Minor soars on to USA control line combat team

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Sports

September 22, 2011 - 12:00 AM

Cary Minor is still walking on cloud nine.
For 15 years, Minor and his brother, Andy, have attempted to fulfill a goal — make the U.S. F2D Air Combat Team. The Minor brothers fly control line model airplanes in competitions.
Over Labor Day Weekend, Dr. Cary Minor of Iola realized his goal. He went 7-2 at the U.S. FAI Team Selection Trails in Detroit, Mich.
Minor is still in the “I can’t believe it” phase.
“Both my brother and I have come close to making the U.S. team over the years. Finishing fourth or fifth, you know just out of it,” Minor said.
“Your goal is to be a world champion but before that you have to make the U.S. team. This is really exciting.”
Minor finished in the top three  in the control line air combat team trials. He will be competing in the 2012 FAI World Championships of Control Line Model Aircraft in Primorsko, Bulgaria, Sept. 5-8, 2012.
The U.S. team is sponsored by the Academy of Model Aeronatics (AMA). The FAI is the international organization for model aircraft.
Control line combat consists of two pilots with their planes in an eight-foot circle. The planes are launched and there is a four-minute dogfight in the air.
“The airplanes are simple wings with an engine and a stabilizer. The control lines are connected to allow the pilot to control the pitch of the airplane,” Minor said. “In combat flying everybody has the same type of plane, engine and the lines are 52-feet long.”
In competition, each airplane had a long ribbon on it. Pilots score points by cutting pieces off their opponent’s ribbon. The most cuts made in the four-minute match wins.
Competitions are triple elimination.
“I was 5-0 through five rounds. It was the third round against Daryl Ellison that I realized I could fly. I was really flying well in the competition,” Minor said.
Minor said after that third round, he just stayed focused on the match at hand. He said he settled down and flew one match at a time.
“But it was the fifth round when I flew against Chuck Rudner, who has been a fixture on the U.S. team along with his son. I beat him and he said ‘how do you like Bulgarian food.’
“That’s when I knew I was going.”
In round seven, Minor took his first loss but moved into the final four. He said all four competitors had one loss.
“It was starting to rain and I knew I still had to fly. With about 10 seconds left, I got the final cuts to win my next match. I tore up a plane and I knew I had to win the next match to make the team. My opponent’s plane hit the ground and I didn’t.”
Minor said he took 12 planes to the competition. Each match a competitor has two planes to use if necessary. He said he tore up four in competition.
“Things just were going right for me. My brother couldn’t buy any luck at the competition. We are each other’s pit crew. The AMA pays for the pilot and the pit crew to go to the world championships,” Minor said.
“The biggest thing I learned is that you have to stay focused. You take care of the little details. You have to not beat yourself and not worry who else is still in. Just fly.”
So for the next year, Minor will prepare for the world championships in control-line air combat. He practices at Allen County Airport plus in the Kansas City area with his brother, Andy. Both brothers are chiropractors.

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