CGS Celebrates Hawk World Champs Win at 2001 Hawk Owners Fly-In
CGS Aviation boss and Hawk designer Chuck Slusarczyk (left) shakes the hand of Eduardo Marchesi, contest director for the 2nd World Air Games and brother of two-time world microlight champion Hawk pilot Antonio Marchesi. Eduardo Marchesi accepted two special awards from Slusarczyk on behalf of Antonio Marchesi and Francisco Díaz Garrido, who finished second in the same single-seat fixed-wing microlight class. Both Spanish pilots flew single-seat Hawk Classic ultralights powered by 40-hp Rotax 447 2-cycle aircraft engines. - Photo By Pixie Slusarczyk
With his ground speed wavering between 28 and 35 mph and his indicated airspeed at 65, George Charnitski was determined to successfully complete his ultralight flight to the 17th Annual Hawk Owners Fly-In at the Geauga County Airport* (7G8) in Middlefield, Ohio - an ultralight-friendly public airport about 27 miles southeast of Cleveland and home to CGS Aviation and the venerable CGS Hawk ultralight.
The September 8-9 fly-in this year celebrated the 19th anniversary of the Hawk ultralight's debut in April of '82, but the windy and rainy weather all around Middlefield wasn't cooperating - except for a patch of blue sky above the Geauga County Airport. The bad weather prevented many Hawk owners - and there are more than 1,400 of them worldwide, according to CGS Aviation - from flying their Hawks to the fly-in. All but 14 attendees drove to Middlefield so they wouldn't miss the fellowship and the festivities celebrating the Hawk's World Championships "one-two sweep" of the single-seat fixed-wing microlight class at the 2nd World Air Games and World Microlight Championships.**
Fellow members of the Rochester Ultralight Fun Flyers, heads turning every time another Hawk landed, anxiously awaited Charnitski's safe arrival at the fly-in, but still no George. Just about the time Charnitski was overdue and people started getting a little concerned, the sound of a Hawk coming in from the northeast was heard. It seemed it was barely making any headway, but slowly and surely the single-seat Hawk Arrow Plus ultralight forged on, finally entering the pattern, then landing.
Tired, stiff and slightly sore but with a big grin, Charnitski climbed out of his Hawk. He had made it - safely flying 230 miles in 6.1 hours of rough bumpy air, fighting a strong headwind. It was worth it, as Charnitski won the trophy for the longest distance flown to attend the Hawk Owners Fly-In. Fifty-three Hawk owners were there, many with their wives and families. In some cases, the wives were Hawk pilots themselves.
Two special guests also attended their first Hawk Owners Fly-In: Sharon Westcott (assistant to this year's U.S. World Air Games team), and all the way from Spain, Eduardo Marchesi, contest director for the 2nd World Air Games held this past summer in Andalucia, Spain. Eduardo is also the brother of two-time world microlight champion and Hawk pilot Antonio Marchesi. It was an honor to have them both attend the ultralight gathering.
Marchesi spoke at the fly-in about the World Air Games and Microlight Championships and the tasks required in order to compete. "We were all surprised at the piloting skill required to be competitive at that level against the best microlight pilots in Europe and the rest of the world," Slusarczyk says. Eduardo Marchesi accepted special awards at the fly-in on behalf of his brother Antonio and Francisco "Paco" Díaz Garrido, who finished second in the same single-seat fixed-wing microlight class. Both pilots flew single-seat Hawk Classic ultralights powered by 40-hp Rotax 447 2-cycle aircraft engines. Marchesi's Hawk was a slightly modified version that will be the model for CGS Aviation's new "competition Hawk," while Garrido's ultralight was a vintage '84 model Hawk (manufactured before the single-seat model was even called the Hawk Classic).
After Eduardo Marchesi's talk, a showing of the television broadcast of the "Junkyard Wars" episode (originally aired on October 31 on The Learning Channel) featuring CGS president and Hawk designer Slusarczyk was enjoyed by all. In fact, an encore showing had to be offered to accommodate everyone wanting to see it. (The "Junkyard Wars" contest involved building and then successfully flying nonpowered ultralights - gliders - from parts scrounged from a junkyard. Slusarczyk, who manufactured hang gliders before designing and producing the Hawk, was "a natural" for that episode, building a glider reminiscent of the circa '71 Hang Loose hang glider. His team's opponents were a team led by aeronautical engineer and Facetmobile aircraft designer Barnaby Wainfan. The winning team will move on to the next round of the "Junkyard Wars" contest.)
At last year's Hawk Owners Fly-In, Bob Metzler of Roanoke, Virginia spent most of the 2 days completing his 200-hour single-seat Hawk Classic kit, and then had it test-flown Sunday afternoon by Jim Kujanpaa of Austinburg, Ohio. This year, Metzler - now an accomplished Hawk ultralight pilot - did all of his own flying.
The Early Bird award went to Dan Swalius of Eastlake, Ohio who trailered his single-seat Hawk Arrow Plus to the fly-in a week early, rented a hangar, and parked the ultralight at the Geauga County Airport until the show began on Saturday. That's the earliest anyone has ever arrived at the Hawk Owners Fly-In in 17 years - a record that'll be tough to beat.
Saturday morning, the contests for spot landings, flour bomb drop and torpedo run were held to the delight of the crowd as the Hawk pilots tried to hit the ever-elusive stationary targets. Some spectators were overheard saying they didn't realize ultralights could fly in such windy conditions. They were amazed how easy the pilots made it look and that the crosswinds didn't faze the ultralights or the pilots. This was the first year that standing on the bull's-eye was not the safest place to be, as both Kujanpaa and Swalius aced the targets. After the contests, the weather mellowed, and open flying continued until sundown.
A bonfire and corn roast topped off the activities Saturday night, as the Hawk pilots sat around the fire swapping stories till the wee hours of Sunday morning. After a night's rest and a good breakfast the next morning, the ultralight flying fun began again, followed by the awarding of trophies for all contest events.
All in all, a great time was had, and Hawk pilots can now turn their eyes to next year's Hawk Owners Fly-In (which is open to all ultralighters and ultralights by the way, except for the contests). The 2002 event will celebrate the 20th birthday of the CGS Hawk ultralight. A special celebration is planned.
By 3 p.m. Sunday, Geauga County Airport had returned to being just another ultralight-friendly county airport. But for 2 great days it had truly been the "Home of the Hawk" and a great place to be to check out what ultralighting is all about. "See ya next year," the staff of CGS Aviation says, extending a warm invitation to all.
- Report filed by Chuck Slusarczyk
*For a "Where It's At" sidebar providing pertinent and useful information on Geauga County Airport (7G8), see "Flightlines: CGS to Celebrate Hawk World Champs' Victories at Hawk Owners Fly-In," September '01 Ultralight Flying! magazine.
**See "2001 World Air Games and Microlight Championships," September '01 UF! Magazine.
Hawk Owners Fly-In Contest Awards
Flour Bomb Drop 1st Dan Swalius - 2nd Bob Metzler - 3rd Jim Kujanpaa
Torpedo Run 1st Jim Kujanpaa - 2nd Dan Swalius - 3rd Bob Metzler
Spot Landing 1st Jim Kujanpaa - 2nd Dan Swalius - 3rd Bob Metzler
Farthest Distance Flown to Fly-In George Charnitski, 230 miles
Early Bird Award Dan Swalius
Oldest Hawk at the Fly-In Scott Bumgarner
Top Gun Jim Kujanpaa
Grand Champion George Charnitski
Reserve Grand Champion Al Nagy
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