By Tamas Mondovics
Nine pilots from across the country brought an impressive amount of aviation skill, experience, that displayed spectacular aerobatics to ensure the anticipated success of the first-ever large scale remote control Jet Aerobatics national Championship held last week in Mountain City, TN.
Event organizers could not ask for a better location, surroundings, and venue than the Johnson County Airport, 611 Airport Rd. just west of town, which welcomed the public for the three-day event.
“The airport and surrounding area are extremely beautiful and definitely a special place to fly,” said event organizer Matt Balazs, who traveled from Greenville NC, to welcome all participants and to make sure that the competition lived up to its name.
“Everyone was absolutely great to meet,” Balazs said, “We all very much enjoyed the hospitality, and support extended to us by Johnson County Airport manager Dave Garris, as well as the folks at the Pickled Beet restaurant, who prepared us some really amazing food. The entire experience was simply fantastic.”
While that may say a lot about the community and its desire to promote some of the best outdoor attractions and entertainment possible to the region, last week’s jet aerobatics championship put Mountain City on the map, with more to come.
Balazs explained that four classes were flown during the competition resulting first place winners that included – F3S – 1st place, Archie Stafford from Great Mills, MD, flying a CARF Mephisto; -Scale – 1st place, Rod Snyder from Johnson City, TN, flying a CARF Skygate Hawk; – Basic – 1st place, Adam Falk from Charlotte, NC, flying a Skymaster 2.5m Viper Jet, and – EDF – 1st place, Craig Baker from Appling, GA, flying a Freewing Singer 90.
The weekend’s competition is still very new for RC (radio controlled) jet aircraft. Many of the attendees for the event were regional, and national champions with aerobatic airplanes from two divisions including Pattern, and Scale Aerobatics, which according to Balazs, are 40 percent scale versions of full-sized airplanes.
“Turbine jet-powered aircraft are the most complex and the pinnacle of the hobby,” Balazs said, adding that these planes are difficult to really fly well, especially in a precision aerobatic event. “This is the newest aerobatic discipline to be recognized internationally by FAI, who is the world sanctioning organization for all air sports. This is drawing many people to the
Jet aircraft and jet aerobatics.”
Balazs put things in perspective as he talked about the bottom line and the competition’s future in connection with the region, when he said, “We are planning a much bigger event to be hosted in Mountain City next year, which will bring a much broader and diverse group with very different jet aircraft. Many of us have had the opportunity to fly all over the US, and some all over the world and will tell you that Mountain City is a very special place, definitely one of the best places to fly. We will be back.”
For more information, please visit www.modelaircraft.org/events/2019-jet-precision-aerobatics-national-championships.
More photos by Tamas Mondovics