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July 24, 2019: RC Helicopter

By Mike Unger (mike97unger@yahoo.com)

The final day of the RC Helicopter Nats brought mild temperatures and blue skies—a huge contrast to the previous two days of rain and scorching temps.

The first of the final two rounds of competition started at 8 a.m. Tuesday without any issues. Because five of seven rounds had already been completed in many of the classes, it would take a herculean effort to pull off an upset. However, in a few classes, the points were tight and the last two rounds could make all the difference.

Class 1 (Sportsman) was one of those classes in which a tight battle had been going on. In the previous five rounds, Angel Rojas had won three rounds and Dan Brickman won two. Dan needed to sweep the final two rounds to take the top spot. He made a valiant effort, but in the end Angel’s consistent flying prevailed, and he won the class by less than 200 normalized points.

In Class 2, Sam Corlett had a sizable lead, winning four of the previous five rounds, so short of arguing his heli into the ground, he had a lock on the win. Down the order, Michael Parker, Bernard Shaw, and Peter Bisbal would battle it out for the best of the rest. Michael ended up putting up his best round of the weekend, winning round 6, which solidified his second-place finish. Bernard Shaw would finish 3rd and Pete Bisbal wound up 4th.

James Hall led Class 3 and, going into the last day, had won all five rounds. All he needed to do was fly the last two rounds and hold his own. That didn’t stop Robert Montee from overcoming some mechanical problems with his heli in round 6 to take the win in round 7. But as mentioned, Jim had it virtually locked and in the end, Jim finished 1st, and Robert was 2nd.

In F3C, the first four rounds of competition are called the preliminary rounds and in those rounds they fly the “P” schedule. After round 4, they carry over a normalized combined score from the first four rounds and basically start a new competition. When they start that fifth round, they fly a completely different and somewhat more difficult set of maneuvers in the final. Going into the fifth round, it was Dwight Shilling on top, Nob Yasunobu in 2nd, and Tim DiPeri in 3rd. At the end of the day, Dwight ended up on top, and despite a good effort from Tim, Nob would edge him out for 2nd.

In F3N, the last three rounds are set maneuvers, Freestyle, and the crowd-favorite, Freestyle to music. Align Pilots Ben Storick and Aaron Cole would battle it out for the top spot the last three rounds and put on an awesome display of skill and showmanship. At the end of the day, it was Ben edging out Aaron, with Greg Jackson, Robert Montee, and Wes Minear rounding out the top five.

In the Masters class, Robert Montee would continue to have some mechanical problems, forcing him to abort his flight halfway through—making it nearly impossible to pull off the win. He would come back to win the final round over Wes Minear, but in the end, Wes took away the 1st-place trophy, with Robert in 2nd.

In Scale, there are basically two classes competing. Sport Scale and Scale. In the Scale class, the model presented has to be built by the pilot flying it and has to be built from a kit from the ground up. Pilots and builders in this class go to great lengths to get even the smallest details exactly correct to match the full-scale model they are trying to duplicate. Contestants are judged on the static display of their models in one round and then judged on how realistically they fly those models in the following rounds. In Scale, Emile Sherriff took home 1st place, Bernard Shaw would be 2nd, and Mark Allen was 3rd.

Sport Scale is a little different. The models are not as detailed as the Scale helicopters and they can come from a nearly built kit. Here, the static score isn’t quite as important to the final tally as the regular Scale class. This is to allow for those competitors who don’t have thousands of hours to build a super-detailed model to compete. Flying the model in a way that represents the full-scale aircraft is where the points are decided in this class. At the end, Sport Scale saw Emile on top, Bernard in 2nd, and Mark in 3rd.

So, there you have it. After three days of competition, the winners of each class were crowned, and all of the awards were sorted. It was a great competition this year, with high-caliber pilots in every class. A big thank you to all of the competitors and support staff who make the Nats happen.

Also, I want to give a shoutout to all of the spectators who stopped by to see the show. If you are interested in competing, there a few regional events throughout the year to help you get started or as always, we welcome anyone at the Nats. Until next year, keep tearing up the sky …


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