Fender – nothing else then a boat bumper. For a helicopter sport usage loaded down to the weight of 8 kilos and hooked up at the 8 meters long robe ended with a trapezoid shape handle.
Bumper is meant to be insert into the three barrels spaced out at the certain area in the correct order, extending the rope sequentially from 4 to 8 meters.
The order of checking in for each barrel is announced at the briefing before the competition hence the crews may train the route.
The run starts at the indicated line. A co-pilot – meaning an operator of the Fender sits in the standard position with a seat belt fasten. Both legs must be kept inside of an aircraft and hands should be visible for judges.
After the signal of a starter, the helicopter takes off vertically and while the rope reaches the length of 4 meters and the bumper in the aircraft moves towards the 3 meters wide opening gate, trying to pass it keeping the Fender between the pales. After plugging the bumper into the first barrel the rope must be extended up to the marker at the 6th meter and taking out the bumper the flight may be proceeded to the next checkpoint.
A pilot can see the barrel at a distance of 2-5 meters in front of the helicopter’s nose, thereupon is guided only with co-pilots instructions. A serious difficulty makes a strong wind. The area where the barrels are set is not located with an exacted wind direction, though a precise approach needs lot of practice and skills.
The competition ends with inserting the fender into the last barrel and dropping the rope. The time provided for that part is 50 seconds, after that team gets penalty points. Beside of that penalties are awarded for: touching the external part of the barrel, incorrect rope length as same as holding it in the wrong place, touching the ground, wrong barrel’s order or missing the opening gate.