Ronnie Espolt, an RC flier from California, attended
his first Fab Feb in 2016. Furutani photo.
Former World Champion Matt Gewain
(USA) launches an F1C folder aircraft.
Photo by Brian Furutani.
Maxes and Flyoffs
Major FAI Free Flight contests are scored based
on the total time accrued throughout seven
(sometimes five or three) individual flights. Each
flight has a maximum target time, or “max” for
short. Excess flight duration beyond the max is
The events F1A, F1B, F1C, F1E, F1P, and F1Q
stipulate the seven individual flights to be flown
in one-hour rounds, with a standard max of 3
minutes. In the event of ties at the end of the
seven rounds of regulation flying, a sudden-death, head-to-head “flyoff” (think overtime
in football) is held. Flyoffs feature extended
maxes ( 5 to 10 minutes) and shortened launch
windows of only 10 minutes. This is when the
pulse-pounding drama of Free Flight is revealed.
The Elites of International
Oleg Kulakovsky and Alex
Andriukov were at Lost Hills as
usual. During the last three decades, the pair has
revolutionized the F1B Wakefield Rubber event.
They produce models and parts for the world’s top
competitors—models they’ve personally used to win
seven of the last 12 F1B World Championships. Both
are Ukrainian born, and Alex is now a US citizen and a
regular competitor at Lost Hills.
The father of the modern F1C model is Eugene
Verbitsky, of Ukraine, who is a winner of three
individual World Championships (1987, 1993, and
2011). His countryman, Artem Babenko, is a
close second in stature, having won two World
Championships. Both are elite designers and
builders of F1C aircraft used by the world’s
best fliers. Roy Summersby is another F1C
luminary, having won the individual world
title in 2013.
Per Findahl, an enthusiastic two-time F1A
world champion, was in attendance from
frigid Sweden. Other former F1A world
champions spanning three decades
included Mike McKeever (USA),
Stepan Stefanchuk (Ukraine), Matt
Gewain (USA), Mikhail Kochkarev
(Russia), Mike Fantham (Great Britain), and Sergey
Makarov (Russia). It might as well be called
34 Model Aviation JULY 2016