Hat-trick: World's best indoor radio-controlled aerobatic pilot wins FAI World Championships for a record third time

Gernot BruckmannGernot Bruckmann (left), a professional radio-controlled aeromodel pilot from Austria, won gold at the 2017 FAI F3P World Championship for Indoor Aerobatic Model Aircraft in France, when it finished at the weekend. The win came after a close-fought week-long competition that was held at the Rotonde Gymnasium in Strasbourg between 19-25 February 2017.

Bruckmann, 25, scored consistently highly throughout the competition, giving him a total final score of 3,000 points. That was just 29.10 points ahead of Janne Lappi from Finland, who won silver. Donatas Pauzuolis from Lithuania won bronze.

After his win Bruckmann said: “This is just unbelievable, I did it again. Three times in a row FAI World Champion in F3P!”

He added: “It was a really tight competition this time. Each round was really close between Janne Lappi and myself, big congrats to him as well!”

Bruckmann won three of the four preliminary competition rounds, and all three final rounds, to give him the win.

His triumph meant that despite the best efforts of his two closest rivals, the final podium standings at the World Championships this year were identical to the previous FAI F3P World Championships held in Poland in 2015. Back then, it was also Bruckmann, Lappi and Pauzuolis in the 1, 2, 3 spots.

Reflecting on that Pauzuolis, who went home with a bronze medal, said: “It is a great feeling to be among the elite of the radio-controlled aerobatic world for a third championship in a row.

Each pilot put in the maximum effort in order to get as many points as possible from the strict international judging panel. Personally I can say it was not easy!”

The competition, held inside a sports hall more used to basketball than radio-controlled aerobatic model planes, saw 50 pilots from 18 countries battle it out for the prestigious FAI gold medal and World Champion title.

The class of ‘F3P’ is precision aerobatics in a very restricted space. The discipline demands fine control of the very smallest movements. Pilots put their remote-controlled model planes through a series of complex aerobatic figures over a number of different routines, which typically last four minutes each.

Indoor Aero_Seniors_2017(From left to right) Silver: Janne Lappi (FIN) Gold: Gernot Bruckmann (AUT) Bronze: Donatas Pauzuolis (LTU)

FAI Jury Member Bruno Delor praised the competition and the field of expert pilots that had come from all over the world to compete. He said: “This has been a great event in Strasbourg. We have seen some expert flying, and some beautiful displays of aerobatics. Gernot Bruckmann is a worthy winner – he is a pilot at the absolute top of his game.”

In the junior category, Felix Scander from Sweden took the gold ahead of Joseph Szczur from USA (silver) and Mattia Zeni from Italy (bronze). In the teams, Austria finished first, followed by France and Finland.

AGP 2801_-_Copy_s(From left to right) Juniors: Silver: Joseph Szczur, (USA)Gold: Felix Scander (SWE), Bronze: Mattia Zeni (ITA)

An indoor Aerobatic Freestyle show set to music, plus an indoor air show took place on Saturday 25 February and was open to the public.

The championship was organised by Federation Française d'Aéromodélisme (FFAM) with the support of Comité Régional d'Aéromodélisme Alsace (CRAM Alsace).


  1. Gernot Bruckmann (AUT), 3,000
  2. Janne Lappi (FIN), 2,970.90
  3. Donatas Pauzuolis (LTU), 2,879.62


  1. Felix Scander (SWE), 2645.82
  2. Joseph Szczur (USA)
  3. Mattia Zeni (ITA)


  1. Austria
  2. France
  3. Finland

Full results: www.f3pwc2017.fr
Pictures: http://bit.ly/2lXB4fC

Teams Indoor_Aero_FranceGold: Austria, Silver: France, Bronze: Finland

Photo credit: Antonis Papadopoulos