Model aircraft show takes wing

Aug. 14, 2014 | 0 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition
Bill DeRego pilots this World War II-era F4U-1 Corsair. (Courtesy Pacific Aviation Museum)

Bill DeRego pilots this World War II-era F4U-1 Corsair. (Courtesy Pacific Aviation Museum)


When you think of model planes, you might think of those little toys that can be put together by a child.

That’s not what you’ll see at this weekend’s Biggest Little Airshow. The planes flying through the air above the Pacific Aviation Museum will have more in common with the real thing. Many are massive, at a 1-to-5 scale, and will stun audiences with their speed and tricks.


Where: Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor
When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Cost: $5 per person, $15 per family (up to 6 people)
10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Morning air show
12:30-12:40 p.m.: Candy bombers
12:50-1:10 p.m.: Full-scale Warbirds fly-by
1:30-4 p.m.: Afternoon air show
4 p.m.: Candy bombers
4:30 p.m.: Close of air show
5:30 p.m. (Saturday only): Screening of Disney’s “Planes: Fire & Rescue”

“I’m thinking that it will be something different than most people would have seen in the past from radio-controlled airplanes,” said Frank Tiano, who is bringing his group of Academy of Model Aeronautics fliers from the mainland.

The Florida resident plans to bring about three dozen model aircraft to Ford Island: four helicopters, 10 large airplanes, 12 jets and 10 WWII fighter jets.

Among these will be the Shockwave, a model jet that measures more than 9 feet long and weighs 40 pounds. The jet is powered by a real mini turbine engine and when demonstrated will reach speeds of up to 200 mph — although Tiano says the Shockwave can “accelerate to as much as 300 mph if the speeds were not limited by the AMA rules.”

He will also be bringing a glider, a plane that is towed up by another, then just sails on its own. But this glider, with a 12-foot wingspan and painted in Red Bull colors, is different from most: It has a jet engine, allowing it to do an aerobatic routine.

Tiano’s team of six pilots from around the country are expert fliers, able to maneuver their planes with precision at high speeds. One of the demonstrations will feature Alan Szabo Jr. of Las Vegas and Marcus Kim of Columbia, S.C., doing awe-inspiring aerobatic tricks with their helicopters.

The team also has airplanes that do 3-D aerobatics.

“For example, the plane will come across from left to right at 60 miles an hour and abruptly turn vertical like it will climb out, but then stop climbing, and it will be hovering on its propellers, like a helicopter, right in front of you,” Tiano explained. “And then it can accelerate up or it can come down, the torque rolls around, all stationary in the air, almost like you put it there.

“It’s a series of all kinds of maneuvers that are like that, that are just like, ‘Oh, my gosh, look at that! Wow!'”

Bill DeRego and a friend work on a B-17G Flying Fortress plane. (Courtesy Pacific Aviation Museum)

Bill DeRego and a friend work on a B-17G Flying Fortress plane. (Courtesy Pacific Aviation Museum)

THE AIR SHOW will also include war planes, which will chase one another in a mock dogfight.

In the “RC Combat,” smaller planes with crepe paper streamers will chase each other across the sky, trying to cut other planes’ ribbons.

And while children are sure to love all the demos, the most popular event is likely to be the candy bombers. As the name implies, planes will be sent up to release candy over the crowds of children on the Ford Island runway. The candy bombers will make two appearances each day, at 12:30 and 4 p.m.

In addition to Tiano’s team, the Biggest Little Airshow will also feature fliers from Japan and local clubs, including the Paradise Flyers Radio Control Club, Aloha State Radio Control Club, Aloha RC Heli Club of Hawaii and Maui R/C Modelers.

After the conclusion of the air show Saturday, there will be a free screening of the Disney animated film “Planes: Fire & Rescue,” with an introduction by the film’s producer, Ferrell Barron.

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