SAA Competition Portal

This page is intended to be the entry point to each of the competition types held in Scotland. If you would like anything added or need assistance in getting in touch with anyone please contact me at

Aerobatics (F3A)

Aerobatics (IMAC)

Aerobatics (Freestyle)

Control Line (Combat)

Control Line (Stunt)

Control Line (Team Race)

Free Flight

Gliding (Hand Launch DLG)

Gliding (Thermal Soaring F5J)

Gliding (Slope Racing F3F)

Gliding (Postal Time Trial)


Jets and EDF's



Aerobatics (F3a)

Aerobatics is the precise and controlled flying of sequences to a high standard, either at your local club, in competitions, or at club open days. The competition levels for F3a and IMAC are Clubman / Sportsman for newcomers, then Intermediate through to Advanced all increasing in the level of challenge. Competitions are either league or team based. Standard models are encouraged for beginners, though generally increasing in quality as the pilot progresses. Engines are electric, glow or petrol, 10cc to 200cc. Competitions are held at various sites courtesy of the host club and members.

Contact: Tom Laird on 07761-645644

The competition circuit dates can be found here:

More information at:

Schedules and general forum here:

At the entry level for people starting, an Acro-Wot or similar low wing model (SpeedAir, Angel / Wind / Mythos 50 etc) will be perfectly useable.

As you progress, the next level most people will go to is the 120 class so something like the Mythos 125 or Ascent would be acceptable choices.

The next level up can start to get a bit expensive but no more than any other top level hobby or sports equipment.

Entry Level Clubman schedule video (Click to play):

Intermediate Schedule Video (click to play):


The Perth Cup, Clubman Aerobatics League (Entry Group)

The Campbell Cup, Intermediate Aerobatics League
The Edinburgh Cup, FAI Aerobatics League

For F3s Jet Aerobatics please see here: and the Facebook page here:

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Aerobatics (IMAC)

Scale aerobatics is aerobatic operation of a radio controlled scale model of full-sized aerobatic competition plane.   While other disciplines within the radio control community fly aerobatics, the requirement for scale aerobatic is that the model be replicas of types known to have competed in International Aerobatic Club (IAC) competition.   A wide choice of competitive planes are available to today’s model in both kit and ready-to-fly versions.

There are 4 classes flown: Sportsman, Intermediate, Advanced, and Unlimited. As with F3a the size, complexity and performance of the model can go up as you progrerss but at the Sportsman level again an Acro-Wot, 20cc / 120 CAP232 / Extra / Edge will all be perfect.

More information at: 

Here is a link to the 2020 Sportsman sequence:

The Scottish IMAC Trophy, awarded to the highest possible score from any level at the Scottish IMAC competition.

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Aerobatics (Freestyle)
If F3a and IMAC can be considered the "ballet" of precision flying, then Freesyle is the disco-dance version. Fast & furious, down low, loud, and full of adrenalin & excitement. Freestyle is often accompanied by music which normally changes tempo to suit the speed and mood of the flying. More information go to here: or here:

Click for video:

The Scottish IMAC Freestyle Trophy, awarded to the highest score in the Freestyle round at the Scottish IMAC competition.

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Control Line

A beginner's guide to Control Line (from 2014)

At the time of writing (Oct 2020) all events have been cancelled due to Covid, but this is the usual location in Strathclde Park:

Control Line (Combat)

Contact: Gordon Price:

ContrLine (Stunt)

Contact:Peter Miller:


Control Line (Team Race)

Contact: Jimmy Pinkerton:

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Free Flight


FREE FLIGHT model planes which fly entirely on their own, with no external control, were the first type of model aircraft. They are designed to stabilise themselves when disturbed in the air by gusts and turbulence. A simple glider or rubber powered model can be the first step into aeromodelling, before building more refined models to fly in duration contests.

They bring the joy of building something from basic raw materials and the enormous satisfaction of seeing your creation flying.

Contact: Jim Arnott:

The competition circuit dates can be found here:

Overview of Free Flight Duration Models
Model planes which fly entirely on their own, with no form of external control, were the first type of model aircraft. They are designed to stabilise themselves when disturbed in the air by gusts and turbulence. Despite the enormous advances in technology, this type of model still has many attractions and it has an enthusiastic following of modellers who enjoy flying free flight models in duration contests. F/F duration models are designed purely for performance and there no attempt to even resemble full size aircraft

There are four main types of free flight duration models.

The Towline Glider. The flyer kites his model to the top of a 50 metre line, searches for lift by feeling the tension in the line, then releases the model to fly free. The flight time starts from the point of release from the line. Athletic and skilled fliers can tow models for many minutes in search of a thermal in good conditions. Windy conditions can cause a 50 metre sprint toward the model to reduce the strain on the model while getting it the top of the line.

The Rubber Model . A hank of strong rubber is tight wound into the fuselage of the model and drives a large hand carved propeller, typically 24" diameter and 30" pitch. In an Open Rubber model where there are no restrictions, the rubber can make up 50% of the flying weight. The flight is timed from launch. The power run is generally over a minute, after which the large propeller blades are arranged to fold flat along the side the fuselage for the gliding portion of the flight.


The Power Model . Here a glow, diesel, or electric motor gives a rapid climb with a very short motor run - 7, 10 or 12 secs depending on the contest type. Clockwork timers are used to cut off fuel to the engine. The model is gliding for the remainder of the flight. A good power model will perform a steep spiral climb to over 400 ft in 10 secs. When the motor stops the model needs to transfer smoothly into a slow circling glide. It is a challenging design and trimming prospect when you have no control of the model after launch.

The Indoor Duration Model : These models are flown in a sports hall. The lighter they are the better they fly.

The beginners class is the Pennyplane model, 18” span and the weight of a US Penny ( 3.1gm) they can fly for six or seven minutes with a thin rubber motor.

The other lighter class we fly, the F1L with a weight of 1.2 gms can do flights over 10 minutes. It is enthralling to watch these models defying gravity while flying at less than walking pace.

The History of Free Flight Modelling

Free flight model planes have been around for a very very long time as the first successful model glider was flown some 200 years ago.

In 1804, Sir George Cayley, an enthusiast for the then popular kite flying thought he could make a kite that flew untethered. He wrote a series of scientific papers describing how the model was able to maintain a stable flight pattern. He used a long rod fuselage, with the main kite wing near the front and arrow style four small wings at the back set at an angle to give longitudinal stability, he used dihedral for lateral stability, he used a movable weight at the front to experiment with CG positions. His gliders provided a solid foundation for aerodynamics 100 years before the Wright Brothers flew. Certainly a man well ahead of his time.

In 1857, Frenchman Felix du Temple built a steam powered model that took off flew and landed under its own power. This was generally accepted to be the first successful powered model flight.

In 1871, another Frenchman Alphonse Penaud demonstrated a small 18 inch span rubber powered model to a scientific society. It featured starched feathers for prop blades and flew a distance of 131 ft in 11 seconds.

Since then model builders have tried to make models that fly higher and for longer. From the earliest days most free flight models have been built to gain a competitive edge. Once someone had flown for 15 secs, someone else tried for 20 secs.

The first formal model aircraft contest in Britain was held in 1907 at the Alexandra Palace, organised by the Daily Mail. There were 130 entries. The winning model, a rubber powered model by a young man called Alliott Verdon Roe flew the length of the hall. He used his cash prize to build a man carrying Triplane and then founded an Aircraft Company called Avro – which went on to make the legendary “ Dambuster” Lancaster bomber.

Now in the 21 st century, what attracts people to build and fly Free Flight models? There are many aspects to the sport. There is the joy of building something from basic raw materials and the enormous satisfaction of seeing your creation flying. There are the skills of understanding aerodynamics and adjusting your model to fly well. There are the challenges of matching yourself and your model against others in competitions. It is not expensive - one can put together a Glider or Rubber Model for say £40 that could win contests. There is the purity of being judged by a stopwatch and the not the opinion of a judge. There is the attraction of actively using the countryside and developing an understanding of the weather conditions and how they will influence your models flight.

These are all part of the package, but they just scrape the surface of a myriad of little complexities that make Free Flight Contest flying an intriguing sport.

Free Flight Contest Flying

You can build Free Flight models purely for the joy of seeing them fly but, entering into Free Flight duration contests does add a competitive edge which encourages you to design, build, test fly and adjust each model to be a little better than its predecessor, and hopefully better than the other models in the contest.

The objective of all Free Flight duration events is to achieve a series of flights, where the duration of each flight exceeds the target time set. This target time is set by the Contest Director and varies according to the class of model and the weather conditions.

Free Flight models are normally trimmed for a circling glide pattern to stay in thermals but, in a breeze, they will drift at wind speed over the moor for considerable distance. For example, in a 10 mph wind, a 3 minute flight will travel a half mile downwind. The flight is observed by an official timekeeper, using binoculars if necessary to see the model in the distance.

Most contests are either 3 round or 5 round events. On a breezy day, Free Flight competitors can cover many miles in a day. At our regular flying site this means high stepping through rough moorland, one reason why we consider this aeromodelling discipline to be a sporting challenge as much as a model making hobby.

In the 1940's early free flight events were flown to unlimited times but it was quickly realised that one "lucky" thermal assisted flight could win the contest. Setting a target time as the MAX time allowed per flight rewarded consistently good performance. Ideally the MAX is set at a flight time that a very good model can just achieve in neutral air.

In order to achieve the time, FF fliers become very skilled at detecting thermals by noting changes in wind speed, changes in air temperature, bird and insect activity in the air. (thermal detection equipment is banned at Scottish events ). The models are hopefully launched into rising air and achieve a max flight.

Having achieved their MAX flight, they need a device to destroy their flight pattern and bring them down out of the thermal before they travel too far away. The common way to do this is to spring the tailplane to a 45 degree angle and the fully stalled model descends smoothly down.

On a breezy day, when your model has landed a mile away across the moor, retrieving your model ready for the next flight is a challenge in itself. Not being controlled, the models can land anywhere – up a tree, in the bull field, or hidden down a hollow. Retrieving is an enjoyable mixture of a nature ramble, an assault course and orienteering.

Although keen to win their contests, Free Flight competitors are universally helpful and encouraging to other contestants. Newcomers to the sport will find plenty of help and encouragement to ensure they can get their models to fly well.

If you would like to see our models flying and learning more about how you could get started in the sport, then please visit us at the Newbigging flying site. Check out our calendar of contest dates. Choose a calm day to see most activity. If you get in touch by email, then we can advise when meetings are definitely on.

Our “Newbigging” site is in the south-west corner of the Pentland Hills, off the A721 Carnwath to Peebles road.

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Gliding (Hand Launch DLG)

From the BARCS website: F3K gliders are 1.5 metre wingspan, radio controlled models, launched using a ‘discus launch’ in which the glider is held by a wingtip and rotated around the flyer by hand before release. Using this method of launching the average flier can achieve launch heights of greater than 140 feet, with the top fliers exceeding 200 foot high launches. For more information please see here:

There are no dedicated DLG competitions in Scotland but any fly-ins will be advertised in the usual places. There are however a number of competitions world-wide.



Gliding (Thermal Soaring)

In Scotland we fly F5j to Open Height Limited Rules and 2 Meter HLR competitions.  All aircraft have to comply with the FAI regulations regarding weight, wing loading  and wing span. Basic spans are F5j & Open are a maximum of 4 Meters and 2 Meter is fairly self-explanatory. There is only one class of pilot.

The competition circuit dates can be found here:

The description for F5J is here:

an an explanation Video is here:

The Scottish comps are generally held at the Linlithgow club site. Click image.

This is a typical F5J glider from Lite Flite in Scotland:

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Gliding (F3F Slope Racing)

F3F is a timed speed event for model gliders. Each pilot has to fly 10 laps of a 100 Metre course and the fastest time wins the round. The average is time to cover the distance is 30 to 40 seconds. Depending on the wind and location these times can vary a great deal. More information is available here:

The Scottish league dates can be found here: (Location: Lomond Hills, Fife)

The Great British Slope Racing Association:

Contact Peter Gunning, Tel: 01382 541935

Video (click image to play):

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Gliding (Thermal Time Trial Postal Comp)

This event is open to anyone using a height limiter equipped model with a timekeeper in attendance (anybody capable of operating a stopwatch) to time each flight. This can be done at your own site so no travelling is involved. The basic format is a 30-second motor run with the landing being as close to 10 minutes (8 minutes for the 2 metre class) as possible. Closest to 10 wins. All the details are here:

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The biggest event is Scottish helicopter compatitions is the Heli Nats hosted by the Aberdeen club. Although Freestyle is probably the most videod for YuoTube it is only one part of the overall competition scene. More information here:

FAI F3C – ‘P’ (Schedule aerobatics)

FAI F3N (Freestyle aerobatics)



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The competition circuit dates can be found here:

Contact: Dick Marsden:

Scale flying models is the reproduction of real aircraft into various scale: ½, 1/3, ¼, 1/5, 1/6, down to 300 mm or less. Models are mostly constructed of balsa wood with plywood reinforcement and covered in heat shrink film.


These are powered by miniature turbine engines range from early fifties fighters and airliners, to modern. These models can range from around 1m to 12m wingspan


These range of models include pre-world war 1 bi-plane and tri-planes, private passenger and fighter aircraft from between WW1 to WW2, and WW2 fighters and bombers (5cc to 500cc single and multi-cylinder glow plug, petrol, diesel engine using an ether/paraffin/oil mix)


With the vast development of lithium polymer batteries (lipo’s) and high performance electric motors aircraft range from single to multi motors to electric ducted fan driven jets.

ARTF (Almost Ready To Fly)

These models can be constructed from foam, ply and balsa. They range in price from around £50 to £1000 and can be powered by JETS, ELECTRIC or IC.

SCALE Competitions


There are various competitions with F4C being the top of scale modelling. Models are judged on a reproduction of the real aircraft with documentation of flight as of the real aircraft, with points awarded for take-off, landing and manoeuvres such as rolls, loops, stalls and so on...

Class II

The same points are awarded as above but with a less strict judgement, from a further distance though the flying is the same as for F4C

Class III

Class III is flown to rules drawn up by the late Ron Fraser and consists of a flight (normally around 10 mins – decided by CD depending on number of entries) the model to be flown in the manner of the full size prototype – no static judging – other than photographic proof if it is an obscure subject

Flying Scale

Flying Scale (or Flying Only Scale) is as it suggests a flying only schedule with no static judging taking place.

Popular Scale

This is for models up to 020 glow size at the Scottish Nationals. Flying only, no static judging.

Concurs de’ elegance

This is an annual static, indoor competition which is looking for the best built model from any discipline.


The Mick Charles Trophy, awarded to the best Scottish pilot at the Scottish Nationals

SAA Open Scale "Top Gun" Trophy for the highest placed non-Scottish pilot at the Scottish Nationals
The Class III Trophy, awarded to the Class III winner at the Scottish Nationals
Millennium Cup, awarded to the winner of the Flying Scale class at the Scottish Nationals

The Stewart Cup, awarded to the winner of the Flying Scale class at the Scottish Nationals
The Carmen Trophy awarded to the winner of the Popular Scale class.
The David Guild Memorial Trophy, awarded to the winner at the Concurs de’ elegance

The Lew Weaver Shield. This is given to the best model at the Alloa Scale Comp and is open to all types of model, electric, glow, petrol etc


The Large Model Aircraft Trophy awarded to the best international model at the Scottish Model Airshow.

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Jets and EDF's

Jet model aircraft have been developed over the last thirty years or so using gas turbines and electric motors. These motive power sources have been developed to a point where they are now commercially viable and have a usable power range for use in model aircraft. The models themselves can be divided into the following groups.

Scale Jets

Scale Jets are miniature replicas of jet aircraft from the very first jets such as the Gloster Whittle up to modern jets such as the American F18 Hornet. These models are powered either with a gas turbine or an electric motor.

Aerobatic Jets

Aerobatic jets are models designed specifically for aerobatics and are also powered by gas turbine or electric motors. The Schedule is F3S. Further info: and the Facebook page here:

Sport Jets

Sport jets are models that are designed for normal club flying and as an introduction and training for flying jets .


There are no dedicated jet / EDF competitions in Scotland but their attendance at the Scale events is warmly welcomed. There are a number of competitions world-wide for example the World Jet Masters:

2019 Video:

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