11 Jul 2018

World’s best scale aeromodellers fly in for the 2018 FAI F4 World Championships for Scale Model Aircraft

If you’re near Meiringen in Switzerland over the next few days, look up and you might be treated to an incredible spectacle, as almost 100 highly skilled aeromodellers take to the skies above the scenic Haslital region for the 2018 FAI F4 World Championships for Scale Model Aircraft.

The competition, which is held every two years and attracts the best pilots and builders of scale aircraft from around the world, started this weekend and runs until July 14.

According to the registration statistics, this year’s 10-day event involves some 69 adult Scale Model Aircraft pilots, plus three junior competitors and 25 Scale Model Helicopter pilots.

Between them, the participants represent a total of 16 different countries, making this a truly international competition.

Also in attendance at today's Opening Ceremony were FAI President Frits Brink, FAI Secretary General Susanne Schödel, and FAI Sports and Events Director Markus Haggeney.

Scale Model Aircraft

Scale Model Aircraft are radio-controlled airplanes or helicopters that are based on manned aircraft and are built to exact scale, down to every rivet and screw.

A huge amount of work goes in to building and painting them to ensure they are identical to the full-size originals in everything but size.

And the aim of pilots participating in competitions in this F4 category is to represent the full-scale prototypes as closely as possible in the air as well.

So the type of flying done differs significantly from that seen at most other aeromodelling events!

The 2018 FAI F4 World Championships for Scale Model Aircraft

Held against a stunning Alpine backdrop, this year’s FAI F4 World Championship at Meiringen Air Base involves a judging process that is split into two distinct parts: Static and Flight.

The Static Judging process is designed to determine just how closely the scale aircraft resemble their full-scale models, and is based on documentation about the original aircraft provided by the participant. 

It too is divided into two steps. Step one focuses on the exactness of the dimensions, shapes, colours and markings; step two looks at the surfaces, handicraft quality and details.

The Flight Judging process is based on several flights, with each participant’s worst result excluded from the final score – as long as enough rounds can be flown.

Marks are awarded for take-off and landing, as well as – in most cases – eight aerobatic manoeuvres chosen from a special catalogue by the pilot.

When grading each flight, the judges check the precision of each figure, as well as how closely the overall flying style corresponds with that of the full-scale prototype.

Photo credit: FAI/Antonis Papadopoulos