SEN 1045 - 31 Oct 2006

SEN Issue 1045 31 October 2006

Table of Contents
Model Box - Van nest
More on the Final Strategy - Ulm
The Finals and such... - Lorbiecki
To Edmonson - 180Ben
Finals Statistics - Bauer
Rules meeting in Odessa - Oxager and fellow Danes *** Feature Article !!!
Comments about comments on the finals etc - Achterberg
SEN Online Archive
Las Vegas and Participation vs Performance - Bauer

Model Box

From: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Roger, Some modelers might be interested in a good deal on a model box.
Check out- Bob Van Nest

[ and they even talked about F1H in the catalo !]

More on the Final Strategy
From: "Gene Ulm"


I mean no slight to you and others and your fantastic results at finals
and the showings at world champs. The results make me proud to be an
american and stand out as examples of excellence. To stand alone as the
best there is, or close to it, is an accomplishment all flyers can be
proud of.

My point wasn't more contests to choose the team. Rather, it was to
have simple changes make it so more people could/would participate...

More people equals tougher competition. More competiton equals a
better team. In picking a team, there are 9 winners. In my business there
is one. The rest are losers. And I'm cool with that. Tough. Do better
next time.

I don't know of a single place where restricting competition improves
the result.

(in the old days, america used to restrict voting to well healed
property owners and elections were decided among very few potential
candidates. This isn't the case now! High school and university football is A
LOT more competitive after desegrigation than prior. I could think of
many more. Analogous? You decide.)

I would argue that the existing format eliminates many people not thru
tough competiton but rather by administrative barriers that restrict

What does showing up days ahead of the contest (not to fly but to
process models), and flying on a weekday have to do with flying, maxing
winning and defeating inferior flyers? Zip. Nothing.


Put the finals on a weekend.

Eliminate the time (days) required for pre scrutineering and

Scrutineer the winners. If the models are not legit, disqualify the
flyer. Move the next person up. To be crass, who cares about the models
of the losers? Big waste of time.

[Comment - the only pre-processing done at the finals is verification of
the model numbers - essentially making sure that the person's
airplanes are proprly labelled so he does not use more that the 4 permitted.
The actual measuring, weighing etc is done either as a spot check or
just on the winners]

Resist the temptation to hold the finals in the same place. Keep it
moving around the country.

Are we trying to pick the best? Or just the best at lost hills?

Keep the same contest round schedule. Or even make it tougher by
making it a 10 or 14 rounder over a SAT and SUN.

Get the contest out of the fall. Put it in the summer, winter or spring
breaks. Again, people are likely elininated not by the failure to max,
but by this administrative barrier.

When forced to choose between models, family or making a living, sorry,
models will lose out every time. See Maslo's hierarchy of needs if
further explanation is required!

Nothing against being a empty nester or the re tired (I will be/would
like to be) one one day. Is there an argument that the current system
protects the existing class from younger more able competion? (me
excluded when it comes to "more able"!). Is the goal to create a Seniors

I don't know the answer, but how many people competed in the jr team
program now compete in the regular program? What's the fall off?

[This is a very interesting point. I think that this year the only
ex-Junior team member competeting was Ben Coussens.

A few years back Jim Parker wrote something on this - and perhaps you
could comment, because it appears that your fall into what Jim thinks is
the callossic case - ie.e the you person flys as a teen ager, oftem with
is family or some adult mentor. When the person reaches college they cut
back and stop - because of studies, growing personal relationships, starting
a career and family. Once established, they start to feel the need for some
serious leisure activities and come back to fly, this takes 15 to 20 years.
So people come in thier late 30 or ealy 40s.

One for Jnr world Champ - Mike keller, with F1C is still involved, with his family
in free flight but not with the FAI programs, maybe when his family is older ?]

Not enough daylight hours?

If they can have a contest on ice in scandnavia in early spring, I'm
sure there are enough daylight hours to have one much further south,
which includes all of America.

Again, having a contest in the fall doesn't eliminate flyers because
they fail to max or defeat the opposition thru superior flying, it
eliminates flyers thru administrative barrier.

That simply isn't competition.

Gene Ulm, Partner
Public Opinion Strategies, LLC
214 North Fayette St
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

The Finals and such...
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As the father of the actual flyer, I have a few comments. I have not flown in a
finals for years now, but still think that a single finals is the way to go.
I do not have the ability to travel as do many flyers. I am in awe for those
of you that travel throughout the US as well as the world. The expense to do
this is something that few of us can do.

A simple trip to either coast for us is easily $750-$1000, with travel,
hotels, etc. If John and I needed to have to go to contests on both sides
of the country to compete, he and I would not be flying. Being here in the
midwest, fully employeed, and still married, I just can't do this.

We plan on flying F1C for an extended period of time, but looks like it
will be limited to Muncie and then a finals. I have to admit that the
California and west coast folks have a big leg up on all of us, just because
there is more competition out there (the east coast is next).

So, my opinion, small as it is, is that what we now have is
what we probably will have to stay with...

And congrats to the new team!!!

John Lorbiecki

To Edmonson
Author : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Now, I am but a young pup and still wet behind the ears when it comes
to participating in finals. However I saw a few things that Mr.
Edmonson said in his last post and I just felt compelled to address

1. Site: The site for the finals has been rotated every other team
selection process for many years, however this time it was not
possible. The normal location, Palm bay, was deemed not fit to hold a
contest. Muncie might be seen as another alternative site, but it still
not quite big enough of a field to hold a finals, in most flyers
opinion anyway. Therefore, those two fields are out. The two other
fields that I know of that even could possibly hold a finals are Nevada
and Eloy. However, both of those fields are used by permission, and are
not guaranteed to be the best for chasing either (lava rocks, highways,
ect..). Also neither of the clubs prepared proposals for the finals.
The only proposal I am completely aware of is Mike's to hold the finals
at Lost Hills. I am aware that Mr. Barron did extensive searching for
an alternative field but from what I gathered, he also did not find
anything that could hold a finals that would end with a sportsman like
outcome. The second big point I'd like to address is this advantage
that you speak of. If you look at finals in the past years, the people
that are making teams every other one or two finals, they are winning
at both Lost Hills and Palm Bay. Lost Hills is not a football field,
there are constant and changing variables every weekend. For example,
Look at this years finals. Normally there are 4-8 flyers that max out a
finals...1 competitor did it this year. The second team member is not
part of SCAT. Personally I have been flying at Lost Hills for 8 years
now and I am telling you that, that field is no ones friend, including
the SCAT members. It is great to chase on but it has some of the most
tricky thermal conditions I have ever seen, and I have flown at
international contests on foreign fields and have had an easier time
making a max than at Lost Hills. So that is the main point. The finals
are not ALWAYS at lost hills, they were for two consecutive terms
because Mike made a very good proposal to the committee. Also about
the contests that we can easily attend, lets not forget that Lost Hills
gets blown out time and time again so not all contests are even flown.

2. The 2 day 14 round format is great, however if you think about it,
if you have a daily winner it is like you are redeemed if you have a
horrible day the first day. For example if a world champion and proven
America's cup contender were to drop 2 minutes on the first day, in the
current program, his finals is practically over. However, if it became
a daily winner program, that flyer has a chance to shake the cobwebs
out and give it another try the next day. Either format is challenging.

3. I couldn't agree with you more about the America's cup way of
determining a doesn't appeal to me what so ever.

4. As far as middle of the week contests go, it really is a pain but
think about this. The finals is 9 days such as you say, but when it
comes to the world champs, you are looking at a more than likely chance
that you will be there for 2 weeks minimum. Unless you just go there to
fly as if it is a business and then come back. Something my dad told me
which is partly a reason I am out of a free flight for a little while,
is that Free flight is expensive. Either way you cut it, you don't make
money in this sport and you constantly have to dish it out.

5. Stirring up the air: I actually disagree with you on this point, for
two reasons. 1. It is not always a guarantee that you will max just
cause you get under the plane and raise dust and hell. You could
disrupt the air just as easily as you could stir up a bubble. If your
going at it from a standpoint of "exactly" so why do it, then I would
just say because its part of the sport, its a part of the intensity as
well. 2. How in the world are you going to define stirring up the air.
If I want to ride under my airplane in big wide circles while taking in
the fresh aroma of the compost factory, how will you determine that
stirring up the air? Will there be a limit for how low your airplane
must be in order to determine if your trying to give it lift. (for
example) I do not moto flap, when my airplane is 7 times towline height
in the sky...I sit back and eat some Brie(cheese)..But I still ride
under it and mostly in circles as the wind drift changes rapidly.
Overall, it would be impossible to abolish this stirring of the air.
Again how can you deem someone is stirring up air? I wont deny it is a
disadvantage to those that don't have a motorcycle but guess what, it
is also a disadvantage to someone like me that I fly a 300 dollar 5
year old buntbone but a plethora of other flyers have 2100 dollar brand
new top of the line models. There is just nothing you can do about
either case. Unless you have the means of paying for a new airplane or
in this case a bike. And in reply to your hot air balloon idea, how
bout if we see someone riding a motorcycle faster than 8 miles per hour
in a shape that could be construed as a circle, we throw rocks at his
airplane! It would sure make for an interesting drive home wouldn't you

5. As seen as in the 2002 Jr. World champs, engines shut down different
ways so, this goes back to advantages. If you have a winding down shut
down such as Austin does, its a disadvantage cause it is a longer time
that the engine is making noise, without the benefit of actual gaining
of height. Where does 4.1 seconds come from? I personally enjoy seeing
F1C's get higher than my Nordic ever will. Honestly if F1C flyers need
a change, I think they should be the one addressing it. We are F1A
flyers and we have no right to dictate how they fly their event unless
it they are directly interfering with F1A or F1B. Personally I know
many F1C flyers that would be outraged by this change and would demand
we cut our towline by 20 meters. You know what I say...Screw that!
Might as well just give me a piece of dental floss and a chucky.
Overall, yes engine runs are hard to determine but its all part of the
sport..In F1C just as in F1A...You go big or you go home..For F1C
engine runs are tough cause you don't want to go over in something such
as a fly off cause then you fly your alternate model which more than
likely will disappoint you (ask Artem Babenko from the Maxmen).. Much
like F1A flyers try to get as much out of their bunt, if you screw that
up in a performance flyoff round...your done too. Its all just one of
the many intricacies that makes our sport so intriguing.

When it comes to sending a team to the World Championships darn right
we want to send a winner. You think AMA will see a reason to support us
much longer if we send over flyers that tank it when they are donating
a good amount of money to the team effort? I think not. If you want to
have fun, fly at a meet, if you want the true definition of a
competition that will raise your blood pressure considerably, fly in
the US Finals. Also if you want to fly internationally, buy a ticket to
Odessa or Tass or Kiev, but I wouldn't for a second If i were an AMA
rep, give a dollar to someone I didn't think was going to represent the
USA with excellence. The World Champs are a reward for those who earn
it...not someone who wants an experience. Free Flight is awesome and
flying in the Scat Annual is as much fun for me as flyin at the
NATS..the finals are a whole different ball game, but honestly no
matter how many changes any one wants to make, its exactly what Norm
says...there are 9 happy people and 50 pissed off people that want to
change everything. In my case I flew my heart out and I left it all on
the field and I am darn proud of my turn out and I will always remember
what a blast round 13 was. And I wouldn't change a thing as far as
administration goes. Mike, you ran that Finals with pristine diligence
and anyone else that says other wise is A.Not a team member or B. Has
no idea what kind of pressure is entitled when running a finals. I had
the time of my life. And as far as 14 goes. I didn't get off when all
the first round of flyers did in round 13 before the gusts came in, and
if I wouldn't have found a little lull..Id probably be looking for a
new thermal ship right now, but Mr. Edmonson, round 14 would be
nothing but a blood bath and a destruction of more models. I guarantee
that you would have a lot more angry flyers and possibly flyers that
pack it in if you would tell them they have to fly in that. "After all
this hobby is supposed to be really FUN for everyone!" Sir,
respectfully, I see no fun in what round 14 would have done to all of us=

Again I am just a young punk who always has something to say. But if
you think about it. We have many world champions, so we much be doing
something right. If anyone has any feed back or death threats, I'd be
happy to see feed back.

God Bless,

Benjamin Coussens

USA Jr. Team(silver) member 2002

Finals Statistics
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After reading a comment about the Scat team advantage, I was curious
whether real numbers would show this or not. I decided to count the
percentage of California guys flying in the finals and compare with the
percentage that made the team. Unofficially I counted 34 of 73 flyers
in a Sept list as coming from California which is 46%. 5 of 9 guys on
the team are from California which is 55%, which being greater than 46%
might show a slight Cal advantage. I'm not a statistician, but I think
the sample numbers here are way too low to draw any conclusions. About
all you can say is that about half the flyers were from Cal, and about
half the team is from Cal which seems about right to me.


Rules meeting in Odessa
Author : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,Henning Nyhegn ,Peter Buchwald

Hi Roger, reading Ian Kaynes article published in Free Flight News october
2006 almost shocked us here! Please put the attached articles on SEN for
further debate. Thank you for all your work.
Tom Oxager

Our reaction to Ian Kaynes’ report from a RULES MEETING IN ODESSA
Free Flight News October 2006.
In short, the reason for the meeting was “the same old song”: Modern
FAI class models are performing too well!!! The result is there are
few fields large enough for the performance of the present models.
The suggested cure was also the same old theme: Shorter towlines, less
rubber and a try to strangle engines by reducing intake area. Nothing
new in that, but the last proposal, which would work for all classes,
suggested that some form of drag devices should be attached to the
models in order to reduce performance.
This really upset us!
First, we do our very best to design, build and trim our models aiming
for the very best performance and always trying to optimize the lift/
drag ratio, only to find that somebody wants to destroy our efforts by
adding drag to our models in order to make sure they do not fly too

This is a terrible and desperate cure which for sure will not only
reduce the performance of our models but also very quickly kill free
flight in the FAI classes.
The result would be comparable to formula one racing with the
handbrake pulled.
What can we do then?
Before we start blaming our models for flying too well or feel we need
to restrict their performance, let’s have a look at the real “sinner”:

During the last three years Henning Nyhegn and his Nordic Cup crew
have gathered wind speed/altitude and direction data by releasing and
timing the ascend of helium filled balloons for the purpose of finding
the best starting position for the contests. Data gathered during this
period shows that wind speed measured 2 metres above ground level
quickly increases with altitude and reaches the ground value + 40 % at
F1A release altitude and then remains surprisingly constant upwards
for several hundred metres which covers the altitude band our models
are operating in, even when flying a max in a strong thermal.
How far do they get?

Worst case: 9 m/sec. On the ground + 40% means our models are
travelling at 12,6m/sec.
First round flown with 210 sec. max : 210 x 12.6 2646 metres
First round flown with 240 sec. max : 240 x 12.6 3024 metres
Rounds flown with 180 sec. Max : 180 x 12,6 2268 metres
And they travel even further than that! To these figures we have to
add the distance travelled from D.T. to the ground.
Now let’s look at a more normal day with a wind speed of 5 m/sec. On
the ground +40% 7m/sec. in the air.
First round flown with 210 sec. Max: 210 x 7 1470 metres
First round flown with 240 sec. Max: 240 x 7 1680 metres
Rounds flown with 180 sec. Max: 180 x 7 1260 metres
Not so bad. Again we have to add the distance travelled from D.T. to
the ground.
Looking at these figures we should limit the distance flown by:

1. Using available meteorological data to avoid flying in the
periods with the highest wind and strongest thermal activity.
2. Not start contests when wind speeds exceed 6m/sec.
3. Accept the need for a reserve day for each flying day/ model
4. Start fly-offs later and use the reserve day early morning for
completing the fly-o,ff if the weather forecast favours this.

It is evident that a careful study of meteorological conditions is
very important when selecting a site for continental and world
On most locations the wind speed is increasing towards noon and is
reaching its maximum around 2 p.m. local time. At the same time the
thermal activity reaches its maximum. If we stopped flying between
noon and 2.p.m. and reduced the number of rounds to be flown to 6 or
5, the flights in the periods taking our models farthest away could be
reduced. Already now some world cup contests are run with 5 rounds.
Many competitors have also expressed that it would be an improvement
if they were less worn out from a hard day’s retrieval when the fly-
off started. (Where the real competition begins within the existing
contest format).

If the wind speed is exceeding 6m/sec. already in the first early
morning round, it is very likely that the wind around noon will
exceed 9m/sec. “Let the best man win” is always the goal, and the fly-
off will assure that, but it would be fine if most of us enjoyed the
competition and returned many more times.

Accepting the need for delaying / stopping competitions during periods
with the fiercest conditions also calls for an increased need for
reserve days.

Finally, in search of means to avoid “out flying” our flying fields,
DO NOT CHANGE THE MODEL SPECIFICATIONS. If such changes in the future
are being proposed, they must be preceded by at least a flying season
trial period before being judged and approved.

Henning Nyhegn
Tom Oxager

Obsolete rules on performing competition?
Does lack of new thinking concerning competition rules contribute to a
limitation of the possibilities of development for free-flying model

The basal rules on performing competition in the F1X classes have not
changed basically for many, many years.
As I started the interest in competitive flying in approx. 1970 the
issue was that the number of starts was increased from 5 to 7.
The issue then was also to make sure that the stop watches were
calibrated correctly so that the measured flying time could the
The max. time was 180 seconds – as today – and as for a few ones, the
top placing in Fly-off was to be decided as well
In the meantime many measures have been taken in respect of rules with
the real purpose of limiting the number of participants in the FLY-off

My suggestion is to "re-think" whether the present of possibilities
and limitations could establish modern fair rules on performing
competition, providing a realistic, accurate and exiting competition,
where the end placing will be respected by everyone for the basic
reason that the ”best ones were those who won” on the day concerned.

I have the following idea/suggestion to the up-to-date rules on
performing competition for the classes F1-A, B, C and Q:

1. No changes in the model specifications.

2. Number of starts and flying time as of today, i.e. the decision
is made by the contest director based on the weather conditions
as well as the possibilities at the flying location.

3. "Time-taking". The suggested change is the following:
Today the performance is measured in seconds which in the reality
most often will be a "max" for by and large all participants. I
suggest the performance to be measured in metres…
Concretely so that the competition management hands out a
”measuring device/recorder” to each participant and at any start.
This “measuring device/recorder” records the result of any
competitive flying.
This "measuring device/recorder" is a little electronic Altimeter
/ "Flight Recorder" (probably with a weight of 5-10 grammes). The
participant must be responsible for having mounted this device on
the model for the competitive flying.
The altimeter is programmed for recording time and altitude for
the reason of the flight quite automatically (by release or
launch) and then the time and altitude after 30 seconds, after 60
seconds, after 90 seconds, etc.
After the flight the participant is responsible for delivering
the altimeter to the judges’ committee. The judges’ committee
will then read-out, validate and approve the flight and the
result of this.

Example: 3. flight/period is e.g. decided to take place between
10:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. "measuring time" of 2 minutes. :
a. The participant receives from the judges’ committee a
detectable and prepared Flight Recorder to be used for the
flight concerned.
b. The flight is performed by the participant starting from a
joint starting field for the class concerned.
c. The participant performs the model retrieval and delivers
the Flight Recorder to the judges’ committee again.
d. The judges’ committee reads out the Flight Recorder of the
participant and controls that the start has taken place
during the printed time interval (between 10:15 a.m. and
10:45 a.m.) and reads out the altitude which the model had
at the measuring time (by this example after 2 minutes of

Thus the results of the flight concerned – provided that the
flight has been performed during the printed interval – will
be that that for participant XX the result yyy metres will
be noted for this flight.

4. The result calculation for the flight/period:
The placing for each participant is calculated for each
The participant for whom most metres have been recorded will
obtain 1st placing. The participant for whom second most metres
have been recorded will obtain 2nd placing – etc.
If the an identical number of metres have been recorded for 2
participants, the placing will be equal to the average of
possible placings. Participants whose flight is not approved will
obtain placings as the last ones.

Thus the result of the flight/period is the placing obtained by
the participant for the flight concerned. – This result is
recorded on the score board related to each participant in
respect of the flight/period concerned.

5. The entire competition result is calculated based on the "lowest
placing sum method".
Basically, this is made by summing up the placings of the
individual flights.

Example: Participant xx has obtained the following placings in
the printed 8 starts printed:
5,2,8,1,9,15,7,4 which means a placing sum of 51.

The participant with the lowest placing sum will be no. 1 of the
entire result. The participant with the second lowest placing sum
will be no. 2, etc.
In case of an identical placing sum for 2 participants
supplementary rules for settling such a situation are available


PS: I have reused the rules and principles applied in connection with
competitive sailing. As a matter of fact, sailing also depends on the
weather conditions, and course lengths (measuring time) might also be
settled based on local conditions, possibilities, etc.

Peter Buchwald
DEN-812 - 6.1.2006

Comments about comments on the finals etc
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I guess I do not understand. You rather fly in the exact middle of the
Central Valley wing belt than behind a 1500 ft. mountain that is a wind break? I
sn't that kind of like saying I would rather fly kites indoors? After they
harvest the carrots and plow rufage into soil and maybe do it one more season,
we will have a wind break there soon after the pistasio trees grow up.

I am not proposing an America Cup scenerio with 30 contests a year.
It is merely 6 or so events that almost everyone attends anyway. And
you do not have to fly in all of them.

When do the Team Selection bi-laws change that we are locked
into a program with a single site Finals? That never came up the
last time I proposed this. I wish someone would have told me back
then, as I recall I spent about $700.00 on phone calls lobbying it!

Since no one seemed interested in creating a nice set of standardize
contests, why don't we do away with the time accumulation and just make
it open to anyone. I know I'm the one that lobbied this in to being,
and now I will propose throwing it out. It was my thought back then
to keep people flying and in the social group of modelers. But now it
seems not important. Lets just fly a 7 round contest and the flyoffs and
wind or not, last 3 insight, the team.

You know I spent years trying to build up F1C and supplying composite
wings and stabs I developed to give the modelers airframes that would
last for years,as Aluminum wings were killing the event. This seemed to
bring back a number of flyers and our group grew, but the understanding
of what I am trying to do for our fraturnity of freeflighters seems to
get lost in translation. Seems like a bunch of individuals that want
there one shot every two years until not too long in the future tha
ast 3 standing are the choice of atristion. Like the dinosaurs our
histoiry will gone.



SEN Online Archive

SEN is archved online - but sometimes the entries get out of sequence. This is to
do with how they are prepared and if I'm travelling or not. So be sure to look at

Las Vegas and Participation vs Performance
From: Ken Bauer

I just got back from the Las Vegas contest on El Dorado dry lake.
Saturday was like free flight heaven. No wind, comfortable
temperatures, beautiful scenery.... I think I'll be coming back again.
Only thing the motorcycles were needed for was crossing some muddy
spots. Air was thick and good all morning until about 12pm with a
strange absense of much thermal activity. Just good air and spots of
better air. After lunch a couple models actually gained altitude after
launch and "first thermal of the day" comments were heard.

When I saw my Team Chino Hills buddy Randy Secor first thing in the
morning and asked him if he was ready to fly he said with a frustrated
tone "No I'm not flying, the model won't tow right". I told him I would
help so he goes and puts the model together and puts up a flight. I
tell him "What's wrong with that?" as it looks good. So he decides to
enter the contest with 15 minutes left in the first round. He ended up
maxing out even though we had to chase down a couple problems during the
day. Meanwhile I shot myself down in the 6th round when my towline
snapped at launch... Time for infrastructure improvements.

F1A flyoff was big with around 10 guys going for the 5 min flight.
Randy went off quick in a nice little patch of air and did over five.
All the guys that went in the middle dropped the flight in marginal air
but then Brian Van Nest and Peter Brocks launched in a big thermal just
about 1 minute before the hooter which set up 3 guys going for 7
minutes. In that final round Brian went up first and after a few
minutes got a huge launch and was looking great and ended up with around
5 1/2 minutes. Randy got a nice launch in the same area and got around
4 1/2 while Peter Brocks was around another minute behind. So Randy was
thrilled with his 2nd place finish in what was his first max out since
straight towing back in the 70s! He bought me dinner at McDonald's in
return for my help!!! ;-) This was about the only choice as we hurried
home that night driving through the big town of Searchlight....

I have been thinking about the team thing in terms of what is more
important, selecting the best team or promoting participation? I
remember back in the 70's when big changes were made to the program and
we went to 3 days of flying to pick the team, I think the heavy emphasis
was on picking the best guys possible. Our program today has evolved
from that except we now fly only two days. With our recent very good
performances at the world champs, and in light of our declining numbers,
my opinion is that if any changes are made that ought to put more
emphasis on participation. Instead of 90% performance and maybe 10%
participation, closer to 50/50 might be healthy. I'd like to see anyone
that works reasonably hard with at least a little success over the years
have the opportunity to get on at least one team.

No program will ever be perfect and I think our present program does a
decent job, although I'd at least push for scheduling it over a long
weekend rather than mid-week for participation reasons. In general I
think that the more days that are flown the more the best flyers rise to
the top, but this is maybe not good for participation since the same
guys end up frequently on the team. A shorter contest gives a better
chance that one of the many good flyers working over the years will have
really good stuff that one day and make the team giving him a great
experience. So even a normal 7 round contest to pick the team would in
my opinion be fine and would make logistics much easier. There will
always be some chance and luck in free flight. Some contest conditions
will give a really fair result, while sometimes the conditions will make
the results more random. If we end up with a finals that gives random
results, maybe this isn't so bad! It gives more new guys a chance to be
on the team. There will always be another finals (hopefully) with
better conditions. If a guy works at it over say a 10 year window
hopefully he will get his team chance at least once, but there are no
guarantees in free flight....

Regarding F1E I agree with Jon. Obviously in this case the program
should be 95% about participation and let performance be what it is. We
just need to schedule and run the finals wherever and whenever we can
get the most people flying and give them a good experience to keep
going. We have only about 10 people. If we get to 20 or 30 then a more
serious programs makes sense. Besides we've already had great
performance at the world champs anyway in our first few years!
Performance will take care of itself as everyone involved is already
good. Just need more people...

Thermals, Ken Bauer

Roger Morrell