Pilot Profile - Mark Christy
Mark with his Vigor CS
1. How did you get started in RC helis? When did you
start? What equipment got you started?
My dad got me started as he already flew all kinds of model aircraft. He had
earlier been a full size pilot but the spiraling costs had curtailed those activities,
and he turned to modeling. My first model was a Schluter HeliBoy with home made
2. How many gallons would you burn in a year?
Not very many
English weather sees to that! I would say on average I fly
about 2 hours each weekend, that being about half a gallon
so if my maths
around 30 gallons a year would be a fair guess
3. What are some of your short and long term goals for
you in RC helis?
Hmm.. get better at 3D! That's about it. I think the chances of me making the
top flight at the F3C world champs is unlikely, its impossible to try and compete
against guys who do it for a living day in day out. I think with the amount
of stick time I get in, that I have achieved more than I could ever had hoped.
I would love to break in to the top 5 at the world championships, but that means
beating some very big names!! Without taking 6 months of work and moving to
a hotter climate I think its unlikely!
Mark with the Voyager 50
4. What do you enjoy most about the hobby?
There's always a challenge.. its something you will never master, there is always
something to learn!
5. Developments such as Heading Hold gyros, large capacity
engines, digital servos and such have accelerated the growth of RC helis, what
do you think has been the main contributor for the growth in popularity of our
I think the ease of building the machines and the reliability has helped. Many
people have been interested in it, but been put of by the extremely high costs
and bad reliability in the past. Today though you can get a basic trainer ready
to fly for less than a price of Golf clubs, and it won't fall apart within a
6. Attaining and maintaining your level of skill takes
a lot of time and commitment, how has your family and friends supported your
Time and commitment?? I wish! Studying at university and also paying for all
my trips out of my own student money has taken its toll. I just can't do as
much as I wished I could, like I said earlier practice time is hard to come
by in our climate, and I can not afford to take time of work to practice. I
think the biggest thank you has to go to Ben at Bekra R/C in the UK. It wasn't
until fairly recently that I got sponsorship to cover the costs of the models
them selves, and without Ben's initial support I would never have had the equipment
to achieve what I have. I must also say a thanks to my dad who carted me up
and down the country to various competitions when I couldn't drive!
7. What advice do you give to someone just starting out
with RC Helis?
Whatever you do, don't do it alone! Find a club with helicopter section, and
people who are willing to help you get going without costing you money! I've
seen so many people walk away from the hobby because of the lack of help from
a club and its members. Its also very dangerous, so don't even think of trying
to fly it in your back garden
8. How did the Foot and Mouth epidemic in the UK affect
Very badly for most
thankfully our field was not effected so we could
carry on flying.. well when it wasn't raining :)
It meant a lot of competitions got delayed, especially the team trials, which
meant we had quite a hectic end to the season to get everything done!
9. This year yourself and Mark Tilbury went to the trouble
(and expense) of traveling to the US to participate in the US Nationals and
did very well, what made you decide to do this?
I had never been to the US Nats and always wanted to do it once. I can only
afford to do one major event a year, and I had to choose between the European
champs in Romania or the US nats. I had enjoyed myself so much in the States
last year that I really wanted to go back. Also I would get to compete against
some of the top guys in the world, professionals, which always makes an interesting
comparison to see how close I'm getting to them
need more practice I feel
J Finally it was going to be cheaper to than going to the Europeans, and with
the World Champs in Japan early next year, I'm going to need all the pennies
I can get!
The new JR Sylphide 90. Mark's
one of the lucky owners!
10. You're probably most well known for your exploits
in FAI style flying, are you planning on hitting the 3D scene in a big way?
I wish I had the time to practice, but as I said before I can't afford time
of to practice for my F3C, so my 3D practice is non existent. If I had the time
then it is something I would like to get into and do more of, but with F3C being
my priority and what my sponsorship is for, that is where I need to concentrate
my resources. I will carry on competing at the 3D masters in the UK because
I think its important to support these events, even though I am useless at 3D..
but I plan to do better each year
so watch out for me in about 2006 J
11. The JR Voyager is developing a reputation as an awesome
50 size machine, the Sylphide is the new kid on the block at the high end of
the market, how do you feel JR is responding to new trends in RC helis?
One of the reasons I decided to switch machines and fly JR was the direction
they were taking with their models. At the time they had no presence in the
UK at all, but I could see with the design talent they had (Sensui, Youngblood
and company) that their machines were going to be pretty good! I got hold of
a Superio and Ergo 30 to fly and was just blown away. The Ergo 30 is still the
sweetest flying 30 I have ever flown, I could not believe the way it went
therefore next order were a couple of Vigors, and I haven't looked back!
The JR models have brought the fun back into my flying; they are so versatile.
I can use them for F3C one minute, then flick them inverted and 3D them without
having to change any of the hardware, blades, paddles, mixing ratios, on the
models at all. Every machine I had before the JR's needed a lot of work to convince
it to 3D.
I think for such a young company in the helicopter market they've done amazingly
well, and I can see them going from strength to strength. They are certainly
doing things different, and leading the way in quite a few areas. I think the
reason behind this is the younger background behind the company, in terms of
age itself and the designers. They are more prepared to do something new, and
it is paying off.
Frame shot of the new JR Sylphide
12. Our hobby can be very trying at times, we all sometimes
get runs of bad luck, give us an example of a frustrating run you had.
I have been quite lucky myself in that I have had no real problems. I guess
the only frustration I have had is trying to get the manufacturers to realize
that there is flying talent in Europe. I get disappointed with the lack of recognition
some of the European pilots get, even though they are very good. You don't really
see anybody outside of the US or Japan flying as a paid for pilot for the companies.
I think the times are changing though, with the likes of Rudiger Feil, and others
making the rest of the world to sit up and take notice.
As for flying luck, I can safely say I have damaged very few models. My equipment
has always been incredibly reliable, and I have never had a serious mechanical
failure. I put this down to the vast quantity of Japanese equipment I use..
like their cars they just seem to go on for ever!
Competition wise, it got very frustrating to actually win a competition in
the UK. It took me a long time before I made it on to the top step of the podium
13. What would you describe as some of the highlights
of your flying career?
Making the fly off at my first World Championships was great. Also placing 2nd
at the Europeans was another great moment. The Japan pageant was an awesome
I think the best bit has been meeting some great people though, and long may