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2009 Comet Champs - Pre-Contest & Results
Updated 28-Sep-2020
Back to SAM 2009 Comet champs Results

By Mike Myers, Contest Manager
The Dates 4-9 October 2009

The 2009 Comet Model SAM Champs plans are almost complete. We’re going to hold the contest on El Dorado Dry Lake south of Las Vegas Nevada in October, 2009. We’ve got a contract signed with Boulder City Nevada (they control the lakebed) which will let us have use of the lakebed from Sunday October 4 through Friday October 9, 2009. Contest events will be flown from Monday, October 5 through Friday. Contest Schedule link

El Dorado Dry Lake is situated south of Henderson NV; Map, it is located to the west of highway 95 near the bottom of the picture. Lake Mead and the Boulder Dam are located to the upper right of the picture. El Dorado was the site of the 2005 and 2007 Champs

Motel 6, 10% Discount for 2009 Comet Champs and Personal accomodation usage






Champs Results


Comet Champs Entry Form

Comet Champs Free Flight Entry Form

Comet Champs Nostalgia and Rubber Entry Form

Comet Champs Radio Control Entry Form

Contest Schedule

The 2009 Comet Model Champs Eligible Models

The Comet Model Story by Dave Harding


2009_comet_champs_grand_champions_and_perpetual trophy winner pdf


Comet Model Champs Update for July -August 2009

Correct Hotel Number for Reservations

Call 800 388-8334 for room reservations at the Fiesta Henderson. Ask for the SAM Champs rate of $50 per room plus tax and hotel service fee. That ought to work out to slightly less than $60 per night on Sunday through Thursday nights. The room rate goes up to $100 per night plus tax and service fee on Friday and Saturday nights. We've got a block of 100 rooms available at that rate, but the hotel will start to release them after September 2 if they're not reserved by then. The block is subject to adjustment, but it's best to make your room reservations as early as possible.

The printed entry blank has the wrong phone number. That's my fault. And as long as I was making mistakes, the entry form also has a mistake in the Contest Manager's e-mail address. The correct e-mail address is at "Contact us". My apologies to you for my error(s). (But heck, if you make one, you may as well make two!).

Compressed Air Models and Compressed Air Modelers Blowing Up a Storm

I attended my local OT club meeting the night before I wrote this. I saw two complete compressed air models ready to be test glided. Ron Boots has heard of at least another two or three more CA models that should be at this year's SAM Champs. The existing compressed air rules say no “folding style props”. But just as has been done in some electric contests, we'll allow a folder prop, so long as it is held open during flight. The reason is to protect the prop shaft on a fragile motor in the event of an untimely “arrival”. Ron also sez that he's going to allow a hand launch for the mass launch/first flight of compressed air models on Friday morning of the Champs. If you want to make three flights with your CA model, the last two will have to ROG.

Miss Seldom Seen

Miss Seldom seen is an interesting event. It inspires two kinds of comments. One kind talks about searching the model design attics of the world and building and introducing rare models designed in the strangest places in years after the SAM 1942 cutoff date. To that I say no—a Miss Seldom Seen concours entrant has to be a model on one of the existing SAM Approved Design lists—whether that be power, rubber or a glider. There are lots of designs out there on those lists that have either never been built or rarely been built by modern SAMers. Go for one of those as a Miss Seldom Seen entrant.

The second kind of comment comes from those modelers who have built a truly ugly airplane on the list—say a Streamlined Barn Door—and worry about having to compete against a “pretty face conventional model”. The theory is that wallflowers at the dance should only have to compete against other wallflowers, or to take the metaphor a bit further, against girls who have never been taken to the dance. As Contest Manager, I've got some sympathy for that position. I'll act as a bit of a gatekeeper for entries into the Miss Seldom Seen concours event. If your model is strange, unusual, odd, or of a design that has never shown its face at a SAM contest before, you're in! If it's a thoroughly conventional design that has been flown at numbers of SAM Champs before, then you're out, and will have to enter the concours “beauty contest” with the Bombers, Playboys, Clippers and such. One way or another, if you bring a model to enter into the concours, you'll be allowed to enter it in one of the concours events. However we'll try to have the “sheep” judged with the other sheep, and the “goats” with the goats as it were.

Engine Raffle Our raffle master has come up with a selection of 12 engines for the engine raffle. Four names will be drawn at the swap meet/ladies craft show on Monday night of the Champs. Four more names will be drawn at the General Meeting/Concours on Wednesday night. You need not be present to win, but if you're there, you'll get to pick your engine from the selection available. If you're not present, either the Contest Manager or the SAM President will make the choice of engine for you, and we'll send it on to you.

Nostalgia Entries We're running the Nostalgia Events as part of the SAM Champs this year. In past years, there was a separate entry fee for the Nostalgia Events. There's no separate entry fee for Nostalgia Events this year. If you fly a Nostalgia event, just treat it as another SAM Champs event and pay the entry fees according to the main fee schedule.

2009 Comet Model Champs Update May-June 2009

Things continue to go well as we run up to the Comet Model Champs in October. There is some news for you.

Addition of 1 Nostalgia Event At the request of NFFS, we have added Early ½ A Nostalgia to the list of events to be flown.

Free Flight Texaco Events The 2009 Champs application blank is in this issue of Speaks. You’ll note that we are flying both Fuel Allotment (1/8 ounce fuel per pound) and Texaco (1/4 ounce fuel per pound). That reflects the fact that El Dorado Dry Lake is one of the few places where you can really “let out” a big old model and still have a good chance at retrieving it. They are separate events— and only the Fuel Allotment event will count towards the Power Championship. On the FF ½ A Texaco and ½ A Texaco Scale events, Contest Director Ted Firster advises that contestants will be allowed 8ccs of fuel, and that a contestant’s score shall be the longest single flight time of up to three flights.

Ladies’ Events and Swap Meet At the request of a contestant whose significant other wants to time for him during the day—and also to participate in the Lady’s Craft SAM Speaks - May~June 2009 - Page 12 Show, we’ve combined the Monday night Swap Meet with the Craft Show. The guys can go spend money on models and old time engines at one end of the room, and the ladies can look at beads, art work and such at the other end. In each case, it’s going to cost the vendor/exhibitor $2 to reserve a table. Make the payments to the Registrar when you register at the contest on Sunday.

We plan to have a history museum tour and a ladies lunch at the Boulder City Hotel on Wednesday at noon. Janet Roselle is in overall charge of the ladies’ activities.

Engine Raffle The Great White Raffle Master Shark, aka Ron Boots, has declared that he intends to have 12 engines up for the raffle. We will draw for four of the engines on Tuesday night at the Bean Feed. Each winner gets to select from the engines then available. We’ll draw for another four on Wednesday night at the Concours/General Membership Meeting. The “unselected four” engines will get carried over to next year. If the winner is not present at the drawing, the Contest Manager will make the selection of the engine for mailing to the winner.

Pins, Shirts and Cups A big contestant thank you is due to SAM Hall of Famer Larry Jenno. He donated the pins to this year’s Champs. They are good looking as you can see from the photo. When you wear the pin, think of Larry. We had a small number of shirts and other clothing items made to see what they look like, and to check the quality. They look good and are of high quality. We have golf shirts at $25 each (logo on the front only) collared tee shirts at $15 (logo on front and back) collarless “Beefy T” tee shirts at $12, and cotton sweat shirts at $17. If you guys need an XXL add $2 and for the XXXL group add $3. As most of you folks’ know your Contest Manager is 6’ 5’ tall and weighs 270—and an XL golf shirt is a good fit. I think these things are running a bit large. But they’re good looking and well worth the money. Caps and sun visors go for $7 each, and a 12 oz good quality coffee mug with the 2009 logo on it is $10.

Male models Ron Thomas and Larry Jenno hold samples of this year's Champs Logo clothing

Pins donated by SAM Hall of Famer Larry Jenno

2009 Comet Model Champs Update March_April 2009

Things are going along quite well as we prepare for the 2009 SAM Champs. Applications for the 2009 Champs will be published in the May~June issue of SAM Speaks. They’ll also be available on the SAM Website May 1. Dave Meriwether of Laguna Woods, California, has stepped forward and agreed to serve as Registrar for the SAM Champs. Dave is one of the newest members of SAM, and his willingness to step forward and take on a significant job is much appreciated.

Swap Meet-Collecto We’ll have a swap meet and collecto on Monday night, October 5. It’s a chance to bring some of those airplanes you’d like to get out of your hanger, take a look at other guys engines, and buy things from other people’s garages, so you can put them in your garage—and vice versa! In any case, we’ll run the swap meet at the Fiesta Henderson hotel from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. or so.

Engine Raffle There are two words that bring joy to SAM Treasurer Ron Boots’s heart. Those words are “Engine” and “Raffle”. Ron, aka “The Old Raffle Master” is going to solicit engine donations and run a raffle. You’ll get one raffle ticket for being a Champs entrant—but if Ron’s past outstanding performance in running raffles is repeated, you’ll want to buy several more tickets. There should be a companion article by Ron in this issue of Speaks detailing his plans for the raffle.

The Bean Feed—Now the Barbecue SAM guys are traditionalists—we like to do some things the way they were done in the past. But sometimes you have to pay attention and improve things. Over the last dozen or so SAM Champs, the “bean feed” has usually been a second evening meal, served at the headquarters hotel. Champs managers try to price the meal at a significantly lower price than the awards banquet at the end of the week. I’ve heard some frequent Champs contestants complain that the bean feed has become “just an overpriced mediocre meal of hot dogs and hamburgers”. That charge stings, but there’s an element of truth in it.

We’ve forgotten the origins of the “bean feed”. John Pond started it by cooking a very large pot of beans on the contest field at one of the early SAM Champs. It was served outdoors. Eating hot dogs and hamburgers in a hotel ballroom or in a convention center doesn’t seem to have quite the same flavor.

So we’ve done something about that this year. The “bean feed” at the 2009 Champs will be held at the Desert Lake Shooting Club—which sits on the side of the hill overlooking El Dorado Dry Lake. The Desert Lake Shooting Club is actually a private shotgun and rifle range. We’ll be there Tuesday night—a day when the range is closed, and we’ll have the clubhouse facility all to ourselves that night. The Club has indoor rooms in the style of a European hunting lodge—and large patios and verandahs with a view out over the lake and the contest site. Western Vice President Dick Griswold and I had some tough duty in Las Vegas in January, visiting a couple of barbecue restaurants to taste test some ‘Q. We’re going to serve baby back ribs, brisket, and barbecued chicken with all the fixings—including the mandatory beans. Heck, we may even be able to get some “cowboy coffee” of the type served at the last Colorado Champs for those who have a taste for such. It’ll be a fun night out of the hotel with good food, good friends, and a great view of the contest site.

Ladies Events Janet Roselle is in charge of ladies’ events. There’ll be a craft fair at the hotel one afternoon. There’ll also be a day trip to Boulder City. We’ve arranged for a museum tour and a private luncheon room for the ladies. SAM Speaks - March~April 2009 - Page 15

Fellows, they don't make trophies like this anymore. These are trophies originally won by the late Frank Parmenter--an accomplished contest modeler since the late 1930's and a member of the AMA Hall of Fame. Frank was on the U.S. Wakefield Team in the 1960's era. Frank joined SAM back in the mid 1970's and died in October, 2008. He was a great designer of contest rubber models as well. He made arrangements with George White of the Pensacola club to donate these trophies for recycling for special purpose awards at the 2009 SAM Champs.

They're made of solid cherry and walnut wood; they have airplane models or figures on the tops of the trophies. Our modern trophy maker tells us that the airplane model figures on these trophies are simply not available at any price today, but if they were, the figures alone would have a market value of $150--and the trophies themselves would each have a total value in excess of $300.

Appropriate brass plates will be engraved and placed on the trophies. These special trophies will be spread among the best Comet designed models, and perhaps for some of the concours winners. The trophies are unique, they're handsome, and they come with some special history.

January Update on 2009 Champs and Events

There've been some questions or requests for clarification from readers of the 2009 SAM Champs article published in the previous issue of SAM Speaks, and there have been some planning developments as well. The new information is in the comments below and the contest event schedule link

1. Electric Events: The electric community wants to fly the Electric Unlimited Event at the 2009 Champs. We will fly the event. In the Speed 400 event, there was a question as to whether there was a minimum weight. We'll fly the event with a 16 ounce minimum weight, as per the Speed 400 Rules proposed for adoption by the membership. Let me refer you to the Rules Proposals contained in this issue of Speaks for further details. Note that the Speed 400 event will be flown as a single flight mass launch at the 2009 Champs. Speed 400 Rules Posted

2. Tomboy Event: There will be a Tomboy event. Models are restricted to the 36 and 44 inch wingspan versions as per Vic Smeed's original plan. Power can be any diesel or glow engine of 1 cc capacity or less. Fuel tanks are limited to 3 ccs or less. Model timers must stay within 200 feet of launch point, but can use binoculars. Unlimited number of flights during the 5 day contest. You can fly Tomboys every day if you want to. Winners will be determined by longest single flight times recorded during the week.

3. Texaco and ½ A FF Texaco Scale: These are “West Coast” events that are not in the official SAM Rulebook, but which are regularly flown in SAM contests at Taft and Lost Hills. They'll be flown in the 2009 SAM Champs. Texaco is flown like the Rulebook fuel allotment event, except you're allowed ¼ oz. rather than 1/8 oz. fuel per pound. The ½ A FF Texaco Scale event uses the same engine and fuel rules as the ½ A Texaco FF event—but allows scale models whether the design was originally a power model, or a rubber model such as the Comet 54 inch rubber jobs.

4. Compressed Air Event: It's been 20 years or so since we last flew Compressed Air at the SAM Champs. Ron Boots has talked up the event for some time, and has now put his money where his mouth is. He's offered a $100 as a cash prize for the winner of the Compressed Air Event at the Champs. The event will be flown to the 2000 SAM Rulebook rules with one additional requirement that each contestant must make his first flight in the event as part of a scheduled mass launch. The 2000 SAM Rulebook states as follows:-

“Compressed Air – Any model (may be original design) powered by a C/A motor. Maximum air pressure of 150 lbs per sq. in. Models must ROG. Three best of six flights score.”

5. Phantom Fury Event; You can get Phantom Fury print wood kits from Lee Campbell. Jim O'Reilly now has a CAD plan for the Phantom Fury and Bob Holman has done a laser cut short kit. Karl Gies, the event sponsor, will allow the following modifications to the original plan; 1. You can substitute 3/32” longerons and uprights for the 1/16” shown on the original plan; 2. You can widen the nose and motor peg areas to allow use of a blast tube; 3. You can make a one piece fuselage with suitable dethermalizer provisions; 4. You can use multiple 1/16” spars in place of the 1/16 x 1/8 shown on the original plan; 5. You can use up to a 10.6” prop—plastic or carved balsa, your choice.

6. Nostalgia Events: As we have in most recent SAM Champs, we'll fly some NFFS Nostalgia FF events over a 2 day period. The events flown will be ¼, ½ A, B, and C Nostalgia Gas, Nostalgia Rubber and Nostalgia Wakefield. In contrast to past years, we will fly the Nostalgia events on Thursday and Friday of Champs Week. The Nostalgia guys will get a chance to go to the awards banquet, and the SAM FF guys who are hard in the hunt for the FF Power and Rubber Championships will have a greater opportunity to fly the Nostalgia events.

7 Mass Launch Events: Mass launch events are deservedly popular. But in any human activity some folks will complain because they didn't “get the word” and so missed the mass launches. We'll make it easy for the 2009 Champs. There will be a mass launch event every morning at 0900, subject to weather vagaries. The Speed 400 and the Spirit of SAM electric RC events are normally flown as mass launch events. The FF Phantom Fury and Twin Pusher events will also be flown as mass launched. We'll also have an initial flight “mass launch” of the Compressed Air models. As they might say in Brooklyn, all youse guys now have da word. Be there at 0900 or forever hold your grousing.

8. Towline Glider Events: We'll be flying both RC OT Glider and the FF Towline Glider events. Frank Zaic's 1938 Yearbook showed the FF guys to use a high start (50 feet of rubber and 150 feet of line) and Bucky Walters and Gene Wallock have recently had success using just such a high start in the OT Towline Glider event. Contest management will supply a new Dynaflite 2M high start for use in the OT Glider RC event, and an appropriate smaller high start for the FF OT Towline Glider event (don't want to rip the wings off the smaller FF towline gliders). All contestants will use these high starts.

Mike Myers, Contest Manager  January 2009

Contest Management

Mike Myers is the Contest Manager. Steve Roselle is the RC Contest Director. Ted Firster is the Free Flight Contest Director for both the SAM OT FF events and for the Nostalgia Gas events. West Coast Vice President Dick Griswold and SAM Treasurer Ron Boots will be looking over our collective shoulders as “SAM Management” to keep us on the fiscal straight and narrow.

At the moment (early November, 2008), I’m still looking for a volunteer for the task of “registrar”. That’s the person who takes in the advance Champs registration applications and keeps a list of the contestants.

Why Is It Called The Comet Model Champs?

First, we intend to celebrate the contributions of the Comet Model Company to old time modeling in general, and to SAM modeling in particular. Second, the designation of specified “models of the year” in years past has led to building of models which, all too often, are flown in only one contest. So we did not want to repeat that pattern of asking contestants to build a “hangar queen”. Many of us have chosen to build a Comet model for the SAM events in years past because we liked the model or we think it’s a good flyer. So a Comet Model Champs was a time to let all those Clippers, Zippers, Sailplanes, Clodhopper IIs and Sparky’s that we already have, come on down to El Dorado Dry Lake and show their stuff.

Comet Model News and Comet Model Company Related Material

Nancy Kapitanoff, the daughter of the Los Angeles representative of the Comet Model Company, has made a nice historical documentary called “The Comet Model News”. We’ll be showing that documentary at the Champs. We hope we can procure use of one of the big screens in the cinema multiplex at the hotel for a “big screen showing”. Ms. Kapitanoff will also speak at the Champs Banquet.

The Contest Logo, Shirts, Hats, Cups and such

Luther Peters of Fountain Hills, Arizona has done a great contest logo for the 2009 Champs. It should be well received. We intend to put it on pocket T-shirts, golf shirts, sweatshirts, caps and cups. It will be silk screened rather than an “iron on” logo so should not smear, or wear out. A similar silk screened logo on 2001 Champs shirts and sweatshirts is still proudly worn today and is in good shape. Ron Boots, SAM Treasurer, had an earlier career as a men’s wear buyer and is “coming out of retirement in the rag trade” to make sure we get good quality “goods” for Luther Peter’s great logo. More details will follow once we select a supplier and firm up prices. It may be possible to order and receive 2009 logo goods well before next year’s Champs.

The Hotel, Room Rates and Reservations

The headquarters hotel will be the Fiesta Henderson, the same one we used for the 2007 SAM Champs. We’ve arranged for a block of rooms there at a rate of $50 + tax per night during the week Sunday through Thursday and $100 + tax per night on Fridays and Saturdays. These rates represent about a $3 per night reduction from what the Fiesta charged us in 2007. To get the room rate, call Fiesta Henderson Room Reservations direct at (800) 388-8334 no later than September 2, 2009 and identify yourself as a member of the SAM Champs 2009 group.

The SAM Events that Will Be Flown

We intend to fly all the basic and the special RC and FF events in the 2006 Rulebook with one possible exception (the exception is the Electric Rubber Unlimited Event—which, depending upon membership votes on rule amendments in the Spring of 2009 may be eliminated from the Rulebook and replaced by the Speed 400 event). Click here for the list.

We will also have a Compressed Air event, using the rules as they were stated in 2000 Rulebook. Ron Boots will sponsor this event.

There will be a Comet Phantom Fury one flight mass launch event. The Comet Phantom Fury is a 32 inch wingspan rubber model. Phantom Fury kits are currently available from Lee Campbell and Bob Holman. Jim O’Reilly has said he intends to draw a new plan for the Fury, and it should be available by January. Karl Gies is the sponsor of this mass launch event.

There will be a Tomboy event. Rules for the Tomboy event will be posted later.

Will There Be Nostalgia Events at the 2009 Champs? Yes, as we have done in years past, we will have events for ¼ A, ½ A, A, B, and C Nostalgia Gas, and Nostalgia Rubber, and Nostalgia Wakefield.

What Comet Models Are Eligible for the Comet Model Champs? A list of the Comet model designs that appear in the SAM Approved Gas Design List and the SAM Approved Designs List Rubber are shown here; List of Comet Models for the Champs.

We’ve been asked about flying Comet scale models. The Champs’ purpose is to fly SAM Rulebook events, not to be another FAC national contest. Any Comet model entered in one of the SAM Champs events will have to meet the rulebook requirements for that particular event. The “natural fit” for Comet rubber scale models is probably in the Rubber Scale event. They might also be built to fit the requirements of the Gas Scale FF event, or the ½ A RC Scale Duration event. Since Comet rubber scale models were not generally included in the SAM Approved Design List Rubber, there is a question as to whether a pre 1943 Comet rubber scale model should be allowed in the Spirit of SAM event—which is generally limited to models on the Approved Design list. This issue is under consideration.

Costs, Registration, Bean Feed and Banquet, Ladies Day — Information to Come

We’ve not yet set the costs for entry fees, the bean feed or the banquet. The hotel will not set catering prices for the 2009 year until January so we don’t know what the banquet will cost—yet. If things can be worked out, the bean feed will be held in an outdoor venue with a nice view out over El Dorado Dry Lake. That would be a pleasant break from the recent bean feeds. In earlier Champs times the bean feed was just that—a pot of beans cooked by John Pond on the field. In recent times it became just another meal in a hotel banquet room.

We’re working with some of the wives and the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce to set up an enjoyable ladies day during the middle of the Champs week.

Registration and application blanks will be available on the SAM Website around the 1 st of March.

Contact Data for 2009 SAM Champs Management:-

Inquiries and requests for further information should initially be emailed to Mike Myers see "Contact us" for his email address, 2009 SAM Champs Manager, 911 Kilmary Lane, Glendale, CA 91207. Telephone 818 241-9154.

RC Contest Director can be emailed at Steve Roselle.

FF Contest Director can be emailed at Ted Firster.

SAM West Coast Vice President Dick Griswold. can be emailed from "Contact us"

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