The idea behind this competition germinated at the Al Ain Airshow in the United Arab Emirates in 2006, where Robert Fuchs and Thomas Gleissner delighted the spectators by flying their Airworld Hawks in formation, in time to music and supported by smoke effects. It was clear that this style of flying immediately enabled the onlookers to appreciate the skill of the pilots and the way the music blended into the flying. Suddenly there was no need for an expert commentary or explanation: the demonstration spoke for itself. There and then Reto Senn and Winfried Ohlgart started discussing the feasibility of making this type of flying accessible to a wider public, and of setting it in an international context. The IJMC (International Jet Model Committee) was clearly the ideal basis for this project, so the two modellers started work on a proposal for a “World Team Cup”, with the idea of presenting it to the 52 nations represented on the committee at that time. Members from all over the world very quickly agreed that this probably represented the type of model jet event most likely to attract and please the public. Unfortunately it turned out that hardly any country could boast the calibre of pilots capable of carrying out formation flying of this kind. In Germany there were already teams including the Elster Jet Team and the Adler Jet Team who were sufficiently skilled to captivate large audiences, but although other countries declared themselves in favour of the idea, no formation teams were forthcoming. Nevertheless the decision was made to organise an international competition, and our colleagues in Hungary, who had already carried out a successful World Masters event, agreed to organise the first contest in 2008. Unfortunately the registered entrants only amounted to four German teams and one Austrian team, with the result that the competition had to be called off. Clearly the time was not yet right for a challenging model flying event of this type.

However, work continued on the idea, and it was eventually agreed to open up the event to sports and turbo-prop aircraft in addition to the scale and semi-scale models which were originally envisaged. These changes, together with the acknowledged crowd-pleasing ability of the existing teams, evidently motivated many jet pilots in Germany and abroad to try their hand at formation flying with jets.

In 2009 the JetPower Team produced a new overall plan for a formation-flying competition in Germany. Adopting the dictum: “that’s enough talking: now it’s time for action”, the team initiated talks with Modellsport Verlag about financing, and with the Müllheim model flying club about holding the actual event. Once the OK was received from Modellsport Verlag and Müllheim, it was decided to set a date of 6 to 8 August 2010 for the 1st International German Championships for Formation Flying with Model Jets. Early discussions soon gained the first sponsors for the newly developed sponsorship plan. For the first time in the world, cash prizes were to be awarded for a model jet competition, to increase the incentive for the teams. These inaugural German Championships attracted fourteen teams from five nations, and turned out to be a resounding success. The spectators were right there amidst the action, and had the opportunity to meet the teams in the pit-lane, ask questions in the ‘Meet the Pilots’ area, examine the models and collect the coveted autographs. The teams’ performance exceeded all expectations, and it was no surprise to find that the spectators did not even start leaving the site until the last team had landed.

Plans were laid for a repeat of this successful event in 2011, with the aim of attracting entrants from beyond the German borders. The organisers selected the Bopfingen airfield, and the 2nd German Championships were held over the period 3 to 5 June. Unfortunately two teams withdrew shortly before the contest, and the number of participants was therefore considerably below expectations. The situation was exacerbated by the World Masters competition for Model Jets, which was held in the USA; for most pilots this event clearly had precedence over the German Championships in Formation Flying. Nevertheless the Bopfingen event was a big success, and the many sponsors encouraged us to continue down the path we had taken. In the meantime our European colleagues had also recognised the effectiveness of such an event, with the result that England declared an interest in hosting the contest, and enthusiasm for formation flying even developed in India. Nevertheless, and in compliance with requests from future organisers, we decided once again to hold the third Formation Flying event for Model Jets in Germany.

The Rheidt Aero Club – the host for the next competition – is well known throughout Europe for its successful Euro Airday, and this organisation clearly has the potential to make a success of such a major international event. Since 2012 is a year without a World Masters, great interest has already been expressed by teams from all over Europe, and we expect to see up to twenty teams over the period 10 to 12 August, battling it out for the title of international German Champions. An amendment has been made to the rules which states that the final, decisive round is to be flown exclusively with a free-style schedule, i.e. there will be no mandatory manoeuvres. Once again the teams will do their utmost to win the title, and we can hardly wait to see what the spectators are offered.

Naturally the popular pits lane and the “Meet the Pilots” area will again be present at Rheidt. We and our sponsors are already looking forward to a great weekend of model flying. Admission is free, and we extend a warm invitation to all interested spectators to attend the event.

Modellsport Verlag and the JetPower Team

We also thanks the DMFV for the support

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