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Mark's column is published three times each year in the January, May, and September issues. His email is rudner@mit.edu.

Born and raised in southern California, Mark has been an active CL Combat pilot since the age of 11. He is no stranger to competition, having attended his first Combat contest while still in the womb. While much less discussed than the well-known “Mozart effect,” Mark’s dedication to F2D offers compelling evidence for the “nitro effect”: an increase in a child’s proclivity for aeromodeling resulting from intense prenatal sonication with frequencies around 500 Hz. Despite the complete lack of medical or scientific evidence to support this hypothesis, Mark fully attributes his interests and accomplishments in aeromodeling to these forward-thinking actions of his nurturing parents during his formative years.

In 1994, at the age of 13, Mark joined the US CL team to compete as a Junior at the CL World Championships in Shanghai, China. There, he helped the US F2D team take home the overall team bronze medal, and managed to bring home the individual gold medal in the Junior age division. Spurred on by this success, over the following winter Mark designed and built two custom flying handles for himself to afford his young arms better control over the much more physically demanding Fast Combat models of the time. Those handles transformed his flying, leading to a string of successes over the following years, including several Fast Combat titles and the Junior bronze medal in F2D at the 1996 CLWorld Championships.

In addition to serving as a US team pilot four times (with a fifth time approaching in 2014), Mark has also served as a mechanic six times. During high school, Mark designed his first Combat model, “The Eclipse,” which featured extra large wings to better carry the weight of the powerful, yet slightly heavy, Nelson 36 Combat engine. It was a good flying airplane, and Mark’s dad, Chuck, used it with some success in the waning days of “big block” Fast Combat in the late 1990s.

When he’s not flying, Mark practices theoretical physics at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. Having recently moved to Europe, he will use this opportunity to serve as a “foreign correspondent,” bringing the latest breaking news in CL Combat from around the globe to the pages of Model Aviation.

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