SEN 2793


Classic Contest

In the recent FFn there is the announcement of Stuart Darmon’s Classic A1 (F1H) contest. This is described below. This is particularly suited to pandemic time. At this time we are not traveling as much as in normal times and are flying at smaller sites. This is a low cost event that is easy to understand, with rules that suit smaller sites and should give a sporting result with on the field landing with high tech timing gymnastics. Text from the latest FFn – my bad formatting ??.


Stuart Darmon:

After the frustration of the 2020 season, recent vaccine trials
provide a glimmer of hope, but the first half of next season (at
least) is still far from guaranteed. Therefore, in order to provide
some opportunity for purposeful FF activity within the twin
vagaries of Covid restrictions and the weather, The
‘Birmingham MAC Classic A1 research group’ has organised
an ‘email international’ contest for the Classic A1 glider class,
in which competitors can fly on a date of their choice between
January 1st and July 1st 2021, submitting results by email (or post
if they prefer).

In order to encourage participation, and hopefully confer a
degree of prestige, high- value prizes are on offer; many thanks
to the sponsors for their generosity.

1st. prize- Complete stand- alone RDT system (donated by Peter
Brown & Leo Bodnar electronics) plus trophy (hand- cut lead
crystal champagne glass engraved with ‘Classic A1 winner’)
2nd. Prize- £50 voucher for goodies from Free Flight Supplies, (donated by Mike Woodhouse)
3rd. prize 12 month subscription to Aeromodeller magazine
(donated by Andrew Boddington & Doolittle Media).
Top junior (aged 16 or under on the date of participation) will
get an engraved glass trophy and a laser- cut Classic A1 kit
donated by Bernard Guest from Hummingbird Model Products
And finally, ‘team prize ‘for highest aggregate score by three
members of the same club, each of whom gets am engraved
whiskey tumbler.

Entry is free, and welcomed from anywhere in the world – the
dates are such as to give both hemispheres the chance of some
decent weather. A few FAQs before we get to the rules.
Q. Why Classic A1?
A. the models have a basic performance of 2 minutes or less and
are therefore suitable for smaller flying sites. They are easy to
fly but challenging to consistently max with. They are
recognisable as duration models by followers of modern classes
but also appeal to old-timer enthusiasts because of their
traditional structures. Many are extremely simple and can be
built in a few hours.
Q. Is there a minimum weight?
A. No. There was a wing loading (8g./sq. dm.) in the fifties but
it was not felt necessary today, as very light models have
negligibly higher performance
Q. Do I have to use tissue covering?
A. No. Structural materials not available in the fifties (carbon in
particular) aren’t allowed but non- rigid coverings like
Polyspan & Mylar are fine. Turbulators are also allowed, as is
any form of DT including RDT. No circle towhooks though, even
fixed offset ones.
Q. Is there a catch?
A. Nope. Entry is totally free, no data collection, no spam, just
a model aeroplane contest and nothing else.

Email address for entries is in the rules below, but won’t be
checked regularly until the start date, so any enquiries or
comments should go to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or call
Stuart Darmon on 01858 882057 (United Kingdom). Those
who don’t use email can post their entry to 1, Post Office
Cottages, Main Street,Theddingworth, Leicestershire LE176QP
United Kingdom, but they must get here before July 07 2021.

Classic A1 Glider Email International 2021
A Classic A1 glider is any Free Flight towline glider of total
projected surface area not exceeding 18 square decimetres, built
in accordance with a design published or kitted between January
1951 and January 1961, as per BMFA Classic Glider rules
( Books)
Maximum length of towline 50 metres under 2Kg. tensile load

All flights for each entry must be made on the same day between
01 January 2021 and 01 July 2021 inclusive. All flights must
comply with local regulations governing model flying and with
the guidelines of the national aeromodelling governing body
(BMFA, AMA, etc.)
All flights for each entry must be made with the same model. An
individual may make up to three separate entries provided that
each is made with an entirely different eligible model.
A model may not be used by more than one individual over the
age of 16 years. Juniors below this age may fly a model
borrowed from another entrant.
The maximum for the first flight of each entry is 30 seconds. If
this is achieved, the entrant is permitted a second flight of
maximum 60 seconds, and so on, the maximum increasing in
increments of 30 seconds until either a max is not achieved ,or
flying cannot continue (e.g. because the model is lost or
damaged). The score for that entry is the total flight time
including the sub- max final flight.
All flights must be timed by a person other than the entrant.
Procedure for starts, timing, attempts etc. is per F1H except that
a flight aborted by RDT does not qualify for a second attempt,
even if less than 20 seconds (in line with BMFA classic rules)

Entry is free of charge. Once the flights are completed, entry is
submitted no later than 07 July 2021 by email to
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by sending the following
1. The name & contact email* of the entrant
2. The name(s) of the timekeeper(s)
3. The score, in seconds, in the form of an addition, e.g.
30+ 60+ 90+ 120+ 124= 424
4. The name of the model and where it was published
5. The country and location where the flights were made
If entrants aged 16 or under wish to be eligible for the junior
prize they must include their age in years (D.O.B. not required).
Juniors are also included in the overall results and are eligible
for the other prizes.
In order to qualify for the team prize the entries of all three team
members must be submitted in the same email, also stating the

name of the team. Entries received in this way will also be
included in the individual results.
Information about the flying, the site, etc. plus photographs will
be very welcome and will help in reporting the contest in the
modelling press.

By Stuart Darmon
The Classic A1 Glider class is not an attempt to ‘dumb down’
duration Free Flight; it is not suggested as a substitute for high performance
competition, nor is it predicated on the dubious
notion that things were somehow better when model aircraft
were made of sticks and paper. It’s simply a pragmatic way of
flying more free Flight, either on sites such as Buckminster or
as a second string class at traditional contests where the existing
‘minis’ have either a five- flight format, too much performance,
or both, resulting in a decline in the practice of flying multiple
classes which was once the norm.
In the year and a half or so since I began touting the idea, about
twenty- five models have been built to my certain knowledge
(including by several former & current international flyers), and
no doubt there are others of which I’m not aware.
The considerable amount of flying to date, including two well supported
contests last year, has yielded information which may
be of interest to anyone considering giving it a go. Firstly the
fearsome reputation of small gliders (especially early ones)
seems unfounded. Given the right warps (a little tip washout
with fractionally more on the outside of the turn), a reliable tow
trim is simply a question of adjusting the rudder and the towhook
position, which as a general rule ends up more rearward than one
would expect. Only one of the designs built so far- a V
dihedralled model named ‘Mock Turtle’- has proved inherently
problematic, the two individuals who’ve built it each reporting
an incurable divergence on tow.
Generally, the performance of the more conventional designs is
roughly similar at around the two-minute mark- when
everything goes right. Of these, the most popular is probably the
‘Aiglet’, at least half a dozen of which are doing the rounds, and
which is now even available as a Kit from Mike Woodhouse. A
wise modification to this design is spruce top spars in the centre
panel, as a couple of people have folded them so far (albeit one
was Peter Tribe, who I sometimes think does it on purpose).
Bernard Guest (Hummingbird Models) has introduced no fewer
than three classic A1 kits, including Ray Hansen’s starkly
functional design from the 1959- 61 Zaic book, a scratch- built
version of which won the inaugural UK Nationals contest and
seems to have performance to spare over the two- minute max.

Unsurprisingly, models with surface spars tend to glide
noticeably better than those where the aerofoil has been kept
intentionally smooth, as was often done. The rules do permit
thread turbulators, which are known to have been in use at the
time, but despite one of these, Gavin Manion still isn’t satisfied
with his ‘Pluto’ (which has spars threaded through the ribs and
out of contact with the covering), and would like to hear from
anyone with evidence that invigorators were in use in 1958. By
way of encouragement, a few of the designs built and flown
successfully thus far are; Pjerri 75, Everest, La Mouette,
Hatchetman, Santanita, and Jetstream, all of which can be
downloaded free from the Outerzone plan sharing site.