SEN 1050 - 13 Nov 2006
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SEN issue 1050 -13 Nov 2006
Table of Contents
More finals - Ulm
Comments on the Biggles TSP treatise. - Farmer
Limiting Performance but not the fun - Dukie
Rule changes. - Schroedter
Ping Pong Wheels - Bryant
Reduced F1 Performance - Shailor
F1B Notable - Herbst
King on the Rules
More on the Finals - Lorbiecki
From: "Gene Ulm"
Reading jim parker's email, while well intentioned, I doubt would have
positive impact on program participation. In fact, I think any
additional complexity hurts participation and in turn will hurt
the level of competition.
Why? The numbers are in his text:
22 f1a flyers
12 have been on the team
All but 2 have won an america's cup
This is not a "program." This is a club with rotating winners.
The number of participants will slowly ramp down over time as people
age, until no competition exists at all.
I further don't believe a balance needs to be struck between
competition and participation. They are one and the same. More
participation equals a larger pool of stronger competitors. More stronger
competitors equals a better team. This dynamic controls the worlds economy
and everything else we do.
Businesses that limit competition end up extinct. Limiting the gene
pool is a sure fire way to end up in extinction.
Is fai free flight exempt? Doubtful.
Make it easier to compete (and get cds and other volunteers) by
holding it on a weekend not in the fall.
Fewer rules. Simpler competition. Increase access. Move it
around the country to decrease economic and family hardship.
Next years winners will likely not change. 4 or 8 years from
now? You will have more competitors and you will still have a competitive
Stop worrying about the deck chairs on the titanic... Things
like out of site fly off flights, etc. This is part of the hazard of
having humans involved. High performance will result in a few lost
models. If this is a worry. Go fly radio control (but there will be
disapointment-- they lose models too). This risk is impossible eliminate.
Instead, worry about saving the sinking ship.
Comments on the Biggles TSP treatise.
Just a quick observation about the team selection post by Martin Cowley.
First though, what an excellent exchange between two chaps. . . Tally-ho,
Bob's your uncle, all that rot! It's just a way with words, turn of the
phrase, that never made it across the pond.
On the TSP, not to state the obvious I hope, but the Ukranian-like format
Martin discussed sounds an awful lot like the US junior program to me. For
those of you that haven't had the opportunity to be involved with the Junior
program, it runs over the course of one year, and takes the best two contest
scores selected from a number of junior-tsp-designated contests, combined
with scores from a two-day contest at Muncie. Flyers earn a maximum of 100
points per 7-round contest (or first 7 rounds of a 10 or 14-rounder), plus
100 points per day at Muncie, for a total of 400 possible. If I got it
correctly, the the Ukranian process picks the best six scores out of eight
designated contests over two years (right?). At any rate, more contests and
longer time span than our junior process. I had one junior in the program
last cycle, and we thought it was great. I now have verbal commitment from
two juniors for this next cycle . . . we'll see. What's neat though is that
it forces you to get involved and committed, and with the Muncie contest in
the summer, easy for dad's and kids to attend. Also, the strategy part is
fun - there's a lot of score tracking and contest selection - - when to put
up your good score - - - let's go to this one because so-and-so won't be
there, etc. Sometimes a spot is not decided until the last event of the
year. Again, seems too obvious, and I'm sure using the junior format must
have been discussed at length. Still, curious to know why we haven't used
it for open class . . . or would it just not be cricket ?
[ Jim, The Juniuor program is different, while it's scored
over several contests a good performance in the Muncie
contest is essential. Bad performances in the America's cup
events can be replaced by another - while the Muncie one can't.
Also the juniors have to fly at Muncie all together, it has to
be in the summer - so it cannot be Lost Hills. So related to
what Gene Ulm says - we acknowledge that the Juniors have
other activities, notably scholl so thier number one event is at
holiday, while id a open flyer is considered to be a team candidate
he has to fly at the time best suited to the site chosen,
not matter what - work, family vacation etc ..]
Limiting Performance but not the fun
It seems to me that one of the most reasonable rule changes to reduce
performance would be to introduce wing span and minimum area
limitations in each event.
If power were to retain the five second engine run, using existing engines
which everyone really want to keep because of the expense involved, have a
minimum area rule, and limit wing span to two meters, we would then
have F1C models doing somewhere in the seven minute range again.
If we did this, and similar rules in A and B, then the smaller fields would
be useful again and we could generally finish the contest on the day it is
flown and not the morning after.
Something needs to be done in the wind speed/visibility relationship area as
Presently, we have 9m/s at 6 ft, which can be over 12m/s at 400 feet. We have
F1C models with capability of more than 10 minutes, and the ability to see
them with 7 power glasses, of about 6 minutes. How can we have fair
sportsman-like results when the performance of the timekeeper and
binoculars determines the winner?
Bottom line is we need less duration potential and a more realistic wind
speed limitation. Do the math.
Let's work on that.
Regarding the proposed rule changes, I want to make two points. As
stated, the main problem is the general world-wide lack of fields large
enough to contain the present-day, high-performance models. What the
committee must not do is make such drastic changes that our current
models cannot be made to perform competively, and that all-new models
must be constructed or bought. This would cause a huge drop in the
number modelers flying in FAI free flight competitions.
Let us instead promote the use of R/C DT systems-ones that do not
require the use of electronic timers. The flight time would remain the
time the model was in the air with no penalty for having DT'd. The rule
could state that the R?C DT could not be used durning he first 60
As I have written here more than once, our rubber source is precarious.
As most of the guys know, I supplied Champion Rubber for a number of
years when I operated Champion Model Products. I sought out other
sources. After first stating that they could supply what I wanted, they
immediately asked what quantities I would be purchasing annually. Even
stretching the truth a bit, I was always told that such a small quantity
would simply not be worth their time. "What quantity would be worth
their time?" Twice I was told "One hundred thousand pounds".
So I worry that if we cut back further the weight of F1B motors, the
current source may choose to toss in the towel. Then where would we be?
Ping Pong Wheels
I flew in the old Wakefield event to the rules as
outlined by John and I lost my old Wakefield.
Lets cut performance by bring back the R.O.G rule,or is that a step
back in time.
How about 2 ping pong balls for wheels?
[I would like to a> see ping pong wheels on an F1C or even a F1A !
and b> ROG for F1C would probably bring back some levelof excitement,
especially if there was no VTO - taking this lateral thinking a little
further maybe the F1A should also ROG - i.e. be towed of the ground !]
Reduced F1 Performance
I am reading in utter amazement the confused and illogical reasons offered
by some regarding reduction of F1 Performance. This time, proponents are
claiming smaller fields.
You may recall, when this idea was first floated, it was claimed there were
too many people in flyoffs. When the modeling community got together and
explained to these contest organizers that flyoffs were an important part of
our sport, the idea didn't go much further.
Not to be ignored, they are coming forward now with the excuse of field
size, but are ignoring one simple fact; that is, ANY MODEL, whether it is an
F1A with a shorter line length, an F1B with a lighter motor or an F1C with a
shorter motor run will travel just as far in the same thermal and wind
Anyone who doubts this has not seen an F1A with a bad launch, an F1B with a
weak motor, or an F1C with an accidentally short engine run go off in the
same thermal with other models that got higher, but all landed in virtually
the same place.
So when I read the new and improved reason as to why F1 models need less
performance, forgive me if I don't buy into it. I see this as the same old
argument, with the same group of people behind it.
If field size was really the concern, there would be more emphasis on
changing the maxes from one field size to another similar to what the AMA
does with categories. However, when folks who profit from the sale of high
tech models and components get involved, reducing the models' performance
only makes it more necessary that a modeler buy those parts or models as
opposed to making them himself.
So let's read through all of the rhetoric for what it really is. Organizers
still don't like to stick around for flyoffs and model manufacturers would
like to sell us more parts or models.
This reduction won't help our sport rather, it will lead to its untimely
Hello Roger, First of all,Thank you for the continued existence of
these mails, avidly read, every one.
With regard to the proposed rule
changes in F1B and ways and means to increase participation, as one who
sits on the fence deciding whether to reenter the sport and resume his
faltering progress, may i offer my respectful opinion that if these
measures are carried through they will hasten the demise of FAI free
flight and F1B in particular, certainly it does nothing to tempt me to
compete ---- These events should be difficult, very challenging,
inconvenient and time consuming, following the present progression they
will hardly be worth getting out of bed for!, But i cannot see the
situation improving,Things, as in every aspect of the modern world will
be dumbed down until their value ceases to be of the slightest
consequence, mediocrity reigns supreme!
This is probably enough ranting and raving,.
Let us speed the return of 40gram Wakefield motors, make 'em exciting
to fly again!
Regards, P. Herbst
King on the Rules
FAI RULE CHANGES (Peter King)
I find the proposed new FAI rule changes highly depressing reading,
especially how they may effect F1B.
20 gms of rubber? No thermal detection equipment? Ping Pong balls stuck
all over our carefully optimised creations? Can the problems of flying sites
be as bad as that, so suddenly? After all we had 40gm F1B's doing 7 to 9
mins a few years ago, which is a bit over the top, I agree. But now, looking
at most fly off times, 30gm models can only manage about 4 to 5 mins (Even
less as more and more people have to resort to Tan Super Sport), unless they
are in a big thermal and that can happen even without using thermal detection
It seems some countries may be particularly beset by extra severe limits to
flying field size, but surely we can do something about that without
emasculating our current designs in all categories.
I feel the best answer is to limit the permissible wind speed in some way as
has been suggested, although this could be very difficult in cases where the
whole comp might have to be abandoned. It is after all the distance flown
that is the problem and not the duration as such and not many people enjoy
flying in very windy weather anyway. Obviously the bigger the competition (WC,
EC, World Cup events etc), the more difficult it is to run a comp like this,
due to the investment in travel, time and money involved.
There are going to be many views of how to tackle the problem but please
don't cut performance any more than absolutely necessary.
Looking at some of the ideas so far:
1. Ping Pong Balls etc.
Apart from dreading the thought of sticking drag producing objects on our
planes, it seems from preliminary estimates that quite large, ugly devices
would be needed to have much effect in any case. We might as well bring back the
dreaded L^2/100 rule!
2. Banning of Thermal Detection.
I see the point of doing this if it is to remove the necessity of reducing
performance and it would be better than further cuts to rubber weight, motor
run etc but, models will still find their way into thermals without the
equipment, thus leaving us with the same problem.
It seems any further reduction of motor run is going to cause real
timekeeping problems and is not an option.
Victor Stamov has flown successfully with a 40m line so perhaps that would
be a reasonable solution. It's worth pointing out that F1A is the only class
that has remained the same for a long time, while F1B and C have had several
performance reductions. It was not necessary to change anything before the
sudden jump in duration, following the introduction of an effective Bunt
Please don't cut the rubber cut any more. If you have to, I can offer some
simulation results on the possible effect. I think 20gms may have a worse
duration than these 1st attempts at simulation, but here are some rough
figures, both for Tan 2 and for Super Sport. Let me repeat, F1 B times have
come down from ca 7/8 mins to about 4/5 mins in only a few years. Surely flying
sites have not really reduced that much in size over the same period!
MOTOR Run time Max Ht (ft) (Tan 2) Duration (Tan 2) Max Ht
(ft) (S. Sport) Duration (S. Sport) 40gm (28st) 48.1 407 426 362 379 35gm
(26st) 51.0 343 369 305 328 30gm (24st) 51.6 343 318 305 282 25gm (24st) 43.0
295 273 262 243 20gm (24st) 34.4 249 201 221 179
Of course we all have our own axes to grind regarding how we want the sport
to go but, as long as everyone is able to voice them and a final, careful
decision is taken, hopefully we can find a way to overome the problems of
flights going too far down wind. I just hope no decisions are rushed through
without a long and thorough debate by all. Let's concentrate on tackling the
real problem, which is wind speed rules and distances flown, rather than
emasculating model specs and sticking drag generators on our beautifully crafted
More on the Finals
After reading all the comments I think we really need to look at the fundamental
aspect of the team selection. Simply, do we want the BEST members for the team
or the ones that did well on that particular day?
We really need to realistically look at what we are trying to accomplish
here.ie. Get back to basics. Are we trying to get the best, most consistantly
high placing modellers on the team to get a victory for the USA or, are we l
ooking for people that are good, but happened to be better on the Finals
weekend? The so called "Flash in the Pan".....Something about a blind squirrel
finding a nut...
I always felt that going into a contest, if I had some luck, I could
win. Up until the last few years, John and I always had reasonable
equipment but definately not the best. Because of this, we were at a true
performance disadvantage. All I needed to do is hope that I have a decent
day and the best guys drop for some reason. This is the way that our selection
has always been. We have selected the people that have been the best
on that particular weekend.
So, if we truly want the best people (not just the best on that select
day), the combination of events flown over a year or two, is the best
way to go. I know right now we could probably pick the top 8 or so in
the country and just let them battle it out. Then, the others could
improve their program, if they wish, and try to get into the elite. I
n power, that would mean that the Archers, Gutais, and the others that
have CONSISTANTLY shown their ability to win would be on the team and
give the USA the best chance, because they have proven to be
However, if we look to get people that have shown, on a particular
site and a particular day, that they can perform, then our program has
done what it is supposed to. This way, we are somewhat sharing the wealth.
We have been reasonably successful doing this, but does it truly give
the best chance for gold? ( I keep thinking of the Eastern block
countries in the past....)
So, which way would I go? Well, I like the chance to be good for
that one day and hope that it happens again. Why? Purely financial.....I
just can't travel all over for six or eight contests to prove ourselves
against the best. But, if the goal is the best, then multiple contests,
at varied sites and conditions, would pick the stronger team...
My opinion, for what it is worth. Also, please note that I am NOT
saying that present and past team members are not the best flyers
we have. I just think back about people like Earl Thompson who were
at the top of their game and missed out by one bad flight...
Thanks and have a great day- BTW, it is snowing here and I want to
move to west!!!
Great weather - Great direction from Hector, Sussana and Bob.
F1A - McKeever
F1B - Jones
F1C - Gewain