Fun Fly

Fun Fly – Making Competition More Fun!

Have you ever thought about getting into competition flying? Want to improve your flying skills, add something more interesting to your and your club’s everyday flying and most importantly get the most fun out of your hobby? If the answer to all that is yes, then Fun Fly is for you!


Fun Fly was conceived at club level all over the country in the 1960’s and in 1985 it was launched as a national event which soon became an integral part of the August Nationals. It has been going strong ever since, living up to its reputation of being one of the most enjoyable events at the Nats. Our team is mainly made up of members of the Caterham & District Model Flying Club, with contest directors being myself and Nick Lester.

So what is Fun Fly? Basically, at club level, a fun fly competition can be pretty much anything as long as it’s simple and fun! I belong to the Caterham and Croydon clubs, both of which have monthly fun fly competitions ranging from limbo, touch and go’s or spot landing events, through to slightly sillier events like water carrying, balloon bursting or even doughnut dropping! All these events are designed to entertain, both the pilots and the spectators.  They also improve pilot skills and confidence and they certainly add a new dimension, a sense of purpose and of course lots of fun to any club! The other thing about fun fly events is that they are all scored against the clock. There are no judges deciding how much they liked your flight – your score at the end of the time is what you get – simple as that!

The models, too, can be very basic. At club level and indeed at the Nationals, most people use well proven designs such as the Limbo Dancer, Avicraft Frantic, Western Cougar, Wot 4 or the very popular Evolution Models Fusion. All of these models have the benefit of being relatively cheap, quick to assemble and easy to fly. But with the right set up, then these models can be as nimble and maneuverable as any model on the market. I fly lots of different types of models, but I never get bored flying a fun fly model!

At the Nationals, we also like to encourage flyers to modify existing models or even design their own. Over the years, we have seen some wonderfully ingenious designs that have been incredibly successful. This, then brings another element to the competition, for the model can’t be just good at one event, it needs to be good at four or five very different events, so not only are the pilot skills being tested, so is the design of the model!

So, let me now briefly run through what the Nationals competition is all about. Basically, anyone with a BMFA ‘B’ certificate can enter whatever your skills at fun fly. The event is designed to introduce the average club flyer into competition flying, thus boosting confidence and skill levels. Many well known national and international pilots started in fun fly and have gone on to huge success and it is also very nice to see a lot of those pilots returning after some time to join in the fun once more!

The event is split into two classes. Class 1 is for the experts or someone that wants more of a challenge while class 2 is for anyone with a ‘B’ certificate who enjoys a slightly more relaxed, club level kind of competition flying. There is, by the way, nothing to stop you entering both classes!

Class 1 models are basically unlimited, whereas class 2 models are limited on engine size or electric set up (max 3 cells) with no coupling (mixing) of control surfaces. This is designed to keep the models to similar performance and keep them affordable to everyone.

Now to the competitions themselves. Both classes include a Longest Glide task that requires the pilot to stay in the air for as long as possible, following a 20 second climb. Also included is a Limbo competition that is won by the pilot that completes the most passes under the limbo gate as possible in two minutes. A Touch and Go task is also included in both classes, where the pilot completes as many touch and go’s as possible in a large square, again in two minutes.

Class 1 only has a Triple Thrash task, that requires the pilot to complete three touch and go’s, three rolls, three loops and another touch and go in the fastest time, where as class 2 has a Spins and Spot task where pilots perform as many spins as possible on the way down after a 30 second climb, then perform a spot landing for added points.

Just to mix things up a bit, we also have a mystery round for each class which is drawn at random at the start of the weekend. These events include Dead stick aerobatics, Touch & Go Bang (balloon bursting), Water Carrying and Doughnut Dropping or the slightly more challenging Roop and Blackjack for class 1.

I really hope that’s wetted your appetite for the Nationals Fun Fly – competing on a low budget with ‘normal’ club models and having a whole load of fun along the way. I hope I’ve also shown what great fun it is to take part in and to watch – believe me, watching some of the top class 1 flyers taking part in the Limbo is certainly something amazing, when on a good day you might see over 40 limbos in 2 minutes!!

So, go on, why not give the fun fly a go next year – I’ll guarantee a fun packed, friendly and entertaining weekend! The entry forms appear on the BMFA website from mid June and copies of this year’s rules are available in the competition rule book, again on the BMFA website or from me at the following email address:

We look forward to seeing you over the weekend, either competing or just come to the line and say hello – maybe it will inspire you to give it a go next year or even start running a few Fun Fly competitions at your local club – it certainly makes club flying a lot more interesting and of course a lot more fun…

Happy Fun Flying!

James Gordon.