27 Sep 2018

How to get ahead in spacemodelling, by Russian team manager Alexey Ezzhov

The Russian Spacemodelling team dominated the leader boards at the 2018 edition of the FAI S World Championships for Space Models, picking up around a quarter of the prizes up for grabs.

“At the recent world championships at the Kruszyn Airfield in Wloclawek, Poland, our team claimed about 25% of the awards on offer,” said team manager Alexey Ezzhov. “It was a great achievement.”

Here Ezzhov, who has been involved in spacemodelling since 2003 and managed the Russian team since 2014, shares some of the secrets of the team’s success.

What is spacemodelling?

Practised in about 30 countries around the world, spacemodelling involves constructing and flying models made mainly of wood, paper, rubber, and breakable plastics. These models are propelled by engines and ascend into the air without the use of aerodynamic lifting forces.

“Spacemodelling has become part of my life, Ezzhov said. “I like the fact that my ideas on paper and computer calculations can be fulfilled in real life. I enjoy observing a model that only existed in my mind flying high up in the sky.”

What are the biggest challenges involved in participating in spacemodelling competitions?

“One of the biggest responsibilities when competing internationally is to ensure everyone has the correct visas and travel arrangements in place,” Ezzhov said. “Transporting the engines can also be a problem, unless the competition organisers can provide them for us.

“Each member of the team has a lot of responsibility, so it can also be difficult when misunderstandings and problems arise with the judges. In Poland, it was a big help that the championships were so well run by the sport director Ewa Dudziak-Przybytek.”

What is the secret to the Russian spacemodelling team’s recent success?

“The team is formed via a strict selection process that allows us to gather the strongest sportsmen from around the country,” Ezzhov said. This process takes two years, which allows plenty of time to assess the craftsmanship and level of readiness of participants in local competitions.

“Those who make the team, which generally includes 15 senior competitors and 12 junior competitors, comes from many different spheres. But they are the ones who cannot imagine life without spacemodelling competitions, who prepare well during the “off season” and look forward to the competition season starting again.”

As team manager, what are your goals for the team over the next year or so?

“We don’t often participate in World Cup events. But I hope this situation will change next year,” Ezzhov said.

“I am also looking forward to and preparing for the next European Championships, which will be held at a great location in Romania.”

Photo credit: Alexey Ezzhov