"After you see these things go, everything else doesn't exhilarate you as much as this does."
Mitchell Haupt, age 13, doesn't hide the fact that he's a thrill seeker. His quote about RC Pylon Racing says it all.
On a typical day, one can likely find him flying an RC Pylon Racing aircraft with his father, August Haupt. Mitchell also spends time racing dirt bikes, which he has done since he was approximately 6 years old. Roughly a year after he began riding dirt bikes, he flew his first RC airplane, an E-flite UMX Vapor.
"What I like most [about RC Pylon Racing] is the adrenaline rush. There is nothing like it," Mitchell stated. "You always have a feeling that you could always mash into somebody else."
Mitchell and August attended and competed in the 2023 Nats, the 100th anniversary of the Nats, held at the International Aeromodeling Center in Muncie, Indiana. Mitchell competed in electric-powered and nitro-powered RC Pylon contests. "I did pretty good [this year]. I had some good [races] and some bad ones, but I just had fun. I won one of my standard classes. I could only do two this year because we couldn't stay for the entire Nats," Mitchell explained.
The teenager first attended the Nats in 2020, where he called for his dad. "The next race I went to, I flew EF1 (Electric Formula 1) in the 424s. The next season, I was flying a 426 [aircraft] in Q-40. Now we got so many planes, we can't keep track of them." Mitchell said. When asked how many airplanes he believed that he and his father owned, he had to pause for a moment to count them. His best estimate is 22.
In addition to his father, RC Pylon Racing pilot Don Belfort has encouraged Mitchell to stay engaged in the sport. "He always encourages me to do my best and to have fun," Mitchell commented. He added that the RC Pylon Racing community as a whole has been supportive. "Everybody just wants to get you into it."
Someday, Mitchell's experience with model aeronautics could help him in his career. He hopes to become an aerospace engineer.
If you would like to support young pilots who compete, such as Mitchell, consider donating to the AMA Foundation's Scholarship Fund.