UK F3A Team Member

Matt Hoyland



Thanks to my Dad radio controlled model flying has been part of my life for as long as I can remember and Sunday afternoons were regularly spent at the flying field since I could walk and probably before.  I first picked up a transmitter for real when I was around 7 in 1988 but never really had a great interest.  Football took over most weekends through my teenage years and it wasn't until I was around 16 when my interest really took off.  My first model after a trainer was a Dave Smith Challenger, it certainly was a challenge and balancing the elevator on take-off on my first tail dragger certainly took some practice and I kept APC in business for many years to come with the number of 11x11's that I broke.  My first build was a Chris Foss AcroWot and a number of 60 sized aerobatic models followed including a Dominator left to me by my Godfather Richard Fisher.  Unfortunately that particular model never recovered from a spin one Sunday afternoon and to make matters worse we had recently upgraded the aileron servo to a JR coreless (our first expensive servo) and one of the wing dowels went straight through the middle of it!  The cause never was found.   Many will know Richard was responsible for the Fisher Redshift (more info here) which was to be the power plant of my first competition model.  I designed and scratch built my first model as my Dad was putting together his first 2m model - a Dave Smith Excelsior 2000 with OS 140RX, my model was to be called G-MACH (more info here).  Many visits to the BMFA Nationals captivated my interest in aerobatics but seeing the likes of Brandon Ransley with his 2m YS powered Caprise really inspired me.


My first competition was in 2001 at Mansfield; my first competitive flight was not the most successful as the model never left the ground.  The small wheels and longer grass than I was used too meant enough speed couldn't be gained and I never left the floor.  Luckily full power and a push from my Dad in rounds 2 and 3 meant I was able to finish second in my first competition.  Apart from not being able to take off the only other memory of my first competition was the enthusiasm (or was it bullying?) from Ken Moss for us to enter his and Brian Hoare's competition at Ashbourne later in the season.  We duly obliged but I am not sure we had much choice!!  I guess I was hooked from then on.  I attended my first Nationals in that year in Standard class as it was then called flying my G-Mach and managed to win at my first attempt, unfortunately victory at the Nationals has eluded me ever since!  Following victory on the Monday early Tuesday morning we headed off to Ireland to watch the World Champs.


My Dad had treated me to a ZN Line Majestic earlier in the season that was bought from Phil Williams at Sandown.  I think my Dad was a little shocked when he said yes we'll have one to Phil and he duly handed the fuselage over the counter - Dad was expecting a few months wait to save up and have time to pull out!  This was to be my model for Seniors (now called Advanced) and what started to be a great rivalry with Brian Hoare for a couple of seasons.  The Majestic had all the latest gear including the YS140L, like many others we had tried the cheaper alternatives like the OS 140RX but there was nothing (at the time) that compared to the YS and we wondered what we had been messing about at.  The learning curve was steep and we managed to weld the piston to the liner and without the help of Phil at Probuild I am not sure we would have ever got it going properly.  However, once it was going I can't remember one engine cut at a competition and only one no start at the Nats one year but that was my fault for flooding it - great reliability which is what you need to be successful.  I proceeded through Seniors and into the newly formed Masters class, by this stage I had a ZN Line Synergy and through an unfortunate event at Brandon's Larks comp that turned out to be very lucky I ended up with 2 Synergy's by the end of the season.  I am sure most who were there will remember my Synergy going in straight down from 500ft.  I needed a good flight to beat Brian in the final round and it was going badly, as I came to the stall turn on centre with 1 and a quarter snap down I was too far out and as I went into the snap a large bang was heard that made everybody turn round, after the snap I had no control, nothing worked so I turned round and walked away rather than watching the inevitable.  We were astounded to find the model intact with only damage to the cockpit and belly pan.  The model had turned through 90° and just started to pull out inverted; it went into a sloped rape field and didn't even reach the floor.  The large bang was the fuselage failing behind the wing in the snap and whipping which stripped all the servos.  Phil very kindly replaced the fuselage, Dad repaired the old one and by the following season I had two.


2004 was my first year in FAI and I jumped in the deep end at Brandon's Larks comp and entered the F and Unknown.  The F wasn't good and the Unknown was littered with wrong manoeuvres but I really enjoyed the challenge and picking the unknown schedule.  For the following few years time was limited for flying, final year at University, starting work, moving out of home with my girlfriend at the time all meant that F3A took a back seat for a few years.  My interest in model flying was kept going through my final year at Uni where I competed in the BMFA University Challenge - more info here and here.  I started work at Rolls-Royce in Derby where I still work today.  I work in the Fan & Compressor Sub System Design Team designing components for large civil gas turbine engines that will probably be taking you on holiday in 10 years time.  A great company to work for and certainly helps pay for the new models as I have all but bankrupt my main sponsor (aka Dad).


The next big step was in 2007 when I converted to electric with a ZN Line Oxalys with a Hacker C50 13XL.  A very enjoyable learning experience and once I had flown electric there was no going back.  I must thank Flight Power who help enormously with batteries at that time and without them I am not sure I could have kept flying as the battery life was not as good as it is today.  With more free time on my hands 2008 was when I really started to put some serious practice in.  I competed at the Triple Crown for the first time in the international team and by the middle of the year had my second electric model, a CA Model Osmose.  A terrible kit and horrible to build but it was and still is a great flying model.  In 2009 I had qualified to be in the England team at the Triple Crown in Scotland and won the FAI domestic league.


I travelled to Ireland in 2010 as England team member for the Triple Crown and was very pleased with my performance to finish as the top English pilot and finished 5th overall.  Success in the GBR/CAA Championships followed and ended Richards’s hat trick of victories in the event.  Victory at the BMFA Nats just eluded me and Brandon beat me into first place, but I was proud to say I beat him 3 of the 7 rounds.  Although Brandon doesn't practice much he is still one of the best pilots in the country and giving him some good competition shows how far I have come since enviously watching him at the Nats from the sidelines some 10 years earlier.  I had reasonable success in the centralised events initially qualifying as first team reserve and then being promoted into the team.  Things may have been different had my batteries decided not to eject themselves from my Osmose the day before the 2nd Centralised at around 4pm.  The model limped back (very tail heavy with no batteries) without damage but the canopy and batteries were no where to be found after floating into a nearby wood.  An unfinished ZN Line Xigris got me through the comp but could not perform to my full potential.  This showed the importance of having two identical models ready to go.


2011 was my first World Championships and travelled to Muncie in the USA with fellow team members Richard Christopher and Keith Jackson.  I was pleased to finish 33rd in my first championships.  I have also travelled to Chateauroux, France for the 2012 European Championships and Meyerton, South Africa for the 2013 World Championships.  2013 was my most successful season to date winning all four team selection events, the GBR/CAA Championships and the FAI Domestic League trophy winning every national competition I entered.  I also competed in 3 World Cup events finishing in 19th position in the European league.  I am looking forward to the 2014 European Championships and plan to take my two OXAI Citrin biplanes with Hacker C50-13XL motors powered by OptiPOWER 4700mAh 10s LiPo's.



Finally a few thanks, thank you to the GBR/CAA and all its members for the camaraderie, help and support that makes this such a great hobby and makes for so many great weekends.  Thanks to Brandon for his initial inspiration and personal training sessions that have helped me get where I am today.  To Andy Hinton-Lever at OptiPOWER for his continued support with batteries and charging equipment. Steve for his help and support.  My Dad for his continual help and support - a thankless task that I am sure no one else would want! Finally to Helen, my Mum and Tracy who allow Dad, Steve and I out every weekend (and more) to practise.





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