Combat Tactics and Techniques

by AJ Seaholm written 12/2/2002

I’ve been fortunate enough to attend close to 25 RCCA Open B contests over the past 2 and half seasons.  RC Combat has taken me from Arizona to Georgia and from Wisconsin to Texas.  I have won a number of events but more importantly, made a ton of lifelong friends.  The list of combat comrades is to large to list but here is the shortlist of notable victories and accomplishments:

2003 – Rumble on the Cumberland, Tn

2002 – RCCA NPS Open Overall Champion

2002 – RCCA NPS Scale Overall Champion

2002 – RCCA NPS Open B Champion

2002 – RCCA NPS Open C Champion

2002 – RCCA NPS Scale 2610 Champion
2002 – AMA Nationals, In

2002 – Southern Fried Dixie Nationals, Ga 

2002 – Midwest Nationals, Ne

2002 – Houston Winter Nationals, Tx

2002 – Paris, Tx

2001 – Upper Midwest Nationals, Wi 

2001 – Midwest Nationals, In 

2001 – Tournament of Champions, In 

2001 – Mesquite, Tx 

2001 – Paris, TX 

If you were to ask someone, “What makes A.J. so successful in combat?” you’d probably hear something about his great eyesight, the lightning quick reflexes, his great caller Michele, the modified motors, or the high tech airplanes.  These are part of the equation but there is also a great deal more that goes into being a consistent combat winner, namely being prepared and having a solid game plan, a design your comfortable with, and then the tactics and techniques to consistently swipe streamers.   

This series of article will outline the strategies I have used over the past 2 and half seasons.  My objective is to inform new comers and veteran combat pilots alike.  I’m confident that by applying these techniques you’ll see your scores rise and your overall combat enjoyment level increase.

The latest AVENGER evolution article outlines how my OPEN B design has evolved over time.  I believe it gives a nice look at the evolution of the sport as well.

Tactics and Techniques – Aerial Tactics and Techniques

The trend in combat has always been to search for a 1’ smaller turner radius or 2” more span to help increase scoring.  It seems few take advantage of one of the best pieces of advice in combat, “Get used to your equipment”.  It took me 4+ rounds in January when I switched from 50 inches of wingspan to 64” before I was putting the plane were I wanted to.  I was consistently outside the streamer due to the tricks the extra 14 inches was playing on my depth perception.  There is a great deal of strategy in combat just like any other form of competitive R.C., but it’s impossible to develop strategies when your plane flies different at every contest.  So if you take nothing else away from this article remember this, “Find a design you’re comfortable with and stick with it”.   

Alright, enough philosophizing, let’s get down to business and start talking about cutting streamers and increasing your combat enjoyment level. 

In this article I’ll explain some of the tactics and techniques I use once start combat is called.

These are the areas I’ll cover in Aerial Tactics and Techniques:

·         Calling cuts

·         Knowing your competition

·         Knowing your capabilities

·         Vision

·         Combat angles and dimensions

·         Staying in the mix

Calling cuts

I’m not talking about calling out a cut after putting a great move on Dr. Evil.  I’m talking about the importance of a caller or spotter.  A good caller makes all the difference during a round of combat.  A caller can determine whether you’re inside or outside of a streamer better than the pilot because their attention isn’t split between flying and looking for streamers. There have been countless times when I’ve seen a pilot consistently miss cuts to either the inside or outside of the streamer.  A caller can take the frustration out of those days when you just can’t buy a cut and have no idea why. 

My beautiful caller, Michele, and I have devised a system that works well for locating planes in the combat box. We break the sky up into 4 quadrants as illustrated in this figure.

4 Quadrants

This makes it very easy for me to find the next target because I can just head for the quadrant she tells me to.  Then she may say, ” He’s in 4 headed to 3 and right away I know the target is in the lower half of the sky headed from right to left.  Once I get in behind the streamer, we can start reeling them in as she directs me to move either in or out.  This works very well for us.

Michele and I also select 3 targets before the round starts.  Believe it or not newbies don’t always make the top 3.  Pursuit combat is much easier when you’re equally matched with the plane you’re trying to follow.  So if a plane bleeds more speed through the turns, is significantly slower or faster, or just has different flight characteristics it may not be a good choice.  Another important factor is the altitude the pilot most commonly flies.  Cuts are easier to get the closer to the planes you are and new comers generally fly farther out until they become comfortable with 6 to 9 airplanes in the air at the same time.  Daniel Vaught, 2002 AMA Nationals Scale Combat Champion, will usually make the top 3 in a round even though he’s one of the best combat pilots in the country.  DV has airplanes with very similar performance to mine, flies at a depth that is negotiable, and he doesn’t pay much attention to his six early in the round as he’s aggressively pursing his own victims.  Meaning you can pick up a cut early before he even takes time to check if anyone’s lurking behind him.    

This leads me right into the next important tip, the importance of knowing your competition.

Knowing your competition

During my college baseball career we kept detailed pitch by pitch records of every pitcher we faced.  As the number of pitches increased a definite trend always developed.  It’s human nature to fall back on performing a task you’re comfortable with.  For example, if you get in behind Dr. Evil late in the round he’ll go left about 3 out of 4 turns.  Why?  Because when his mind clicks into defense mode his natural response is to yank and bank to the left. 

Having a good idea what your opponent is going to do before they do it is a definite advantage.  It won’t take you long to figure out what his or her tendencies are.  You may find that some pilots don’t have tendencies.  These are pilots you’ll want to go after last because they’re the toughest to get.  Scott Gilkey is one of those guys; he put on some of best moves at the NATS I’ve ever seen to keep his streamer late in the round.  No discernable pattern or tendency and he brought back his streamer most of the time. 

To illustrate this I’ll list a few pilots and their tendencies, a.k.a. scouting report.  My intention is not to single out pilot’s strengths or weaknesses but to simply demonstrate my approach and the tendencies to look for. 

Dr. Evil – Goes left the 75% of the time late in round

Daniel Vaught – Pays little attention to his six early in the round   

Tina Zieman – Bad match up, do not get directly behind

Tom Wild – Vertical maneuvers usually loops when pursued

Wes Parmenter – Left hand turn on left side of field, will sometimes fake left and go right on right side of field.  Heads for the deck (I’ve flown against Sheepy a lot)

Dean Tuinstra – Not predictable, planes bleed a lot of speed.  Difficult cut.

Knowing your opponent and their tendencies is advantageous but to really benefit you have to know how you stack up against your competition.

Knowing your capabilities

In sports you often hear athletes talking about “staying within” themselves.  My translation from sport’s lingo is; you can’t do what you or your equipment is not capable of.  For instance, I know my Warbirds LTD. KI-64’s will not carry the speed through the turns like Frederick’s, Rohrke’s, or Vaught’s scale birds.  So I have a poor chance of winning a turning battle with any of these guys. I need to work other tactics to get in behind them because after 2 straight turns I’m in the lead, a very bad position to be in when it comes to combat.  So, I’ll need to keep them out on the flat where our planes’ performance is more similar and I may even have a slight speed advantage to cut them off thru the first turn.

Besides one’s equipment you also have to know your capabilities as a pilot.  A pilot that has flown 10 rounds of combat is going to have different capabilities compared to someone who has flown 100 rounds.  Flying safely for the entire round should always be the number one goal at any capability level.  If you find yourself behind the airplane, a.k.a. out of control, pull up, take a deep breath and try not to put yourself in that situation again.  With time your capabilities will increase and you’ll find yourself actually being ahead of your airplane planning moves at the other end of the field as you see potential cuts develop.  This won’t happen over night and won’t happen if you keep switching airframes every contest.

Find a design you’re comfortable with and stick with it.  This season I’ve flown the same OPEN B design since March. There have been some minor structural changes but they’ve had the same basic wing size, same tail layout, same power plants, and the same basic flight characteristics.  I know exactly what the 64” AVENGER will and won’t do because it’s the only design I’ve flown in Open for the past 80+ rounds.  This is very important and commonly over looked. 

If you’ve flown the same set-up since March, why is there so much talk about the technology race in OPEN B?  Technology has equalized this year in OPEN B with a number of designs that are competitive.  In the past, there were certain competitors with a technology advantage and it contributed to their success.  This season nearly every design is even and that advantage is gone.  Some continue to look for the edge when I think they’re hurting themselves with continual tinkering.

This season I was successful at scale contests where I remembered to “stay within” myself and didn’t play to my opponents’ strengths.  I flew the same design all season in scale as well.  It’s not the best turning scale design in the country and I know this.  Remember, being successful at combat events has a lot to do with your capabilities and how you use them.  Try to strengthen your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths.  Not rocket scientist type stuff, but sound advice none the less.


This is the most important section in this article.  If the previous sections haven’t spurred much interest hopefully this one will.  I feel vision is the most important part of flying combat.  Before I get started let me explain my definition of vision.  Vision has very little to with your eyesight, heck without glasses I couldn’t see a ¼ scale J-3 Cub much less a 1/12th scale war bird.  Vision has a lot to do with your concentration and how much of the sky you see.  My high school baseball coach introduced me to a concept that may help convey the point I’m trying make.  He would say there are 2 types of vision, hard and soft vision.  Hard vision is when you’re very focused on a small area and the area around your focus is grayed or blacked out.  Soft vision allows you to see a greater area but with less definition or clarity.  Hard vision is the same as tunnel vision when everything around the area you’re focused on is gone.  Soft vision is crucial in combat. 

The most common mistake newcomers make is taking their eye or more importantly their hard vision off their plane.  Usually when they look back their airplane isn’t where they thought it would be and it takes a nasty dirt nap or leads to a safety infraction.  Hard vision or tunnel vision is not what you’re after when you’re chasing streamer.  If you can’t see the opponent’s streamer the chance of you directing your plane to that streamer is very slim.  So you need open up your field vision to see other streamers but still have sight of your plane.

I’ll step through my approach to getting position behind someone to help drive this whole vision theory home. 

Michele tells me, “Sheepy is quadrant 3 headed to 4”.  At this point my vision is pretty tight as I make a v-line for quadrant 4 and through the furball.  Once I get into quadrant 4 I’ll put my AVENGER in a neutral state meaning I’m not moving the stick (this is where a good tracking plane pays off) and glance away to find where he’s at.  Once spotted I’ll shift back to my plane and make a move to hopefully position myself on his six.  Once you’re behind him it’s time for the soft vision theory.  This is the point I try to open up my field of vision to see both planes.  What I’ll see is approximately where he is depth wise and what attitude his wings are in, meaning I can tell if he’s straight and level or banked for a turn.  The beauty behind this idea is I never loose track of my plane.   

Sheepy is on to me and knows he needs to shake the TICK or his streamer is history.  Now, he’s in defensive mode and I’ve got a good idea what he’s going to do, see the Knowing your competition section.  I also know that his beautiful pink wings have black wing tips on the top surface.  So if rolls up and I see the black tips I can tell which way he’s going to turn if he’s to my left or to my right.  I’ll continue this story in the Combat angles and dimensions section and take you in for the kill.    

Sounds a little out there doesn’t it, but it works once you get the hang of it.  Next time you’re at the field try opening up your field of vision so you can see another object in the sky like a cloud or someone else’s plane.  Keep flying around in a comfortable pattern trying to see as much of your surroundings as possible.  This will take some time to develop but will pay huge dividends once you get the hang of it.

Combat angles and dimensions

Now you’ve got yourself a cute caller, you know your competitions’ tendencies, you know your own capabilities, and you have mastered the ability to open up your field of vision.  How do you seal the deal with a surgical strike on your opponent’s streamer?

This section will outline good positions and angles to take as well as those you should try to avoid.

Back to Sheepy’s six:

…Sheepy is headed towards the deck in route to quadrant 3 hoping he’ll shake the TICK down in the weeds.  Seeing both planes I can tell he’s banked and headed down set up for a left-hand turn.  He starts his turn and I give myself a little extra time assuring I turn in behind him.  As we works his way back up the field from left to right, I’m on his six exactly where I want to be.   The planes pass by and I can now see that I’m behind him and Michele tells me I’m a little outside.  Perfect!  He rolls up to the left again on the right side of field for another left-hand turn.  The salivation begins.  I roll up on knife edge and fly right at his streamer.  Bam, the streamer breaks and Sheepy lets out a groan.  Doesn’t get much sweeter than that!

Before I break down this perfectly executed cut let’s make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to dimensions.  There are 3 dimensions and the following image will illustrate the terms we use for these dimensions.

Depth is the most difficult dimension to judge but with good angles you can take depth and more importantly depth perception out of the equation.

Back to the breaking down the cut:

…Sheepy is headed towards the deck in route to quadrant 3 hoping he’ll shake the TICK down in the weeds.  Seeing both planes I can tell he’s banked and headed down set up for a left-hand turn.

Flying from left to right I know he turns left about 90% of time so I’m in perfect position for a cut right?  Wrong.  The left side of the field is great place for getting in position and a very poor place to try for the cut.  You can’t tell if you right behind him or right in front of him ready for a solid collision.  I’d say 75% of the time I mid-air with a plane I’m actively pursuing, which actually accounts for about 1 in 4 mid-airs, happens on the left hand side of the field when I should wait another 10 seconds for a better angle.   The problem with the left hand side of the field is the fact only 1 of the 3 dimensions can be determined. 

As the picture illustrates depth and the horizontal dimensions are nearly impossible to determine.  This is why I believe the left hand side of the field is good place to work on position and poor place to try for the cut. 

The planes pass by and I can now see that I’m behind him and Michele tells me I’m a little outside.  Perfect!

As Sheepy passes by, Michele is helping me with my depth and I’m working to get lined up vertically.  Now there’s 2 tactics I use to get my favorite cut on the right hand side of the field and it’s all dependent on your depth. 

He rolls up to the left again on the right side of field for another left-hand turn.  The salivation begins.  I roll up on knife and fly right at his streamer.  Bam, the streamer breaks and Sheepy lets out a groan.  Doesn’t get much sweeter than that!

First let’s talk about being outside your opponent similar to the story line.  This is really the ideal position if you’re confident your opponent is going to make a left hand turn.  Here’s why.  You know that you’re outside so depth is taken care of; you can see your vertical relationship as the planes pass by and you also know that you’re behind him so you are confident in your relative horizontal position.  When he rolls up and pulls left you need to roll up to take advantage of your airplane’s wingspan.  The chances of you continuing to fly straight and collecting his streamer are very good because you’ve taken most of the variables out of the angle.   

A similar position would be inside of your opponent as you pass by from left to right.   When he starts his left hand turn you’ll need to once again be banked but his time you use your soft vision and elevator to line up on his streamer.  When you’re lined up just let it keep flying straight and sooner or later you’re going to hit the mark because the only remaining dimension is your depth. 

I could go on for pages discussing angles and dimensions, but rather then bore you to death I’ll end this section.   Hopefully, this discussion has made you aware of angles and dimensions of combat and will help you build your own library of favorite angles and those plane eaters to try to avoid.

Staying in the mix

Of course, you’ve got to be in the air to get cuts.  This is true but there’s definitely more to it.  My definition of staying in the mix means keeping yourself in a good position to get a cut.  Countless times I’ve seen a pilot make a great move to get in behind someone only to yank up, miss the streamer, and place themselves totally out of position. 

If you get in the zone like in my story and happen to miss, work to stay in behind him until another good angle appears.  Trust me, another angle will reappear and will do so a lot faster then the time it takes you to get in behind someone else after wildly yanking up.  Trying to get a cut when the angle isn’t there will usually lead to either loosing your streamer, mid-air, or a “lucky cut” usually falling in that order.

I’ve found with the larger vertical fin and sub-fin of my recent AVENGER releases that working the elevator up and down is a good tactic for Staying in the mix while still opening the door for getting cuts.  For example, once I determined I was behind Sheepy and level with him vertically, I may work the elevator either up or down depending on my depth.  This takes a little getting used to and shouldn’t be tried unless your very comfortable with your plane and sure what it’s down elevator habits are. 


Top Gun, the greatest movie of all time, has a scene where Charlie is explaining what Maverick should have done for a kill rather then his split-S maneuver.  Mav’s response was, “Up there you don’t have time to think, if you think you’re dead.”

While we’re not up against this type of pressure in a round of R.C. combat it does illustrate a good point about thinking.  The less you do the better. These tactics and techniques are a lot to digest in one sitting.  Take an item or 2 from this article and try to incorporate it during your next contest.  After you’re getting the hang of it come back and re-read this commentary and take a couple more tid-bits with you for your next match.  Before you know it your scores will be consistently improving and hopefully so will your fun level.  Eventually, you’ll find you’re putting these tactics to use but in your own way.  When you get to this point everyone in your area is in big trouble. 

Ground Tactics & Techniques

Now that you’ve mastered the aerial tactics it’s time to master the ground tactics.

Ground tactics refer to the techniques I use prior to “START COMBAT”.  In this article I’ll discuss the Tactics and Techniques I use in the shop, at the field, in the pits, and on the flight line.

A combat event can be won or lost before you ever arrive at the host club’s flying field.  These techniques will help eliminate frustrating equipment days and give you more time during the events for the important things.  Like talking a little smack to your fellow pilots and enjoying the camaraderie always prevalent at combat competitions.

These are the areas I’ll cover in Ground Tactics and Techniques:

·         Shop preparations
·         Flight testing
·         Dialing in an airframe
·         Pre-game warm up
·         Pre-flight routine
·         Letting it fly

Shop preparations

Taking extra time in the shop can pay huge dividends when the scores are tallied at the end of a combat event.  An hour fixing problems in the shop is equivalent to about 2 hours of fixing problems at the field.  My advice is to spend an extra hour and go over your airframes before you head to the flying field to test fly.  In the shop you’re more likely to fix minor problems correctly then you are at the field.  When I head out to tear up the sky with my new combat ship the last thing I want to do is chase problems down and waste precious flying time.

Prior to an event I’ll run through the following checklist to assure everything is in safe working order.

1.  Make sure engine is bolted down tight to the fuselage.
2.  Check engine bolts, pull out and Loc-tite if they’re loose
3.  Check for stripped servos
4.  Check all servo and radio leads for broke wires or connectors
5.  Flex test wing to assure it is not broke
6.  Check control surfaces
7.  Look for cracked components or anything out of the ordinary

These simple checks only take a few minutes for each airframe.  A couple extra minutes running through these checks is not only a great safety practice but also will keep the easily avoidable problems from arising during test flights and eventually on game day. 

Flight Testing

Now that you’ve given your combat ships the once over its time to head to the flying field and work out all the bugs.  Regardless if it’s your first or fiftieth combat plane it’s bound to have a few problems to work out.  This debugging process should NOT happen the morning of the event.  It should occur a week or two in advance at your home flying field. 

I generally test fly the week before a large event to assure my equipment is dialed in.  With experience this process takes less and less time to complete.  In addition to finding any minor problems you’ll also begin getting used to your combat planes.  Being comfortable with your ships is a HUGE factor in being competitive in this tough sport.  During flight testing I keep a log of each plane to keep track of any problems to fix when I return to the shop.  A quick note like the following usually is sufficient:

Plane: Iceman (“TOP GUN” again but a name is often easier to identify with then a number)
RPM: 18.5K
NOTES:  Flies good, fix taped aileron joint on left wing. 

Knowing your planes are safe and dialed in goes along way to boosting your confidence the morning of the event.  Especially when you arrive at the field only to see Dr. Evil sitting relaxed in this folding chair ready to harvest your streamer the first round.  Never underestimate the importance of having your head where it needs to be.   

Dialing in an airframe 

This is the most important section of this article so wipe the sleep from your eyes if I’ve bored you to this point and listen up.  In V1.0 of TEAMseaholm Tactics and Techniques I discussed the importance of finding a design your comfortable with and sticking with it.  Part of being comfortable with a design has a lot to do with the set up.  You could be the best R.C. pilot in the country and if you’re not comfortable the way your plane flies your sunk before you ever tie on a streamer.  

First, let’s talk about the importance of the center of gravity (CG) location.  Most kit manufacturers provide a CG range for their designs.  You’ll soon find the CG location that fits your flying style.  I set my AVENGERS up with the CG as far aft as possible that will still allow for stable flight.  Aft CG requires less elevator control throw to turn and generally quicker response with less control movement. Take great care to set up ALL your airframes with the CG in the desired location.  Don’t assume that by placing the flight gear in the same location your CG will always be the same.  I have a very simple CG tester that will cost you about $1 to build but will help to assure your planes all fly the same. 

Control throws are a close second in importance to CG and need to be consistent from one plane to the next.  I set up all my planes with the same control arms, servo-arm hole locations, and linkage lengths.  This takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation when trying to get 2+ airframes to fly the same. 

Now that your CG and control throws are set it’s time to do your final dialing in the air. Elevator set-up is very crucial with today’s high performance designs.  I set up my elevator throw so I can sustain at least 3-4 full up horizontal turns without a snap.  This set up technique allows me to bang full stick movement while the plane remains rock solid in the air.  Never set-up your elevator with extra control throws.  I’ve made this mistake in the past, in the heat of battle you won’t remember to use PARTIAL stick travel.  So usually you’re about 5 feet off the deck, yank full up, and snap your bird right into the ground.  This isn’t the result we’re looking for in a round of combat.  

Finally, I’ve found lateral balance is often over looked by competitors but can really help the overall comfort level with an airframe.  I laterally balance my planes in flight by using the following steps:

1.  Fly away from yourself
2.  Roll the plane up perpendicular to ground
3.  Pull full up elevator 

The plane should exit the turn at the same height and attitude as it entered.  If the plane has a tendency to tuck or balloon out of a turn I add steel screws to the “light” wing tip.  The illustrations should make this technique more clear. 

Now that your planes are dialed in its time to pack up and head to the contest.

Pre-game warm up

I suggest running 3 to 4 miles to get the blood flowing then do a 100 crunches….  Yeah right, I’m talking about getting those thumbs and engines warmed up the morning of the contest.

I like to test fly my top 2-3 airplanes the morning of the contest for a couple reasons.  For one, it gets the engines warmed up and set relatively close to where they’ll need to run the first round.  Nothing is more frustrating then to have your engine chew up most of the 90-second start window while it slowly wakes up and comes to life.   

Test flying in the morning also helps to work out some of the pre-game jitters.  Yes, even after a couple seasons of combat and hundreds of rounds you’ll still have the nerves to contend with.  Heck, that’s part of the reason we do this right, the adrenaline rush.  So getting in a couple test flights will help ease those nervous shakes a bit before the first round. 

Warming up will also help you get accustomed to the new surroundings of the field.

You can scope out obstacles to avoid and familiarize yourself with the safety line locations.  New backdrops at an unfamiliar field can really play tricks on your “vision” if you haven’t taken the time to get used to the field.  I generally fly a mock pylon course in the morning to help get warmed up and used to the surroundings.  My game is much stronger when I can put the airplane where I want it.  By flying a mock pylon course it forces me to work on flying smooth, opening up the soft vision as I look for the imaginary pylons, and helps me work on flying precise.  Once I’m feeling comfortable with the pylon laps I usually start yanking and banking to make sure all my control throws are set at comfortable levels.  Elevation changes from your home field can require minor set up changes to get the plane back in the comfort zone.  The last thing you want to do is have your plane snap the first hard turn you make in a round.  This will not only shake your confidence it will usually end in a dirt nap.  Again, this isn’t really the start to a day we’re looking for.  

Pre-flight routine  

Now, that your thumbs and engines are limbered up it’s time to get ready for the first round.  Michele and I have a pre-flight routine/ritual that is the same before each round of combat.  Having a well-rehearsed routine adds to your piece of mind and allows you to concentrate on swiping streamers rather then frantically changing glo-plugs or some other avoidable last second fire drill.  In addition, a well-planned pre-flight launch sequence really aids in the safety department.  I’ve been witness to many instances where a pilot got tied up in the prop because of poor pre-flight techniques.  If this article does nothing more then help minimize bodily harm this next season, it has been well worth my time. 

Prior to taking our plane to the flight line we always run through the following checklist: 

1.  Glo plug – a metered glo driver is a quick way to check the plug
2.  Streamer – we tie on a new streamer each round
3.  Model – make sure your transmitter is set to the correct model
4.  Fuel – tank is topped off
5.  Battery – check the charge level

Michele usually handles the streamer while I run through the remaining items.  No suprises once on the line because we know what jobs we need to take care of.

Our round has been called and it’s time to head to the flight line.  Once on the fight line the important pre-flight routine really begins.  The importance lies in the fact that getting in a hurry once the clock is running never leads to desirable results.  Remember, 40 flight points are not worth a trip to the hospital so, “TAKE YOUR TIME!”  I can’t stress enough the importance of being aware of the prop during launch and engine start up. 

At the flight line Michele and I follow this routine:

T-120 seconds till “START COMBAT” 

A.J. – turn on transmitter, turn on airplane
Michele – removes streamer from tail and unrolls string to knot

T-90 seconds till “START COMBAT”

A.J. – start timer on radio which is at 6 minutes and 30 seconds, 90 seconds + 5 minute round
Michele – “No farting around!”
A.J. – “Yes dear”

T-60 seconds till “START COMBAT”

A.J. – place glo-driver in place and start engine.
A.J. – move transmitter to right side of plane
A.J. – position myself behind plane and carefully remove glo-driver with hands and body behind propeller disc

T-30 seconds till “START COMBAT”

A.J. – pick airplane out of cradle and check needle with quick pinch and adjust if needed
A.J. – bend over and pick up transmitter with right hand
A.J. – step forward to flight line
Michele – positions herself on left side ready to toss streamer
A.J. – get Line Marshall’s acknowledgement to launch
A.J. – launch airplane
Michele – toss streamer  

This routine usually gives us about 15 seconds till “START COMBAT” to relax and to start locating targets.  Granted this doesn’t always pan out to the exact second but more times then not happens right on cue.

Letting it fly

So you’re safely air born and ready to invoke those tactics learned from V1.0 of this series.

The Letting it fly section is simply to reinforce the importance of having fun and letting it all hang out.  Fly right up to the edge of your abilities and you’ll see improvement I can assure you.  Don’t forget to shut your brain down from time to time and allow your experience and reflexes to take over.  After awhile you’ll find yourself doing things in a round of combat you’d never do sport flying on a Sunday afternoon.