A chance to see what that helicopter can really do

Updated: 2011-12-09 08:07

By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)

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BEIJING - If you find it hard enough to open a bottle cap now, just imagine what it would be like attempting it from an airborne helicopter with a tool attached to its landing gear.

Mission Impossible and Holywood step aside; that's one of the bizarre feats that will be attempted this month in Hainan province. The 2011 Fly Rally air sports competition will take place from Dec 17-30 on the southern Chinese island and will feature six aerobatic categories, including glider rally racing, a paramotor contest and precise helicopter control.

The multi-discipline event has attracted 80 aircraft and more than 200 air sports athletes nationwide to chase titles and showcase some unique air stunts between the blue sky and sea.

Athletes will demonstrate speed and accuracy when they fly gliders through narrow gaps between columns of balloons and steer helicopters to perform tricks like the cap-opening to compete for the "best controller" crown.

Durability and consistency will be of paramount importance as the pilots cruise the 550-kilometer marathon course around the island to battle for the "rally king" title.

Aerobatic-related carnival activities, including a night balloon parade and parachuting show, will also be held along with tourist promotional activities during the high-flying event.

Inspired by similar events in western countries, organizers hope the two-week festival will promote air sports in China and perhaps even challenge the province's other iconic sporting events like the Tour of Hainan cycle race and Mission Hills World Cup of golf.

"We already have sports events on the ground and in the sea, now we are going to the sky," said Feng Jianzhong, China's deputy sports minister, at the event's launch on Tuesday. "It will take sport's beauty to a third dimension."

"We hope it can become the 'Dakar' (motor rally) of air sports and an annual meeting for global diehards in the future. The event will bring foreseeable boosts to the development of leisure sports and related industries," Feng said.

China Daily