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Written by Matt Ruddick
The Deal with Drones
Column
As seen in the December 2018 issue of
Model Aviation.



Photo Gallery

2018 MultiGP International Open - Model Aviation magazine


Following last year’s successful inaugural MultiGP International Open, the team at MultiGP began making plans for the 2018 event. They knew they would be back at AMA and the International Aeromodeling Center (IAC) in Muncie, Indiana, during the second weekend of August, and they knew they had to attract even more pilots than before. Fresh tracks were designed, and new pilots sharpened their skills in preparation for yet another big week of competition and fun.

There were many familiar faces this year, including MultiGP founder Chris Thomas, announcer extraordinaire Joe Scully, and dozens of volunteers who made the event the success that it was. There were also some new faces among the organizers, including new MultiGP president David Roberts. David was on-site each day, making sure that everything ran as smoothly as possible. He never hesitated to get his hands dirty to help fix a gate or reset a scoring system.




For many pilots, a clean launch was necessary for a fast run.


One of the ways MultiGP attempted to attract more pilots this year was by having additional tracks set up across the 1,100-acre IAC. Increasing from eight to 10 tracks this year was necessary to make sure everyone had the ability to put in as many flights as they wanted—which also made for some exciting racing.

The EMAX Spec track returned this year, as did the rookie track, which was sponsored this year by Horizon Hobby. New this year was a micro track that featured small gates to match the small drones used exclusively on that track.




IndyCar driver Gabby Chaves (front) and his spotter, Adam Kobitz, during the World Cup heat races.


Also new this year was the inclusion of an X Class race, which brought the largest number of spectators outside of the World Cup finals. The 1,000 mm drones captured the imagination of every pilot who stopped to watch, and made for an incredible race.

The biggest change this year was the addition of a second, identical World Cup track, allowing pilots to have twice the opportunity for practice on the high-speed technical course. Unsurprisingly, the extra track time gave these pilots the experience they needed to make the World Cup final one of the most exciting races MultiGP has held.




Chris Thomas (L) and Joe Scully called the action during the World Cup finals.


As the event stretched into the early morning of the final day, the top 64 pilots in attendance slowly dwindled until only one competitor was left. Evan “HeadsUpFPV” Turner took home the top prize that night by outlasting the field in dominant fashion. Rounding out the World Cup podium were William “Billster” Schuette and Jay “JohnEFly” Chapman.




The World Cup finals stretched into the early morning hours, finally wrapping up well past 1 a.m.


It wasn’t all competition all the time, however; pilots migrated to the Tiny Whoop discotheque each night as the sun set over the field. Every night from dusk until dawn, Mr. Tiny Whoop himself, Jesse Perkins, hosted anyone and everyone for nonstop fun under the stars.

Dozens of pilots flew their Tiny Whoops through the creative course that included a warp tunnel (a fan that shot a drone at high speed through the end of the tunnel) and plastic trees to orbit around. Each night held a packed house of pilots who wound down with a no-pressure, all-fun atmosphere. It was the highlight for many.




Fifteen-year-old Evan Turner took home the top spot in both the Spec class race and the World Cup finals.


The closing competition of the event was a qualifier for Team USA’s entry into the first FAI F3U World Championship for Multirotor FPV Racing, which was held November 1-4, 2018, in Shenzhen, China. Qualifying for Team USA was William Schuette, Tristin Gilbert, Kevin Mead, Christopher Hartman, and Jessika Farrar.

More than 300 pilots traveled from far and wide to be a part of the second annual MultiGP International Open. That’s an increase from last year, which officially makes it the largest gathering of FPV pilots in the US to date.




Pilot Kele Stanley looks on during a micro race in the Tiny Whoop tent.


What’s even more impressive is that I hardly heard any complaints from those pilots throughout the duration of the event—no complaints about the lack of track time, no complaints about silly rules, no complaints about bad sportsmanship, and finally, no hammers of which to speak.

David Roberts, Chris Thomas, and the MultiGP team truly stepped up this year’s event and did justice to the FPV racing community at large. I’m excited to see what the 2019 event has to offer. I recommend that you mark your calendars for June 26-30.

-Matt Ruddick
mattr@modelaircraft.org


Sources:

MultiGP
www.multigp.com






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