Jul 222013

Heli 1Heli Competition

To say it was a busy week at the club would be somewhat of an understatement. Normally we struggle to run competitions when they are supposed to because of weather or folks being unavailable, last week, we made up for lost time, with a new format heli competition on Thursday evening, the Area Funfly on Saturday with a short informal e-soaring competition afterwards. And just to round off the week , the first round  of the Area Aerobatics/ IMAC Norn Irn competition took place on Sunday at the Tyrone Model Flying Association’s site outside Omagh.

The Heli competition differed from the normal rounds of hovering manoeuvres and basic aerobatics to a more Funfly type schedule, with three rounds flown. The first was based on the Triple Thrash Funfly round, with competitors taking off performing 2 pirouettes, 2 flips & 2 stationary rolls in the quickest time possible. Times were actually pretty tight, with the smaller 450 machines getting away with lower altitudes. Alistair also had a low altitude moment when he forgot to flip the idle up switch to give him negative pitch, resulting in his first flip turning into a very low diving manoeuvre which he did well to recover from.


On the approach to a water bottle with the 450XThe second round saw the Bamboo poles usually only seen during the Limbo at Funfly competitions being produced from the hut, which raised both eyebrows & cold sweats! Three poles were placed down the runway with enough space to fly between, and the pilots asked to fly a slalom course between the poles and back to land as quickly as possible. The presence of a physical object obviously makes folks a little more cautious with their whirling blades and with this in mind Dave  took off, flipped inverted and flew the course in a rather interesting manner with some flips and piros thrown in for good measure, and he still had the fastest time! The others followed and some oohs! And aahhs! Were produced as blade tips got close to bamboo in some overcooked turns.

Heli 2

Mission Accomplished!

The last round saw one pole left up and three water bottles set out on the strip, with the pilots required to knock the bottles over, hopefully with the skids! And fly around the pole before returning for each of the remaining bottles. This proved a very challenging round, with some people’s depth perception being put seriously to the test! Brian overcame this by following the heli around the strip, which incurred a 10 minute penalty for leaving the pilot’s box (judge’s decision final!) There were a few near misses as tail rotors got close to bottles, but thankfully nothing hit, at least until Matthew, flying Brian’s Blade 450X, connected the main rotor with a bottle top, resulting in a spray of water and some unrepeatable exclamations from the onlookers. Thankfully the heli survived unscathed and only slightly moist, much like the pilot!

Heli 3

The alternative use for a helicopter as a bottle opener!

Overall the pilots and spectators enjoyed the new format and I think this will be used at future club heli competitions. The rounds were challenging for everyone and showed pilots were in full control while under a little bit of pressure, but the overall feeling was just of a great evenings craic, much like our normal Funfly competitions.


Pilot Triple (time/score) Slalom (time/score) Bottle Knock (time/score) Position / Score
David Nolan 17 Sec / 1000 35 Sec / 800 62 Sec / 1000 1st  / 2800
Alistair Henry 55 Sec / 309 46 sec / 609 145 Sec / 428 5th / 1346
Brian McCartan 19 Sec / 895 44 Sec / 636 85 Sec + 10 minute Penalty / 91 3rd / 1662
Iain Johnston 45 Sec / 378 50 Sec / 560 94 Sec / 660 4th / 1598
Matthew Poots 19 Secs / 895 28 Secs / 1000 99 Sec / 626 2nd / 2521
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