The 2023 FAI F5J World Championships for Electric Powered Thermal Duration Gliders kicked off in Bulgaria with over 100 pilots from all four corners of the world from 31 countries as far afield as Argentina, Japan and New Zealand. One hundred and fourteen competitors travelled with their aircraft - whose wingspans measure up to four metres - to Dupnitsa, 60km south of Bulgarian capital Sofia,
Antonis Papadopoulos, jury member and FAI Aeromodelling Commission (CIAM) President said: "Congratulations to the organisers for this well-prepared FAI event. After the interruptions posed by Covid, at CIAM we are pleased to see an excellent turnout for this competition, especially with the numerous junior and female participants. It is going to be a busy competition with preliminary and final rounds taking place all week. We expect to have a variety of weather conditions, which presents a challenge for all the competitors. I wish them all the best of luck!"
The four flying days ran between 09:00 to 18:00 from 14 to18 August, with the prize giving ceremony and banquet taking place 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.
The competition ran from 13-19 August and was held in two parts: one for Seniors with 88 competitors and one for Juniors with 26 competitors. In both events there was a good number of females participating, which is positive in terms of approaching the International Olympic Committee recommendations. 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 at the time of the competition.
Among the participating pilots are Arijan Hucaljuk (CRO) and Joe Wurts (NZL) who were recently been announced as recipients of the new FAI Aeromodelling Commission (CIAM) Legends medal.
The Opening Ceremony took place on 13 August at Main Square of the Dupnitsa City close to the City Hall. The ceremony commenced with a parade with all the national teams, and was followed by short speeches from the officials, and Jury President Mr. Andras Ree who declared the competition open. The festivities continued with a local dance show adding to the welcoming atmosphere.
Opening Ceremony FAI F5JWC 2023 BUL. Local dancers perform for the assembled teams
The registration process took place in Dupnitsa's sports hall where pilots assembled their aircraft.
The F5J aircraft have a radio control with electric motor and AMRT (Altimetre/Motor Run Timer). The gliders have a maximum wingspan of 4 metres, max surface area of 150 dm2 and a 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.
Golds for France's Gallet Brothers at the 2023 FA F5J World Championships for electric powered thermal duration gliders
Two brothers have both gained a gold for France at the 2023 FAI F5J World Championships for Electric Powered Thermal Duration Gliders. Adrien Gallet and his younger brother Romain (top picture) each go back to France from Bulgaria with a champion title. Their teammate Marie Ange Groz was also the top female pilot.
New Zealand emerged as the leading nation in the senior rankings, with Croatia and Slovakia following behind. In the junior category, Germany secured the top spot, while France achieved second place and Czech Republic third. Anne Janzer from Germany claimed victory in the female junior rankings.
L-R: Lukas DIETRICH (GER), Adrien GALLET (FRA), Andrew MEYER (AUS)
In another noteworthy performance, Germany's Lukas Dietrich proudly stepped up to the podium twice, for both the junior and the senior medal ceremonies, having flown 14 rounds for seniors and 12 for juniors with eight finals, showing remarkable determination and focus. His teammate Anne Janzer also competed in both contests, gaining top female placing in the junior category.
Podium junior winners F5J 2023 Bulgaria aeromodelling
From L-R: Jaroslav VOSTREL (CZE), Romain GALLET (FRA), Lukas DIETRICH (GER)
This was the second World Championships for this particular class of aeromodelling: the first was organised in Trnava, Slovakia in 2019 and then due to the COVID pandemic a delay of 4 years occurred. A total of 88 seniors competitors, with 26 participated in the junior category, with a number of female competitors. All were hoping to become the holders of the new perpetual trophies.
SENIOR - OVERALL
Adrian Gallet (FRA)
Lukas Dietrich (GER)
Andrew Meyer (AUS)
SENIOR - FEMALE
Marie-Ange Groz (FRA)
Anne Janzer (GER)
Jana Sterbova (CZE)
SENIOR - TEAM
JUNIOR - OVERALL
Romain Gallet (FRA)
Jaroslav Vostrel (CZE)
Lukas Dietrich (GER)
JUNIOR - FEMALE
Anne Janzer (GER)
Anna Schutz (GER)
Milena Merazchieva (BUL)
JUNIOR - TEAM
Taylor Monoplane - The perfect antidote to a boring day.