Smile Politely

Aerial Acrobatics: Extreme Flight Championship

From June 10-12, the Champaign County Remote Control Club flying field hosted several dozen pilots competing for trophies and recognition in the 2016 International Extreme Flying Championships (XFC). These pilots, some as young as their early teens, traveled from near and far to showcase their skills and qualify on Friday and Saturday for the final rounds on Sunday. 

Separated into airplane and helicopter categories, each flyer competed in three different types of challenges:

  • Known Maneuvers: A list of pre-set flight techniques
  • Freestyle: Open aerial acrobatic routines accompanied by music
  • Smack: Wild routines accompanied (generally) by even wilder music

Judges scored the pilots based on how well they performed in each round, with the top 7 competitors from each type of flying moving onto the Sunday finals. There was quite a bit of excitement during the competition, with a sizable crowd cheering for the flyers as their techniques got more daring and emiting sounds of surprise when the pilots came dangerously close to the ground… sometimes even actually crashing!

Look below for some photos from Saturday’s qualifying rounds, and be sure to check the XFC website for the results of the competition!

About the author: 

Stephen is an IT manager at the University of Illinois and has been a photographer for Smile Politely since 2015. Find his photography on Facebook, his website, or contact him directly via email.

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