The Seine-et-Marne department near Paris boasts one of the few airfields capable of handling model jets thanks to its 590 foot long (180 metre) runway. Taking off here is the Iskra, a Polish army-training plane. This 7-foot long (2.10 metre) version weighs 30 lbs. (14 kg) and can fly at nearly 155 mph (250 km/h).
As Rachid Soulimane, the pilot, explains, mastering this speedster requires maintaining a constant speed, never going below a certain level. And then there’s always a slight delayed reaction so one has to constantly anticipate what one want to do with the plane.
The Iskra is particularly easy to manoeuvre. Its owner selected it in order to train on flying jets. But it’s mainly on landing that this weight/speed ratio has to be particularly accurate. There’s no room for error. You have to really stabilise the plane then make your approach with as little speed as possible.
Rachid Soulimane also owns an F-15, a plane usually only handled by experts. These aircraft have a 7-minute autonomy. The 3-litre reservoir is usually filled with kerosene or a mix of petrol with a bit of oil.
The engine has to be checked every 30 flight hours. With a thrust of 35 lbs. (16kg), this technological gem costs on average 2,000€. This ever more powerful model will be used on his next project: a 9-feet long (3-metre) Mirage 2000, which he’ll start building this summer.