SEN 1958

Table of Contents - SEN 1958

  1. Kenny happersett
  2. Re (SEN)1957
  3. Suckers for anything that flies
  4. George Clooney installs cappuccino machine at Lost Hills
  5. F1B is a happy place to be right now
  6. An ill wind ..
  7. proposals ...
  8. Flying in Minnestoa

Kenny Happersett.

I received a phone call from Kenny"s wife Lorraine last night and Kenny passed away at 12:35 Lorraine will call me later today with details for the funeral and will let everyone know where and when.
Ron Young

Re: SEN 1957

From:     Michael Achterberg
Hello;Thank you for your comments. Spot on!! The others who wrote in, like John also made the point. Anyone seen an old timer model fly in a thermal lately. Wow, they go a long way with a little breeze. Guess too much technology??  And yes, the suitable fields left around the world are far and few between from what is ideal. But in thermals, without any wind, what is a useable size. These off field chases have always been no matter where we fly. We just deal with it and call it freeflight. Hence the name Free Flight! Blaming excessive performance and technology as the problem is just silly. Changing rules to basically flying old timer models will do nothing intended, unless the intention is to kill the sport. If that is the goal, then state it as such!! People like their toys, and like the technology. To say that someone is too old to handle the technology is silly. Setting up a mechanical timer is far more difficult than an etimer. Launching with 2 hands more difficult than with one. These are your answers to excessive performance. Really!! The cost of models is high. Yes!!  But Gliders and Wakefields can last forever. Power well that's a different story, but you can buy a new wing and glue on a new tailboom , so that isn't a huge cost and have a new toy to play with. Or I could argue that they last forever. I gave some of my stuff to John Warren in 1996/97 and sold some to others, and those models are still here and keep ending up at WC. Same models , different flyers. Hell, that pushing 20 yrs. Pretty soon, if not already they are nostalgia models. Point is, that the cost of models is high, but they can last for as long as you want to fly them, although they may need to be repaired on occasion. This is what technology has offered. Stuff made from balsa only had very short life span, so don't blame technology for the problems.If the problem is keeping models from doing a flyoff time, whatever it is. Have the CD blow a horn when there is a Big downer . Problem solved.  But simply solution is to add more weight and keep the toys as they are. Now, that may or may not work for glider, but adding 10 to 20 grams to F1b will really make the 7 minute flight tough to do. Maybe with glider only allow a 10 minute window to launch in during rounds before it is called and attempt or shorten line a few meters. Don't know and don't like to suggest rules for something I don't fly. In power adding weight or even shortening motor run to say 4.8 sec will have desired effect. But people like watching models get high. Its spectacular!! The gliders with their super zooms is just awesome to watch. Hate to see that disappear.. But do not change rules that make current models obsolete!!! The end is near enough without helping it along... Thermals, Michael Achterberg

Suckers for anything that Flies


From Paul Fynn  F1E.

Whilst all the views about contests ,rules,team  selection etc are all valid to varying degrees none of the correspondents have actually tackled the basic and fundemental problem of recruitment to our sport. Without an established source of candidates the skills of competitive free flight will just drain away. And very quickly too. Having said that I would doubt that in percentage terms our participant loss rate is any greater than  other specialist sports.

What all model fliers, not just free flighters, have in common is that they are suckers for anything that flies! Those worste affected find there way to a model shop or club and are seduced by radio control as there does not appear to be any other option. Those that approach through a national governing body will end up in the same catagory through a club. The common belief is that free flight no longer exists, which is an amazing back handed compliment to the ability of free flight to hide its self from the public. Those members of the public who do manage to find us show symptoms of bewilderment and leave after a little while wondering why we don`t have a radio control system in our planes. Those that do show a genuine intelligent interest don`t know where to start and if by chance they are fliers, to change catgory to FAI or open free flight is a large step too far.

We will not solve this problem by expecting fliers to take new recruits under thier wing (figuretively) for the simple reason that the individual may not know what catagory they actually wish to take up. Experience at the Grantham Club( GBR) has shown that the new member that stands back and watches and listens may take a year to produce a competition plane of a may be a group other than that originally intended. On the way friendships are formed and skills including building and timekeeping are honed.This seems to produce a good flyer.

The logic of this is that new recruits could be immediately employed as second timekeepers. Whilst the old hand would be the official time it would enable the new man/woman to get a flavour of what we are about and it would give our new person a percieved responsibility rather than standing around all day like a spare part. The official timekeeper can explain all aspects
of interest as the day progresses and it will hopefully form the basis for a new competitor.

A regular advert in radio model publications offering an exciting days taster for those wanting to know more about free flight may well be a step forward for our sport.

Paul Fynn

George Clooney installs cappuccino machine at Lost Hills

Ross Jahnke

Nick Bosdet is right, marketing is a huge part of the solution, for all of
free flight. But Bernard and Tom are also right, the technology is what
makes F1 events attractive to those who fly them. If simplicity and the BOM
rule were the solution why is SAM F/F nearly extinct? Why aren't we seeing
huge growth in AMA event participation as FAI becomes more complex?

We need product placement in TV and film, we need celebrities to take up
the sport (who has George Clooney's number?). We need to get positive press
coverage, we need to be viewed as part of the STEM/STEAM movement in
education. We need hipsters to go to the hobby shop, or hobby shops to
install cappuccino machines.

Nick, in your position you may be capable of doing some  marketing for the
sport, or at least doing the necessary research to identify specific goals
and objectives. You might talk to Gene Ulm, who wrote a paper about this
for the 2014 NFFS Symposium Report. Free Flight web sites like the NFFS
page get lots of new visitors every day, help us grab them. Whether they
fly FAI or OTHLG doesn't matter as long as they start flying.


F1B is happy place to be right now

Hi again all,
The last rules discussion in SEN made for an interesting read. I was particularly interested to read Alan Jack’s take on the situation because being part of the British contingent he is aligned, at least in part, with the flyers that developed the British proposal. First I will say that I agree with Alan that airplanes flying 5 and 10 km is a bit of a chore, and certainly in the case of F1C, this is not too uncommon. I wonder if the F1C crowd would consider silencers? This would partially alleviate the noise problem (an issue for even rural flying fields) and at the same time reduce performance. Not being a F1C person I can’t determine the negative outcomes of silencers on the class but I would be curious to hear opinions from the F1Cers.
Alan makes a safety argument in his piece, suggesting that a super long flight at LH could drop a F1C into the path of an oncoming vehicle on the highway thereby leading to all kinds of physical and legal mayhem. We all realize of course that this scary scenario, though a remote possibility, is worth considering. I would like to point out, however, that Alan does not mention the much more likely scenario of a malfunctioning F1C bunting at full tilt into an unsuspecting person on the flight line. I have seen more then a couple of F1Cs attempt to bury themselves at close quarters, and although death by Verbitsky or Babenko is an admirable, and probably pretty quick way for a FAI flyer to go, it is certainly not something any of us want to see happen anytime soon. Such a tragic occurrence would certainly result in a few drastic changes around FAI free flight. Seems to me that the F1C folks might want to ponder the best way to develop failsafes for their aircraft while they are testing ways to limit performance.
Another, probably heretical or perhaps just stupid thought: F1Q is obviously not going anywhere right now so should we consider opening F1C to electric as well as IC? perhaps the energy available in a newly limited 3.5 or 4 sec IC motor run could be determined and applied to electric F1C? Perhaps this way we get more folks flying F1C?? Might be something worth testing out?

Alan also mentions VP F1B front ends in his piece, arguing that they add complexity and expense and that they should be eliminated along with geared F1C engines. I have no strong opinions on geared F1C engines but I would like to counter the F1B front end idea by suggesting first that they are not too complicated for a novice flyer. I figured em out and have no problem flying VP. I very much enjoy the added technical considerations and the latitude for experimentation offered by this aspect of modern F1B and would be unhappy to see it eliminated. Also, as others, Alan included, have noted, eliminating technologies is not going to result in cheaper models. It will drive other expensive innovations instead. I can imagine that the British proposal if implemented would result in geared F1B front ends, or variable diameter front ends, or flapped props. all of these would cost far more than a VP unit. So, now you have to eliminate these innovations with another rule. The final result is a situation where the airplanes are all identical, which forces us to spend all of our time with rubber because the person with the best flyoff motor will win. This will mean that serious flyers will have to invest in high end computerized rubber testing equipment (more money!) and spend countless hours (time is money!) in their basements testing rubber. As an F1B flyer I can tell you that we already spend too much time with rubber. If I need to triple or quadruple the number of rubber hours required to be competitive I will definitely go an do something else. Its no fun sitting in my basement playing with rubber. I wanna fly.
Bottom line: F1B is in a pretty happy place right now, please don’t mess it up. If you want to fly a simple F1B no one is stopping you.

Bernard Guest

An ill wind

Hi Roger,
Five cents worth (smallest Australian denomination)
Reading recent SEN issues there is a lot of discussion on limiting the high tech features of models as a result of diminishing flying sites and other problems. This discussion seems to pop up every few years. Usually no agreement means little or nothing happens. Rather than tamper with model specs which always upsets those that have invested a lot of money and effort the easiest thing would be to reduce tow line length, rubber weight and motor run for F1C. This would probably only give a temporary benefit. Reducing the flyable windspeed limit is (in my opinion) the best solution.  I remember when we had a 12 m/s limit then it was dropped to 9m/s at the 83 WC. More than thirty years on model performance has increased greatly and field size and availability have reduced in most countries. Thirty three years on - time to look at 6m/s me thinks.  It would be beneficial for both the time keepers and the older people (that make up most of the current competitors) by helping reduce the distance models fly downwind. Reserve days may need to be factored in by organisers and competitors in the event of postponed days/rounds.  The obvious disadvantage being when people have travelled a long way to compete and have allowed a limited time to participate. I agree with those that say dumbing down the technology would make the classes unattractive to both competitors and spectators.
John Lewis


From:     Damjan Zulic

After reading the suggestions that Ian collected at FFN and reading the comments on FB and SEN, It only assures me that those suggestions (especialy  from UK ,partially DE,AUT  too) were given by people who either don't compete in F1A,B,C or haven't been competing for a very long time. I am also sure that those suggestions were definetly given without any tests on the field.
In consideration about F1B and F1C the situation is very simple. If we want to reduce height, the time limit for engine run and reducing the weight of the rubber for 10% is more than enough for quite a lot of time.  F1B aren't even critical right now. Reducing the time for F1C from 5 to 4.5sec means about 20% less height which is more than enough (tested in field).  Switching from  Methanol  to ethanol isn't such a simple change that the suggestors think because it requires completely new propelers and in long term also new engines which are adapted to the new fuel. The same goes for the reduced air intake on the engine. It definetly requires new propelers and engines, which are adapted to different quantity  of air intake. Whoever insists that the change of fuel and the diameter of the air intake tube don't affect the techicalities of the propelers and engines, doesn't know much about engines, nor did he tested those suggestions in the field.
But the thing that I am most worried about is the suggestions that change the measurements and properties of the models, because it's completely the same if you unhook an LDA model in thermal conditions on 100m or a classic model on 60m and it reaches the height of 100m in aproximately 20sec . Both models in thermal conditions end the 3 minute start on the height from 300-400m and fall down with DT in around 5-6minutes, which is happening from the year 1972 when I started competing in FF.
That the number of competitors isn't affected from the price of the models and materials, is perfectly visible in the F1Q category, which is the cheapest and there are still a couple dozen competitors around the world in contrast with much heavier and more expensive F1A,B and C categories where the number of competitors is much higher than in the F1Q category.
So please don't try to change the properties of the models and don't try to inhibit the development. Let's not go back to the 70's or 80's. The F1C models that I have are from 7 to 10 years old and they are still competitive and they can stay like this another 5-10 years with some minor modifications. If you will change the properties of the models, the old models will be useless.  Unfortunately I don't have 8000-10000€ to invest in the new models. And I can asure you that I am not the only one who will stop competing in FF in case that those suggestions will be applied.

Flying in Minnesota

Flying site

Dave tell me more about the flying sites in Minnesota. I would like to present detailed information at the Team selection committee meeting next weekend.    
From Dave

Hi Bob
Perhaps you did not see my PS......Spoof.... note.  I have been doing some club history research, and published it in our last newsletter.  It is on the NFFS website under newsletters.  I was impressed by the first contests held in Minneapolis in the late 1930s and early 1940s.  The Fort Snelling site is now right on the northern edge of our MSP airport, and is postage stamp in size on the bluffs overlooking the joining of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers.  The first contests were held in areas where there was a take off site, and no thought was given to retrieval.....after all, the models either crashed or flew away hopefully to be found some day!  Another interesting fact was that the contests were very well advertised in the newspapers, and thousands of spectators came out to watch.  I think those days might be gone??
Our main field at North Branch is in a 3x3 mile flatland.  Most of it is in crops.  Prior to the economy going bad in 2008, it was probably 25 % sod fields, but this has been cut back to maybe 10% with the previous sod fields now added to crop land.  Luckily, there are fields of sod 1/2 x 3/4 miles in size where we can at least fly from on calm days, and with more wind, we are retrieving in crops, much like Muncie.  We give the two main land owners a $150 gift card each Christmas, and there are so few of us flying at contests, less than 12, that we can get away with retrieving fly-aways in the crops.  We would never consider offering our site to a major FAI contest.  We made that mistake in 1976!
Muncie is still the best site in the country for contests.  It has been good enough for holding the NATS with 200 hundred of us crazy free flighters retrieving our models from the countryside.  It should be good enough for holding a FAI contest.....obviously the NATS already feature FAI events.
So with F1As being launched to 90 meters, F1Bs to 130 meters, and I would guess F1Cs to 160 meters, and with sink rates in the glide at .30 meters per second, you have dead air times of 300, 433, and 533 seconds.  Perhaps the models are over performing for any field in the world!  I have trouble timing a model for over 3 minutes without binoculars and a chair to sit in!  I find it difficult to get any model to beat that .30 meters per second sink rate, even light weight indoor gliders.  Must be something going on there like gravity?
Perhaps the FAI flyers should consider setting their models with short DTs, and forget the Super Duper competitions and try some of the other more fun events.  We never fly any of our events with more than a 2 minute max...maybe extend it to 3 minutes if there is a tie.
Best regards
Dave Edmonson
PS:  Roger, thanks for printing my silly article.  I did not expect to see it printed.
FLY/MAX/WIN    or is it:   FLY/DT/HAVE FUN!

Editor's Comment

Dave  We Included your article because it is important to get different perspectives and understand that different people have different reasons for changing what events they fly. Also to understand that a person such you does not have so much FAI stuff locally and some distance to Muncie and a very long way other sites in the USA. 

Also that it discouraging when you try hard and don't get on the team, not necessarily a reflection on the flyer because the standard is high and there are only 3 team places every 2 years.

For people in Europe they have a major event every year with both the Euro and World Champs and relatively easy access to many World Cup events.   I'm guessing but it is probably a 3 hour flight for you to Lost Hills or Boulder City and 3 hours for the typical European takes him way out of Europe. It's fun to go and tke part in a World Cup event even if you are not going to beat Roland, Jama. Per or Anton but maybe not so much fun if it is a journey from, to or through hell to get there

Roger Morrell