Interview With 2022 Global3D Champion Kenny Ko

Interview With 2022 Global3D Champion Kenny Ko

Interview With 2022 Global3D Champion Kenny Ko

By James Wang |

As seen in the February 2023 issue of Model Aviation.

KENNY KO is a name recognized around the world by hardcore 3D helicopter pilots. He is the reigning Global3D world champion and the 2017 FAI F3N world champion. I had the opportunity to meet Kenny and watch him fly at the 2022 Global3D competition that was held in the Netherlands in July 2022.

Kenny Ko and h his XLPower Specter 700 V2.

Kenny Ko and h his XLPower Specter 700 V2.

In the Global3D competition, there are three different portions that each competitor is scored on: set maneuvers, freestyle 3D, and flight to music. The total score from all three portions determines the overall winner. Kenny performed the set maneuvers with surgical precision and received the highest score in both final rounds.

He received the second-highest score for his freestyle 3D routine. In the freestyle flight, each pilot is free to do any routine to impress the five judges. (This year’s judges included Dunkan Bossion, who is a previous 3D Masters champion.) His freestyle was smooth, super low, and locked on.

Kenny also received the third-highest score in the flight-to-music category. His excellent total score made him the overall winner.

I have prepared an interview with Kenny, along with pictures, to showcase the helicopter and hardware that he used to win the 2022 Global3D competition. In a future column, I will have a detailed story that covers the Global3D event and all of the latest technologies and trends from it.

Interview With Kenny Ko

James Wang:Hello Kenny. I have been following your 3D-competition career for a few years. It is great to see you again, and congratulations on winning the 2022 Global3D Master class. How many years have you been flying RC helicopters, and how often do you fly?

Kenny Ko: Hi James. It’s good to see you. I have been flying for 16 years. My father got me started in RC modeling. I started with a Kyosho Concept 30 helicopter. A month before a major competition, I could be practicing every day and making 10 flights per day.

The crowd cheered when it was announced that Kenny won the 2022 Global3D championshi.

The crowd cheered when it was announced that Kenny won the 2022 Global3D championship.

Kenny used the new Theta servos.

Kenny used the new Theta servos.

JW: Ten flights per day is a lot of flights. Do you also do F3C-type flying or fly any engine-powered helicopters?

KK: I only fly 3D. I do not fly engine-powered models.

JW: Do you still get nervous when flying in a competition or flying in front of a huge crowd? What do you find to be the most difficult set maneuver at the Global3D event, and do you have any advice for beginners or experienced pilots who want to learn RC helicopters?

KK: Yes, I still get nervous when flying in front of a crowd in competitions. The Blackhole is probably the most difficult maneuver. For people who want to see all 40 of the possible set maneuvers for Global3D, I have done them all with a flight simulator. People can watch the demonstration in a YouTube video (listed in "Sources"). I did a lot of my learning for years using a flight simulator and it is a good tool.

JW: How old are you, what is your full-time profession, and where do you live?

KK: I am 25 years old, and I am sponsored by and work for XLPower. I help the company do helicopter flight testing, promotions, and help customers. I live in Tainan, Taiwan.

JW: You have probably traveled the farthest to come to the Netherlands to compete. What model did you fly at Global3D? What are some of the advantages of XLPower, and what can you tell us about the new Nimbus 550 helicopter?

KK: I am flying the XLPower Specter 700 V2 with a few parts from a new XL 700 Nick Maxwell Edition that was introduced in the fall of 2022. It has a slightly different main rotor and tail rotor. The advantage of the XL model is that it is durable and long-lasting. The new Nimbus 550-size helicopter is lightweight and has a similar feel to the XL 700.

JW: Please tell us about the motor and ESC that you use, what governor mode you use, what rpm you use, which BEC, and whether you have any shutdown of the ESC from aggressive 3D flying.

KK: I am sponsored by EGODRIFT and use the EGODRIFT 4530-550 motor. I am also sponsored by HOBBYWING and use the HW200A ESC. I use the Mikado VControl transmitter and the governor mode from the Neo flybarless unit because I find that the response is sharper and more suited to my personal flying style, rather than running the governor mode from the ESC. I use 2,200 rpm for 3D flying and 2,100 rpm for performing set maneuvers.

The servos I use are from a new brand called Theta. Theta has introduced two types of servos for helicopter use: a hightorque cyclic servo and a high-speed tail-rotor servo. I power the servos, receiver, and gyro all from the built-in BEC of the HOBBYWING 200-amp ESC. So far, I have never had any brownout of the receiver from the BEC because of higher current draw from the servo during 3D flying, and I have not had any shutdown of the ESC. They work very well.

The HOBBYWING 200-amp ESC and EGODRIFT 4530-550 motor on Kenny’s XL700 V2.

The HOBBYWING 200-amp ESC and EGODRIFT 4530-550 motor on Kenny’s XL700 V2.

JW: I am looking forward to building my XL 700 V2 Nick Maxwell Edition for 3D flying. Can you recommend the collective-pitch range? What main rotor blades are you using now on your XL 700?

KK: I set the main rotor to +13.5° to -13.5°of collective travel, and I use the Azure 700mm rotor blades.

Thank you, Kenny. I will share with readers more pictures after I finish building my XL 700. I really like the rugged 18mm thick spiral teeth main gear and the big 32mm-diameter tailboom, which requires no boom supports.

Kenny used the new 700 Nick Maxwell Edition rotorhead.

Kenny used the new 700 Nick Maxwell Edition rotorhead.

See you at the next event.


International Radio Controlled Helicopter Association (IRCHA)


Mikado USA

(844) 4-MIKADO

2019 Global 3D 40 set maneuvers—Heli


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