THE 2014 HELI MASTERS WORLD CHAMP
Stories and photos James Wang
This month, let’s meet Dunkan “Dadou” Bossion, the 2014 Heli Masters World Champion. Dunkan is 18 years old, and he has been flying since he was 3 years old. He is from Marseilles, France, and he is currently recognized as one of the best of the best hardcore, smackdown 3D helicopter pilots in the world. He is extremely famous in Europe because he frequently attends all the competitions and fun flies in Europe, he had not been traveling extensively to the U.S.A. previously, however, that has changed in the last two years. His sponsors, Gaui and SpinBlades, are so pleased with Dunkan’s achievement and his joie de vivre personality; Dunkan is traveling the world as an ambassador for his sponsors. American modelers had a chance to watch Dunkan at the 2013 and 2014 Las Vegas Fun Fly events and at “The One” Competition during the 2014 IRCHA Jamboree. The audience was amazed by how fast and low Dunkan flew his Gaui X7. He purposely let his X7 skids or tail fin kiss the ground during 3D.
After Dunkan won the 2014 Heli Masters title, he performed a freestyle victory flight that was one of the most exciting 3D demos that people have ever seen. Dunkan kept the audience roaring with amazement. He performed a high speed Tail Down Funnel with the helicopter in a near vertical attitude and his tail rotor was at most six inches off the deck. His X7 then traveled 100 feet across the concrete runway at 40 mph with the skids gently scraping the wet puddled runway. A wet rooster tail was sent into the air. He did his patented maneuver of a single handed rolling Tic Toc. He raised his left hand and waved to the crowd while doing a rolling Tic Toc (he is a mode 1 pilot, throttle collective and roll cyclic on the right stick). Another spectacular and violent maneuver was the Hard Blade Stop, where the helicopter was flown super fast on the deck across the runway and Dunkan suddenly hit the Throttle Hold and yanked the helicopter nose up to halt the forward motion instantly while eating up the rotor inertia. Just before the main blades stopped completely, the motor was switched on again. What an adrenaline rush. He concluded his victory flight with an intentional inverted landing on the concrete runway. The entire flight was simply awesome. A video of that mesmerizing flight can be found on Gaui’s website at www.gaui.com.tw.
I first met Dunkan in 2010 at the Primo Italian 3D Fun Fly in Rimini, Italy where he won the Best 3D Pilot title at the tender age of 14. Dunkan was wearing a green T-shirt that said, “I love 3D”. Today, Dunkan’s flying style is more stylish, bolder and quicker. This is partially due to the way RC helicopter performance has improved over the last five years. Dunkan now flies a Gaui X7 Formula version which was released in 2014. His X7 is powered by a powerful 4000 watt
(5 horsepower) Scorpion 4525-520Kv Ultimate Edition motor with a YGE 160 amp ESC. He is sponsored by Gaui, SpinBlades, Scorpion Power Systems, YGE, Optipower, MKS, BeastX, and Supra X. Now let’s meet Dunkan Bossion. This interview was done at the November, 2014 Faszination Modellbau Show in Germany where Dunkan was at the Gaui booth promoting Gaui helicopters and SpinBlades.
JAMES WANG: Hello Dunkan, always nice to see you, because you are always smiling. Many people, including myself, love watching your ultra-high-energy 3D flying. Please tell our readers about yourself and what models have you flown.
DUNKAN BOSSION: I am 18 years old and a student, and I started flying at three years old with my father. I started flying RC airplanes first, and then quickly I wanted to fly RC helicopters. My first RC helicopter was a Robbe Moskito. That was a 50-size glow engine powered helicopter designed and manufactured by Robbe in Germany. It was only good for training. My next helicopter was a 60-size Robbe Millennium. The Millennium was a nice flying, high performance helicopter but required a lot of work. Mine kept exploding. The Thunder Tiger Raptor 50 was what helped me learn 3D flying.
JW: Does your father fly helicopters? And why do people scream Dadou when you fly?
DB: He does. I fly a lot with my father and brother, Jonathan. They really push me. We travel together and frequently do tandem flight demos. Jonathan is an excellent 3D pilot. Dadou is the nickname that my family and my French friends call me.
JW: I remember watching Jonathan compete at the 2014 IRCHA “The One” Competition. Your brother is technically very precise in his flying style. What models are you flying now, and what equipment do you use?
DB: Jonathan and I are sponsored by Gaui. We fly their whole range of helicopters including their electric and nitro helicopters. I really enjoy flying 450-class electric helicopters, especially the Gaui X3. Even though the X3 is a small 450-size helicopter, but when longer 350mm blades are used, the X3 flies like a 700 class X7. On my X7, I use a Scorpion 4525-520Kv Ultimate motor. I like the YGE electronic speed controllers that are made in Germany because when you connect a 12S LiPo battery to the YGE ESC, there is no spark. I guess there is probably a resistor built in. When I saw other pilots plugging in their 12S battery and getting a big spark, I always get worried. I like the programming style of Futaba transmitters and I use a Futaba transmitter even though Futaba does not sponsor me. I use MKS servos and MKS has made a special X8 servo just for me. This X8 servo is available on the market. Optipower has developed a special “Dunkan Bossion Edition” 5800mAh 6S 50C LiPo battery. The 5800mAh has slightly more capacity than the normal 6S 5000mAh LiPo. I love this battery. This Optipower battery is now available worldwide. I thank my sponsor, Optipower for providing LiPo batteries wherever I have to compete because nowadays we are not allowed to bring LiPo batteries onboard airplanes.
JW: I hear you helped designed a new series of rotor blade for SpinBlades?
DB: I helped design and test the 685mm SpinBlades. This blade is very special because it has a different airfoil at the blade root and at the blade tip. Here, touch this blade yourself; you can feel the inboard section has some reflex near the trailing edge and changes to a more traditional symmetrical airfoil near the blade tip. This blade is very good for 3D flying and I use it on my Gaui X7.
JW: Yes, I can feel the difference in the airfoils when I am touching it. Do you prefer flying electric or nitro helicopters?
DB: Electric helicopters have more power, higher rotor rpm, quicker cyclic, and fly faster. Electric helicopters are better for competition and they have very few problems. But for smackdown 3D, I prefer a glow engine powered helicopter because they are slightly slower and easier to fly low. I fly the electric X7 and also the new NX7. I really like the 30-size glow engine powered Gaui NX4. The NX4 is very fun, even though it may not be as quick as an electric helicopter.
JW: Any recommendations on setting up an X7?
DB: Just follow the instruction manual. I do not use any unusual special setup. With my electric X7, I run 2150 rpm rotor speed in the governor mode, and maybe 2000 rpm on the engine powered NX7. I have used both OS and YS engines in the past and I like them both. Optipower Fuel sponsors me and I run their 30% nitro helicopter fuel. You must try the new 685mm SpinBlades. I also recommend Supra X connectors because they can handle 100 amps without melting. I like the new BeastX Microbeast Plus or HD version flybarless controller. The new Plus and HD versions have the same software and provide faster cyclic response than the older Microbeast. The HD version has a built-in female socket to allow connecting a 2S 7.4 volt LiPo battery directly to the Microbeast HD.
JW: What are your favorite maneuvers?
DB: My favorite is the Tail Slide because the model can build up speed very quickly and it can become dangerous and exciting when you bail out at the last second before the model hits the ground. It is an exciting maneuver and requires perfect timing. I also enjoy doing a fast pirouette by momentarily switching off the tail gyro.
JW: We have seen you perform knife-edge pirouette, your X7 was spinning like a blur. At the 2014 IRCHA Jamboree, during “The One” Competition, You were flying two Gaui X7 helicopters at the same time, how did you do that?
DB: I had one Gaui X7 set up with a DJI brand GPS controller by Simon von Bauer, who is also sponsored by SpinBlades. I flew the first Gaui X7 to about 100 meters in altitude and switched on the GPS autopilot and the X7 would hover there by itself perfectly still. Then I put down the first transmitter and picked up a second transmitter and lifted off a second Gaui X7. I was flying the second X7 around the first X7 like a satellite orbiting earth.
JW: That was a unique stunt and the spectators were amazed because the first X7 must have remained absolutely stationary for two minutes. Do you practice a lot and how often do you crash?
DB: When I fly my helicopters for fun or during practices, I fly just as low and push just as hard as during contests. I usually crash once or twice a month. I fly helicopters in the summer and fly RC airplanes in the winter because I also enjoy competing in XFC style airplane contests. Before a big helicopter competition, I would practice every day.
JW: Do you have other hobbies?
DB: I like partying. I invite everyone to attend the 3D Cup World Edition in France on June 26-18, 2015 (www.jurassic-rotor-team.com or www.3dcup.fr). It will be a great event held at the Domaine du Planet in the south of France on the sunny French Riviera, a great place to party and enjoy the beautiful beaches. The venue will include 40 top 3D pilots from around the world competing in freestyle and compulsory maneuvers. There will also be an RC helicopter pylon race, a speed cup event, and night flying competition. It will be great fun.
JW: You can count on it, I will be there. Thank you, you truly enjoy life to the fullest.