Around 200 radio-control pilots from all over the world will be in Lakeland this week to compete in the R/C Jet Aircraft World Championship. It’s part of Florida Jet Week.
“I think it’s wonderful that people would spend the money it takes to come from Europe to here to compete in this event. That’s what’s exciting to me that people want to come to Lakeland and do it,” event promotor Frank Tiano said.
Tiano has been organizing this event for more than 20 years. This year there’s a twist.
“Normally Florida Jets is what we call a jet together, just a bunch of guys coming together and having a good time, fill up Lakeland hotels, buy a lot of gas and get out of town. But now we have a competition where people actually win prizes,” Tiano said.
These Jets range in price from $10,000 to upwards of $40,000 – so you know these pilots take flying seriously.
“This is not kids with strings on a airplane going around and around and fall down and go boom. This is pretty serious stuff. Like any hobby, there is an ultimate level and this is the ultimate level of model airplanes,” Tiano said.
Florida Jet Week is the world’s largest event for professional “jet certified” radio-control pilots. The competition runs through Saturday on Paradise Field, located on the southernmost portion of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.