15 Mar 2023

Congratulations to the inaugural Rookie Project winners!

From an estimated 10,000 children who participated in the aeromodelling ‘Rookie Project’, the winners of the first online competition for best Rookie flight time have now been announced.

Young pilots under the age of 14 could enter the competition, flying a Rookie model (a type of micro capacitator powered model aircraft) that fitted competition rules. They had to have the supervision of an adult to time the flight. Any child in the age range able to launch the aircraft themselves could enter their best time.

Axel O. from Sweden is the winner of the 2022 Rookie Project winner

2022 Rookie Project Winners

Position Name Age Time Country Supervisor
1 Axel O. n/a 02m00s Sweden Per F.
2 Wille C. n/a 01m52s Sweden Per F.
3 Mohammad A. n/a 01m42s Sweden Per F.
4 Erik Eriksson W. n/a 01m22s Sweden Per F.
5 Viktor O. n/a 01m19s Sweden Per F.
6 Nika M. n/a 01m18s Netherlands Vincent M.
7 Beni N. n/a 01m07s Sweden Per F.
8 Loke Lindberg N. n/a 00m55s Sweden Per F.
9 Kai M. n/a 00m53s Netherlands Vincent M.
10 Mustafa Quden A. n/a 00m46s Sweden Per F.

All entrants to the competition have received a certificate of participation, and these top three pilots have been granted the choice from one of Aviation Toys’ capacitor powered free flight kits, to encourage them to develop skills in their new-found hobby.

Those involved in the project are thrilled by this resounding success. Founder Vincent Merlijn commented:

“I have lost count on how many Rookies I have shipped out, but my humble and conservative estimation is that about 10,000 kids have been flying a Rookie aircraft over the last 3 years. And that is taking into consideration that 40-50% are still on the shelf waiting to get built.”

The project started as a collaboration between Merlijn, who is the owner of Aviation Toys in the Netherlands, and the Royal Netherlands Aeronautical Association (KNVvL), an FAI Member. Uptake has been significant by other FAI Members, with active partners including:

  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Lithuania
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

The Rookie Project was and is supported by the FAI Aeromodelling Commission (CIAM) and it is supervised by the CIAM Education Sub-Committee. The restrictions applied the last years for Covid-19 prevented a lot the competition part of this project, but now it is the time to promote this part since aeromodelling is not only building a model but flying it as well. A dedicated platform was developed and now you can use it to register your performance and why not be the 2023 Winner.

How to participate in 2023

New FAI Members are encouraged to get involved in the Rookie Project, with Rookie Workshop information available for teachers, activity leaders and sports organisations. The Workshop involves building the Rookie aircraft and suggestions on how to achieve a good flight.