3D Masters was an international 3D radio-controlled helicopter competition held over three days in July. The event attracted vendors, spectators, and elite model pilots from around the world. Each year, vendors use the 3D Masters to debut, demo and showcase new products, as well as sell RC helicopter-related merchandise.
3D Masters was conceived by an amateur British radio controlled helicopter pilot named Jeff Barringer who realized that there was a need for a competition for pilots flying in the (then) new '3D' style. The first event was held in July 2001. From 2002 to 2008, the event was held at Northampton University in England. The Northampton, England events were notorious for unfavorable weather in which long rain delays were typical.
Visitors from the rest of the World were welcome. Pilots, Sponsors and Spectators stayed in accommodation at the 3D Masters site and made a weekend from the event. It gave an opportunity to socialize and share ideas with other like-minded people. Evening events are held for this reason.
There were two levels: Expert and Master. Prior to 2008, there was a third level—a Sportsman level.
The Sportsman Level, which was last used in 2007, was for pilots who had not previously competed in international 3D competitions and who wanted to enjoy a weekend among their comrades.
Sportsman Pilots were usually not sponsored, and the total 'k' (the difficulty of the maneuver) could not exceed 10.
Due to the increasing popularity of the sport and the concomitant pressure on places in the 3D Masters competition, the Sportsmans Class was removed from the competition after the 2007 event.
The Expert Level was usually entered by individuals who represented the best pilots from their respective countries.
Masters Pilots were drawn from the top pilots in the world. To obtain a place in the Masters class a pilot had to be invited by the organisers. They were almost always well established, sponsored, well-known international competitors.
3D Masters was known to provide participants intense competition and a large, appreciative audience. Six internationally recognized 3D pilots judge the event.
The competition testing format is divided into three disciplines, each assessed individually:
Here, each pilot chooses a number of maneuvers from a pre-published set of moves. Once the maneuvers have been chosen and entered, they may not be altered. The pilot must concentrate on perfecting those maneuvers for the competition. The set maneuvers change from year to year, and carry varying levels of difficulty, or 'k' factors.
In freestyle, pilots must show the audience and the judges their capability in a totally free format. They may simply show their ability to restore control to a helicopter that is falling, or consider and rehearse a sequence of their best maneuvers.
Props and pyrotechnics are allowed to be used in the performance to further highlight the spectacle.
Flight to Music
Here, pilots must produce a sequence to a piece of music.
Repeat 3D Masters Winners
In 2009, Dominik Hägele joined Curtis Youngblood as the only 3D Masters competitor to win the Masters Class 2 times. Duncan Osbourn is the only 3D Masters competitor to have won in each of the Sportsman, Expert and Masters Classes.
3D Masters 2010
On 25 July 2010, the winners were announced for the 3D Masters. Nick Maxwell was named 3D Masters Champion, the first American R/C pilot to win since Curtis Youngblood in 2004. Coincidentally, Maxwell flew a Curtis Youngblood designed helicopter—a Rave ENV.
Gael Lamirand of France finished 1st place in the Expert Class.