2023 FAI F5J World Championships for Electric Powered Thermal Duration Gliders
The 2023 FAI F5J World Championships for Electric Powered Thermal Duration Gliders has kicked off in Bulgaria with over 100 pilots from all four corners of the world. One hundred and fourteen competitors have travelled with their aircraft - whose wingspans measure up to four metres – to Dupnitsa, 60km south of Bulgarian capital Sofia, from 31 countries as far afield as Argentina, Japan and New Zealand.
The competition runs from 13-19 August and has two parts: one for Seniors with 88 competitors and one for Juniors with 26 competitors. In both events there is a good number of females participating, which is positive in terms of approaching the International Olympic Committee recommendations. Senior teams consist of a manager and assistant plus three senior competitors and one female competitor. Junior teams follow the same requirements, with an age limit of up to 18 in 2023.
Among the participating pilots are Arijan Hucaljuk (CRO) and Joe Wurts (NZL) who were recently been announced for the new FAI Aeromodelling Commission (CIAM) Legends medal.
The four flying days will run between 09:00 to 18:00 from 14-18 August, with the prize giving ceremony and banquet on 19 August. The event is being organised by the Bulgarian Aeromodelling Federation and Modelclub Ikar and the airfield recently hosted the F5J Bulgaria Cup in May 2023.
Antonis Papadopoulos, jury member and FAI Aeromodelling Commission (CIAM) President said: “Congratulations to the organisers for this well-prepared FAI event. After the interruptions posed by Covid, at CIAM we are pleased to see an excellent turnout for this competition, especially with the numerous junior and female participants. It is going to be a busy competition with preliminary and final rounds taking place all week. We expect to have a variety of weather conditions, which presents a challenge for all the competitors. I wish them all the best of luck!”
The Opening Ceremony took place on 13 August at Main Square of the Dupnitsa City close to the City Hall. The ceremony commenced with a parade with all the national teams, and was followed by short speeches from the officials, and Jury President Mr. Andras Ree who declared the competition open. The festivities continued with a local dance show adding to the welcoming atmosphere.
Local dancers perform for the assembled teams
In the morning the model registration process took place in Dupnitsa's sports hall.
Pilots assemble their aircraft and register at the local sports hall.
About F5J Electric Powered Thermal Duration Glider flying
The F5J aircraft have a radio control with electric motor and AMRT (Altimetre/Motor Run Timer). The gliders have a maximum wingspan of 4 metres, max surface area of 150 dm2 and a flying mass up to 5kg, although most are no more than 1.5 kg and sometimes even lighter.
The pilot uses the motor to launch, then aims to find columns of rising air (thermals) to give a longer flight duration. Each pilot must launch and land from their particular spot, so technical control skills are essential. Also vital for successful F5J flying is being able to sense the thermals and air currents that give lift to the aircraft and having the experience to work out a suitable strategy to maintain the aircraft aloft.
Follow the action
Images: Antonis Papadopoulos, CIAM President