The morning kicked off bright and early for our pilots, as they made their way through to Rand Model Aeronautical Club (RMAC) in the south of Johannesburg. The luscious green fields and blue skies of RMAC made for the perfect venue for Miniature Pylon Racing.
Rand Model Aeronautical Club is the oldest model flying club in the country and has been around for over 80 years, the club moved to its current location over 43 years ago. RMAC cater for all types of RC flying (Large scale, Scale, Pattern, Pylon, Helicopters and Quadcopters).
At 8:00 the pilots made their way to briefing held by Matthys Botha, while the briefing was on the go some cloud cover started forming, and a nice light breeze picked up, blowing head on into the course, this made for perfect conditions.
With pilots briefing complete, it was time to do safety checks on the aircraft. All competing aircraft are fitted fail-safe devices and these are tested before they cleared to fly, pilots had to switch on all equipment, and simulate a transmitter failure all the aircraft motors stopped instantly.
With safety checks complete, and our competitors ready for wing to wing racing, the competition started with the First Person View Electric Pylon Class (FPV).
FPV is a relatively new class in Pylon Racing SA and growing fast, Pilots make use of virtual reality display linked to a camera on the aircraft. Pilots and callers coordinate the start of the race with either a bungee cord or a hand launch, once in the air, it’s all down to the pilot to find the first Pylon and start racing! As you can imagine, racing around the course and experiencing it in “First person” must be an exhilarating experience.
The second class to take to the sky were the Hot Quickies or Quickie 500, Unlike the Standard Quickie, wings and tails are manufactured in moulds designed to produce hollow core structures. With the engines permitted for this class, the planes can reach speeds around 250 Km/h.
The Q40/Hot Quickie class planes are often all composite and “painted in the mould” resulting in beautiful, sleek and fast racer they must all conform to Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) standards and all planes must resemble real airplanes. This closely contested class is the Premier class flown in South Africa and is closely contested.
Sportsman Class was by far the biggest field of the day with eleven pilots taking part, this class is the fastest growing class in Pylon Racing South Africa and is responsible for “feeding” the Standard Quickie Class and growing the sport overall.
Sportsman Class, the entry level class, is aimed at the everyday flyer who wants to try his hand at some good clean racing fun. Aircraft range from various sizes and shapes, the craft permitted are usually any 40-50 sized aircraft, and a motor of up to 0.55 glow, without a tuned pipe. The planes range from Sport Aircraft, to Sticks and even trainers have been seen racing around our course.
The next logical step from Sportsman is Standard Quickies, specialized aircraft governed by specific rules and specifications are purpose built for the class. Standard Quickies are similar in shape and size to the Q500/HOT Quickie class, however only a standard motor with a tuned pipe is permitted.
The step up from Sportsman to this class is not that significant, as pilots fly on average about 20-30 seconds faster than sportsman class. With some nice locally produced composite kits available from Jets-R-Us, our pilots are spoiled for choice when it comes to numerous colour schemes.
Special thanks must go to the generous sponsors, Easyweb Internet for all our Online and hosting needs and Restech manufacturing sponsoring the fuel for the day.
Congratulations to all winners, the flying on the day was top notch with some close calls, and so not so lucky ones. Our hearts go out to you, for the time and effort spent to get those racers ready for race day.
The next Pylon Racing event is planned for the 6th of April 2019 details will be published in our weekly newsletter until then Go fast, Turn left.
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