June 12, 2014 - Matt Chapman, EAA 226243, is a well-known air show performer and former U.S. Aerobatic Team member who flies a high-performance CAP 580. He’s also a passionate aircraft modeler and member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), and he will combine those two pursuits in Oshkosh this year when he flies his 580 along with a 43 percent scale Extra 300 radio-controlled model following his air show performances.
From the flightline, the two airplanes look like they’re flying in close formation, but they’re actually not as close as they appear, Chapman said.
“You can’t really tell from the ground, but we’re flying about 1,000 to 1,500 feet apart,” Chapman explained. “Actually, it’s some of the easiest flying I’ve done at an air show.”
Manning the controls on the ground will be Frank Noll, founder of Extreme Flight Championships, who initially approached Chapman about the idea of flying an RC plane with an aerobatic aircraft. “He kind of talked me into it,” Chapman said. The two pilots are in constant radio communication stating the various maneuvers so they’re in sync, like “Loop, ready, GO,” he added.
The goal is for Noll to position the Extra RC model so it looks like it’s right next to the Edge. The two pilots performed at Sun ’n Fun 2013 in Lakeland, Florida and, according to Chapman, “All eyes were watching.”
Current plans are for Chapman to fly his solo routine on Monday and Friday, stay aloft and wait for the Extra model to take off and get in position, then fly a 3-to 4 minute routine together. (The official air show schedule has not been released.) The model is powered by a 200 cc 4-cylinder engine and has a 130-inch wingspan.
Also scheduled during the week will be RC model aerobatic performances involving up to five pilots flying from the ground. Plans are still being worked out, but Chapman believes most people will get a pretty good view of the aircraft, providing AMA modeling some nice exposure.
“I’ve been doing it (aircraft modeling) since I was a teenager,” Chapman said, who also is an airplane captain. He’s built scale models of a Viper Jet, Super Cub, C-45, and BU-131. Learn more about them on Chapman’s website.