To 3-D or not to 3-D
This question has been on the minds of Contest Directors and Event Coordinators ever since the first radio-controlled aircraft torque rolled a few feet above a runway.
Now if all the CD's and EC's were in their twenties there would probably be no issue or question but the majority of us are not. We grew up in a time where we were used to maintaining a scale flight pattern and or flying precision aerobatics in a " flight box". We need to understand that the 3-D style of flying is as much a part of our hobby as, say for example, scale. Also as anyone can see, this style generally draws a younger crowd and if we don't want our hobby to die of old age we should welcome them.
There are concerns as to how the 3-D flying style can be incorporated into our fun-fly. The first concern is safety. This is where the in your face style of flying can lead to safety concerns. It wouldn't take much for an out of control aircraft to fall into the pit area or God forbid the spectator area. One way to avoid that is to keep the runway area open and have the 3-D flying from the outer edge out. Another concern is noise. Not only are the event organizers worried about the loss of their field, after the first pass with the prop "ripping" it gets old and painful to some. I myself have made a pass wide open and screaming by, and by golly it was fun but one must be responsible enough to realize the impact on others.
I like to equate the 3-D flying in the same light as a drivers license. Even though a younger person's reflexes are quicker they lack the respect for others and eventually crash or get a stack of tickets. With an R/C plane they either crash or incur the wrath of the older flyers and possibly banned from fields and events.
In no way am I pushing for all of us, young and old, to join hands and sing a chorus of Kumbaya but there should be a sharing of respect, us for their skill and ability and them for our concern for the rules and etiquette of flying at an event. There is no way we can or should ignore the 3-D flyers and we should do our best to encourage them and others to join us in sharing our skills with the public at fly-ins.