All of the award winners from the first NMPRA Q- 40
World Championship race gathered for a picture.
A tray of Nelson
are ready to
at Aero Racing
In the days preceding the race, OJA was a hive of activity,
with pilots testing, checking, and retesting their equipment
and airplanes. OJA has a nice, shady pit area, but large rental
tents were brought in to ensure that everyone had refuge
from the sun.
The race’s format went something like this: while pilots
were racing at the flightline, the next group was called into
the ready box, and then ferried out to the flightline via a
tractor and trailer. This kept the action moving throughout
the weekend. The only pause in the racing was for lunch.
An army of well-trained volunteers staffed everything
from the pylons to the food tent, and everyone appreciated
their help. Pilots tested their airplanes early in the morning,
amid the low-lying morning fog—seriously, you could only
see heads at one point!—and after a brief pilots’ meeting, the
racing began. The race matrix was randomly generated, and
laid out all of the heats with the pilots’ names listed, which
let everyone know who and when they would be racing
throughout the weekend.
On the flightline, there are four lanes marked in colors
that match the sticker provided for each model’s wing. The
lanes are low green and low red, where the corresponding
color sticker is mounted on the airplane’s left wing, then high
green and high red, which is mounted on the right wing. This
gives the spotters, callers, and judges a clear indication of
which airplane is which during the race.
When all four pilots are ready, the starter begins a
60-second countdown to the start of the race. The pilots
and callers have that time to start their models and get into
position. If an airplane doesn’t start, the pilot sits out the race
and receives zero points. Four points are awarded for first
place, then three, two, and one point for the other finishes.
To avoid unnecessary collisions during takeoff, the start
is slightly staggered. For example, green will take off first,
followed quickly by red. There is a split second between
takeoffs and the sequence is rotated throughout the
After the airplanes are running, the pilot must drop his or
her flight box, and position himself or herself for the race.
When the clock hits zero, the callers release or push the
airplanes before running back to their pilots. This is a crucial
first leg of the race, because as the callers are running back to
their pilots, they must also tell the pilots when to turn after
Nelson engines are currently
produced at Aero Racing Engines—a
short trip away from the OJA field.
The engines were
by Henry Nelson.
Mike Langlois started
parts for Henry, and
AERO RACING ENGINES
eventually took over production.
Mike’s machine shop has
every imaginable tool, and each
engine is tested at the shop
before being shipped. Aero
Racing Engines also manufactures
high-quality spinners and mufflers
for its engines and is a full-service
28 Model Aviation MARCH 2014