The career of a model aeroplane pilot is really taking off after landing top prize in a British competition.
Mark Williams was a junior star before his flying career stalled after getting married, but he is enjoying great success after returning to the sport a few years ago. The 51-year-old from Craigcefnparc said: “I flew control line aerobatics as a young boy and 34 years ago I became British Junior National Champion on my second attempt, at the ago of 16.
“After a 34-year break I decided to make a come back in 2016 when I made the British team for the European Championships that year in Hungary. I placed 31st. I did hope to do better but lack of practice due to poor weather conditions and not having a place to practice at the time which allows clean flowing air to fly in [made in difficult], in other words a flying field that dosen’t have lot of trees as this causes turbulence which is very difficult to fly smooth in.”
Mr Williams is now the best flier in his class in the UK and is busily practicing for a competition with the rest of the world. He has even found a new training ground, which he hopes will lift him to new heights.
He said: “Since my return though from Hungary I have approached Pentrehafod School [in Hafod, Swansea ] to ask if they would allow me to practice on the playing field when not in use, which they have agreed. This will now be a big help next year, when practicing for the world champs which will be held in France next summer. The site is in a very good place. I have already had three visits to test the site out and it seems very good as very little turbulence comes across the fields.”
The British team will consist of the top three fliers in the country. Of their chances, Mr Williams said: “We will give it our best shot but the only handicap is other countries have good weather all year round whereas in this country we are lucky to have two months to practice.”
Explaining how the competition works, he added: “The F2B stunt pattern or stunt schedule as we call it, consists of a series of fifteen manoeuvres and is flown in a specified order. Each manoeuvre that is attempted is given a score of from one to 10 points by a minimum of two judges who are sitting outside the flight circle.
“Under FAI [the competition governing body] rules the scores are then multiplied by a number according to the difficulty of the manoeuvre before the scores are totalled. Thus an easy manoeuvre, flown well, will score equally as high as a more difficult manoeuvre also flown well.”