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Articles
Asia Pacific F3C Open
American Adventure
JR Challenge 2004
How to setup your rotorhead
9Z for Dummies
3D Downunder
Victorian F3C Champs
Visit to Model Engines
Flying the Fury Tempest FAI
Pilot Profile - Pete (Panos) Niotis
Australian Trip 03
Introduction to the Century Predator
Building the Fury Tempest FAI
Professional Aerial Photography
Pilot Profile - Dwight Schilling
Pilot Profile - Russ Deakin
Pilot Profile - Dwight Schilling
Toolbox Essentials
Setup for F3C
Vigor Refit
Pilot Profile - Curtis Youngblood
JR Challenge 2003
Pilot Profile - Len Sabato
Helicopter Resources
Comparing the Webra 91AAR and the YS 91ST
Engine Tuning
Curtis Youngblood in New Zealand
Futaba GV-1 Governor
Pilot Profile - Malorie Zastrow
Scale: Flybarless Heads
Pilot Profile - Jason Krause
JR 10X
Pilot Profile - Mark Christy
Futaba 9Z WCII
Pilot Profile - Alan Szabo Jr
163km/h with a Vigor CS!
Raptor 60 V2
Low cost, high camera!
TSK & the Squirrel Part (V)
Follow up - Hirobo Freya
Follow up - Hirobo Shuttle RG
Sceadu 30 update
Hirobo Shuttle RG
Vigor CS - My thoughts
Bye bye little Ergo
Kyosho Caliber 30
OS 91
JR Voyager 50
Hirobo Sceadu
TSK & the Squirrel Part (III)
NZ Team Returns from Heli World Champs
Hirobo Freya
Fury-ous!
OS 50 Review
Millie vs CS (Part III)
Living with the CS
TSK & the Squirrel (Part II)
Promoting the Hobby
Ergo Z230 Gasser
Millie vs CS (Part II)
Millie vs CS (Part I)
TSK & the Squirrel
TSK & the Squirrel (Part IV)

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 radio gear…

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 are correct… 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 hobby?
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 week!

6. Attaining and maintaining your level of skill takes a lot of time and commitment, how has your family and friends supported your endeavors?
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 the hobby?
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 90.

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 event too!

I think the best bit has been meeting some great people though, and long may it continue!

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