For the first time in the history of Pakistan, Aamer Waheed — a pilot — managed to secure 6th position in the 14th Jet World Masters competition held in Italy recently.
Pakistan partook in the contest for the second time as the country participated in the mega event earlier in China in 2019.
It was just Waheed as the pilot and team manager, and his friend Wasif Jalil — the builder of the jet’s model, who represented Pakistan in the competition both times.
In an exclusive interview with Geo News, Waheed — while talking about the glory and honour he brought to the country — said: “It is not a game of chance.”
“Aeromodellers around the world put in thousands of hours of building and 100s of practice flights to compete at this topmost level so it is no walk in the park. We would have been happy with a top-ten finish,” he added.
Waheed said the most amazing feeling was to walk and stand under the country’s flag. “So we feel honoured that we could do this and extremely blessed, Alhamdulillah, and elated that we made it so close to the podium.”
Sharing his experience, he said that 1,000s of hours in building and 100s of practice flights are required to compete at this level and that too dedicated to that one model.
“So sometimes it can get boring because there are other aspects of the hobby that you want to explore or other hobbies altogether which pique your interest,” he added.
When asked why he thinks events like these are important and who are they for, he replied that such events are for hobbyists and the general public to showcase the skills and use of cutting-edge technology in the manufacture and flying of the models.
“And their importance lies in people from different countries coming together and forming a bond because of their common interests. It is a unique community to be a part of because you speak the same language, so to speak,” Waheed added.
Encouraging those who are interested in such activities, he said they should “go for your dreams”.
“For unless you take the plunge, you will never find out what you are made of… every challenge is an opportunity to learn.”
What is World Masters competition?
First held in 1995, this competition was organised by Winfried Ohlgart. Before that, the only practical way to fly a model jet had been to fit a piston engine and a propeller in the nose, but now, for the first time in the history of model flying, model jets could dispense with the propeller in favour of the new Jet Engines.
The technology of the models and the sophisticated piloting skills of their operators fascinated the thousands of spectators who came to see them. In order to benefit from new developments, the world’s best pilots and jet models gather at one location, so that the best of the best could pit their abilities against each other in the sporting competition.
International Jet Model Committee (IJMC) continues to co-ordinate these activities worldwide and organise the Jet World Masters event for Model Jets.
The event provides the spectators an opportunity to talk to the pilots and examine these masterpieces at close range.
The first task of the entrants is to present their models to the static judges for their evaluation: the “static judging” phase.
The task of the judges is to assess the extent to which the model emulates the original machine, using the documentation supplied by the competitor as a reference. They even go so far as to compare the marks of soiling on the fuel tank cap.
Afterwards, the pilots are required to produce a flight schedule from a catalogue of manoeuvres and demonstrate the models in the air in front of the flying judges.
Three rounds of flying are held, of which two counts: the lowest-scoring flight is discarded.
The world champion is the pilot who achieves the highest total of static and flying points. There is also a team event contested by each nation’s best three pilots.
Every Jet World Masters competition is also a major cultural event. This starts with the official opening ceremony, which is the host country’s opportunity to welcome teams from all over the world.
The contest lasts seven days, and each evening is taken up with a variety of communal events.
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