National Free Flight Society

Baby Bee 40

Baby Bee 40 – a proposed beginner’s event for Cox Baby Bee .049 engines

Early emails leading to the development of the model type are summarized below. Pictures of Baby Bee 40 prototype models that have been built:
Ross Jahnke's model (overall shot)
Ross Jahnke’s model (overall shot)
Ross Jahnke's model (closeup of engine and timer instalation)
Ross Jahnke’s model (closeup of engine and timer installation)
Another Baby Bee 40
Another Baby Bee 40
Plans for Baby Bee 40 Models
Bob Stalick’s Bee 40
Ross Jahnke’s Tepid Cocoa

This event was conceived by Ross Jahnke who tried somewhat unsuccessfully to get his kids flying a Pee Wee 30. He reasoned that the readily available good running Cox Babe .049 engines would make a much better beginners motor to get started in free flight with.

From Ross’s initial ideas came a flurry of email on the SCAT Electronic News mailing list and between individuals, the interest in this kind of event was high.

The rules have evolved into the following (note: they are not yet 100% finished! We need to discuss the options further and build a few to a set of rules to try them out!)

Proposed set of rules: (these rules are still evolving and have been

1. Cox Baby Bee .049 * must be used, any glow head allowed.
2. An unmodified Cox 6-3 prop must be used (either the hard gray or the flexible black nylon one) (recent emails are mixed on this issue, some favor leaving the prop an open item.
3. No dimension over 40 inches.
4. Minimum weight 250 grams (a tad bit over 8.8 ounces) (recent emails suggest that 200 grams (about 7 ounces) is a better weight as originally proposed)
5. No auto surfaces, except for DT.
6. No mechanical engine timers allowed, only fuel metering devices such as an eye dropper permitted. (recent emails are split on this, some favor allowing timers, even a suggestion from Lee Campbell who suggests having shorter engine runs for the more accurate timer equiped models, with no allowances for overruns with either eyedroppers or timers)
7. 15 second engine runs with 2 minute maxes, under 40 sec can be declared an attempt. 6 attempts to make 3 official flights.Deduct 20 seconds for each second (or partial second) over 15 sec.
8. Flyoffs if necessary will reduce the engine run to 10 sec, same 2 minute max and over run penalties (over 10 sec in this case), no attempts in flyoffs.

* the intent here is to use a readily available Baby Bee .049 (with metal tank) or one of the product .049’s (with a plastic firewall). These engines can be found used in many places as they powered many Cox Ready to Fly plastic airplanes. Both use a single port cylinder that can be visually identified externally by the stamp on the cylinder (numbers xxxx, yyyy and zzzz are legal. xxxx, yyyy, and zzzz will be filled in with numbers when these rules mature). Hopefully this event will not become a horsepower race, rather an enjoyable one using fairly stock engines.

The following discussions contributed to these proposed set of rules: Please send in you comments as they are still evolving! As the comments grow and the rules mature, I will put these comments in an archive page rather than here on the main page.

initial idea and foundational set of rules (Ross Jahnke):

My son age 3, shows much interest and promise in free flight. Right now he flies small rubber models and hand launch gliders. He is also curious about engines. I tried to run the Cox .020 on my pee wee 30 for him but the engine wasn’t cooperating that day. I then pulled out an old baby bee, dormant since my u-control days 20 years ago, and it fired right up. Is there a pee wee 30-like event for the baby bee? Is there support for such an event? Since these engines are so abundant, so forgiving, and in the hands of so many non-free flighters, they might be an excellent choice for an introductory event.

If an event does not exist how does this proposal sound? a.) 40″ max dimensions in any direction ( or 36″ or 200 square inch wing).
b.) 200 gram minimum weight.
c.) 15 sec. engine run / eye dropper tank (same as pee wee 30).
d.) No auto surfaces except DT (same as pee wee 30).
e.) Power is a stock Baby Bee .049, with single intake port cylinder, and standard glow head. No mods except a hole in the tank for the fuel line. A stock plastic tankless backplate / reed valve assembly is acceptable.
f.) No ROG requirement.

Ross Jahnke (8 July 1999)

any glow plugs allowed (Doug Galbreath):

Ross Jahnke’s idea for the pee wee event sounds like a winner if we publicize it in the right places. We seem to preach to the choir a lot in this hobby, and never reach out and touch the vast unwashed out there. Or even the half vast ones for that matter. One thing about the rules Ross proposed: The price of stock glow heads for the babe bee is twice what the whole engine used to sell for and are damn near unobtanium anyway. Better just leave the glow plug issue alone and allow anything that lights up the fire as the performance ain’t all that good any way you run them. That eliminates an easy way to cheat.

Down air really sucks

Doug Galbreath (10 July, 1999)

some initial discussions (Rex Hinson, Roger Morrell, Joe Mekina and Ross Jahnke):

I also would like to throw in my support for Ross Jahnke’s proposed baby bee event. I don’t see how we could screw it up. Might even get some new fliers into freeflight. Engines out of the plastic u/c models might also be a possibility.

Thanks Ross, its nice to see someone thinking instead of complaining.

Rex Hinson (7-12-99)


It sounds to me that this is something the NNFS would be interested in .. maybe Joe Mekina should promote it on the new NFFS web site ?

Roger Morrell (7-12-99)



I have been watching the SCAT electronic news and your proposal for a Baby Bee event that has seemed to catch hold. I agree, there needs to be something like it as the Pee Wee .020’s are finicky, and to compete (or even fly successfully in the case of a youngster) you have to have a “good” one. Your idea is a good one!

I propose to promote the event on the NFFS website (as Roger Morrel also suggested the SCAT electronic news). I also agree with Doug Galbreath’s follow on suggestion making any head legal. Cox heads are now very expensive! I believe they are around $10 now! This is also parallel to the way Nostalgia has evolved as heads are either expensive or non-existent and should not be the hardest (or most expensive) thing on the model, after all they burn out!

I have a bit of research to do (namely look up the current Pee Wee 30 rules and see how they read), but then plan on setting up a Baby Bee-40 event forum on the NFFS website. Its purpose will be to toss out ideas, entertain comments, and to formulate as set of rules.

But off the cuff, from my memory, I recall the PeeWee 30 event as having a funky max/engine point system, with no over runs but a penalty in points. The rules as I recall them say take the max time (120 sec) and multiply them by 100 then divide them by the engine run (15 for runs of 15 sec or less, the actual run times for runs over 15 sec). So for max scoring it is in the contestants best interest to not run a run longer than 15.

I personally believe that Babe Bee powered airplanes (at 200 grams and max dimensions of 40 “) are robust enough to carry a timer. To me it is simpler to carry a timer than not, thought I may be in the minority here. I would therefore propose to just run simple 15 sec engine run -120 sec max rules. Going down to 10 sec for flyoffs.

I also need to talk to a few people about how to specify the engine, probably a mix of “can have’s” and “can not have’s”. Baby Bee and Product .049’s are OK… Tee Dee, Medallions, etc not OK. Lee Campbell is very familiar with the Cox line and I will get with him on this.

But for the most part, good idea, I believe you got the span right at 40 inches, and the weight of 200 grams seems about right too.

While I have not in the past been in favor of yet “another” event, I truly believe we need one like this to attract people, young and old. And Cox .049’s are a great way to go!

So, in light of the above, how does this sound?

Baby Bee-40 (proposed rules)

a.) 40″ max dimensions in any direction.
b.) 200 gram minimum weight (a tad bit over 7 ounces).
c.) No auto surfaces except DT.
d.) Power is a stock Baby Bee .049 (or product .049), with single intake port cylinder, any glow head allowed.
e.) 15 sec max engine run, 120 sec max, flyoffs 10 sec engine run, same 120 sec max. 6 attempts to make 3 official flights, 40 sec or less can be declared an attempt. No attempts on flyoffs.

Again, I am not hard over on not using the funky rules, which pretty much go hand and hand with eyedroppers. But to me it is far easier to just put a timer on it than to fool with filling the eyedropper and adding to it while running, needling etc.. If it appears that the majority of people want to go with eyedroppers and ban timers and use the funky rules, great. Perhaps this should be one of the first things that get ironed out in a forum? I could structure the page to facilitate this discussion.

Anyways, thought I’d toss this back to you for your comment before I set up the web page. I will not post the page till I hear your thoughts.

Joe Mekina (7-12-99)



thank you for pursuing the Baby Bee event! I to don’t like to add new events willy-nilly but this one has real potential to offer access to newcomers.

I agree with the glow head suggestion, now that I’m aware of the cost issue.

I think the Pee Wee 30 eye dropper / flight time rules are a bit convoluted as well. The reason I want the dropper is because timers are expensive (as costly as the engine) and hard for non-free flighters to obtain. Also this adds the need for a real gas tank of some sort which is hard to mount and use. (I have never successfully used a bladder tank for instance).

How about eyedroppers with a 5 or 10 second penalty for every second of over run past 15 seconds? That way you can’t max if you over run but the math is simple. Then an over run doesn’t totally spoil a flight either. Or both could be offered with no over run allowed if a timer is used. I like the rest of your flight time suggestions however. I would like you to open the debate, and I will go with what the people prefer.

Ross (7-12-99)



I also agree that the Pee Wee 30 points system is weird. I suggest the dropper tank because timers are also expensive (at least as much as the engine), harder to obtain and create a need for a real tank, which adds to the complexity of building and operating the model. How about a 5 -10 second penalty for every second of over run? We could even have dual rules where timers are allowed, but over runs are not if a timer is used.

In general, I would like someone to be able to see a plan in a model mag, buy the wood and engine at a hobby shop, and show up at a local contest. There might of course be no one who ever does this, but it shoud be possible. I have a photo of Jason Poti with an ultra simple 1/2 A model that was partial insperation for this event. Even though Norm is his father, any father and son could cobble that model together with a baby bee and eye dropper on the front

Thanks again

Ross (7-12-99)



Sorry, I don’t know the Pee Wee fly-off rules. I flew the event once maybe 5 years ago. I have a nifty Pee Wee model with 180 sq. wing thats never been flown, unfortunately too busy with rubber.

I see your point about strategy but Pee Wee fliers can do the same re over runs. Besides if someone can do a calculated over run then it could only be the last flight and no one else could be maxed out. Incrimental increases will make the math more difficult, how about 20 seconds per second of over run? Two extra seconds would really hurt a score, four seconds could make any flight an attempt.

It is the NFFS photo of Poti that I have. I did not know that the model was without a timer though. He used an eye dropper? Seven seconds is very tough without a timer.

I am enjoying this debate toward the formation of this new event. Of course the event needs a name too. The name Baby Bee 40 is good because it links it to the pee wee 30 event which is its little brother. Others may want a different name though. Any name is better than Slop!

Ross (7-12-99)

more discussions (Murphy, Jahnke):

Jerry Murphy
FFBC Member Dist IX

The discussion of yet another beginner event makes me wonder why we need another event in the days of slow open power, AMA gas, and nostalgia. I believe the answer is none of these are simple enough for a raw beginner. There is nothing like P-30 for the gas minded flier.

With this out of the way let me say that simply adding an event to the rule book and then letting the rule change process make it work is a bad idea. The world is a better place if a club adopts the event and flys it for several years. This will give the event time to age and the problems can be found. Issues such as the glow plugs that Doug has identified can be worked out.