Saturday, June 13, 2009

Aeromusicals at Palaruffini -- Bob Skinner

The citizens of Turin and participants in other airsports at the World Air Games, are being treated to an unrivalled spectacle in the indoor arena at Palaruffini. The aeromodelling commission of the FAI (CIAM) has developed a set of rules to promote the very exciting and affordable sport, of building and flying indoor model aircraft. With this edition of the World Air Games, the FAI now has a marketable product, and already there is interest in the Far East for similar events, coupled with major cultural and financial meetings.

The concept of combining flying models with accompanying music and other show effects, has huge potential for creating awareness for aeromodelling, and aviation in general. The potential for media exposure is greatly enhanced, since the results are almost instantaneous. Spectators are able to sit in relative comfort and be entertained. Without lengthy explanations, they are able to judge the relative performances, with simple judging criteria like technique (precision, versatility) and artistic quality (synchronisation with music, continuous flow).

Young French pilot Fabian Turpaud is leading the field, followed closely by Lithuanian ace Donatas Pauzuolis. The variable pitch propeller on the aircraft used by Martin Mueller, allows him to perform spectacular reverse-direction manoeuvres, defying the known laws of aerodynamics. Without exception, the younger pilots from Italy, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Hungary, are all performing with great skill, and lightning-fast reflexes. The music choice is from a wide variety of genres, ranging from techno pop to classical and opera. The secret of course, is to effectively combine the flight performance with several pieces of music, using the tempo and mood.

To provide more entertainment for the spectators, there are performances of synchronised flying; Martin Mueller and wife Stephanie Schwan (yes, a sophisticated young lady that will put many of the boys to shame, with her flying skills); and Bert and Derk van der Vecht also with formation flying. The entertainment highlight was a magnificent flying dragon, with glowing eyes, and the ability to shake its head to communicate with its “master”. A few students have a formation routine by several MB339 aircraft of the Italian air force aerobatic team, the Frecce Tricolori. Then there are airships, a flying Ferrari race car, and hand-thrown gliders.

It really is time that those interested in indoor activities in South Africa, who have not yet experienced the thrill of indoor aeromodelling, start in earnest to focus their activities. It’s all good and well to have regular meetings, and the potential is there to steer this energy in a more structured direction. The participants and officials of the other airsports at the WAG are unanimous in their opinion that aeromodelling has successfully developed events that are attractive to the media, and that can be marketed as a product to potential sponsors. In FAI President, Pierre Portman’s words: “You guys are leading the way”

Bob Skinner

(I hope to have some photos from Bob soon)

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