The town of Dupnitsa, in Bulgaria, is ready to welcome over 100 aeromodelling pilots for the 2023 FAI F5J World Championships for Electric Powered Thermal Duration Gliders. The competition runs between 14-18 August 2023.
Travelling with their competition aircraft – whose wingspans measure up to four metres – pilots will arrive in the town, 60km south of capital Sofia, from as far afield as Argentina, Japan and New Zealand.
At the foot of the Rila mountain, the 88 senior and 26 junior pilots will participate in the opening ceremony in Dupnitsa on 13 August. There will be 31 national teams competing. Senior teams consist of a manager and assistant plus three senior competitors and one female competitor. Junior teams follow the same requirements, with an age limit of up to 18 in 2023.
Among the participating pilots are Arijan HUCALJUK (CRO) and Joe WURTS (NZL) who were recently been announced for the new FAI Aeromodelling Commission (CIAM) Legends medal.
The four flying days will run between 09:00 to 18:00 from 14-18 August, with the prize giving ceremony and banquet on 19 August.
The event is being organised by the Bulgarian Aeromodelling Federation and Modelclub Ikar and the airfield recently hosted the F5J Bulgaria Cup in May 2023.
Antonis Papadopoulos, FAI Aeromodelling Commission (CIAM) President and jury member, said: “At CIAM we are looking forward to seeing pilots from all over the world compete in this exciting competition, especially the numerous junior participants.”
What is F5J Electric Powered Thermal Duration Glider flying?
F5J aircraft have a radio control with electric motor and AMRT (Altimetre/Motor Run Timer). The gliders have a maximum wingspan of 4 metres, surface area of 150 dm2 and flying mass up to 5kg, although most are no more than 1.5 kg and sometimes even lighter.
The pilot uses the motor to launch, then aims to find columns of rising air (thermals) to give a longer flight duration. Each pilot must launch and land from their particular spot, so technical control skills are essential. Also vital for successful F5J flying is being able to sense the thermals and air currents that give lift to the aircraft and having the experience to work out a suitable strategy to maintain the aircraft aloft.