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Watch Dozens of RC Planes Smash Together in an Aerial Demolition Derby

Behold: the bloodsport you never knew you wanted to see.
Flite Fest 2023 Combat, numerous RC planes crash into one another
RCwithAdam on YouTube

As a kid, I fantasized about being born 75 years earlier so I could’ve flown fighters in World War II. Now that I’m an adult, I know I would’ve been a transport pilot at best—but I still think I would’ve been alright in a dogfight. And as it turns out, I can test that theory by building a remote-controlled flying Ford Pinto and spearing it into another plane at an airborne demolition derby I just learned of in Ohio.

The event I’m talking about takes place annually at Flite Fest, an RC plane gathering that met last month in Malvern, Ohio. Its website says all skill levels are welcome, and that people can fly everything from the cheapest mishmash of parts that’ll take flight to large-scale recreations of historic aircraft. But it’s not just a showcase of acrobatics and aerospace oddities; you actually get to watch some of them fight.

At the end of each Flite Fest, participants can opt into an event that’s simply named “Combat.” It’s a knock-down, drag-out, last-man-flying aerial demolition derby, where planes crash into one another to knock each other out of the sky. Sometimes they come off the victor, sometimes they step on a rake. It’s kind of like if a Battlebots cage match were held in the air—and yes, I’ve already drafted that show pitch.

Naturally, this results in the destruction of a lot of people’s hard work. In fact, this year’s event appeared to claim the record-holding longest RC plane to ever fly. But the Combat portion is completely voluntary, and everyone who takes place is a warrior who deserves a place in Valhalla. Speaking of which, that’s gotta be a weird place now that its skies are filled with model planes.

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