I have just returned from the 2002 Nats, and it was a terrific event.
Elsewhere in this issue the meet will be covered in detail, so I won’t spend any more time here on it, but suffice to say, the FF Nats would not even happen if it were not for the many volunteers who give up a day or more of their competition to put their energies to work for those who want to fly. I want to especially acknowledge the talents and time of Nats CD, Chuck Markos and his able assistant, Bob Perkins. Thanks for doing this job for the rest of us.

The Annual NFFS Banquet was held on Wednesday evening at the Convention Center. After some bad press in 2001, the event returned to its old haunts and had a true sit-down dinner in pleasant surroundings. The program, in contrast to 2001, lasted just over 30 minutes and brought comments from some that it didn’t seem long enough. All of this comes at a price, as the dinner, facilities rent and other expenses boosted the price per plate to $25.00. Most thought it to be worth it.
Rex Hinson and Louis Joyner did a great job in changing the format: this year, the Models of the Year were posted on easels and the awards were brief. The listing of those who have passed on was also posted on an easel for all to view. The National Cup awards were in printed format at the tables. It was efficient and very well received. Thanks, Rex and Louis.

Distinguished Service Awards were given to several folks who have contributed much time and energy on behalf of free flight and the NFFS. Those who received this award in 2002 were Lyn Reichel, for his leadership in the FAC movement; Hardy Brodersen for his 40 years of devotion to the NFFS including years served as Executive Director, Treasurer and other offices;
Len Sherman, who was the representative from the Western District for 4 years; and Bonnie Jenkins, who served for 23 years on the FFCB including a number of years as the Chairperson.

AMA Hall of Fame. The banquet was also the time for two special awards presented by the AMA. President Dave Brown was at the banquet and inducted two NFFS members into the AMA Hall of Fame. Abram Van Dover and Bob Stalick are the two new inductees. Quite an honor for those two and for all free flighters.

Texas Timers Cookout. For the past 5 or 6 years, Hank Nystrom of Texas Timers fame and the NFFS Membership Director has been hosting a weiner roast and bbq. NFFS officers lend a hand and offset some of the costs. One of the highlights of the event is the auctioning off of good free flight equipment, all of which is donated by members and free flight businesses. All of the proceeds of the auction go directly into the NFFS scholarship fund. This year the contributions exceeded $1600. Thanks to all who participated. Elsewhere in the Digest you will find a listing of the merchandise donors. Please buy from them because they support us.

Top Ten Balloting. The Top Ten ballots really perked up in the past month or so, and at the time of this writing, I must have around 300. By the time you read this, the balloting will have ceased. Thanks to all who participated. Now, I get to count them. A report will be in this column when all of the counting is done!

Freeflight Contest Board Meeting. The AMA FFCB met for the second time at the Nats. I was invited to attend as a guest. Seven AMA Districts were represented and discussed items as varied as whether to ask for a move of the FF Scale Event back to the FF Schedule, Moffet cross sections and what future exists for radio activated steering and d.t. systems. More on these topics in the future.

Freeflight News From the Old Model Builder Columnist.
Thermalair by Earl Cayton. This month’s three view is another newly approved Nostalgia model. It is a big C class model and a good looker in my opinion. The designer, Earl Cayton, should be well known to the more experience free flighters among us. Earl was an active contestant in Oregon in the 1950’s, competing with the Thermalair powered by a K&B .35. According to Gary DuBois, one of Earl’s protoges, the model climbed straight up and
others at the field stood slack jawed as it climbed up. According to DuBois, Earl won the Testors Award for the most beautiful model on the field.
The model appeared in Flying Models in September, 1958, but Earl supplied proof that the model was designed in 1951. Details are in the 9/58 FM issue, but in brief, the CG is 2” in front of the TE, right climb and either right or left glide was the norm. Power was any good .29 to .35 engine. The plans are available from NFFS plans service, and the cost will be $8.00 postpaid.
Send your order to Hank Sperzel, NFFS Plans, 203 Chevro Lane, Bellevue, NE 68005.

One Design Event Model for 2003. Bill Vanderbeek has confirmed that the 2003 Gas Model of the Year is the Starduster X powered by any Nostalgia legal engine or any TD .049 or .051 engine. The model must be built according to the kit or kit plans with no enlargements or reductions allowed. The model will be flown according to NFFS Nostalgia rules, even though the model does not qualify as a NosGas model. So, build one (kits are still available) or get one out of the attic and see if it still flies. You can be ready to compete in this event in 2003.

Vanderbeek also announces the 2003 Gas Model of the Year. The model is Toshi
Matsuda’s Zero. This model must meet all Nostalgia criteria including engine
selection, engine runs, maxes, etc. Short kits of this model are available
and I have been informed that BMJR will produce a full sized kit. Plans can
be bought from NFFS if you want to scratch build.

Bob Stalick