Agate Lake Bill Grove Memorial Float Fly; April 13-15, 2012

Agate Lake has to be one of the most scenic places in Southern Oregon with Mount McLaughlin presiding over the countryside from 80 miles away.

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Some work was involved in getting the Lake up to par after a long winter and it was up to this hardy crew to provide the manpower to pick up and mow and generally wake up the park to receive the first guests of Spring. These men (and one beautiful lady) deserve our thanks and recognition. From left to right: Les Simmons, Dave Boteler, Tom Everts, Gary Croucher, Fred Sargent, Shirley Sargent, Larry Myers, Cliff Sands, Gary Neal, John Gaines and Alan Littlewood.

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It is equally important to recognize that an event like this is fun for the attendees because all of the necessary hoops/permits/meetings/scheduling and a million other details are quietly and efficiently taken care of before the first plane lifts off the water. "Thank you" Larry Myers for being this year's CD and your trusty partner and one of our best friends, John Parks, for your dedicated work.

The rainiest Spring in recent memory with weeks and weeks of good old Oregon misty rain turned into the warmest and sunniest weekend this year. Twenty-eight pilots showed up, some with winter projects ready for their maiden flights and some trusty old war horses ready to add another year's notch to their belts.

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Bob Campbell traveled all the way from Yoncalla to bring his venerable Dragon-Fly down to wow the locals. Bob flies this bird with the greatest of ease giving proof of his 29 years of flight experience.

(Note: like many images in our Photo Gallery pages, this image is twice clickable; it will get VERY BIG! Read "About Our Images" for a more complete explanation and "how-to" details.)

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The Dragon-Fly itself is covered in super bright luminescent monocoat that attracts the attention of weather satellites and also makes it easy to see. There is a rumor that it actually glows in the dark. The Saito 100 four-stroke provides the power and a flying weight of only 8-3/4 pounds makes this a very maneuverable airplane.

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Alan Littlewood found time from his duties as Secretary of the Rogue Eagles AND an R/C flight instructor to make it out to the lake and brought this Hangar 9 Pulse 40 powered by an OS .46 engine. This airplane is an ARF which makes it very light and maneuverable. Alan reports that it is best described as "Sweet and Light" and proved it by flying with the greatest of ease.

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This is Tom Everts with his 80" Hangar 9 J-3 Cub powered by a Saito .82 4-stroke glow engine. Tom purchased the plane and floats together for an "uncomplicated" build, but still had to shim the floats to offset an incidence error of over 1/2 inch.

Notice in the image below that the rudder servo is cleverly built into the floats.

Tom joined the Rogue Eagles a little over 3 years ago. This is his third season flying float planes at events at Agate Lake and Lake Selmac. This year, he enjoyed his first IMAC competition, the "Medford Madness" event at Agate Field, and is looking forward to honing his piloting skills!

Tom describes the friends that he has made in our R/C community as "true sportsmen... [who] seem to have overcome the same obstacles that I experience with each build." He says that he "cannot thank them enough for their assistance and guidance" and is very grateful to be able to benefit from their experience.

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Our world famous CD, Larry Myers, took 8 minutes out of his busy day to respond to a challenge. Could he land a Cub on water like he lands his Cub on land, balanced on one wheel (or in this case, on one float)? This picture should answer that question. For those of you who want to try this with your own birds, Larry explained thusly? Left rudder, BUT not TOO much? Right aileron but just a smidgen!... Up Elevator to keep the nose up!... Hold your tongue "Just So". Yeah right, no problem. Maybe next decade.

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This is Fred Sargent with his 9 year old Schneider powered by a "take no prisoners" OS 1.60 AX.

According to Fred, "The Schneider is an old kit that was made by the Stream company, now out of business.  They made three sizes:  a 60 size, a 120 size like mine, and a 450 for large gas engines.  They were very ruggedly built.  Mine has had three wings but only one fuse."

"The design was based on the English and Italian pylon racers in the late 1930's.  They still hold the speed record for float plane racers.  Those pylon races came to an end just before Germany became a threat.  Some the British designs later turned into the Spitfire and other WW2 planes."

Here we see the Schneider very comfortably at home on the water.

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Our very own Dale McCuistion with his creative John Deere themed Cub.

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The John Deere takes off gracefully leaving a trail of fine spray.

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Bet you never thought you'd see a John Deere fly!

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Ron Dilday's Thunderbird Eflite is electric but has lasted for 30 flights so far. Even though Ron (62 years young) prefers land-based flying, he does just fine flying off water. This young man has been a Rogue Eagle for 6 years.

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Mort Sullivan's imaginatively crafted NorthStar is one of the "signature" birds in our skies.

Although Mort built this kit almost entirely according to the instructions, there are a few modifications that make this one stand out, including:  (1) The control rods for the ailerons are carbon and exit out of the fuse on the top side of the wing and there are servos in the engine pod that control the elevator and throttle.  (2) The horizontal stab is bolted on to allow access to the servos.  (3) The On-Off switch and charge port are under the opening door just behind the cockpit.  (4) The cowl is from a Park Zone Wildcat and is held on with screws.  (5) The bottom hull and outer sponsons are are sheeted with 1/32 & 1/64 ply and stained with light walnut then glassed to give the wood finish look.  (6) The winglets were added just to give the plane a wilder look but turned out to create a large rooster tail of water when doing a high speed taxi on the water.  In a hard turn the water flows over the wing tip, hits the winglet and creates the larger spray.

The engine is an O.S. 55 AX with the evolution muffler which, Mort says, is plenty of power for this aircraft.

The overall theme of the plane has an early aviation Sci-Fi look that was inspired by the "Black Hawk" comic book series of yesteryear.

Notice the letters "DM" on the tail. Mort puts these initials on the tail of his major planes to honor his grandson, Dylan McNeil, who passed away at the age of 2 from meningitis. "Dylan was my best pal and loved grandpa's airplanes."

See our "Agate Lake Fly-in" 2011 Photo Gallery page for a great close-up of the bottom of this bird.

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NorthStar pilots confer before a squall.

Left to Right:

  • John Parks
  • Calvin Emigh
  • Fred Sargent
  • Larry Myers
  • Corey Myers
    ("hidden" to Larry's right)
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Ron Kelso is intent on keeping his plane in the air. If you are an RC pilot you understand. If you have never flown an RC plane then look closely at the concentration. If a large flying reptile started nibbling his toes, you can bet he would land first, and only then yell for help!

Ron said that this was his first day of flying off of water with the Rogue Eagles, and, "thanks to the help of people like Larry Myers, it was a great day!"

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Ron is holding a Hangar 9 Pulse 40 ARF modified with an OS .55 AX (larger-than-
recommended) engine mounted inverted to preserve the lines, and narrow floats to improve the aerobatic performance of this smooth-flying dream machine. According to Ron, "When in the air, it flies just like it has no floats. It's a real 'Hot Rod'".

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Today was the Venture's first time on the water with her new "shoes". Rick rapidly discovered that the floats were not properly centered. When accelerating for takeoff, she skewed badly, dipped, and looked like she was trying to go submarine. The prop struck the water and produced the dramatic plume that you see in this photo.

Rick also discovered that he had installed the new floats with the step too far aft which caused her to "porpoise" during the take-off run instead of rotating smoothly.

For a final insult, the engine repeatedly cut out during later flight attempts. Rick sends a heartfelt "Thank-You" to Wray Freitas for the many rescues!

So, back to the workbench she will go for a float refitting and thorough engine check. It was a disappointing day for one of the most venerable and enjoyable planes in Rick's hangar.

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This beautiful baby is an Ikon NorthWest 1/4-scale Monocoupe 90a kit built by Cliff Sands.  This is the prototype kit for this product that Emil Neely (the owner of Ikon NW) sent to Cliff to build.  The wingspan is 98" and the weight is a modest 24 pounds fully outfitted.  It's powered by a Super Tigre 25cc glow engine that turns an APC 20x8 prop at 7,500 rpm.

Cliff originally constructed the kit around 1989.  A wing strut failed during the first flight.  There was no damage to the wings or to his scratch-built floats, but from the cabin forward the fuse was a mess.

It has been hanging in Cliff's workshop for about 22 years.

This past winter, he felt inspired to rebuild it, so he bought a new cowl from Fiberglass Specialties and beefed up the center section.  What we see today is the stunning result of Cliff's infinite patience and craftsmanship.  The color and paint scheme are his own.

Cliff said that today's taxi tests revealed that the floats kick up too much spray so he will build and install splash rails on front of the floats before her maiden flight.

We want to be there to watch and cheer when she's ready to fly!

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Sometimes even the most elegant of birds has a bad day.

Today, Mort Sullivan's stately 49" E-Flite Alfa 450 Trainer ARF, customized with floats and a cowl, experienced a remote control problem, crashed hard into the lake and broke the left wing spar.

However, like the mythical Phoenix, out of the ashes... er... splashes comes another shot at the sky. Mort generously gave the modestly injured bird, complete with radio, to Corey Myers; and, thanks largely to the combined hands of Calvin Emigh, Larry Myers and others who dropped by Larry's workshop, she will fly again with Corey at the controls!