FAI F1D World Championship

Aeromodelers from around the world will converge in Indiana, March 18-22, 2018, to compete with their lighter-than-air creations.

The 2018 FAI F1D World Championship for Free Flight Indoor Model Aircraft will be held in West Baden at the historic West Baden Springs Hotel. The hotel, which opened to the public in 1902, features a 200-foot span atrium that has hosted several Indoor Free Flight competitions. The hotel is located roughly 31/2 hours southwest of AMA Headquarters.

Team USA 2018 features four Senior pilots, Kang Lee, Brett Sanborn, Jake Palmer, and John Kagan; and Junior pilots Joseph Szczur, Ross Clements, and Chris Luo. Tom Sova is serving as the team manager and Don Slusarczyk is the assistant team manager.

This isn’t the first time that a world championship has been held at the hotel—the 1980 F1D Indoor World Championship was held there. Erv Rodemsky of the US won the contest that year, and Jim Richmond came in second. Team USA was also the overall winning team.

According to a blog by the National Free Flight Society, the first FAI F1D World Championship was held in 1961 at Royal Air Force Cardington, in Bedfordshire, England. The winner of the inaugural world competition was Joe Bilgri of the US. The FAI F1D World Championship has been held every other year since then in several countries including Hungary, Italy, Romania, Japan, and Poland.

In addition to West Baden, the contest has been held in the US in Lakehurst, New Jersey (1974), and Johnson City, Tennessee (1988, 1990).

The first FAI Free Flight World Championship, then known as The Wakefield Cup Contest, took place July 11, 1952, in Norrköping, Sweden. This was an outdoor Free Flight contest with larger and heavier aircraft than those in F1D. Team USA was made up of Joe Bilgri, Ed Lidgard, Sid Seldon, Carl Perkins, Jim Tangney, and Cliff Montplaisir. None of them finished in the top 10.