Table of Contents
History of lap times
Engines for F3D pylon racing models
Propellers for F3D pylon racing models
Fixed or retractable landing gear ?
Challenging the wind
Flaps in pylon racing models ?
Landscape or portrait?
How it all works together
A Comparison of Pylon Racing Airfoils
The Geometry
Airfoil Thickness
Propellers for F3D Models - Part 1
Propellers for F3D Models - Part 2

Aspects of
Pylon Racing

History of Lap Times

R/C pylon racing became feasible in the 1960s, when the R/C equipment was improved and finally lead to systems with simultaneous proportional transmission. The first contests were organized in the USA in the early 1960s. In the beginning, a distance of 1/10 mile between two pylons was used, which had to be circled 5 times, resulting in 1 mile flown. Because only one pilot flew against the clock, it was not comparable to the modern pylon racing atmosphere, where, at the same time, 3 or 4 pilots compete against each other. During these days, people like Jerry Nelson, Hal deBolt, and Howard Bonner contributed much to the development of R/C pylon racing.

The first pylon racing event in Germany took place in 1969, initiated by the well known Manfred Pick, who is still in the business today. Together with his team mate Lothar Steinbiß, he was found in the top ranks of most major European events throughout several decades - and even today, he is very successful in the circus.

The following graph shows the development of typical times of the European (in fact mainly German) top pilots versus time.

History of time per lap of European top aces (selected from contest results).

It should be noted, that some of the variations are due to changes in the FAI or the national contest rules, but in general, the improvements are the results of model and engine optimizations. During the first half of the 1980s the aerodynamics of models and propellers has been examined carefully, which led to new airfoils and model geometries. During the 1990s the manufacturing quality of the models was greatly improved through the use of CNC machined moulds and there seems to be still some movement in the engine area. In 1996 the 70 second barrier has been broken regularly. The standards have been set quite high already, which is indicated by the smaller advances during the last years. Today, times in the order of 60 to 65 seconds are flown by the top pilots.

Most of the information given in the next sections are based on work, that was carried out in the early 1980s by members of the Akamodell Stuttgart, Germany. That is why some of the engine and model data are a bit outdated, but the principles shown are still applicable.

Table of Contents
History of lap times
Engines for F3D pylon racing models

Last modification of this page: 08.09.03

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