SEN 705 - 29 May 2002

SCAT Electronic News 29 may 2002 issue 705

Table of Contents
Munice FF incident
The Straight Word on Muncie - Ramrod250
Contact Cement - Bradley
Big Al's FAI Shootout - Dukie
The Muncie Problem - Johannes
Muncie limitations - Brooks
Field Liaison - Edge of beyond
Talk to Land Owners - Borland
Re: Affordable milligram scale - Andresen
reply to Muncie comments - Coussens
NiMH Batteries - BlackMagic

Munice FF incident

Folks ,
We have probably discussed this enough. I know the AMA is
concerned about the incident and working on a solution.

The Straight Word on Muncie
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There has been a great deal of discussion lately about what does or does not
happen, should or shouldn't happen, at the AMA site in Muncie. As one who was
"on the inside" of AMA from 1993-2000, I offer the following:

The AMA site at Muncie is roughly 1100 acres in area. When the wind is from
the alleged prevailing direction (south-southwest), the field can handle
maxes of three minutes easily; indeed, I have seen flights of 11-minutes-plus
land on the field, and have had an early evening F1J DT failure that didn't
even use half the field after a full engine run.

However, the word "alleged" is used advisedly, because many times--and
especially during the past two or three years, it seems--the wind direction
can be anywhere on the compass. In these situations there are directions
where even Cat. III flying involves subtsantial risk of off-site flights and
the attendant potential problems with landowners.

I cannot speak for the last couple of years, but during my time at AMA a
number of steps were taken on a regular basis to appease landowners,
including a yearly "neighbor picnic" where all surrounding families were
invited to a cookout at AMA, free of charge, as a goodwill gesture. And I
know that there were a number of occasions where, when a given flying season
was complete, the same group of neighbors was given additional tokens of
thanks (flowers, baskets of food, or similar) to help keep the peace.

(Free Flight models have not been the only cause of neighbor unrest; for
several years some large-scale rocket launches took place at Muncie, but as
with our models, there would be occasional misfires, long thermal 'chute
flights, models snagged in power lines, etc. that happened with enough
frequency that the Site Management Committee, of which I was a member, voted
to eliminate future large-rocket launches.)

The existence of the crops on the Muncie site is due at least in part because
of leases signed when the property was purchased in the early 1990s. Though I
believe most of the original leases have expired, they may well have been
renewed, because the revenue generated pays for maintenance of the site. I
don't care for the crops either, but it's hard to argue against the fact that
the site and its maintenance have improved each year, to the point that most
of the time it is in excellent condition, highly suitable for our use. And if
you read Dave Brown's most recent column in Model Aviation, you know that AMA
is again singing the blues over funding.

A major reason for Muncie's selection for the International Aeromodeling
Center is its proximity to a large percentage of the membership (within a
day's drive). With Free Flight's participation skewed somewhat west of the
Rockies, the point is taken that Muncie may not necessarily serve the largest
number of Free Flight modelers, but this is far from true when the total
membership is considered.

And make no mistake: Free Flight is barely big enough to be considered a drop
in the AMA membership bucket. We are very fortunate to be given the amount of
consideration we have received in many areas, Muncie among them. It is simply
not realistic to believe that AMA should or will finance large flying sites
that are wholly or even primarily for use by Free Flighters.

AMA's Executive Council has some members who, in my opinion, would not
exactly be considered staunch advocates of Free Flight. They have the power
to make life very difficult for us. Radical proposals, shooting from the hip
(or lip), or being inconsiderate to landowners can do irreparable damage to
our cause.

Muncie is not a perfect site, by any means; but it is far and away the best
site in the central United States. It is not a Finals-quality site, but it is
an excellent Cat. III site that has been enjoyed by many Free Flighters from
across the country--witness the increased participation from West Coast
fliers, many of whom have returned several times and have generally given the
site high marks.

To those who do not feel it's worth the "risk" to come to a site that may not
compare to Lost Hills in terms of size or weather, I say that with few
exceptions, it's your loss not to have come. Many excellent competitions have
been held at Muncie, and hopefully this will continue for many years. And to
be fair, I have seen days at Lost Hills that were cold, windy, rainy, dusty,
or some combination of those factors too.

Jim Haught

Contact Cement
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In response to John Cuthbert request for a contact cement suitable for
applying Mylar type film, I would like to pass along that I have been using
Pliobond contact cement, (available at most hardware stores, especially Ace
Hardware stores), thinned 50% with MEK. More that likely neither of these
are available in California!

The Pliobond/MEK sticks much better that any of the hobby shop cements. I
have used it to attach Mylar, Micafilm, and Icarex with good results. The
only thing I have noticed is that it works best with Icarex when the Icarex
is applied about 1/2 to 1 hour after applying the thinned Pliobond. With the
Micafilm and Mylar I noticed no difference even if allowed to dry overnight.

I have also found out that repairing small holes, up to several rib bays,
with any heat sensitive cement is like pushing a rope. The material will
shrink faster than it will stick. The solution I have found that works great
is to apply the patch with clear dope, just like you would do with a tissue
patch. Allow the clear dope to dry completely, at least 1 hour, and then
shrinking up the patch with heat. The clear dope is not bothered by the
heat. Beside that clear dope still smells good.

Jim Bradley

Big Al's FAI Shootout
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May 25-26, 02
Well, we got it done OK, although it looked a little bad on the weather
reports, and the wind was at about 15 at 7 a.m on both days. Several guys
took off on us before 8 o'clock. By start time both days the weather calmed
down and got into the beautiful category, which lasted through the day into
the flyoffs.
Both flyoffs were finished the next morning.
Thanks to all 58 souls who came.
Results 2-25 . . . F1G-H-JF1G
1. John Sessums 1192
2. Mike Mulligan 1186
3. Bill Davis 1010
4. Larry Norval 919
5. Dick Wood 872
6. Paul Crowley 703
7. Bob Critchlow 578
8. Peter Brocks 552
9. George Schroedter 549
Roger Morrell 549
11. Bob White 464
12. Michael Davis 434
13. Hank Cole 428
14. John Pratt 406
15. Jack Emery 390
1. Mike McKeever 1255
2. Dallas Parker 1169
3. Pierre Brun 684
4. Norm Smith 598
5. Brian VanNest 541
6. Martyn Cowley 534
7. Ben Coussens (Jr. Hi-time) 522
8. Lee Hines 402

1. Ed Carroll 780
2. Guy Mennano 727
3. Dave Johannes 699
4. Fred Ginder III 559
5. Matthew Kruse 544
6. Roger Simpson 230
7. Tom Laird 222
8. Tony Robertson DNF
1. Dean Clark 1560
2. Pierre Brun 1318
3. Lee Hines 1256
4. Hector Diez 1223
5. Peter Brocks 1215
6. Mike McKeever 1210
7. Jim Parker 1173
8. Tom Coussens 1150
9. Ernesto Busnelli 1138
10. Craig Cusick 1135
11. Brian Van Nest 1100
12. Dimitro Kozlyuk 1021
13. Norm Smith 1018
14. Dallas Parker (Jr. Hi Time) 844
15. Don Zink 664
16. Ben Coussens 315

1. Dane Jensen 1980
2. Dick Wood 1936
3. Paul Crowley 1549
4. Walt Ghio 1260
5. John Pratt 1231
6. Blake Jensen 1221
7. Rich Rohrke 1214
8. Roger Morrell 1151
9. Jerry Peck 764
10. Derek McGukin 455
11. Chuck Dorsett 327
12. John Sessums 150
13. Alex Andriukov 125
14. George Schroedter 119

1. Randy Archer 2080
2. Ron McBurnett 1897
3. Dave Johannes 1889
4. Doug Joyce 1205
5. Roger Simpson 1195
6. Guy Mennano 1117
7. Bob Johannes 947
8. Ken Happersett 859
9. David Halliday 788
10. Mike Ryan 123
11. Ed Carroll 122
12. Terry Kerger 106
13. Roger Coleman DNF

The Muncie Problem
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I have to comment on the Muncie neighbor problem.

I agree that modelers need to take the" humble " approach when dealing
with these folks. Arrogance will get us nothing but more trouble.

However, it is up to the AMA to placate these people. I suspect that a
little PR work and an annual "access fee" of a few thousand dollars to
each of the neighbors, particularly on the East side, would do the
trick. Even a fee of as much as $10,000 each would be a drop in the
bucket in the AMA budget.


Muncie limitations
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Flying Mulvi at Muncie almost always involves an off-the-field retireve
past the 3 minute round. My experience is that as the rounds progress you
get further and further into the corn to the east of the flight line. My
routine is to follow the model on the bike, watch it DT into the corn, get
a line and estimate a distance, then go back in the car with the receiver
and locate the model. I notice that it's not the size of the field that
is necessarily the problem, but that the model is really high when it
I think that RC/DT would solve a lot of problems.
Last time I flew a 6 or 7 minute round I could have easily stayed on the
field if I could have elected to DT early and let the time spent in DT
count toward the max. It's a good argument for the system, which I know
has been thrashed out already, but maybe it's time to revisit the idea

Field Liaison
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I sympathise with the problems at Muncie and read with
interest the suggestions on how to solve the problems.
Mick Myers mentions Middle Wallop in the UK and how
they try and get round the issues with landowners. I
though I would add to his comments.

In the UK almost all out flying sites are surrounded by
farm fields with crops. We are now down to small
numbers of sites and can't afford to loose another. The
approach taken here is that a small number of flyers
(often only one) take responsibility for a site to
ensure that the farmers know when the contests near
their fields will take place and take note of concerns
the farmers have. For example this weekend (June 1st
through 3rd) are our National Championships on a site
barely 1 mile square so many flights leave the
airfield. Some months ago the farmers would have been
contacted and the week before an individual will ring
or visit each farmer to understand their needs. Maps of
problem areas are displayed at our control van and
copies often given to each flyer. If the wind swings in
a bad direction we move the control van. In this way
this major contest (over 800 event entries) will
proceed without problem. At the end of the year there
is often a goodie bag (including finest Scottish liquid
I understand) for all local farmers.

A similar process is used for the majority of events in
the UK and yes it takes a lot of effort by a few people
who get little credit. The BMFA office can help but
it's the personal touch by responsible people with good
communications skills that make it happen. This way we
have kept the fields we have through periods of
increasing use of the farm land (ie increased game bird

We still get loonies though. I hear a recent story
about a flyer climbing a fence that was specifically
prohibited in the pre-contest briefing by the RAF. Any
guesses if we have this site next year ? I wish you
guys the best of luck.

Chris Edge aka 'Edge of Beyond'

Talk to Land Owners
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I agree with Gil. Proper (and polite) contact and prior notification of
contests is the only way. Here in Sacramento, we were having an escalating
problem with the lady to the North of our site and were in danger of being
blocked from having retrieves to the North which has been the prevailing
direction for the last forty years or so. It turned out that there had been
some rather heated confrontations (and worse) that for the most part we knew
nothing about. People seem to leave out details that tend to make them look
like an ass and we weren't getting the full story. Also, in '93, at the
Sierra Cup, a "herd of foreigners went stomping through her fields and
wouldn't or couldn't talk to her" (her words). She hasn't forgotten that.

She did call me about a lost model of mine and a relationship began
developing from that point. It turned out that really all they wanted was to
have their rights respected; after all, it WAS their land. We established a
set of guidelines - keeping gates closed, not damaging fences, keeping clear
of their man-eating dogs and such. They get a contest schedule every year
and we also send them to a good local restaurant from time to time. It now
turns out that the whole area sort of knows that she has a pipeline to us
(me) and we now find out (or get blamed for) stuff as it happens but after
the fact turns out not to be us, we were just handy.

We yearly put out information to the clubs and remind people that we have to
be careful. People have short memories so you must keep after them. The
C.D.s see that a sweep of the gates and fences is done at the end of the
day. At this point things are going well. Now as long as the developers,
enviornmentalists, E.P.A. and such keeping fighting we will stay there.

- Chris Borland, Sierra Eagles

Re: Affordable milligram scale
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There was a recent request for an affordable milligram scale. The top of
the line digital scales from Mettler and Sartorius have a range to about
200.000g, have many neat features like built in calibration but make geared
F1C's look cheap. The tracible calibration sticker can keep a company out
of court. "No one gets fired for buying Mettler or Sartorius"

EBay usually has some listings which are much more affordable. I have seen
these at Auctions, Pawn Shops, School Sales and even Estate/Yard sales (eBay
listings have to come from somewhere). If you want a warrantee a large used
equipment dealer like MHz (megaHertz) in Phoenix will have a large selection
at maybe 1/4 new price.

"Manual Digitals" where you balance the specimen weight by turning knobs are
maybe 1/10 the price of a true digital. Reason they have any value at all
is due to the precision weights inside. Otherwise they'd be like a 486,
good machine, no market.

Even cheaper are DIY Homemade Microgram Electrobalances in June 1996
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN. The principle of Force Restoration is basically the
same as the expensive digitals. The unit shown uses manual balancing but
could be adapted to auto with an optical sensor of arm position.

Almost no cost at all is a deflection beam or simple balance made from a
balsa stick, razor blade fulcrum and some wire.

Too many choices. Keep your eyes open.
The best deal will appear just after you bit the bullet for a lesser choice,

reply to Muncie comments
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My name is Ben Coussens I am a Junior Free Flight F1A team member
that has flown at Muncie and thoroughly enjoyed myself and I have heard a
lot of comments from freeflighters about the recent trouble we are having
in with the people around the field and i would now like to make some of
my own. I attended the 2001 Nats in Muncie and i had no problem with
these land owners. I had an airplane that landed in the bean field and
my dad and I went to look for it and the people on the property watched
us and did not have a problem with it. I agree with everyone in that we
should ask permission of the land owners but i believe that the land
owner that did that malicious act to the Avalones should be talked to so
we can find out what it would take to be able to get our models without
ticking the owners off. All the suggestions I have heard sound great but
those suggestions are from people that are not the land owners. If we
really want to make progress with this situation with the neighbors we
have to sit and talk to the land owners and get suggestions from them
ONLY. Someone said that everyone should use a tracker at the Muncie
field and that is a great idea but when that airplane hits the bean
fields it sinks right into it and you will still spend hours trying to
locate it. I hope we do reach an understanding with the people that live
on the premises of the field and i hope that we can get together with the
landowners to reach an agreement which satisfies both the flyers and the
owners needs.

Ben Coussens

NiMH Batteries

A number of F1A flyers with Electronic Timers are using the
110mah NiMH batteries. These batteries are the same size as the
typical 50 mah NiCAD but with more than twice the capacity.
I supply these batteries in 4 and 5 cell packs. I use
them for testing timers and other purposes and have never had a failure.
Some people have reported battery failures. The charging of
these batteries is different from NiCAD. The small Sirius 100
Charger will charge them correctly. However using the
larger Sirius charger, in particular the one that has
both Tx and Rx charging with the lowest rate of 250 mah will
shorten the life of the NiMH batteries. With this charger
it is probably OK to charge 110 mah NiCADS but not the NiMH.

Roger Morrell