 2020’s impressive competitors
GERRY YARRISH

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.

P-47 THUNDERBOLT

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.

TUCANO EMBRAER T-27

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.

CURTISS YP - 37

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.

XB-70 VALKYRIE STRATEGIC BOMBER

Bret Becker from Dayton, Ohio will again compete at Top Gun this year in the Expert Class. This will be the third time Bret will fly his Valkyrie, having competed in the Pro-Am Class in 2018 and in 2019, where he earned a respectable Fifth Place in Expert. Built with balsa and ply construction, the Valkyrie has a painted fiberglass finish and is powered by four 70 mm Schubeler EDF units and 1540-9 Tenshock motors. The XB-70 is eight feet long, has a 56-inch wingspan, and weighs in at 25 pounds ready to fly.

Bret has used feedback from the static judges to improve his strategic bomber’s static score. One of his newest upgrades is a scale canopy/cockpit section that articulates just like the full-size bomber.

ACRO SPORT IIS

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM MODEL AIRPLANE NEWSView All

Legend Hobby / Seagull Models - Cessna Grand Caravan 208

The Cessna Grand Caravan 208 is a legend in aviation circles. A single engine utility aircraft that punches up with capabilities that rival many twin engine aircraft in its class. Its seemingly simple configuration belies its near extreme utility.

8 mins read
Model Airplane News
January 2022

PROPER CG LOCATION FOR AEROBATICS

If you are getting into aerobatics and are starting to perform more advanced maneuvers, it is time to discuss ways you can not only become a better pilot, but how you can also improve the flight characteristics of your airplanes.

5 mins read
Model Airplane News
January 2022

Legend Hobby 13-Foot L-19 Bird Dog/ Cessna O-1

This famous multi-mission single engine observation aircraft served from 1950-1974. From calling out target locations to providing intel/recon information, the Bird Dog was a valued asset in both the Korean War and Vietnam.

1 min read
Model Airplane News
January 2022

EARN YOUR WINGS

10 Tips for First-Flight Success

6 mins read
Model Airplane News
January 2022

Old School Model Works Fifty Six

The Fifty Six takes its design cues from the original .09- to .15-size Carl Goldberg Falcon 56 of the 1960s. Reworked to incorporate modern, lasercut techniques to make kit building better than ever.

1 min read
Model Airplane News
January 2022

FLYING TWINS Multi-engine warbirds made easy

Let’s face it, there’s just something extra special about twin-engine RC aircraft. Most modelers stop what they’re doing when a twin fires up on the flightline.

6 mins read
Model Airplane News
January 2022

HOW TO BALANCE PROPELLERS

Four easy steps to increase performance and reduce vibration

5 mins read
Model Airplane News
January 2022

PRODUCT REVIEW: RC PLANE STANDS BENCHTOP MODEL

I’m a sucker for shop stuff. I buy tools I will probably never use just because they are cool, or I might need to use them someday. When Glen from RC Plane Stands reached out about a review, however, I knew as soon as I browsed their website that I would be receiving something I would use a lot, maybe even daily.

2 mins read
Model Airplane News
January 2022

SPIRIT OF RHINEBECK AWARD WINNER

A close up of Norman Malinowski’s 1/3-scale Albatros

3 mins read
Model Airplane News
January 2022

CENTER OF GRAVITY BASICS

The secret to a plane that flies well

6 mins read
Model Airplane News
July 2021
RELATED STORIES

CDC RESTATES RECOMMENDATION FOR MASKS ON PLANES, TRAINS

US health officials this week restated their recommendation that Americans wear masks on planes, trains and buses, despite a court ruling last month that struck down a national mask mandate on public transportation.

1 min read
Techlife News
May 07, 2022

AIRLINES REDUCE CANCELLATIONS, BUT US FLIGHT PROBLEMS LINGER

Air travel in the United States improved after a rocky weekend that left thousands of flyers stranded by thunderstorms in Florida, technology problems at the busiest domestic airline and labor problems at another carrier.

2 mins read
Techlife News
April 09, 2022

'They Just Took Me Away'

Adults declared “incapacitated” by the courts can lose everything— their homes, their savings, their freedom—to Florida’s sprawling guardianship system.

10+ mins read
Reason magazine
May 2022

IGUANA HUNT YOU DOWN!

Hated Florida reptiles are now safari targets

2 mins read
Globe
March 28, 2022

The Freedom Fighters of Florida

IN MARCH 2012, with George Zimmerman still not charged for the killing of Trayvon Martin, three former student activists, Phillip Agnew, Ahmad Abuznaid, and Gabriel Pendas, issued a call to action on Facebook.

4 mins read
New York magazine
January 31 - February 13, 2022

Florida's Latino Kingmakers

In a faceoff between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis for the GOP nod in 2024, the state's Hispanic voters could be decisive

6 mins read
Newsweek
February 11, 2022

THE CAMP BLANDING JOINT TRAINING CENTER MUSEUM

Military History of the Sunshine State

8 mins read
Recoil
January - February 2022

LOSING WITH LATINOS?

In the race for Texas governor, Beto O'Rourke's own words are being used-sometimes deceptively-against him

7 mins read
Newsweek
December 31, 2021

SPACEX LAUNCHES 53 STARLINK SATELLITES INTO ORBIT

SpaceX expanded its constellation of low Earth orbit satellites last Saturday (13) with the launch of 53 Starlink satellites from Florida.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
November 19, 2021

iCloud email won't send? Here's what to check to fix it

iCloud has restrictions that could prevent your email from being sent.

1 min read
Macworld
December 2021