SEN 1054 - 24 Nov 2006
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SEN 24 Nov 2006 issue 1054
Table of Content
How Do You Get Started in FAI Free Flight? Edits by Jim Parker
Letter to the Editor(s) of FFN and SEN - JOD
Do you know what the below is about?
2007 Patterson-- Jim Parker and the winners
Rule changes - Thomas
Simple performance fix- F1A-B-C - Acheterberg
Banning thermal detectors? - Schroedter
The Emperor's New Clothes - Shailor
Step By Step Please - Gabor
The Full Circle - you Judge it - Keville
How Do You Get Started in FAI Free Flight? Edits by Jim Parker
Adapted from: How Do You Get Started in CL Combat? by Tom Siegler
From MACA news, newsletter of the Miniature Aircraft
FAI Free Flight Association in Nov. 2006 AMA Insider, National Newsletter
Edits: replaced Combat with FAI FF and matches with flights.
Editorial comments and addition in [ ]. Deleted some sentences in entirety.
Other than that, the Combat article is unchanged. An amazing similarity
between our sports.
Wow, that's a loaded question. I can relate because I have only been
flying five years now, and FAI Free Flight for only three years. [Mike
Thompson would be a great example of some one who has done it mostly
right] The biggest thing in getting started is finding help. This can
come from many places: online, local fliers. [deleted 'even RCers',
sorry could not go that far] Second is simple and reliable equipment.
This does not mean cheap! I spent the first two or three years trying to
save money. I now feel this was the wrong approach because it was false
economy. Why? The $35 eBay motor that you spend $10 for a head, then
$15 more for a needle-valve assembly that you cannot get parts for any
longer after the piston and liner gets burned up is not economical. No
engines that take six months to a year to get and then longer to get a
new needle valve to replace the one that broke off can ever be called
economical. [Similar logic for the lesser quality factory bought models
or used up second models] I spent much time, money, and frustration with
getting set up for this class early on. I tired the eBay engine shop.
[or used up second models} This works but I have found that it is more
important, much more economical, and extremely more satisfying to use
What do I mean by 'good equipment?' Well, first of all that can be cheap,
but does not necessarily mean the lowest price. Most important
is to have a setup that is easy to work on and start well. If you can't
get a $10 engine started to begin the flight, you spent way too much
and just get to feverishly work on the engine for five minutes. [don't
DT, engine does not shut of, DPR does not release etc.]
Here are my top three things to keep in mind when starting out in FAI
1) Maximize the fun by flying more. The only reason any of us are in this
sport is for the fun. Every person's definition of fun is different. In
some cases it is the competitive man-on-man nature of the flight; for
others it is in tinkering with equipment, engines, and airframes; while
there are those who enjoy the camaraderie of the participants. For me it
is a mix of all of these.
One aspect that makes this more enjoyable is a conscious commitment to
the sport. I have a good idea of how much time and money it will cost to
fly next season and I have balanced my desires as a FAI Free Flight flier
with the needs of my family, career, and other interests. Being realistic
about my financial and time commitments lets me enjoy the sport without
conflicting priorities in the rest of my life.
For the beginner, it is not obvious what it will take to compete in this
sport. Fortunately, for someone who already flies Free Flight, getting
started in FAI Free Flight can cost as little as a few [several] hundred
dollars. The time required to get equipment set up, practice, and compete
can be significant, but not outrageous. In the end, I figure I spend
less money and comparable time to just about any other hobby I have been
serious about, including athletic sports, crafts, travel, music, and
the arts. Another aspect of having fun in the sport is pushing your limits.
By nature, all FAI Free Flight fliers are risk takers, joy riders, and
living in the moment (at least during the five minutes of a flight)
[catching in a 12 mph wind].
Not sure if you are good enough to enter a contest? Not sure if your
equipment will hold up? You will never know if you don't take a stab at it.
FAI Free Flight (at its best) is a participant's sport that cannot be
fully appreciated as a spectator. Of course, pushing your limits will
result in failures in many instances, but what the heck? If your
expectations are realistic, losing flights (missing a max] or breaking
equipment isn't be a big deal.
2) Steepen your learning curve. The absolute best thing you can do to
get started or improve in FAI Free Flight is to find a flying
partner-preferably someone who is experienced and can show you the
ropes, but anyone who will get in the circle and work with you is better
than flying alone. Seek someone out at the next contest or at the
practice field. If you are like me and live in a place with few local
fliers, try to carve some extra time out during contest weekends to
fly before or after the event in practice flights.
There are many treatises on practicing FAI Free Flight, Phil Carter and
Rich Lopez (Bob Isaacsion, Jim Wilson] have had several good columns in
the mode l magazines (NFFS, NFFS Symposium] regarding improved practice.
I would add to their advice by suggesting that you make practices mimic
flights. Fly the same equipment (airplane, engine, fuel, etc.) as at
contests. Saving the 'best' equipment for the day of the contest means
it will be unfamiliar and will result in undue frustration.
There is no substitute for the experience of being 'on the handle ' [at
the end of a towline] at a contest. The more flights you fly, the more
comfortable you will be with the procedures, and the more you will be
able to focus on flying well and improving. I suggest flying as many
events as possible at a contest; take advantage of every opportunity to
be in the circle. In general, you have an opportunity to learn form every
flight. Whether you have flown the national champion or a local hack, take
the time to think back on the flight and figure out what you did well or
poorly and the same for your opponent. Did they do something you need
to learn or try in the next flight? Think about position in the air,
recovery from vulnerable positions (and how to avoid them), and
pilot position in the circle [thermal cycles, indicator models etc].
3) Reduce equipment frustration. New pilots can quickly become frustrated
with their flying ability and their equipment. The former can be helped
by the items discussed above. Some simple guidelines around equipment can
further reduce equipment frustration. In the good old days equipment was
finicky and required significant 'tuning' to be competitive. Beginning
pilots generally had low-performing equipment which improved over time
with their flying as they became experts in flying and in setting
Nowadays, excellent equipment can be purchased flight-ready at reasonable
prices. It behooves a new pilot to start with proven equipment that
requires a minimum of tuning. With experience will come a better
understanding of how to further improve equipment. A new pilot has a
long way to go before he or she will be limited by the performance of the
ARF FAI Free Flight equipment available today. If you are not sure about
something, ask. I have yet to meet a pilot who will not be open and free
with information and advice-sometimes too much advice-on equipment. When
you see a good idea, copy it. Whether it is pit boxes, engines, hardware,
starting procedures, or anything else, learn from the experienced fliers
at the field.
Letter to the Editor(s) of FFN and SEN
FAI rules and the like
The Russian Rule Change proposals, and the subsequent meeting at
Odessa to discuss them, have produced predictable opposition -
as reported in both FFN and SEN.
First of all it needs to be appreciated that people fly an event
because they like it as it is - and hence will oppose any
suggestion that will significantly change the event and/or
devalue their models, equipment, or expertise.
The notion that rule proposals should only be voted on by those
who fly the event is superficially plausible, but effectively
means that the rules will remain "set in stone".
The proposals in question are little more than mere tinkering
with the rules. The UK proposal to restrict thermal detection
devices is little better. These ideas are perceived solutions,
which are then debated on the basis of their appeal and/or
This is all "cart before horse" - as it is more meaningful to
start with the problem, rather than a suggested answer.
It is appropriate to first consider just what the contests are
intended to determine - which is the "best" model or who is the
"best" flier - or a mix of the two ?
We should realise that "the best model" concept is hardly
applicable any more, especially when a number of competitors
could have brought nearly identical models - maybe from the same
supplier. Are small differences in the models' performance still
significant ? Are they anything to do with the customer ?
FAI Competition Free-flight is in a difficult situation. The
models have far too much performance, and their operators are
too good at air-picking, for the facilities (flying sites) that
are generally available - unless it is unusually calm.
Unfortunately there is no simple, and acceptable, solution to
this situation. Suggestions intended to reduce performance have
produced immediate and vociferous complaints. This is hardly
surprising, even though the proposed changes are comparatively
minor. To cut performance sufficently a complete rewrite of the
specifications is logically necessary. Minor revisions are not
going to produce a two-minute model - which is about what we
need (rather than want)
We have got good at "picking lift." and thermal flying in
general. Such knowledge will not disappear even if restrictions
are imposed on the aids allowed. Some people are sensitive to
warmth and draughts and hence can "feel" lift. Experience is
also valuable - and harder to buy than electronics. Others will
merely watch everyone else and wait to be shown a thermal.
"Tactical flying" is what it was called.
Flying sites are harder to find and obtain, even for those
willing to travel. Big sites are scarcer than small ones. A
flight of several minutes in anything like wind will travel a
long way. The implications are obvious and unappealing. The
participants are getting old(er) and fewer in number. The
survivors are reluctant to accept arduous conditions. Most would
settle for an easy life - meaning pleasant calm weather, a large
field with no obstacles, trouble-free retrieving, high scores,
and the model back in one piece. Competition success is
secondary to many.
Attention has therefore centred on attempting to manipulate the
weather by arranging flying when the wind strength is
(hopefully) low. Measures suggested include flying early or late
in the day, applying a wind-speed limit, postponements to the
next day (or whenever). Some implications seem to have been
overlooked. The weather may not be cooperative, necessitating a
curtailed contest or finishing on another day. Whilst the
latter has obvious drawbacks, the former may be worse in that
some competitors may lobby the CD to either stop or continue -
as suits them personally. Those "on top" will wish to stay
there, and a premature finish may ensure this. Others still in
contention may want to fly regardless of the conditions. It
would be naive to suppose that this scenario will never happen !
Pity the poor CD. He will need to be hard-of-hearing and have a
very thick skin.
If the flier is considered to be all-important (rather than his
model) then adverse conditions should separate "the men from the
boys" more convincingly than the alternative. I am not saying
that it is pleasant to fly in bad weather. I am saying that it
gives better discrimination
* * * * * *
It might be instructive to review what we actually do in the UK.
Here we have a relatively healthy domestic scene - relative that
is to interest in the FAI contests that are also held. Many of
the FAI specialists really are "Continental Gadabouts" - some
flying abroad more than at home.
We live on a wet and windy island - so our domestic contests
usually have a max set to suit the field, rather than the
potential of the models The contests have a starting time and a
preset finish. Rounds
are rarely employed, and three flights are usual. Predictably
max-outs are common, and sometimes large. Flyoffs are a single
unlimited flight, held in a quarter-hour "slot" after the close
of the preliminary flights. It is normal (and accepted) that
winning flights will outfly the site - often by considerable
Yes, the flyoffs can be determined by wind, visibility, timer’s
ability, downwind obstacles, and other factors. Nevertheless it
works for us. Whilst the purists might argue that a single
flyoff is unsatisfactory it does have considerable advantages.
Everyone knows what to expect, and more-or-less when. The
contest can and will be concluded that day. The CD has little to
decide except for scheduling the sequence of flyoffs for several
events. Such flyoffs are real contests -often strongly contested
with participants being prepared to do what they consider
necessary in the circumstances. The flyoff may not be what
performance fliers like, but it is still a very real contest.
Certainly it puts emphasis on the flier doing the right things
at the right time,
Adopting FAI procedures "across the board" would have serious
consequences over here. Possible postponements, even
cancellations, would be expected if the weather forecast were
bad. Who would cross the country in such circumstances ? Who
wants to witness "the opposition" pressurising the CD to do what
they want ?
We still suffer from dwindling numbers - another problem with no
apparent solution -as the participants inevitably become older
and tired. Few want any changes. "Enjoy it while we can for as
long as it lasts" seems to be the philosophy. This is depressing
- but may well be realistic.
* * * * *
Regrettably I can not suggest a simple answer to the problems
besetting Free Flight at FAI (or other) levels - or at least not
one acceptable to those presently involved. Who would welcome
changes sufficiently drastic to halve present-day performance ?
Who would dare propose them ?
21 November 2006
Do you know what the below is about?
Do you know what the below is about?
This is the first time that I've had a SEN stopped at the border. Is it a
virus or something else?
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, November 21, 2006 4:03 AM
Subject: SEN issue 1053 20 November 2006
> This message has been processed by Xtra's Anti-Virus filter.
> Unknown00000000.data was not scanned for viruses because too many nested
> levels of files were found.
> For more information on anti-virus tips and technology, visit
sometimes there Ihave left a spurious attachment in an e-mail
but did not do so with that edition - so I do not know.
A number of people have reported not getting SEN
this is because the so ISPs are introducing additional
valiadation that are not supported by the
software we use - no solution until we get around
to up grading, which will be a while]
2007 Patterson-- Jim Parker
The Patterson contest was returned to the ten round, two day format for
F1A, B,C several years ago. On Saturday, the mini-events fly first and
take a mid-day rest while the first five rounds of F1A,B,C are flown. The
fifth round is an extended "simulated' five minute flyoff round for all
three events. Saturday evening is used for the mini-event flyoff. On
Sunday another five rounds is flown for F1A,B,C with the first round max
time set at 4 minutes.
For this year's contest, Saturday morning and the weather forecast did
not look too promising. Light rain showers but the breeze was low when the
mini events started. The F1J flyers were not into this scene and did not
fly. F1H and G flew and several made the flyoff. A stronger breeze come up
for the fifth round in F1A,B,C and so the max time was reduced from the
scheduled 5 minute to 4 minute. Sunday morning the scheduled 4 minute
max was increased to 5 minutes. Over all the weather was pleasant with
sufficient challenges to make for an exciting contest.
Following are the views of the 2007 Patterson winners. Thanks to them for
sharing their thoughts that give us an insight to their tactics. Our many
thanks to Hector and Susana Diez and Bob Norton for setting and running
the contest. Via La SCAT.
I was surprised to win this one but again satisfied as it gave me the AmCup
lead. Started with a Stamov mechanical nostalgia model (a long) and when
I went to switch it after round 3 when wind and thermals were more apparent,
my 4 servo Stamov short (state of art) would not unlatch so back to
the long mechanical which I knew was not a good model for the conditions.
Sure enough I dropped 22 seconds on the round 5 four minute max...end of
I thought so. But wait there's more. The next morning we flew a 5 minute
first round and if this was the fly off I would have won. Flew the World
Champs winner and it Dt'd at 35 feet at 5:10. Rene and Mike Thompson
squeaked the 5 and I think Pierre had a nice flight, other than that, a
number of drops. I flew earlier in the round and launched with several
other top competitors nearby (that I'm sure in hindsight wish they
had gone). Think I flew the mechanical next round and by then had fixed
the short 4 servo's hook issue and maxed out from there without any
close ones while the two that were clean missed. The contest was decided
in the early 5 minute round and I was happy with that flight. One of
those contests that just fell to me but I'll take it!
F1B-- Charlie Jones
My intent was to try flying one model for all 10 rounds over the two
days. During testing at the team finals I had spent a lot of time
determining how much to change the trim between the early morning flights
vs thermal rounds and wanted to confirm the settings. Unfortunately I had
a DPR failure in round 8 which required me to fly another model for
the remainder of the contest,with the 1st model repaired and ready as
a backup. I flew with SuperSport motors in all rounds (including the early
5 min round) except the 4 min round at the end of the 1st day and the
flyoff flight. The 4 min round seemed particular tough. I was timing my
son Kyle's glider flight and watch many of the top glider fliers fail to
make the max. I waited till late in the round when the air seemed more
stable to go. The toughest rounds were around the 11 am - 1 pm time
frame. I always let Kyle fly first in each of the rounds and then he would
come and time me. I had couple close calls on both days with some
flights DT only a few feet off the ground. In the final flyoff flight
Martin Schroedter, Roger Morrell and I all launched pretty much at
the same time. I stayed up wind a little longer then the others and was
able to lock into some good lift for the 7 min max. As side note, after
DT'ing early and missing the max by 4 seconds in the F1G flyoff the day
before I had set my DT an extra notch down on the scroll to be sure on this
flight which resulted in an 8 min. flight and 11 min before the model
landed. I have been to this contest for the past two years and find it
to be a great time. Flying 10 flights on Saturday (5 F1G, 5 F1B) you
have little time to catch your breath. And with my son flying F1H and F1A
this year it was more hectic with getting in 20 rounds plus the flyoff
flights just on Saturday! I think we were asleep by 8:30 pm that night.
Thanks to Hector, Susanna, and Bob for well run contest."
F1C-- Matt Gewain
The turn out in F1C was small there were only three entered in the contest.
With the mid day start for F1C the bad weather had past by the start of the
contest. Doug Joyce was flying his new model that he had been working with
all summer and Ed Carroll was flying one of his newer models that had been
flying well all fall. I flew my first folder at the start of the contest.
The weather looked great the first round but the down drafts were very
strong. In the first round Ed Carroll had motor problems with only half
altitude he found one of the down drafts, landed in the wake line and
unfortunately hit a streamer pole damaging the model. Doug Joyce and I
had more luck picking air and maxed out the 5 rounds the first day.
The last round Saturday was an extended round. The Max was reduced to 4
minutes because the wind was toward the gypsum pits and road. I flew with
a long DT setting planning on RDTing the model. Doug flew first that round
and the air looked good, I flew soon after he flew. At 4 minutes my model
was over the slope hill so I let it glide longer. At about 5 minutes I was
past the end of the hill, I could see where the model would land so I
DTed the model. Doug could not find his model after that flight.
The next morning Doug still had not found his model. He missed flying that
morning 5 minute flight. During the second round on Sunday Walt Ghio found
Doug stopped flying the contest at that point. I was the only one still
flying the contest in F1C. The third round I switched to my new folder
On that round the spring that unlatches one wing broke. Only one wing
unfolded, I RDTed the model so there was no damage. The time was only 26
seconds. The next flight I switch back to the first folder. The air
conditions were very hard to pick the last two rounds.
F1G-- Jack Emery:
Confessions of a Coupe flyer (Patterson 2006)
We could only come for Saturday due to a Sunday Family obligation. So it
worked out well that the Coupe event was Saturday. We used the free
night coupon at Motel Six!
The two models left in my box, at this years end, are both test beds for new
DT methods. The model I really wanted to fly was an Anselmo Zeri inspired
folding wing system. However during assembly a critical line was found
missing. So back in the box it goes. Next was a Hank Cole 'Plus 4'.
It's at least eight grams over weight less rain drops. The model flew
well at Boulder City so with one test flight, let's go for it.
The troubles started after the rains came. Some of the turbulator strips started to swim around on the Mylar covering. Didn't notice this till I had a fully wound motor, so just 'launched and hoped'. They stayed on! Later when all had dried out I taped the worst ones down. Next round, more trouble. Another fully wound motor and something slipped in the motor tube. Didn't sound too bad, so another 'launch and hope' routine. That's the end of this contest! Poor climb, no power, and at the end of motor run the prop assembly falls off. Hey the rules according to Walt, and he should know, says do it over. By this time the embarrassment was a bit much. Could have packed it in and slinked away. However Sharron would still be chewing on me if I had. Found the prop in the weeds, re-assembled all, and launched before the end of the round for a max.
By fly off time the weather was getting cold but somewhat calm. I just
squeaked through the three minute round, but got lucky next round with
a great patch of buoyant air for an unexpected win. That's my last 'have
at it' for this year. I hope Ghio and Crowley can make it to Eloy in
December and capture the 105 point brass.
For now, I NEED TO BUILD REPLACEMENTS!!!
Don't remember any close calls through the five 2 minute rounds, a little
rain that I largely avoided but nothing where I felt I'd made a mistake.
Not much lift but no holes either. Remember talking to Brian Van Nest
and remarking that he was kicking my butt on launches but told me I had
5 flights to get it right. I think most of the field maxed out so the
usual suspects (less one Scat Pres who arrived late with the AmCup lead)
flew a three that everyone maxed and the event was decided in the four
minute round. I towed about 300 yards upwind and no one followed.
Watched Brian launch two minutes in and it didn't look like 4 minutes.
Circled in better than flat conditions on my own for the last 4 minutes
of the round and launched with about 30 seconds left in the round.
Good launch (thanks Brian) and I think I made the max by a couple of
seconds for the win. Flew a 5 year old Stamov that I've pretty much been
flying in every contest. Probably got 30 seconds help from the air I
launched in. I was pretty satisfied with the way it went given the
competition in the fly off. I won that event, which was not the
case in F1A.
Editor's note-- having put the contest bulletined together, you'd think
I'd know what time the F1H round started. I'm putting the model together
and Mike McKeever approaches, "Pretty calm for someone with 45 seconds left
in the round". Worked out OK and allowed me more time to walk around with
Cathy and chit-chat with people. In F1A, I was happy being one of
the 4 flyers maxed out after 5 rounds. The next morning, I offered to
let Andrew fly first. He too was maxed out and posed to take the AmCup
lead if he could win. His strategy was unless he was sure he had 5
minute air early, he'd wait until the end of the round for the first real
lift. Andrew towed and checked out Pierre's air and Mike's. Thirty
minutes into the round Norm and Merry Smith helped time so I could tow.
The air was decaying. With 7 minutes left in the round, I thought I
had good solid holding air, set-up and launched at the ridge / flight
line. Nothing there-- first circle over the hard pack-- Andrew checked
it out and passed. I did just over 4 minutes. Andrew went to the south
west into the grass, found a pocket of slightly better air. He had a
good launch and initially looked good but it did not hold low-- did
about 4 minutes and 40 seconds. Rene Limberger, the AmCup leader made
his 5 minute flight with 2 seconds to spare. He has been flying very
well over the last few contests, looking good. Latter in the day, he
decided to stay with is long ship, got a launch off to the side
resulting in a drop- an unhappy camper. To end this story, I go into
the last flight knowing Mike McKeever had won. I consoled myself thinking
that I had flown my two ehook models for all the flights and thought I had
fixed the occasion 're-latch" failures that had been plaguing me.
I'm towing, air gets better, other marker models looking good. I set
up to launch but the model stays left, I must of tugged too hard
activating the unlatch and bunt. The model pitches over and pulls
up and the flag is still attached. The model is at 25 feet and
starts to circle. I try to pull it around and the flag falls off.
Apparently the ring was off and the flag got caught in the hook when
it re-latched. The pull ripped the flag off. The model is at 15- 20
feet. I now go running after the model hoping to get it down for an
attempt, I've pulled off my shirt and plan to throw it at the model.
Andrew yells 20 seconds at which point I start flapping. Mike Thompson rides
over and asks if I want him to moto-flap. Mike is a good sort even
if he did 'steal' away my thermal using his spectacular motorcycle cycle
skills to win the last F1H contest. "Sure!" and off he goes. The
model rocked and rolled to the amazement of the crowd upwards for
At last maybe some sense. To those who say no changes, I guess you
live in the real capitalist world, and have the money to buy what you
fly and do not have the mindset , and think you cannot do as well as the
"professionals" ( why not just try!!!!!!)) with the ability to design,
make or think through the vagaries of the design of someone else that
you are using! I left F1C when it became obvious that my limited
machining skills and design theories could not compete with the
"professional" models ( but they competed very well up to then!!!!!!!).
I enjoyed my time and loved looking thro' the plansbooks of the
models at World Champs,( with which W/C was the last plans-book
published?) to see what was different to mine and what I should improve.
Talking to other modellers was a comparison of models and designs, not
a comparison of costs. Now the only improvement seems to be in the
amount of money fronted to the professional model builders to try to buy
the W/C! and (with respect to Roger Morrell) , with the electronics that
you buy but cannot make and do not really understand!!!! ) .Martin
Gregorie makes sense, but one rule change could limit F1C performance
instantly - " Engine venturi diameter of 0.2 inches (5 mm) and
propellers to have a diameter of 8.5 inches, (216 mm) and a pitch
between 4 and 6 inches (100 to 150 mm). Possibly the engine run could
go back to 7 secs - should make the time-keepers happy!!! And to keep
the glide time down decrease the moment arm (TE of wing to LE of TP) to
a maximum 900 mm (35 inches). This would limit the aspect ratios but
could lead to some great redesigning and some rethinking. To those who
say "What do you know!!" and the wealthy disclaimers, I would reply -
you need the ones who have left the sport to renew, or you are
seriously underpeopled and in real danger of disappearing in the next
few years, and yes my results give me and my personally designed and
built models an enormous amount of satisfaction. Well the last item I
posted on Scat gave me some hate mail and "idiot" mail so this should be
good. I promise to forward all mail to Scat if of this variety.
Money can't buy everything!!!
Simple performance fix- F1A-B-C
Hello F1 Fliers;
After reading all the comments for the last couple of weeks, which has been
entertaining to say the least, I have a few thoughts for the fliers and
organizers to ponder.
First a few comments. Which F1 fliers are proposing rule changes for
the event or events they actually fly? Of the hundreds of F1 fliers let
in the world how many are complaining about performance? Seems like 3 to
5%! Are the other 95% calling for performance reduction? Is this driven
by the organizers who do not want to stay until late evening to finish
fly-offs? Are the changes promoted by the hobby manufacturers to
increase sales? Just a few of many questions to be addressed before we
gut the hobby/sport into oblivion!
There is a simple way to address the perceived problems and some
have been addresses already. Simply, don't fly the round when it is
too windy! In addition;
There is a system in the US that allows the Cd to make on site
adjustments due to field size or wind and it is categorizing - Cat1-
Cat2- Cat 3. This will attain the goals that everyone is harping about,
ie. performance due to field size and wind. It also will allow the current
models to stay as is. Any rule change that makes current models obsolete
will end free-flight as we no it! Who wants to stand up and say I changed the
rules and made your $5000.00 to $10,000.00 worth of models useless?
And then expect them to go buy/build more and start over! Some will, yes,
but I would guess 50% to 75% WILL NOT!! I guess this will cut down
performance, fly-off numbers, as there will be very few people flying! !
Is this what we want?
The cat system is fairly simple for 2 events, F1A and F1C, but f1B is
harder but doable. These are merely suggestions for this and can be
adjusted as more ideas come in for a final proposal. THESE ARE FOR WINDY
WEATHER AND SMALL FIELDS!!!
1) F1A- As Victor suggested shorten towline to 40 M. and maybe add
weight-50grams and maybe fly a 2minute or 2.5 minute max.
This will reduce altitude and duration and shorten fly offs for the CD>
Does this not take care of the problems without changing the models? And
when the weather is not windy allow the models to perform to there full
wpotential. Thus no model changes and the problem is solved!
2) F1C- Small field and or windy conditions lower the engine run to 4 or
3 seconds. Shorten max to 2 or 2.5 minutes. This allows all current models
to be flown and addresses the performance issue on the given days that
the wind is too high or field is too small. No model changes necessary
and all the fliers have to do is reset timer engine run. All other functions
stay the same. Models fly the same as to transition, glide etc! And like
above when the wind is low the models can be set up to fly to their
maximum performance. Easy fix!
3)F1B- The tough one!! You can't say use 20 gr. motors! This suggestion is
very bad, especially in the wind! they will just get blown over and probably
crash. Although this will reduce performance! Not an option! But keep 30
gr, and add weight. Simple and does affect performance and allow the models
to stay the same. How to do this.
The CD makes up X number of 50 gram weights. Use Golf Club lead tape
and weigh out 50 grams. It is a sticky backed lead tape and place on CG
on bottom of motor tube. To do this I suggest that you first put a piece
of Scotch Magic tape on motor tube and then stick golf club tape to
this. Easily removed after contest without harming motor tube finish.
The golf club lead is very sticky and hard to remove, but scotch tape barrier
fixes the problem.
I asked Peter King to run numbers on this and it will reduce performance
by aminute plus! Over 50 feet in altitude which will help keep models on
smaller fields and glide reduction and DT faster . This can also be
incorporated with reduced max times of 2 or 2.5 minutes. Small field fix
and windy weather fix! Problem solved without model changes and once again
allows us to fly our toys to their maximum performance on the days that
conditions, wind, allows us to do so.
Conclusion- Now, admittedly none of these is perfect, but it allows
the ability to address all concerning issues without throwing away $1000,00's
of dollars worth of models. And on the days where the wind or field size
lets us hang it all out, we can go for it! Even on a small field when it
is calm the models only go a few hundred yards and why not allow the
fliers to enjoy the performance they have achieved. I find it beautiful to
watch the models glide and roll with the slight air current changes as they
float along thru the blue sky or even the brown Haze of Lost Hills in
the fall. Like I have stated in the past, we are a fraternity of fliers,
and a small one at that, so lets do the right thing and keep as many flying
as possible. Changing models will only shrink our already shrinking group of
this fraternity of freeflighters! Let us think before we jump into
something that will destroy what we all enjoy doing. For most of us it
is a chance to relive our long lost youth for a few weekends a year and
share a world wide thrill of flying our toys and telling stories with our
friends. Happy Holidays!
Banning thermal detectors?
The suggestion to ban all thermal detecting equipment has me wondering
how this would actually work. Modelers will certainly not just simply
launch their models as soon as they are ready to do so. For example,
might someone find a lotion that when applied to the face and arms
increased one's sensitivity to temperature changes? Would this be
considered legal? If so, what other methods might be invented? Certainly
in reasonable weather there will be more T-shirts and bare backs (ala
Bud Romack). I see nothing wrong with this. I'm only wondering what
other creative ways we will find to detect thermals.=20
I remember well the early 40s at Western & Rosecrans. When you were
ready to fly, you took you model and tool box and got in line. There
were official timers who did nothing but time, but there were never
enough. So the wait in line could take 15 minutes or more. When you got
your timer, you were expected to fly. As I recall, there was an
unwritten rule that you had approximately three minutes to fire up your
engine and do your ROG take off. But there was a small number of guys
who were wise to the air conditions. That field was not one that had a
lot of thermals in the morning. (We only made two officials: one in the
morning and one in the afternoon.) If they came to the head of the line
and saw the air was poor, they would simply get out of line and place
themselves at the end again. Only a few did this, but often these same
guys took home the trophies. It kinda left a bad taste in the mouths of
those of us who few as we were expected to fly.=20
All this to say that if we ban thermal detectors, we may eventually not
like the result.
The Emperor's New Clothes
The entire discussion about reducing performance of F1 models has started
with a faulty premise. That is, that the models are so superior, they must
max on every flight.
Anyone who has actually flown competitively, particularly with the rubber
currently available, knows this isn't true.
It's also interesting to see that some who advocate changes want the events
they fly to remain virtually unchanged.
A heavier model, or one with no variable pitch will go just as high and far
as a lighter model with variable pitch in big lift and strong wind. Those
who want change for the sake of change ignore this fact.
The claimed reason now driving this discussion is field size. These concerns
can be addressed by the "category" approach. Smaller fields that won't
support a three minute max are designated as Category 1 an have a two minute
max. Larger fields that will only support a 2 and a half minute flight would
be designated category two. A field large enough for a three minute max
would be designated category three.
Max times per round could be varied by wind and thermal conditions.
This would have absolutely no effect on model specifications and, thus, no
models or modelers would be obsoleted.
With modelers leaving this sport faster than new ones are entering, reason
and restraint need to be at the forefront of any discussion.
Step By Step Please
About SCAT mail: (tapio)
You find now a new category of power models (perhaps we cab call F1S or
something like this)
Would you like to change everything in one step?
Why wants everybody kill this nice category?
If You wants to change something, do it step-by-step please.
The Full Circle - you Judge it
This stuff cracks me up. Just for the record, I'm a controline stunt
flyer (no, actually, a JUDGE) and member of the NFFS who used to fly
competition F/F, c.1969-75. Recently I'd planned on getting back ito F/F
but after seeing what's become of a once-beloved pasttime I'm having second
thoughts. Having seen some of today's F1Cs perform, I'm aghast at what has
become of what we once called the "FAI Power" event. Egad! Rockets with
folding wings!!! I guess this is just nothing more than the rambling of an
old fart who remembers with fondness models like Hank Spence's beautiful,
silked, elliptical-tip designs and balsa/tissue Wake's (long before they
were known as F2Bs) and---Lord help us---A/2s (oh, alright: F1As) before
circle-towing and bunt launches. It used to be fun. Now it looks like
Okay, I have my helmet on . . .
This is going out on Thanksgiving Day, an American celebration.
On a day like this we need to remember that in spite of all the
things we are discussing, the rules, the flying fields, particpation,
where are the juniors and the geeks, the team selection process as well
as the challenges we have in today's world - we
do have a lot to be thankful for ... Being outside in the open air with
our friends watching that perfect flight in the perfect thermal
after working on that wonderful flying machine in our workshop....