Aerobatics (sometimes called stunt) is one of the most colourful and popular competitions for control line model aircraft in Australia.
Contestants in aerobatics competitions are required to fly their planes through a series of prescribed maneouvres that can be assessed and scored by a panel of judges. The series of prescribed manoeuvres is called the "pattern", and in the early days Australia had its own, based heavily on the pattern used in America.
The manoeuvres to be scored always included takeoff and landing, upright and inverted level flight, wingovers, loops, and figure eights. As model capabilities improved the pattern was made more difficult by requiring more consecutive manoeuvres and vertical, as well as horizontal and overhead eights. Square cornered maneouvres were introduced producing square loops and eights, and even sharper cornered triangles and vertical hour-glass figures... plus the amazing four-leafed clover. All these are contained in the international FAI F2B pattern as used for world championships, and adopted for use in Australia long ago.
A model capable of performing the full stunt pattern is said to be able to "do the book", and the kind of model found to do it best is large, lightly built, and equipped with wing flaps. It must be trimmed to be smooth and stable in flight, yet still be capable of turning sharply on demand for square and triangular corners. It must maintain adequate line tension for control despite some wind, yet avoid pulling so strongly as to discomfort the pilot. And ideally it should maintain a steady, relatively slow speed regardless of the direction in which it is pointing.
Achieving a perfect compromise has provided a formidable challenge for many aspiring champions.
In the year 2001 control line aerobatics competitions are still flown regularly in and around Sydney, boosted by a handicapping system that gives many pilots a chance of winning.
Occasionally, the great models of past years are remembered in classic and vintage competitions. Visits by influential experts such as Bob Palmer help keep the past alive. And we pay tribute to Australian Nationals stunt and aerobatics champions going back 50 years on our Nationals Champions page.
Photos above showing some typical modern aerobatics models were taken at the 1998 National Championships by Richard Spurling.
1. Peter White's Manito V is SuperTigre 46 powered.
2. Joe Parisi's Novar, winner of the 1998 Nationals, is powered by a PA 51 engine fitted with an Eather pipe.
3. Brian Eather's Firecracker is his own development, powered by a PA 51 fitted with one of his own pipes.
4. Doug Grinham's Jazzer with Stalker 61.
5. Reg Towell's Junar, powered by SuperTigre 46.
6. Bruce Hoffman's Windwagon, also powered by SuperTigre 46.
7. John Abbott's Weezer, powered by OS 40 VF with Eather pipe.