Thursday, 21 July 2016

Ian Emery, RC heli pilot - season update

The competitors line up for the Euro Heli Series...

We've just received this fantastic in-depth season update from our friend & RC Heli pilot Ian Emery, it's a great insight into the pressures of reaching the international competition Euro Heli Series & also World Cup standard:
"I just thought I would give you a quick update on everything that has happened over the winter and the Season so far.  The beginning of the year was a right-off with regards to flying helicopters as I had to go away with work for 4 months which couldn’t have come at a worse time (ed. Ian spent a very chilly few months in the Falklands!).

When I returned at the beginning of May I had a shiny new JR Sylphide to try and get built and set up ready for the first F3C Competition. This is pretty much the same model as I flew last year except this one is fitted with the beautiful JR Super Gracy fuselage and a slightly different rotor head which has proved to be popular amongst other F3C pilots.
Ian carries his heli into battle (this picture gives you a real feel for the sheer size of these machines)...

This was going to be an important season for me but I couldn’t help but feel frustrated that I had done so little flying with being away and I just wanted to look back and say that I had given it my all. To add to my workload I had 2 new schedules to learn which looked challenging to get right.  On a positive note I now had 2 very capable helicopters and it was just the pilot that needed sorting out!
Ian in action...
The month soon passed and it was time to travel up to Aberdeen for the Scottish Heli Nats and my first Competition of the 2016 Season.  I was understandably a little nervous because I had done so little flying since the end of last season and I had a slight mishap following an auto-rotation during training where the helicopter tipped onto its side causing minor damage to the fuselage a week earlier. We were really lucky with the weather and managed to get 3 rounds completed along with plenty of training flights which all proved really useful in my work-up to the F3C World Cup competitions and European Championships.  A lot of competition flying is physiological and for some reason I managed to make a mistake during the rolling manoeuvre which carried on into subsequent rounds, but I knew it was all in my head and Team manager, Mike Gilfillan was on hand to talk me out of it.  I managed to finish 3rd which I was pleased with but felt like I had lost ground on teammate and good friend Roger Mayo after some very close battles last year.

With no time to contemplate things the following week we made the journey to Almere in Holland. This was a fantastic venue for the first ever FAI F3C World Cup competition and forms part of the Euro Heli Series which is now in its 3rd year. We had a pretty good attendance with 14 pilots from 5 different countries.  After 3 rounds of the preliminary schedule and 2 rounds of the Fly-off schedule I managed to finish 9th place and secured 6 valuable World Cup points. To explain a little bit, other FAI radio controlled disciplines have held World Cup’s for several years and it involves countries from around the World hosting World Cup events, points are then awarded after each event depending where you finished for that competition.  You then submit your best 3 results to form a World League table.  For F3C this is the first World Cup season but I think it will gather momentum over the next few years but I was really happy to have been a part of the first ever F3C World Cup competition.  We then had a 3 week break which I was hoping to get some much needed practice, unfortunately between work and the weather my opportunities to get out flying were extremely limited.

The second Euro Heli Series and World Cup competition was held in Haaltert in the heart of Belgium at the Little Wings club.  In the 2 previous years we have had major problems with the Belgium competition due to rain, really strong winds or a combination of both. This year we had changed the date, changed the venue but we were not to be disappointed as it rained hard most of the weekend.  Two weeks on and I think my boots are still drying out.  We were also discussing ideas on how to fit floatation devices to the helicopters is was that wet.  Surprisingly between the downpours we still managed to fit in 5 complete rounds over the weekend and I finished 9th again and another 6 World Cup points.
A bit of maintenance "on the fly"!
As I write this I only have a few days before I leave to go the European Championships in Poland, which will be my first major continental championship.  Both helicopters are good to go although I popped into SMB Bearings the other day to pick up a spare set of bearings just in case. Interestingly I stripped the motor down on the helicopter I used last year.  The motor manufacturer recommends oiling the bearings every 5-6 flights.  The helicopter had well over 200 flight last year using Japanese EZO bearings supplied by SMB and they are still as good as the day I fitted them, which is a testament to how good these bearings are. Not oiling the bearing has meant that the grease applied during the manufacturing process has stayed in place and not been flushed out. 
I know I always say it but thank you to the whole team at SMB Bearings for the continued support that you have given me over years; it really makes my life easier knowing I have such reliable bearings installed on my helicopters".

Ian on a recent visit to SMB...
Thanks so much Ian, for taking the time to give us an insight into the competitive flying scene & also all the hard work & emotion that goes into competing on the international stage.  We wish you every success for the rest of the season & look forward to continuing to support you in the coming years.

If you think you'd like to get into RC Heli competitions there are lots of online resources available - for example
And the BMFA/AHA's website might be a good place to start.

Of course, if you need replacement bearings for your pride & joy too,
 we'll be delighted to help you with that!

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