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Flite Fest East 2017 - RCGroups Photo Flood

Join editor Matt Gunn as he gives us the rundown from Friday at Flite Fest East.

Flite Fest 2017

A Family-Oriented R/C Event

During a four-day stretch in July every year, the village of Mavlern, Ohio is flooded with radio-controlled pilots from all walks of life, both young and old, as they descend upon Furey Airfield for the rc pilgrimage known as Flite Fest East. Starting in 2014, Flite Fest has grown annually, recently expanding to the west coast. This year's FF was purportedly the biggest yet; as of Thursday afternoon there were 1300 registered pilots in attendance. Being touted as a family-oriented flight festival, you can expect a great time and plenty of flying, regardless of your piloting experience.

If you've yet to experience Flite Fest East, I can sum it up with a handful of statements:

A 2500 Foot Flight-Line

The sheer number of pilots in the air at one time was staggering. Rookie pilots and seasoned veterans alike all shared the same airspace at Furey Airfield. Pilot stations were setup, but eager hobbyists quickly took to the spaces between the cones to launch and fly their aircraft. At times it seemed chaotic; there were relatively few pilots adhering to the pattern as planes zipped around from all direction. However, the mid-air collisions weren't overboard, and flight-line bosses were always present, working to politely inform those pilots of the rules.

A Fun Atmosphere

Although I was only there on Friday, I noticed the general atmosphere at Flite Fest East 2017 was up-beat and exciting. The music was constantly playing from the DJ booth, demos were scheduled throughout the day; combat, paragliders, giant Tiny Whoop flights, and even a rocket-propelled airplane launch happened. The bleachers at show-center were always packed with people watching the action play out on the "flite" line.

The Build Tents

The Flite Test people have a good thing going with their built tents; the idea is to purchase one of the many Flite Test foam aircraft from their on-site (air conditioned) store, then move to one of the large covered build areas to assemble your kit. You can bring anything into the tents to build on, though - you're definitely not limited to FT aircraft. The build tents were all packed to capacity at any given time, buzzing with the sounds of groups assembling and repairing their aircraft and ultimately having a great time in the process.

The Mud

Flite Fest East 2017 started off with torrential rains during the week leading up to the start date, and much more rain on the opening day. It really is the luck of the draw with Mother Nature, and despite the mud and stuck vehicles, the event powered through Thursday to see sunny skies and a general drying of the pits.

A Well-Oiled Machine

The staff was composed primarily of volunteers, and they all did a fantastic job of keeping the place running smoothly. Trash pickup was a never-ending task as people built airplanes by the hundreds. An event of this magnitude requires attention from all angles, with volunteers and FT staff doing everything from trash pickup, to flight-line management, straw application, to keeping the music and generators running. Directing traffic (and keeping vehicles from sinking into the soft mud on Thursday and early Friday) was also a full-time job.

Live Video from Flite Fest East 2017

RCGroups - Live from FliteFest 2017! (22 min 46 sec)

Flite Fest shows no signs of letting up, and we can expect an even larger crowd at next year's Flite Fest East 2018. If you've been on the fence about attending, I highly suggest you make the trip to the small town of Malvern, just southeast of the Akron/Canton area and experience this family-friendly flying event known as Flite Fest East.

Last edited by Matt Gunn; Jul 17, 2017 at 11:13 AM..
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Jul 17, 2017, 08:58 AM
Registered User
Matt Gunn's Avatar
Photos from Flite Fest 2017
Last edited by Matt Gunn; Jul 17, 2017 at 11:14 AM.
Jul 17, 2017, 10:32 AM
Great shots Matt!
Jul 17, 2017, 12:33 PM
RMRC Team Pilot
awkBOTS's Avatar
Awesome write up, and great pictures! Great seeing you again Matt!
Jul 18, 2017, 11:10 AM
ulightme's Avatar
Matt, great coverage of FFE 2017, I especially appreciated the live cast you guys hosted.
Jul 19, 2017, 07:14 PM
Modeling Retread

I really, really love this coverage. While I find your coverage of more professional events like Joe Nall and SEFF to be important and really important for me, a modeler of over five decades, I don't think there is anything more important than this for the future of the hobby.

I see a future. They're bringing young people out to discover they can combine their love of digital activities with an outdoor activity. If we just capture 5-10% of these, we will be set. The goal for us oldtimers has to be capturing this enthusiasm.
Latest blog entry: Sad Pilgramidge

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