Every year at the end of March, RC Helicopter Pilots from around the world fly in to attend one of the most exotic RC Helicopter Events there is! Thailand Heli Blowout!
Located just outside of Bangkok this event is unlike any others I have attended. The Thai people like just 2 thing in their RC Helicopter flying, Low, and Aggressive. This shows in the flights of the pilots who come there to put on a show for the Thai crowd, leading to some of the most all out and aggressive smack flights I have ever seen, as well as some spectacular carnage!!
The event is organized by Tom Khosit from Tom Motor and I first off would like to thank him and congratulate him on organizing such a fantastic event! The flying field was really wonderful having covered pit areas, on site power, and new Air Conditioned RC Cafe, which came in handy to sometime escape the heat and humidity of Bangkok this time of year. Additionally there was lunch served at the field everyday, as well as a Dinner Party for the entire event which included Traditional Thai Dance performances, fireworks, and night flying for entertainment!
THB is first and foremost actually a 3D Helicopter competition composed of 3 classes. Beginner, Expert, and Professional. In total there were about 50 competitors ranging from Local Thai Pilots, all the way to Master Class Level international Pilots hailing from about 14 different countries. This was really nice to see so many of the local pilots from Thailand and surrounding countries competing in this contest. In between the competition rounds there were the ultra high charged Sponsor Demos with Pilots of the Likes of, Sakarin Kongthron (CD) (Thailand), Marik Wienstroff (Germany), Kenny Ko (Taiwan), Tareq Alsadi (UAE), Jonathan Bossion, (France), Kan Poonoi (Thailand), and myself (USA). Kyle Stacy was also scheduled to perform here but he unfortunately was unable to attend due to issues with his Airline.
After the opening ceremony, we immediately rolled into the first bit of sponsor demos and they were really some of the most aggressive and high energy demos I ever saw. Being encouraged by the very noisy and excited commentators and crowd, all pilots which flew were listening and eager to please! This lead to lots of crazy low flying, scuffed blades, and a fair bit of carnage! Just to give you a flavor of the crazy level of flying I am talking about, here is a quick video from Peter Hsaio (Taiwan) flying his Scorpion powered Gaui X5 during the Gaui/ Scorpion Demo.
Following this, the competition commenced with the Set Maneuvers round from all classes. The Intermediate Class round where judged by Danny Wang (China) and Poom (Malaysia). The Expert class was judged by Mikado/ Scorpion Pilots Alex and Mark Wienstroff (Germany) and CD. And the Masters class was judged by Kenny Ko, Jonathan Bossion, and myself.
The competitors flew 3dx style set maneuvers in which they chose 5 moves that they wanted to do choosing from a list of about 40 varying K factor Maneuvers. In between the different classes, and after the competition there were additional demo flights from the Sponsored Pilots which were equally entertaining and help keep the flow of the event going.
Following the completion of the competition and the demos there were some raffle prizes given away and then the event was wrapped up at about 5pm. At this point everyone broke into their groups and went out to hit the town and explore the City and enjoy the amazing Thai Food and culture. I personally went out with the Mikado Team, and the owners of Mikados Thai Distributor, Rotor69, as well as George van Gansen and his wife Dominique from Scorpion.
Sunday was the “exciting” day of the competition where the pilots from all classes flew there Music and Freestyle Flights. The pilots were allowed a “yellow card” which allowed them to re fly one of their rounds if they didn’t finish for some reason. Reasons being mechanical failure, or more often in this instance, crash. With this little bit of grace the pilots were pushing their skills to 110% and gambling with the ground on multiple occasions. This lead to a really intense final freestyle round, especially in the masters class. The best crash award in my opinion went however to Ryan Chiu (Taiwan) who toward the end of the flight scuffed his blades on the runway delaminating them slightly. He then tried to finish the flight by doing a big autorotation. However on the way down the de laminated blades caused a head link to pop off which resulted in a spectacularly brutal explosion followed by a 150 foot drop to the ground at terminal velocity. The crash was so bad not much survived except the Scorpion motor and ESC as well as the servos.
As the competition ended the Demo pilots once again took to the skies delivering even crazier demos.
Awards/ Closing Ceremony
As Sunday night approached a bunch of Thai chefs showed up at the field and started cooking what looked to be an enormous amount of delicious food! By the time night came they had many tables set up and a stage. The entire event sat down and we feasted on dish after dish of some of the best Thai food I ever had! All while getting entertained by traditional Thai singing and dance performances.
Following the meal we went into the Raffle, and Award ceremony. The results were as follow.
1st Pichitchai Srikrue
2nd Leenawat Sampadsin
3rd Voramet Boonyong
1st Young Bin Lee (Korea) (Scorpion Pilot)
2nd Thanawin (Thailand)
3rd Kim Yu Seung (Korea) (Scorpion Pilot)
4th Hamish Scott (Australia)
5th Kritchana Taeng-oon (Thailand)
1st Chatchawit Kamsawang (Thailand)
2nd Sasikana Boonmala (Thailand) (Scorpion Pilot)
3rd Peter Hsiao (Taiwan) (Scorpion Pilot)
4th Fabian Kloss (Germany)
5th Ryan Chiu (Taiwan) (Scorpion Pilot)
The night finished with a firework show while Tareq Alsadi and Sasikana Boonmala flew in the fireworks. Then started the hard part of saying goodbye to so many friends, new and old. These events are great to meet and devolve friendships from around the world and it’s always a bit sad to leave! But I’ll see you all at another event this year I hope, and if not, then again at THB 2020!!