Local Scale Aerobatics Champion Mitch Heit
The chance discovery of a second hand radio controlled model plane at Caboolture Treasure Market at ten years of age set Burpengary’s Mitch Heit on course to become a three-time state and two-time national scale aerobatics champion.
Now eighteen years old, Mitch recalls the ensuing events that saw his aerobatics hobby take off.
“A few months after my dad and I found the plane, we went to an air show at SAAMBR [Sports Aeromodellers Association Moreton Bay Region] and the club provided a trainer plane for me to learn on. Not even a year later, I got my licence to fly by myself, and I got my own plane up and going.”
Initially flying just for fun, Mitch made the decision to start competing four years ago.
“I got to the point where I wanted to do something with it - give it meaning,” explains Mitch. “I’ve jumped up from Basic class to Advanced in those few years. It’s been a good journey.”
Mitch’s skill at flying radio controlled scale models of full-sized aerobatic competition planes through a ‘sequence’ of pre-established manoeuvres in front of judges has resulted in a staggering 19 competition places.
“Depending on what you’re flying it can be really relaxing or it can really get you going, and performing at shows in front of an audience is pretty cool. It combines adrenalin with something that I love to do.”
Honing his skills both on the airfield and on a simulator, Mitch takes his Extra 260 plane through five to six practice flights each week when competing.
“You’ve got to be dedicated to the sport to get as far as I have. If you don’t put time into it you’ve got nothing. As soon as I started learning I got a simulator, and on the competition side of things I’ve had to learn a lot myself, but that’s pretty much how everyone learns.”
Following his first place win at the ASAA QLD State Championships last August, Mitch opted not to compete at the ASAA National Championships the following month in order to concentrate on his auto electrical apprenticeship and commercial pilot licence (CPL) training. Discussing his planned comeback at this year’s national championships, Mitch is quietly confident that he will take home the national title.
“There’s two guys that I really want to beat this year, so I’ve got to come back strong,” he says. “I’m excited to see how far I can push it and go further.”
Thanks to SAAMBR member and PR Manager Dan Imhoff, owner of radio controlled aircraft and accessories business HoffRC, Mitch will soon be wowing crowds with freestyle aerobatic manoeuvres on his first sponsored plane – a 91 inch SLICK540.
“Freestyle class is a whole new ball game. Everything’s fast and low to the ground, and it lets you get creative with choreography and skill to produce a routine like no other. It’s pretty challenging.”
In addition to the unwavering support of his parents, Mitch credits his success to the many SAAMBR members who have supported him on his journey.
“Without a lot of the members, there’s no chance I’d be where I am today. They’d take me to different competitions especially when I didn’t have my driver licence, and I learnt a lot just from being at those competitions. So I’d like to say a huge thanks to Darryl Thomas, Eric Pond, George Falcon, Dan Imhoff, Dimitri and Peter Martin, Brad Jory, John Lee and Michael Hains for supporting me throughout the years.”
On top of defending his titles, Mitch will spend 2018 building a Pitts plane with his dad, completing the third year of his apprenticeship, and finishing the first stage of his CPL training before hopefully taking to the skies in the Whitsundays.
“We went up to Airlie Beach a couple of years ago and went out to the aerodrome and got talking to a pilot, and Mitch would eventually like to go up there and fly the islands,” explains his dad, John.
“Hopefully I’ll have the first stage of my CPL completed by the end of this year, which will allow me to land a job up there and then progress,” adds Mitch.
Until then, for this young pilot the sky is truly the limit.
First plane you flew? A Frontier Senior which was supplied by the club [SAAMBR]. It is a very entry level aircraft built purely for training.
Favourite manoeuvre to perform? It would be a toss-up between a blender and/or torque roll to prop hang. Mainly because it gets the adrenaline going, and being so low to the ground, precision is everything.
Number of crashes? Over the 10 years I've been flying, I've only ever had four crashes.
Worst crash? My worst crash would be when I had a mid-air collision with another aircraft. Both planes were written off.
Dream plane? My Extra 260. I’ve always loved it. The fire wall has been chopped to mount the 200cc four cylinder engine up the front. I've got the set up pretty much exactly how I want it now. I wouldn't change a thing.