Precision Aerobatics in Scotland

Radio Control Model Aircraft Aerobatics in Scotland

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First, let me say that you have made a good choice. If you have a Bronze and want to really improve, there is no better way than take part in the monthy radio control model aircraft aerobatic competitions throughout Scotland. You get better, you learn and you have a great time. When you get a minute why not check out my Beginner's Diary - an account of my first year in radio control model aerobatics then have a read at Malcolm Harris' "Airtime" article.

You :)
Radio control model aircraft aerobatic competitions in Scotland are run by a Contest Director (CD) on behalf of the Scottish Aeromodellers Association. He agrees the dates and venues with the various clubs, arranges score-keepers, and collates the scores over each competition. Any flier with a bronze or equivallent can take part.

WHERE & When?
The competitions take part at various locations throughout Scotland. This is the 2013 events list:

Day Date Where
Saturday 30th March Drem (tbc)
Saturday 27th April League Tarbolton
Saturday 25th May League Dumfries
  31/1/2 June Wordcup Kent
  29/30th June Triple crown Ireland
Saturday 20th July CVF
Sat/Sun TBC Scottish Nationals Location TBC
Saturday 17th Aug League Glenrothes (TBC)
Saturday 14th Oct League Dumfries
Visitors and newcommers are positively encouraged to come along. Chat, help & advice freely available.

I'm in a hurry - let me see the pix:

Competitors normally arrive about 08:30 for setting up, coffee & a chat, with the first serious flight taking place around about 09:30 AM. Three or 4 rounds are flown i.e. you get 3 or 4 flights depending on attendance levels, weather etc with each flight marked by the judges. One of the other pilots will act as a caller, giving you the next manouver in plenty of time. Lunchtime gives a chance for some relaxing flying and most comps are finished by about 3:30 / 4:00 PM

WHAT should I use?
We cannot say this enough - You do not need the latest & greatest composite cost-a-fortune model!!!!!. One pilot was using a Kyosho Majestic in 2003 and an Excelsior in 2004.One pilot was using an Acro-wot which seems good enough (plenty on Ebay or Adtrader) and will do everything you need to do to start with. The Speed-air / Travel-Air or Chilli Breeze are other great choices. You need to be slightly overpowered but nothing too wild but preferably quiet or you could get precious points deducted. I have used the Travel Air with an Irvine 53, a CAP232 with a Laser 150, an MVVS90 powered Excelsior and a YS-120 powered Swallow which was awesome. My current models are a YS160-powered Angel's Shadow, an electric Angel's Shadow and a 2-metre electric Synergy, with a 50-size Rapure for a bit of light practice.

Glen's 68" CAP232 with Thunder Tiger 90 four-stroke - replaced with a Laser 150 :) Dave Smith Excelsior with MVVS 90 2-stroke
Flair Swallow with Yamada 120 four-stroke and pipe 2-metre electric Synerg
YS160-powered Angel's Shadow Electric Angel's Shadow

My current favourites for entry level are two ARTF contenders from Sebart; the Wind 50 and the Mythos, both availalble from Bill White at Dumfires Model Flying and the Rapture 50 kit from Elation Models

Wind 50:


Rature 50:


Reviews of the Wind and Mythos

My advice is to speak to existing aerobatic fliers to get the latest views on the current models as there are new ones appearing all the time.

HOW do I get involved?
You do not need a silver to do aerobatics unless you want to fly at the Nationals and you will do a far better silver after a year of aerobatics. (If you are doing a silver I'd recommend attending a couple of test days to see the standard required). My view is the sooner you start, the sooner you will benifit. You need to see the standard to aim for and you'll only see that at the comps. Also, you will only learn by flying with people of that standard. The big difference from club flying is the intensity: it is one manouver on every pass, sometimes 2. All manouvers are either right in front of you - not when the model just happens to be in level flight. You can either fly Sportsman or Standard to start with and you can miss out the bits you don't want to do rather that wreck a model.

HOW much deos it cost?
Entry is £5 per competition, payable on the day but free if you are at your home club. Upgrading to the next model is relatively pain-free as there are always models appearing on the 2nd hand market.


At entry level anything does the job but as you progress, Yamada 4-stroke engines are the norm although
2011 / 2012 saw a huge transision to most pilots now being in the electric camp. Don't be put off if you are just starting & come along for help & advice.

LINKS & MORE INFORMATION: The main UK web site for F3a and a great forum with lots of help, advice, for-sale section etc. Also contains call sheets, diagrams and some videos of the schedules.

How to be an Awesome Pilot (a great and entertaining read from Troy Built Models)

"Getting Started in Aerobatics" by Malcolm Harris, Airtime Autumn Issue 2002

The aerobatic schedule diagrams are here


From Glasgow follow M77 to 3rd exit for Kilmarnock( Q8 ) garage for A76 Dumfries
Pass through 1 roundabout HMP Kilmarnock at 2nd roundabout take right A719 to Ayr
Follow road for approx 4 miles to signpost for Tarbolton turn left ( before steep hill )
TURN Immediately LEFT onto FAILMILL ROAD follow single track road for approx 1 mile
Site is on left at last telegraph pole.

From Dumfries through Mauchline to first roundabout take left onto A719 ,as above. NB if at Tarbolton you see a fishery you have missed the road so turn back and take road on right before major junction. Hope this is of some help in finding the site. Tarbolton is a small village and if anyone cant find the site the nearest well known landmark is (the dump) waste centre.

Please note from A719 at turn to Tarbolton turn immediately left.

Map to Macmerry / Drem? /