This is a report and a few pictures from the 2009 Texas RotorFest. The event was hosted by Dennis Haverlah and his wife at their home on Breakaway Airpark (Austin, Tx), with help from the Austin Rotor Contingent (Bobby Hughes, Mark Steitle, and Bob Darrah).
We had a great turnout for the event, with guys flying in from all over the country--Florida, North Carolina, Washington, Wyoming, California (almost), and even Texas, plus other locations via the big iron. There were a few mishaps on the way in--Al Gietzen lost a door on his Velocity, and didn't quite make it, and Ed had an electrical problem, survived another deadstick, but still made it to the event. Everyone seems to have made it back home, safely, including Al, so that's good news. From most accounts everyone had a good time, with the exception of Al, of course, and we even had what appears to be a new world's record--8 rotary powered aircraft at one event.
One interesting thing was the running of the engines and the flyby. I have heard a lot about how loud the rotary is, but until last Saturday, the only engine that I had heard up close was Jason Hutchison's engine start at the last Texas RotorFest in 2006, hosted by Bill Eslick. At the time, it didn't seem that loud. Anyway, we waited until after dinner before running the engines. Bill and Jason needed to head back to Granbury, since the weather was not looking so good on the horizon. Jason started his engine first, and I won't say it was loud, but it had a very high pitch that was pretty unpleasant. Then, Bill started his engine, and if I hadn't taken pictures of the engine earlier, I would have sworn it was a Lyco. You could hardly hear anything until he taxied and got to the point where we were behind his exhaust. Still not loud, but a little higher pitch.
Jason and Bill took off, and you really couldn't hear either one of them until they nearly got up to us. After, they passed us, Jason's engine was pretty loud, and high pitched, but Bill's plane was pretty quiet, with just a bit of a higher pitch than a "normal" aircraft engine. Very good job on the exhaust system.
One-by-one, all of the other rotary powered planes started-up, and executed a flyby, except for Ed and Tracy. Every one of them had a nice sounding engine. Dennis's and Steve Boese's engines were particularly quiet with a nice tone. You'd be hard pressed to pick a winner between Bill, Dennis, and Steve, with Mark and Bobby both having very acceptable levels and tone, also.
Anyway, many thanks to Dennis and his wife for hosting the affair, and all of the people who showed-up, now the pictures of the event. I should note, that my main focus was to get pictures of as many angles of as many engines as possible. Sorry to say, that it was an afterthought to backup a little and get all of the airplanes and a few people. Sorry, for not capturing all of the people involved. "Damnit Jim, I'm a builder, not a photographer..."