SEN-388 March 19 2000
- Category: Archive 2000
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News and Reports 2000 - First half
SCAT Electronic News 19 March
Table of Contents
SCAT Annual Stop Press
America's Cup Manufacturer's Score`
CIAM Voting Percentage ? - Bogie
Enlightened - Achterberg
My Comments on Cheating - Mattes
Approved timers??? - Kowal
RE: Wider coverage for the poll - Gregorie
RDT - Jahnke
Corrected Survey Results
SCAT Annual Stop Press
Just in [back ?] from Lost Hills .. on the SCAT Annual America's Cup
contest. Great event run by the Coussens family. Great weather, sun shine
max at 85 F. Little wind in some rounds, very tricky thermal conditions
Full results later [in the words of Jim Parker - if you ain't first
it doesn't count] Good banquet - $400 raised for Junior team.
F1A - Pierre Brun
F1B - Mike Mulligan
F1C - Randy Archer
F1H - Martyn Cowley
F1G - Hank Cole or Bob Critchlow - to be determined
F1J - Bruce Augustus
Also the new America's Cup F1A, B and C factory totals are ..
[Well I'm not brave enough to do F1C - they all look the same
except for Doug Joyce. For F1C we can keep score of the models
and motors used by the winners .. so if some brave F1C person can tell
me that for SWR, MM Int and SCAT annual]
In the case of Mr Brun, it is not known if he was flying one of his models
or one from the Besachasny factory. Pierre ?
For the model to qualify more than just the wings have to come from the
otherwise the win is attributed to the sportsman.
Note that only first places are used .. .. in the words of Mr Parker.
CIAM Voting Percentage ?
What percentage puts a change in the FAI rules? Is it the same (2/3) as AMA
Pres Dave Brown says for our offerings to be considered?
Well, now I know why I'm not winning!! All this cheating is going on!!
Thought it was because of being ill-prepared, no practice, no focus, and not
to mention no models!! And here my thought was that we were a fraternity of
friends that had a common pursuit -aeromodeling!!
Now really, does anybody know of a modeller in our F1 fraternity that
cheats? I think not!! We are a small group and believe that this will and
would not happen. Perhaps I am naive, but what do you "win" if you have to
cheat to achieve you goal??? You really would only be cheating yourself out
of the satisfaction of achieving your goal to beat your friends in one
flying session on one given day!!! Is this really rewarding and to who?
Would this give you a feeling of self worth?? I think not!!! After all, I
think the F1 group are all friends for the most part and "Hell" we even all
tolerate the "alien" from Pa.!!
For those who choose to write into this web, one must remember that new
possible flyers searching the net for info,will not likely be interested in
pursuing the F1 events after reading about all the "in-fighting " that goes
on it and especially about all the "cheating"! Try to write something
positive not negative or derogatory!! Simple solution is a lifetime ban for
anyone caught cheating!!
To new possible participants in our events,we really are a fraternity of
aeromodellers with the common interest of freeflight. And in spite of all
the whining, nit-picking, that you read on this page, we all for the most
part, are friendly and helpful to new people and look forward to having you
join our fraternity of aeromodellers!!
My Comments on Cheating
Bob, Roger, and Anyone Else I May Have Offended,
First I would like to apologize if any specific innocent individual
thought that I in any way inferred that you as an individual was
cheater. Also I should not have cited any specific examples. My primary
intent in what I wrote was not to infer that model fliers are cheaters
as a rule but rather the potential to cheat using RDT or RCDT for
in-flight trim changes is not a reason to reject it out of hand. We
need to have rules much as we do today to prevent cheating and press on.
We cannot however assume that all modelers/sportsmen will not cheat
given enough pressure and the opportunity. That is why we have engine
timers, weigh models and rubber motors, measure areas and tow line
lengths, yes and sometimes measure engine displacements. If there was
no tendency for the human to cheat we wouldn't need to do these things
and all would be happy. Also if cheating is not a consideration why is
there so much discussion in Roger's mailings on the subject in the first
As to engine runs and the need to be at the launch site I to a large
degree would like to take exception. It is not as much a case of
physics as it is a case of trigonometry and knowing that sound travels
at about 1100 fps which is a bit of Physics. If the airplane is 600
feet high, being about 200 feet down the flight line would add about 32
feet to the distance that the sound traveled from the engine cutoff to
the observer. This is determined by the Pythagorean Theorem. This added
distance adds all of 32 feet divided by 1100 ft/sec (speed of sound) or
0.03 seconds to the engine run. If we throw in a 20-MPH wind, which is
far in excess of most conditions, and place the observer 200 feet up
wind, the time for the engine cutoff to reach the observer will increase
by about 0.014 seconds. This gives us a maximum error of about 0.044
seconds. It does not therefore appear necessary that a timer or
observer be at the launch site to make reasonably accurate engine run
Relative to the comment about people sitting under tents 200 feet away
being useless I don't believe that Ed made the comment. I guess we do
not need people to run the contests, process the models, and do all of
other duties that must be done to run a contest or event. Pete Sotich
would have loved to hear that.
Sure I have been away from the contest scene for many years but having
raised my kids I am getting back. I also note that there are many out
there doing the same. This lack of current participation may invalidate
any rules change proposal or comments relative to accepting or rejecting
proposals I may have but it does not alter common sense observations as
to human nature, physics, or trigonometry.
I must wholeheartedly disagree with the suggestion that we need to have
"certified" timers in our models to prevent cheating. I personally enjoy the
challange and rewards in building my own "control system" for my airplanes.
I believe that doing my own programming/developement gives me an
advantage over those who choose to purchase their equipment ready to
The argument that a model was lost in trees due to a timer failure is not a
particularly strong argument for RDT. With current electronic timers there
is no reason for a plane to ever fail to DT regardless of conditions. The
programming can be set up to failsafe into DT regardless of conditions.
If you have a system that fails to DT except in the event of a dead battery
you should have a different system. If you fail to check your batteries
to each flight you have created a failure mode that need not exist.
The possibility to dynamically reprogram a plane during flight could make
the trimming process much faster and safer. As Matt stated using the RDT
to trim his F1C made the process much safer. But once a plane is trimmed
(Hopefully before the start of a contest) what need is there of the RDT
Regardless of technology the best flyers are still going to win contests
and being able to DT your airplane out of huge thermal before it
disappears forever will not effect the outcome of a contest, assuming
the flyer has other planes to fly.
I guess my feeling is that if you do not have a field where you can fly the
max safely then you need to change the max or fly a different type of
airplane. Bunting an F1A up to 210 feet only to DT it 30 seconds later
so that it will stay on the field of battle will be a worthless competetion
that I certainly will not participate in. Part of the challenge of flying is
in the retrieval process. Modifing that portion of the sport modifies
One last note on cheating.......
At the Maxmen (I know this is after the fact) I noted some top "sportsmen"
using release flags on their F1A's that appear to be made of a mesh
material that had
I would suppose approximately 80 percent open area. Now the FIA rules call
out for a specific DM squared size of the flag. These sportsmen are apparently
counting the holes in this material as covered area. If I drill 1 inch
my wing this area does not count towards the DM total. I Feel that using a
mesh flag and not increasing the overall size is at the least "bending" the
The only reason to use such a material is to increase line speed and
launch height as the visibility of the flag certainly does not go up. will
lead to 4 pieces of string tied together to form nothing but the outline of
The minimum DM size was implemented to aid in seeing the release of the
towline and therefore start timing accurately. It is as important as any
in the book. I suppose this issue may have already been resolved elsewhere
if so someone tell me where I can buy some of those flags.
RE: Wider coverage for the poll
I think that Alberto Dona has made a good point about preaching to the
As one way to get a wider spectrum of comment I suggest that you post a copy
of the SEN poll to the FFML. I know there are several fliers there who do
not currently fly FAI classes, but who may be interested in the Sport
classes. It would be good to hear from them.
My applogies to Ross on the following item ... we did get it a few
days ago but somehow it got overlooked ..
Ken Bauer and Mike Achterberg renewed my interest in the RCDT question.
Both make good points in their arguments to allow this new device in
competition but at the same time they inadvertently point to pitfalls as
well. I will say up front that in competition at least, I would rather not
see this technology in use.
Ken points out correctly the distinction between traditional RC signals and
RCDT signals. We would not have to issue frequency pins in order for a
modeler to fly for instance. His point is also that the model is free
because the transmitter is only transmitting when the signal is sent, like a
garage door opener. Basically 179 second of free flight and one second of
RC. The purity of the flight for which we receive our score is essentially
preserved. I don't remember anyone comparing this to the steering that
indoor duration events allow. Like RCDT, steering lets a modeler redirect
the path of his model from the ground to avoid obstacles. The tactical
advantages here are greater because there is no maximum duration for a
flight so a successful steer can greatly add to the official flight time.
In comparison RCDT looks mild.
But if an RCDT signal is not transforming the nature of "free" flight then
all timer functions could be operated from the ground. The surface positions
could be pre-adjusted and irreversible, only the time interval would be
subject to adjustment by the modeler. 175 second of free flight and five
seconds of RC.
Mike Acterberg talks about saving models. This argument is more and more
keen as the cost of models goes up and the number of models we build or
acquire goes down. How much risk are we willing to take as free flight
modelers? Is it possible that the issue of risk might be more effective in
curtailing the proliferation of models that are costly in both time and
money than a separate sport class? Is or is not risk part of the aesthetic
of the sport? This is a tough issue and one that is more personal than
Another point Mike makes is that RCDT is no different in its purpose than
the mechanical and electronic timers we use. As he says its "all about
saving the model". Actually its all about controlling the flight path of
the model to make that flight path safe, predictable and efficient. Once
again one must wonder why we aren't discussing the performance of other auto
surface functions with these new systems.
The argument AGAINST RCDT probably stems in part from a reaction to free
flights historic relationship to radio control. Radio was an evolutionary
step in the development of model aircraft. Thus free flight was the
Neanderthal and RC the Homosapien, at least thats what our friends used to
tell us when they hung up there Satellite and bought a Sig Cadet. That old
prejudice is rekindled as we ponder this technology. But our relationship
to RC has changed a great deal in the last 20 years. Most RC modelers have
never flow free flight (aside from Sleek Streaks and Air Hogs). Many have
probably never seen a high performance free flight model fly. That old
feeling of transcendent superiority among RCers is gone, replaced for better
or worse, with ignorance of free flight.
Note also the trends in RC models. Lots of gliders that need thermals just
as our models do. Electric models which offer, if nothing else, a sense of
serenity in silence. And the most recent and startling trend is the indoor
electric models and park fliers. Very light, low power, low wing loading,
docile, with minimal control, usually two channels. RCers seem to be
looking for some of the risk and purity of flight that we have called our
own since the 1940's. In this era of corporate mergers where Ma Bell is
slowly being reconstructed and where print, TV and the internet are becoming
interwoven, we may be on the brink of the reunification of model aviation.
Add one more function to your RCDT system and you will have a model not
unlike those park fliers. Take one function off of a park flier and you may
find yourself in need of DT fuse.
I have an Ace single channel pulse system from the days before channel 72.
The models that used these systems were so inherently stable that in power
or glide they could fly without input from the transmitter. The guy I got
the radio from instructed that, "if the model gets into trouble put the
transmitter down, the model will correct itself". I remember it was lots of
fun because all you did was turn to keep the model in range and away from
obstacles, much like F1D fliers do with their balloons. When (and where)
the model landed was more dependent on trim and air conditions than anything
done with the stick.
Like so many issues, here we are faced with a range of control from the hand
launch glider that is without even a DT, to SLOP, to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and more
auto surface functions to RCDT , to closed loop sensors, to RC assist old
timer and park fliers, to ailerons, throttle, and retractable landing gear.
Each step along this continuum is incremental yet we find ourselves wishing
to draw a clear and definite line that, if crossed, puts the model and
modeler in a whole different class. As we add technology the line gets
nudged about and delineates a finer and finer distinction between what is
and is not free flight.
The reason for this heated discussion is that RCDT sits on that old and
familiar dividing line. If history is to be our guide, the technology that
forever distinguished RC from free flight, was a system not unlike RCDT, a
free flying model that with the push of a button changed course. If
technology is to be our guide then RCDT is little more than a small step
forward in electronic timing, or the logical counterpart to our Walston
radios. I tend to be a purist so I'll take the side of history.
I'll also keep the Ace radio a few more years. It looks like its coming
back into fashion in both sides of our sport. Just watch my hands to know
if I'm flying free flight or RC, one move of the thumb is free flight and
two is RC.
Corrected Survey Results
This includes a few late entries an a couple of minor corrections.
1. The country you live in
Australia - 8
New Zealand 6
USA - 80
[ any pollster will tell you that this number expressed as percentage
of our readers (about 500) is very very high]
2. The FAI FreeFlight Classes you fly
A - 64
B - 67
C - 38
G - 30
H - 24
J - 22
[Note that some people responded with more than class]
[We did ask the level of participation because we had a concern
that people who are not real participants would overly weight
the results one way or another. This turned out not to be the case]
Of the 133 replies 108 classed then selves as A or B in the F1A, B or C classes
3. Remove limit on number of models [currently 4]
against - 64
For - 64
4. Radio DT for F1A and F1B
5. Remove attempt of 20 seconds for F1A, F1B and f1C
against - 85
for - 43
6. An flight of less that 20 seconds is considered a flight
not an attempt if the model d/ts
against - 59
for - 68
7. permit max to be longer than 3 minutes - with longer
to be used for resolving ties only.
against - 49
8. permit longer maxes if weather and retrival permit
against - 52
for - 78
9. Change in team scoring at world champs - this is a complex change
and seeing it was not for an individual placing the explanation
against - 26
for - 29
abstain - 66
10. addition of new classes f1A, B and C "sport" with more restricted
against - 76
for - 54
would not fly - 54
would fly - 46
11. "Italian" proposal that makes the main classes much simpler by prohibiting
the use of automatic surfaces. In F1C controls motor run
by fuel capacity. Reduces rubber in F1B to 25 grams. Significantly changes
against - 111
for - 11
12. seeing this is a radical proposal that would mean that many
current models could no longer be used and it changes
the technical orientation of FAI FF - if this was passed
I would continue with FAI FF - 48
I would stop FAI FF - 61
13 Reduce the size of the rubber motor in F1B [note that this proposal was
not included - it was submitted by the Danes but was or will be withdrawn]
against - 102
[Note that not all respondents answered every question and
a very small number of questions had to be ignored because they had a complex
conditional reply that could not be easily counted]
[editorial commentary on a some of points.
There were a number of comments against removing the restriction on the
number of models - these were mainly based on cost or cost of transporting
models to a World Champs by aiplane.
Questions 5 and 6 to do with shorts flights are a little misleading
because for most they were conditional on the RCDT being passed.
Looking at the Sport classes a for response did not automatically
means that the person would fly the event and vice versa.
The question that raised the most emotion was the [pseudo?] Italian
proposal. Most but not all in favor of this proposal were not 'A'
level contestants - one exception was a recent US team member who got
on the team flying a simple model.
There was consensus that the model specifications should not be changed
but something may need to be done to make fly offs etc more manageable
in fine weather conditions. However the only proposals that might
go to changing the flying rules [7 and 8] did not universal
acceptance. Many people indicated that they were concerned the event
would be too hard to run - come to think of it number of those
replied did come from people who are also event organizers.]