Ray Stakenas (right) does teammate
Chris Villeneuve a "favor" by shooting Chris down in
his team game.
Snoopy's Roof Needs Patching Again
The distinctive sound of rotary engines roared into the WBC
again this year. Thirty-three pilots braved the open skies
to vie for the title of Ace of Aces. As they found dogfights
throughout the week and at the flying circuses each night, everyone
flew and flew while trying to shoot down their opponent.
Three pilots had Ace of Aces as their team game and
reaching the Final meant at least scoring points for the team.
The "Three Old Farts & Ray" team joined the
flying with some internal team competition. Fun for them,
not so much for the teammate that had AOA as his team game. Chris
Villeneuve started his campaign by being shot down by teammates
Ray Stakenas and Ken Whitesell. At the end of Chris' tour,
he missed the finals by less than the difference of those two
encounters. With friends like these ...
In reaching the Final, Kevin Brown and George Deutsch flew
excellent campaigns and were the first two seeds for the fly-off.
Close behind was Michael Schoose. Rounding out the
contenders were Dan Lawell, defending champ Richard Irving, and
Doug Porterfield. The Final is a series of air duels with each
participant flying once against each other pilot with the best
overall record taking the Ace of Aces title.
During the first round of the fly-off, Richard and Doug battled
to a tie, the only one during the Final. The aerial duel
was slow to reach a shooting position. Both pilots conducted
a variety of turns and twists that several times returned the
duel to the same location (see Image 100 among others). A
breakthrough came as they reached the all-popular close range,
dual fire position (Image 20) that causes two points of damage
to both planes. Flying continued. They reached 4 to 4.
Then they traded shots again to reach 6 to 6, normally
the end of combat. However in the Finals with the score
at 6 to 6, they had to keep flying to break the tie. So
their dogfight continued and continued, the other dogfights long
finished and now just watching the tied contest. Richard
finally prevailed with a fine series of maneuvers ending in a
close attack, 8 to 6.
After the third of five flights, every pilot had a loss, so
all remained in the hunt to be the Ace of Aces. Entering the
final round of dogfights, a four-way tie was possible. The
other flights kept the tie scenario alive, but George did not
follow the plan. George outflew Doug by a score of 6 to
4 to take the dogfight and the wood with a record of 4-1 in the
Nine of the 15 flights in the Fnal were within two points;
evidence of quality flying by all concerned. Only one of
the battles was won by more than four points, as Doug Porterfield
scored quickly against Michael Schoose and finished the duel
at 6.5 to 0.5. Yet, Michael recovered in his other flights
to finish second overall, followed by Richard Irving, both at
3-2 in dogfights. George Deutsch did the most damage and
was the only pilot with two battle wins by four points. Foiled
again. Curses Red Baron!