Competition Classes (in brief)...
The international competitions are controlled by the FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale). There are 4 different disciplines. All of the international classes except F2B use 2.5cc engines. I have only described the internationally recognised competitions here, but national variations of the classes with local rules are also very popular, such as Vintage combat and Mini Goodyear racing here in the UK.
F2A is an event where the model is designed to fly as fast as possible. High revving glow engines are used which have tuned pipes and the engines reach about 40000 rpm and sound like sewing machines powered by the national grid. I think they time the models over about 10 laps, and then work out the speed. They're somewhere around 300 km/h at the moment. This is the technical wizards class, but like all the other classes all the equipment can be bought from various sources. The British lot are at the top of the game and have been for a few years now, which is nice!
This class involves the pilot flying a model through a set list of aerobatics, called a schedule. They are scored by a panel of judges according to the precision of the flying. The models are fairly large and are powered by fairly large glows on the whole. This is probably the class most suitable to non-technical types, because if you have an aerobatic model, you can follow the schedule. However at the top, are again the technical wizards with carbon fibre fuselages and kryptonite propellers. The Chinese seem to be the leaders and are very professional (they even where magical white gloves when flying).
A four engined stunter. Work of art!
F2C, team racing
A racing team includes a pilot and a mechanic. The races are held over 100 laps and the the pilot must make 2 pit stops per race, during the pit stop the mechanic must catch the model, refuel and then restart the engine. This is all done in a matter of seconds and it is really quite impressive to watch a well practised team strut their stuff. There are usually 3 teams in a race, but it is the times that count, and the fastest teams go into a final which is 200 laps and 3 pit stops. The models are powered by diesel motors and the models are highly aerodynamic flying wings with a fuselage. Mighty impressive stuff!
Not a loving embrace, but team racers in action. The flash of white is a model zooming by!
Now this is a proper event (my opinion). It's a mix of destruction derby, formula 1, and sword fighting (sort of?). Anyway, two pilots fly in the same circle and have paper streamers attached to their models. The idea is to try and cut the opponents streamer using the propeller. You get 100 points for every cut and a point for every second the model is in the air. The models are highly manoeuvrable. The engines are generally high revving glows (30000 rpm), however the occasional diesel is seen. There is a lot of carnage because of the high speeds, manoeuvrability, and slow pilot reactions (probably resulted from many years soaked in model fuel and cyano!).
Basic Carrier Deck
BCD is now one of the most popular, if not the MOST popular C/L event in the UK today. The number of competitions and events held each year is staggering. Basically you take off from an aircraft carrier (not real of course), fly seven laps as fast as you can, seven as slow as you can and then land back on the carrier. It's a lot of fun, and the models aren't too complicated either. Carrier UK.
There's loads of other classes but I can't be bothered to write about them, check out the links for more details.
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This article was first published: 13/05/2003
This article was last updated: 13/05/2007