Competitive Aeromodelling As a Sport
Aeromodelling is an interesting craft that takes knowledge, skill, and talent to be successful in. The fact is that aeromodelling is still just a hobby for most people, but these days it can also be considered as a sport. There are many aeromodelling competitions taking place over the year and the participants are sort of semi-professionals that are often treated like real athletes.
While there are many debates on what counts as a “real sport” (like competitive computer gaming for example), aeromodelling has a strong argument since it can have a physical aspect to it. Although preparation and craftsmanship are the keys to this sport, the techniques used to put these models in the air and control them is what counts.
There are several disciplines at the professional aeromodelling competitions. Participants are allowed to use their previously handmade models that are usually controlled by a remote. The objective of these competitions is to either finish a course with the best time, achieve the longest flight time, reach the highest speed, maximum height, etc. There are also free flights where the model has no external control after being launched.
Remote controlled pylon racing is maybe the most popular discipline. Here, the participants are put on a task to race on a course with obstacles that is usually a quarter mile in length with a certain number of laps every participant has to complete. RC soaring is also popular and there are two types of this discipline – slope and thermal soaring. Control Line is very interesting and it involves a flier being connected and controlling his aircraft with a set of strings. Sometimes a few participants are flying their models at the same time, running around each other in circles. Competitions are usually held outdoors, but there are some indoor events as well.
Rules of aeromodelling competitions can differ. However, there are some universal rules that all participants must follow in order to not get disqualified. Of course, all models should be made from scratch and not be previously purchased. The models also have height and length limitations and a certain number of parts the makers can use. Certain materials are also restricted from use. These model planes are very fast, so safety measures must be taken seriously. If a model is considered dangerous by the organizers, it can be disqualified. This includes metal bladed propellers that are forbidden from almost all competitions. There are also noise restrictions and strict measurements for fuel type used and its capacity.
Over the past several decades, the organizing of aeromodelling competitions has begun to take a more professional form. The fliers are now rewarded with cash prizes and can compete in both national and international events. The biggest aeromodelling venue is probably the Model Aircraft World Championship that takes place annually. It lasts for a week and it involves participants from all across the globe. The sport of aeromodelling is especially popular in India, and the Boeing National Aeromodelling Competition is also among the more popular ones. You can see many aeromodelling videos on YouTube and there are also live broadcasts for some of the more popular events.
Aeromodelling is pretty unique, but there are also some other sports that can be considered similar. Drone racing is getting popular in the last few years, and aerobatics and air racing take the art of flying on a much bigger scale.