RCU Review: RCUniverse.com WMHC 2005

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    Contributed by: Erick Royer | Published: November 2005 | Views: 81562 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCuniverse coverage of ETOC 2004

    By Erick Royer


    Los Angeles, CA – It seems as though every year, there is some new aspect of the radio control hobby that becomes the center of everyone's attention.  Two years ago it was the Electric Tournament of Champions (ETOC) and the birth of high performance foamy aircraft that are capable of every maneuver that their big brother's are and many new maneuvers that never existed before.    Well this year at the Los Angeles Convention Center  on the weekend of October 22, 2005, RCUniverse.com in cooperation with the International Radio Control Helicopter Association ("IRCHA"), gave birth to yet another new event - The very first World Micro Heli Cup.  

    Thanks to the many advances in technology over the past 2 years, the industry has produced a plethora of mini and micro helicopters with all of the functions of their bigger gas/glow-powered brothers.   In fact, some of these helicopters, thanks to the advances in brushless motor and LIPO battery technology, have the power to weight ratio to outperform their full size counterparts.  This was demonstrated all weekend long as some of the world's best helicopter pilots battled it out to see who would be crowned "Mini and Micro Heli Cup Champion".

    The competition featured two flying classes; a micro class for true micro helicopters like the E-flite Blade or Century Hummingbird and a mini class for helicopters like the EvoFlight Shogun or Align T-Rex (whose presence dominated the competition).  RCUniverse was proud to attract some of the worlds top pilots, much to the delight of the crowds gathered on both days of the event.

    Nearly two thousand spectators  crowded the show floor over the course of two days.  Situated on the floor of the Los Angeles Convention Center during the iHobbyExpo show, the venue was a 200 foot long by 200 foot wide by 40 foot high flying “cage” bounded by netting on all sides.  Crowds sat in bleachers or stood around the perimeter of the contest venue.   

    During the course of the two-day event, Michael Kranitz, CEO of RCUniverse.com,  and national radio personality, Hollywood Hamilton of K-Earth 101, gave away more than $7,500 in prizes to lucky spectators attending the event.  Prizes included a $450.00 T-REX 450XL Superior Edition, 10 Megatech Horse and House – Fly Helicopters and various other helicopters, hats, shirts and DVD’s from Ikarus USA, Century Helicopter, Empire Hobby and E-flite.  Pilots were also competing for some very attractive prizes as well.  Jason Krause walked away with $1,250 and an $800.00 T-REX package donated by Empire Hobby.  Other winners grossed another $1,500 in cash and prizes.  The judges for the event were Walt Throne, Len Sabato and Marty Kuhns, each a respected helicopter pilot.

    Mini Class - Where The Action Was!

    If you have never seen a Micro or Mini Helicopter fly before then you are missing out.   These pilots kept the crowd in awe all weekend performing maneuvers that seem to defy physics. 

    The master of the sticks, Jason Krause, walked away with top honors in the Mini Class, keeping the crowd at the edge of their seats some amazing flying choreographed to some hard rock music.  Even if you do not like helicopters, you would have been impressed watching him fly. With 797 points, it would have required some perfect flying by other contestants to catch up into the second day of competition.  If anyone could have given Jason a run for his money, Danny Szabo, who is another amazing pilot, was the man.   He had some difficulties when he crashed his T-Rex while practicing and inverted hover, but with the help of his dad, Alan, he was able to get the ship back into the air to take the second place honors finishing behind Jason by 150 points.  Ian Crane finished third place with 609 points - just 48 fewer than Szabo.   Erich Stolz came into the second round of the competition in third place but crashed his T-Rex in the final round and walked away with a fifth place victory.

    1st Place - Jason Krause - T-Rex 450XL - 797 pts.

    4th Place - Kyle Stacey

    2nd Place - Danny Szabo - T-Rex 450XL - 647pts

    5th Place - Erich Stolz

    3rd Place - Ian Crane - T-Rex 450XL - 609 pts

    6th Place - Jiaren Hui
    7th Place - Ben Tse (Not Pictured)

    One of the highlights of the Mini Class was fourth place finisher and Empire Hobby pilot, Kyle Stacy.  Stacy, who turned 10 years old in September, had every adult in the crowd realizing that there is some benefit to allowing children to play video games.  Kyle finished only 16 points behind third-place finisher, Crane.  While Kyle was nervous on the first day of the event, once the crowd got a load of this kids flying abilities, they as well as other pilots cheered him to a very respectable 4th place finish.   This is one pilot that we have not seen the last of yet - Kyle will be a force to be reckoned with as he progresses. 

    Micro Class - Sharp Talent

    While the Micro Class of the competition had only four entrants, there certainly was no lack of excitement as pilots performed a series of mandatory maneuvers followed by amazing freestyle action.  Ben Tse, who was flying for Century Helicopter was forced leave the competition for personal reasons, leaving Jason Merkle, Ron Osinski and Walt Ferar to compete for top honors.  Jason Merkle came in on top with 615 points and Ron Osinski took second with 567 points. Both Merkle and Osinski competed with a stock E-flite Blade.  The Blade performed extremely well and both pilots performed inverted maneuvers with the stock 3D motor and blade setup.


    1st Place - Jason Merkle - E-flite Blade - 615 pts.

    2nd Place - Ron Osinski - E-flite Blade - 567 pts

    3rd Place - Walt Ferar - Hornet II - 311 pts

    Walt Ferar flew the Modelsport Hornet II with a Hacker 20/22.  Walt had a commanding lead over the other competitors going into the final round but during a backward roll maneuver, he lost tail rotor authority and rather than pull the heli back into position  he allowed it to gradually regain control to ensure the smooth appearance of the maneuver.  However, Ferar was subject to mandatory disqualification as this maneuver has him cross behind the pilot’s line into judging territory, where safety prohibits any pilot from flying.   

    On Schedule for Next Year

    According to Michael Kranitz, every pilot who attended the event has indicated their desire to return next year to what everyone expects will be an even bigger and better event.  The pilots and spectators seemed to love the quick pace of the event and the short format as the event only ran for 2 hours a day.   I have been to many events that drag on for days, but the World Micro Heli Cup left everyone - pilots and spectators alike - wanting more.   "Entertainment was the primary goal for this event", stated Kranitz.  "We wanted to keep the action fast-paced while stopping frequently to give away prizes to the spectators", said Kranitz.   I think we can all expect to see this event grow into a major event over the next couple years.   If RCUniverse.com builds the event like they build a website - then great things are on the horizon.