20 Apr 2023

"Honoured and grateful" 2023 CIAM Scholarship winner, Yuval Sarig (ISR)

Congratulations to Yuval Sarig of Israel, who has been awarded the 2023 Aeromodelling Scholarship of the FAI Aeromodelling Commission (CIAM). Chosen for his significant number of championship titles over the previous six years of competing, Yuval – an F1 Free Flight aeromodelling pilot – also impressed judges for showing commitment to the sport by coaching younger team members.

Yuval’s father was a competitor himself, and founder member of the Ramat-Hasharon Club, a branch of the Israeli Aeroclub that is still active today. Yuval was signed up as a member aged eight. Buoyed by his success in the open competitions in Israel having enjoyed the thrill of stepping onto the podium in 2016, he started to become more serious about competing aged 13: “The Junior European Championship in 2017 in North Macedonia was my first competition outside Israel. I didn’t expect much from my first competition but from then on, I started to take it more seriously.” Yuval went on to take a bronze medal in August 2018 at the Junior World Championship in Bulgaria which was followed up by numerous other titles.

Yuval Sarig aeromodeller

He comments: “After starting to compete, I became a very responsible teenager. Building my own models, organising my gear for practice and competitions, getting up at 03:00 and travelling to the field for hours on my weekends… It helped me to become the man I am today.”

After developing a level of maturity through aeromodelling, by 2022 Yuval was also coaching younger pilots. “In the 2022 FAI Junior World Championship the Israeli F1B team won first place, under my leadership and coaching. This achievement makes me very proud! The next generation is our future! Working with the next generation of flyers is not only fun, but also teaches me a lot about aeromodelling, and life.”

Of course, it is not always easy to fit in studying and competitions. Yuval is studying IT and Cyber Engineering at Ora-Madaim College, Ramat-Gan. “I think when you love something, and you have a passion for it, you can find the time, even if it’s stressful and difficult. With that said, I do need to skip competitions sometimes because of my studies.”

With his highly technical choice of study, it is interesting that he prefers to stick with free flight, rather than opting for powered flight. Yuval says: “The climbing of the F1B is what I love the most about it, I just love watching it in the air. Launching it correctly is challenging – to be able to go high and strong without breaking it (or myself!)”

In the coming years, Yuval will go on to do his national service, with three years in the army as a defense technology engineer which will include working with drones. He hopes that combining this area of experience with his aeromodelling background, he will be able to carry on working in this field.

And how does he feel about receiving the scholarship? “I am very honoured and grateful to be awarded with the scholarship. I don’t have any plans yet about what to do with the money but I am sure I'll find an idea! I will keep participating and hope to bring more accomplishments in the future.”

Yuval’s application was chosen from among the other nominations by France, Slovakia, Ukraine and USA at the CIAM Annual Meeting on 1 April 2023.