Southampton Model Aeroplane Club

Established 1932

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Pylon racing - explained

Pylon racing has been around for a long time in RC modelling, first starting in the 1960’s in the USA and quickly being adopted where ever RC modelling was taking place.

There have been many classes of pylon racing over the years with most model being powered by .40 cu inch engines, although there was great interest in the 1970’s in smaller .049 and .20 powered models, a distant relation of those 1970’s classes is still flown as Club 2000.

Popular classes in the UK currently are FAI F3D, Quarter 40 and Club 2000. F3D is like the Formula 1 of pylon racing and the models are impressive thorough bred machines, Quarter 40 models whilst still exhilarating to fly have quite a few cost and technical restrictions, Club 2000 is a beginner class with a successful electric powered offshoot called E2K.


The idea in pylon racing is very simple, get around the course in the fastest possible time whilst flying against either one or two other pilots.

All classes fly 10 laps of the race course and in the case of the F3D and Quarter 40 classes these 10 laps equal 4km distance flown in total. If a model turns inside the course, this is considered as a cut and incurs a 10% additional time penalty.

The results of the meeting are taken by an accumulation of times and the competitor with the lowest time is the winner.

Competitions are held Nationally and with open internationals and World Championships for the F3D class.