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Written by Jeff Nance
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As seen in the September 2017 issue of
Model Aviation.

This video originally appeared in the August 1 edition of AMA's webcast: AMA Air. Find more episodes at
Experience Flite Fest East 2017!

Flite Fest West

Building on the popularity of Flite Fest East, held in Ohio every July since 2014, the people at Flite Test brought their passion for the RC community, flight, and fun to Vallejo, California, with the first Flite Fest West, held April 27-30, 2017.

AMA member Adam Woodworth’s Lego-inspired airplane. The fuselage is made out of 3mm Depron foam. The wings are made from 1-inch insulation foam. The model even features simulated Lego dots.

It was far from being just another flying event for West Coast modelers. Slightly more than 700 pilots from 19 states and 12 countries—including New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong—called the Solano Valley Fairgrounds home for three days of dreaming, designing, building, and flying.

The Flite Test store was well stocked with kits, motors, batteries, and everything attendees needed to build aircraft on the spot.

The northern California weather in April was perfect. Many amazing things stood out about Flite Fest West, making it different from any other flying event that I’ve attended.

This 10-foot, 10-motor-equipped Giant Super Bee was a community build that was started on Thursday, April 27, 2017.

First, was the flightline, which had to be nearly 1/2-mile long. With a flightline that long, the number of types of aircraft in the air flying at the same time was a sight to see. Not only did I marvel at the aircraft designs, but at how some of the aircraft were launched or tried to be launched.

Members of the UAVs @ Berkeley, an AMA University Model Aviation Student Club, were out in force at Flite Fest West. The club finished second in this year’s Collegiate Drone Racing National Championship, held at Purdue University in West Lafayette IN.

The main fairground building housed the Flite Test retail store, vendors, and three giant design-and-build areas that were complete with tools, supplies, and glue guns provided by Flite Fest. If you believe that dreaming, designing, and building model aircraft is over, you need to attend the next Flite Fest or visit Flite Test’s website.

Solano Valley Fairgrounds, in Vallejo CA, was a beautiful venue for the first Flite Fest West event.

Flite Test’s community is passionate and made up of diverse followers. Its “design, build, fly, and have fun mantra” has generated hundreds of thousands of like-minded fans worldwide who have been empowered to dream and create. In fact, Flite Fest West was so successful that a search is underway for a larger location for next year’s event.

AMA club Diablo Valley Radio Controllers was on hand, promoting the organization’s activities and flying some unique aircraft including this piggyback creation.

Every modeler should make plans to attend and fly at a Flite Test event. It’s a unique experience. By the time you read this, the next Flite Test event, Flite Fest East, held July 13-16 in Malvern, Ohio, will have taken place. Flite Fest South is in the planning stages for November 2017, with a location in Florida to be announced soon.

Another popular community build was these two aircraft. The airplane resting on the can is a giant World War II Lancaster. It was the last airplane to fly at Flite Fest West, making only one circuit before its “landing.”

The AMA is a sponsor of all three Flite Fests. Make sure to look for us at the Flite Fest events.

Multirotors were popular at Flite Fest West.

—Jeff Nance

The author (center), AMA director of marketing, and Mark Benson (not pictured), AMA consumer experience lead and creative manager, attended the event and staffed the AMA booth.


Flite Test

Flite Fest

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