By: Ken Park
On July 23rd through August 1st, 2011 Dave and his team will be going to the FAI F3A Precision Aerobatics Championship that will be held at the AMA National Flying Site in Muncie, Indiana. I had a chance to catch up with Dave for a little chat regarding the Canadian team.
Dave could you tell us something about your own background and how you got into Pattern flying?
As a young boy I had grown up around airplanes and eventually followed my dad into an aviation career as a professional pilot. This also sparked a keen interest in model aviation that I was able to fully pursue in 1995 when I moved to Victoria, BC. I joined the Victoria Radio Control Modellers and quickly learned the basics of RC flight (I had the theory down!) The real catalyst to my skill level was, without doubt, precision aerobatics. The discipline to practice and perfect these various manoeuvres and the increasing skill level became very addictive.
How long have you been in the competitive side of F3A and what kind of a learning curve and dedication does it take to get this far?
I worked my way through the various levels until I was competing in FAI in 2002. This was really before ARF type kits became available so we were also learning to build planes at the same time. Many trips to the field to practice manoeuvres and fine tune airframes eventually resulted in what I am today. Having fellow flyers assisting you and continually challenging you also helps to push you to learn. Through hard work and support I managed to qualify for the Canadian National Team that went to Argentina in 2007. It was the highlight of my RC career and a great honour to compete for my country.
F3A Pattern flying always requires the latest in technology. Can you tell us about what cutting edge motors, aerodynamics and electronics?
Things never stay the same and Precision Aerobatics is no different. The advancements in power plants, both reciprocating and electric have allowed larger more draggy airframes to come to the forefront over the years. The lithium polymer battery technology has really opened the door for advancements in both speed controllers featuring complete programmability and to in-runner and out-runner electric motors. This is the major reason for electric powered planes to become much more predominant. Did I mention they were quiet and oil free 🙂 Airframe designs featuring light weight carbon fibre composites and other materials have helped produce a large selection of strong and light airframes.
Being the Team Manager can you tell us a little about your team and some of the star qualities each brings to the team?
The 2011 team members all bring their own unique talents and experience to the competition. Our team consists of: Chad Northeast who is a six-time team member and has competed all over the world. He is usually at the forefront of designs and applications for F3A airframes, speed controller set-ups and does a lot of R & D for various manufacturers.
Mark Byrne is a first time team member and has extensive product knowledge in the battery field. He also has access to advanced composite design techniques that have proven very helpful to the team.
Dezso Vaghy is a 7-time member and brings his World’s experience to the table as well. His web work has also been very helpful in promoting the team over the years.
Is there a game plan or strategy for these events and where do you think our Canadian team will place?
There is a game plan and I won’t reveal all the details here but we will capitalize on the synergy that already exists. Common ZN Line airframes, Futaba 14MZ radio gear, Plettenberg 30-10 Advanced motors & Shulze ESCs and the vast knowledge base that we all bring towards the goal of putting the best effort in. As the manager I would like to win pure and simple but the competition is very high. I believe finishing in the top ten is well within our reach.
All big competitions like this cost money. Can you tell us about the support you’re getting from the RC community?
The support has been very good. We have had numerous donations as well as promises of support from fellow fliers but we continue to canvas RC clubs across the country for financial support. MAAC has always been a great supporter as well and we will receive some funds through the FAI competition committee. As entry fees are 600 Euro for each pilot, donations of any amount are gratefully accepted and will go to offset these fees along with travel and accommodations expenses.
In closing please tell about any issues or concerns you may have about F3A and what you would like to see happen in the pattern flying world.
Affordability equals Participation. With the advancements in electric power and battery technology we are starting to see lower cost options available to flyers. I hope this will be a catalyst to many new participants in the future. I have always put in efforts to grow this area of RC, I challenge every precision aerobatic pilot to invite, promote, and encourage both new and old pilots to give it a try. The challenge is really within you and you’ll be a better flyer for it… who knows… you might just be on the next team!
Pictures and Captions:
Taken at Team Trials. Three planes… Pilots Mark Byrne, Chad Northeast and Dezso Vaghy
Six planes… Pilots Dan Venables, Dave Reaville, Chad Northeast, Xavier Mouraux, Mark Byrne and Dezso Vaghy