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".
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
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 DVDs 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
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.
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
personal reasons, leaving Jason Merkle, Ron Osinski and Walt
Ferar to compete for top honors. Jason Merkle came in on
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 -
2nd Place - Ron Osinski -
E-flite Blade - 567
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
pilots 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.