12 Sep 2023

Results of the 2023 FAI F3CN World Championships for Model Helicopters

The 2023 World Championships for Model Helicopters were awarded on 9th August after a much-anticipated contest held in the major model flying site of the Academy of Model Aeronautics in Muncie, Indiana, USA with the support of the International Radio Controlled Helicopter Association (IRCHA).

In the F3 radio-controlled helicopter class there are two FAI Aeromodelling Commission (CIAM) categories: F3C and F3N. The competition flights took place on well-prepared flight lines in mostly pleasant weather conditions, with only short interruptions due to rain or gusty wind. The F3N final flights were conducted on the same flightline as F3C, so spectators could easily watch the final flights in both classes.

The previous F3CN FAI World Championships were held in 2019 in Ballenstedt, Germany and the 2021 competition should have taken place in Ghimbav-Brasov, Romania, but was cancelled due to Covid.  

F3CN Helicopters 2023

The F3C Championships

In the F3C team ranking, Japan took first place ahead of the team from Switzerland in second place. The team from China came third and were extremely pleased with their podium finish.

Japan’s top spot was helped by their team members Hiroki Ito and Kazuhito Onizawa who came first and third respectively in the senior contest. Ito fought neck and neck with Ennio Graber from Switzerland who placed ahead of Hiroki after completing the preliminary rounds, but the defending champion took the lead after the semifinal and final flights to became world champion for the seventh time.

In the juniors, there were only two participants: 14-year-old Xinze Zhao from China is the champion, with 18-year-old Aika Iwata from Japan gaining second place. Nick Maxwell from USA and Zhouhai Wang from China competed in both classes.

The F3N Championships

Huan-Chen Ko (aka Kenny Ko) from Chinese Taipei showed that he is rightfully at the top of the world in his class. In addition to winning the four preliminary rounds, he also won all the final rounds, successfully defending his world championship title.

The American pilots Nick Maxwell and Jamie Robertson followed in second and third place, confirming their performance throughout the competition.

The only junior in the squad of F3N pilots, YoungBin Lee from Korea, achieved fourth place overall and won the gold medal in the junior ranking.

The USA became world champion in the team ranking ahead of Great Britain. Since no other teams consisting of at least three pilots took part in the world championship alongside these two teams, the best individual pilot ended up in third place in the team ranking. In this case, Kenny Ko.

F3N Helicopter Models 2023 USA
Podium of the F3N Class

Final Results

F3C - Seniors (see header image)

  1. Hiroki Ito                   JPN
  2. Ennio Graber           SUI
  3. Kazuhito Onizawa    JPN

F3C - Juniors

  1. Xinze Zhao    CHN
  2. Aika Iwata    JPN

F3C - Team

  1. Japan
  2. Switzerland
  3. China

F3N - Seniors

  1. Huan-Chen Ko       TPE
  2. Nick Maxwell         USA
  3. Jamie Robertson    USA

F3N - Juniors

  1. YoungBin Lee    KOR

F3N - Team

  1. USA
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Chinese Taipei

Overcoming challenges

Whilst 11 nations were represented at the competition, the effects of Covid upon entry numbers upon this World Championships were noted.

Stefan Wolf, Chair of the CIAM F3 RC Helicopter Sub-Committee, explained how complications in the event organisation process were overcome:

“In total, 19 pilots competed in class F3C, including 2 juniors, and 12 pilots including one junior competed in class F3N. Financial challenges were faced with the limited number of registrations arriving late, and the difficulty of finding sponsors, meaning the event costs had to be covered by the teams’ entry fees.

A ray of hope was presented when an American benefactor came to light, raising the necessary finances to cover the costs. This ensured that the World Championships could take place and as a result, more teams entered.

Once registration closed, there were sufficient, but not large numbers of entrants. The organisers turned this into a positive, deciding that two rounds could be flown on one day, giving flight operation on both flight lines all day and therefore reducing the duration of the contest, thereby keeping costs down.”

Wolf is delighted that the championships were able to go ahead, concluding: “I wish all helicopter enthusiasts continued fun and success in our shared hobby, be it on the competition grounds or at their home airfield, and above all, stay healthy!”

F3CN Helicopters 2023

Images via Judith Schreiner from Miniature Aircraft.