Report on Heli Nationals 19/20 September 2015

F3N Helicopter Nationals, 19/20 September 2015. By Barry Kennedy

The 2015 F3N helicopter nationals took place again this year in Carron model flying club in Tipperary on the 19th and 20th of September. Once again we had three classes of pilots competing expert, intermediate and novice. With a total of 10 pilots F3N expert having 5 pilots was a pleasant surprise as we welcomed back Diarmuid O'Mahony back after a break of a couple of years. This was our first F3N nationals where we had 4 rounds in the top class as opposed to 3. We now have 2 set manoeuvre rounds the same as in the international competitions. We had 5 judges Liam Broderick, Chris Tumelty, Jamie Hourigan, Mycko and Patrick Dorney (Patrick was set to compete in experts as well but due to a mechanical failure on Friday even his Logo was out of action so he decided he would judge instead).

So with the draw complete at pilots briefing the competition was underway with Pawel Plesniak volunteering to do a calibration flight for the judges. First up was F3N set manoeuvers, 8 set manouevres must be flown out of a list of 40 the higher the (k)difficulty level the better as the score for each manoeuvre is multiplied by the k factor to get the true score. Noel Campion showed practice does pay off. He was closely followed by William Gaule and Barry Kennedy who made the mistake of doing his last 2 manoeuvres in the wrong order so he got 2 big zeros and was off to a poor start. Intermediate was next with their sets round Conor Malin leading the way there followed by Nick Robinson and Jamie Hourigan. Jamie's heli was acting after just a couple of sets up so had no choice but to land and try a different for the next round. Novice had 2 pilots Jimmy Murphy and Christian Mulder. Jimmy who we also welcomed back to competition flying after a few years absence was flying well and nipped Christian in the first round.

F3N freestyle was next for all classes with some serious skills on display. Lots of fast and precise flying with plenty of piroeutting and rolling circuits and very technical flying so with very tight scores Barry was topping the board and nothing but a few points between the top pilots. Intermidiate had Connor Malin's smooth and crisp precise flying style with plenty of variety of manoeuvres. Nick Robinson was next keeping the smoke going with his nitro followed by Jamie who continued and persevered on through with his Align 450. Fair play to him as its not easy to try and fly a 450 in competition but he did himself proud. Christian and Jimmy then did their best and entertained the judges and spectators with their novice freestyle flight.

Round 2 of sets was next for experts with all the pilots all flying well and keeping the manoeuvres and the scores tight again Noel was just keeping his nose in font. It was down to the wire so the music round was going to make a big difference to the overall scores. Nick flew his music round to a track he recorded off the radio in his car just for a bit of fun and to get a bit of experience of flying to music.

Next up was the round we were all waiting for the music freestyle. It's a carefully choreographed sky-dance of jaw dropping precision controlled from the ground by two well trained hands on the transmitter. The pilots are guided by a caller who keeps track of time and prompts his next stunt to hit the beat just a the right time. All pilots were really pushing hard with their skills tested to the last with a beautiful mix of music and generes.

Pilot Class Place
Noel Campion Expert 1
William Gaule Expert 2
Barry Kennedy Expert 3
Conor Malin Intermediate 1
Nick Robinson Intermediate 2
Jamie Hourigan Intermediate 3
Jimmy Murphy Novice 1
Christian Mulder Novice 2
Noel Campion Expert 1

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