National Free Flight Society

SEN 2007

Table of Contents – SEN 2007

F1C issue

  1. Roberts – USA
  2. Pangell et al – USA
  3. Lovins – USA
  4. Lorbiecki – USA
  5. Boutillier – France
  6. Buskell – Canada
  7. Simpson – USA
  8. McDonald – Australia
  9. Achterberg – USA
  10. Arm Chair F1ABC

4 second rule

From: Mike Roberts


I too am troubled by the new 4 second rule. Beyond what others have already stated, I don’t understand what we expect to accomplish at 4 seconds but more importantly how will we measure the impact to determine if the rule provides the desired result.

I do believe the rule will add cost and more complexity to be competitive but will keep flying, hoping I can just get stupid lucky in some events.


Re:F1C and SEN 2006
From: TheMaxOut

I don’t want to speak for him, but I had a conversation with Bill
Gieskieng… the “father” of the folder flapper. His take in the conversation was
trying to eliminate all of the gadget development in F1C was sort of self
defeating, but the subject of “no bunting” came up he said that it would
definitely become a “modulator” in all F1 events. In my take, in F1C and F1A
it would definitely affect performance. Bill’s comment was it wouldn’t
affect folding / flapping except in trim. If you do talk to him he may have a
different opinion now, but hey, it is what it is.

Rick Pangell
Editor of “The Max-Out” Newsletter of
The Magnificent Mountain Men FF Club of Colorado

Re:F1C and SEN 2006


I quit flying F1C when they reduced the engine run from 7 seconds. This latest reduction is certainly a step in the wrong direction. Bill Lovins

Re: F1C and SEN 2006

From: John Lorbiecki

After all the discussion, with many of us already losing hope that our fixed wing models will be obsolete, I think Mike hit it on the head. Leave us old timers at 5 seconds and lower the variable geometry models to 4.4 or 4.5 seconds. Possibly even make geared models lower. Simple to do as it is just a mark on the timer and makes it a more level playing field.

I realize that direct drive fixed wing models will, at times, be competitive, but still we do have a disadvantage. This technique is not unlike drag racing where they vary the weight of the vehicle dependent on engine size. Same results, all trying to level the playing field.

Now, from the other side, we are penalizing the people that worked hard to maximize their performance with better technology. However, to keep up participation which is minimal right now, junking models which were still somewhat competitive is not good.

So, what would it take to get an idea like this going? Will CIAM listen to this idea or is this set in stone until the next meeting?

And then there is the RDT issue. But that is another discussion……note these are my comments and in no way represent NFFS….yes, being president has it perks but this ain’t one of them!


Re: F1C and SEN 2006

From: b.boutillier

About 4 sec. Motor run, I agree with all which was written in the 2006 Sen
by John, Randy, Michael , Colin, Don, Lars, Bill, Dario, Damjan and Chris.

What is stunning for me is the fact that the FFTM voted against this letal
proposal and then the plenary voted for. It shoul be interesting to know
which country voted against and for (transparency, democracy ?! )

In the plenary meeting there were probably many countries without any F1C
flyers in their ranks, not knowing what would be the consequences of this

CIAM already made this kind of mistake when reducing the motor run from 7 to
5 sec, which started the technological explosion: i.e. geared engines,
folders and flappers, with the corresponding decrease of number of

Gears should have been banned as soon as they appeared but the CIAM had no

In France we say: to govern is to foresee.

It does not seem to be the main virtue of CIAM.

Perhaps is it not too late to go back to 5 sec.

F1C comeback slipping

From: John Buskell

Hi Roger, a short note on the F1C discussions;

Really bad for F1C at CIAM.
With a 4 sec run geared drive is now a must have. Fora, of course, recently
introduced a new direct drive engine……..
The RDT thing is probably sensible, though.

Back in 1956 the FAI doubled the F1C wing loading from 200 gm/cc to 400.
The outcry from fliers got a change of heart and 300 gm/cc it has been ever
How can we make them think again?

John Buskell
(a F1C comeback now much less likely)


From: Roger Simpson

At first I wondered why there were no comments appearing on SEN regarding
the F1C rule changes.

Now they have appeared, basically all saying the same thing, unintended
consequences brought about by unthinking CIAM FF committee members (or else
hidden motives) submitted to the CIAM plenary members (mostly RC
politicians) to likewise unknowingly vote on.

Oh no, not possible you say. Then explain this……… why were all rule
change proposals for F1A and F1B withdrawn, and only the F1C event hit with
draconian rule changes. Do you realize that the F1A event has had no
meaningful rule changes since it’s inception over 60 years ago. Size,
weight, towline length…. all unchanged. Yet in the last 10 years they
have learned to double their altitude at launch…. their flyoffs are not
settled until the 11 minute round (just quoting the SCAT Annual results
published in SEN last month).

And in the last 60 years the F1C event has had their engine run reduced from
20 seconds to 15, then to 10, then to 7, then to 5, and now to 4 seconds. 6
different engine runs, and not a single change for F1A. Just how strong is
the F1A lobbying group that they can apply so much pressure to the CIAM FF
committee, and I am including the chairman as well as the committee members,
and I will bet that there are less F1C sportsman on the committee than there
are F1A and F1B sportsmen.

Comments in today’s SEN identify the consequences of the rule changes. In
my opinion they are totally right about the direct drive engine model that
is not either a flapper or a folder. They have been made totally obsolete
by the 4 second engine run, and we will lose fliers as a result, and I am
suspect of just how competitive a direct drive flapper model will be. The
loss of F1C fliers will be felt throughout the world. IS THIS THE MOTIVE

Now let’s discuss the F1C rule change that requires all F1C models to have
an electronic timer.. presumably so as to have the capability to stop the
engine and then DT the model if required. Roger Morrell in a late SEN
stated that only a RDT will be required. I question this, With a RDT
system, a RDT receiver connected to a servo that releases the DT line.. the
RDT does not work until after the engine has quit and the mechanical timer
has stepped through the bunt sequence and then has released the bunt
pulldown line to go into glide. Until then you can release the DT line,
but the stab is held down in the climb position and then the bunt position.
I know this for a fact as I have experienced this. There is no known
interface where an electronic RDT receiver can take over a mechanical/
spring driven disk shaft and disengage the shaft from the timer gears
forcing the disk to immediately rotate that will stop the engine and safely
DT the model all in one action.

And so without fully thinking the consequents through, the CIAM voted to
force the F1C fliers to have an electronic timers in all their models. for
a normal fleet of 4 F1C models that currently have mechanical timers the
immediate financial cost will be somewhere between $2000 and $2500. They
will need to buy 4 electronic timers, the programmer, the DT transmitter, 2
chargers (yes you will want 2 of these so that when one goes out you can
still charge all of the batteries).

Why does the CIAM think they have the right to force these extensive costs
on a F1C flier? Yes, they have required the combat fliers to have a muffler
on their models engines.. I can go on line today to a Ukrainian web site,
buy this muffler for 15US$, pay for it immediately by Money gram and have it
sent the next day to my house. A required fuel shut off for other U-control
events costs only pennies. The idea that the CIAM would force these
extensive costs onto us is something to be questioned and an answer is
certainly required.. especially when I laid out “NO COST” safety, repeat
safety suggestions a year ago that would have required a certain amount of
crowd control/restrictions out in front of the F1C launch area, and behind
it. These suggestions were ignored, and in one instance I was taken to task
for suggesting such. WHY… safety measures are in effect for other FAI
events, they fly FAI Speed inside a steel wire enclosure… why not
implement simple, no cost, safety measures…you tell me, again.. hidden
agenda, F1A lobbying body power… just what is really going on.

This article is lengthy, but please read this all the way through. Why not
just safety measures…… most likely the Contest Organizers can’t be
bothered . Now, I have no problem with the way our competitions are run (I
am just happy that there are still people who will organize competitions), I
ran the Sierra Cup for 25 years in almost the same manner that I am going to
outline as the way that our competitions are run, including all World Cup
competitions I have attended, here in the states, as well as those in Europe
and Australia.

With the exception of the World Championships, the European Championships,
and our team selection competition…… There is no model processing, no
F1B rubber motor weight weighing, no tow line length and stretch measured.
No one knows if the F1B flier has as motor that is dead on weight or a motor
that is 3 or 4 grams overweight so as to get more turns in (but not so much
as to really look suspicious) and no one know if the F1A towline is just 50
meters when stretched to the required rule, no one really know if the F1A,
or the F1B, or the F1C model is fully up to weight, or larger that the set
area limits. There are no spot processing checks made throughout the
competitions ( I do seem to remember 1 or 2 throughout my 55 years of flying
F1C). Not always do we fly from poles, rotate, etc, mostly (because of our
small numbers now) we just fly from an area, no official fuel is provided,
or if there is, no effort is made to require use thereof.

So how is this all possible……. An honor system within the F1 community,
we respect each other and trust each other, to be doing the right thing.

And Ian, you know this is all true, you have been to all these competition
at one time or another, you were just at the Fab Feb competitions. Now why
am I detailing all this. Let me tell you why. For all the outcry about the
F1C rule changes I expect Ian, the FF committee members, and the CIAM to do
absolutely NOTHING! There are real compelling reasons to do something. The
engine run and the electronic timer rule changes should be reversed because
of the effect that it will have worldwide to the F1C event number of
competitors…… we predicted it would, they would not listen. I expect

So we must have electronic timers…… okay, let us look at the good side
of this requirement and the expectations that we F1C fliers now see as our
right . It is our right to be accorded the same honor, the same trust, and
most importantly the same respect, that is accorded to both the F1A and the
F1B competitors. We have this right as we are an event governed by the same
Council of International Aero Modeling and are part of the FAI F1 community.

With the electronic timer, the competition organizer can now, at any time,
after the flight, etc., verify what the engine run was, just as they can
weigh a model, weigh a F1B rubber motor, measure the length of a F1A

In F1C we have always been penalized by the following:

1. Launching our models when other engines are running on the ground or
are already in running in the air. I have the right to do so, as do all
other F1C competitors… It is a common practice worldwide. YET, frequently
we are given over runs (especially if you have a high climbing model) or the
person who is your timer gets upset and says “how can I tell if you had an
over run or not if you fly when other engines are running”. The common
practice is that if you cannot tell it actually is an over run, you cannot
call it an over run. Again, being assigned a timer in a flyoff who is not
use to timing F1C engine runs is a bigger problem than most realize.

2. The sound delay of our engine stopping. The higher a F1C model
climbs the longer the delay, regardless of where the engine timer is
actually set. If a F1B model is launched directly into a thermal the F1B
model will climb at least 3 times as high as it would if not in a thermal.
If a F1C model is launched directly into a thermal (we call it a core shot)
the model will climb about one third again as high as normal, and there is
a longer sound delay (remember we weigh a lot more than a F1B model, about
3-1/2 times more).

3. The reaction time of the person doing the timing. Not all persons
have the same reaction time, and more often than not it is very noticeable,
especially in a flyoff where you can be, more often than not, be assigned a
person to time you that is not use to timing F1C engine runs.. again, this
is a big inconsistency where you can be penalized just by who is timing you.
We are suppose to have equal timing of all F1C flights, during the rounds,
and then in any flyoff.

4. The extra altitude a F1C flier obtains by being able to work on his
own engine to obtain higher rpm, to set his engine up better, who works on
his props, makes his own props, knows the difference between his engine
being over/under compressed, who can needle his engine better… i.e., not
have a tin ear. The extra altitude this flier gains, which he has earned,
goes right back to additional sound delay from the greater altitude.

5. Again, if F1C flier has a model that will climb higher through it
design, he is penalized by the sound delay, just as a flier who trims his
model out better to gain more altitude is penalized.

6. We are penalized when the contest organizer says go have a flyoff and
tell me the results, or an organizer who does not blind draw timers for the
flyoff competitors and allows a foreign competitor to be timed by 5 or 6 of
his own countrymen with the expected result and no way to verify exactly

With an electronic timer, there is no reason for engine runs to be
individually timed, they can be spot checked at any time. I have talked to
other F1C fliers who will be using, or are now using electronic timers. We
want the F1C rules to be amended to do away with individual engine run
timing for each and every flight, our engine run setting in our electronic
timer is the same as the trusted weight of each F1B rubber motor. Either
you trust us or you don’t. your actions will tell, IAN. We ended the cold
war with TRUST, BUT VERIFY… with the now required electronic timers, the
VERIFICATION is now possible, and we demand it!. If the electronic timer is
required for F1C starting in 2016, we expect the timing rules be changed as

My last thought is this, if we truthfully look at the expected unintended
consequences of the 4 second engine run and the requirement of electronic
timers…… Both changes will be tossed out.

Some people will not like what I said, but it is all true, 55 years of
experience of flying F1C.. if the shoe fits, wear it.

Roger Simpson

( one paragraph was removed from the piece as it is being deal with)

F1C rule change – from someone getting back in

From: Shayne McDonald

Hello Roger

I was very interested in the current discussions regarding the change to engine run duration for F1C.

Both myself and good friend / work colleague are returning modellers to Free Flight , and have spent a substantial amount of money on tooling , materials , direct drive engines , electronic timers , etc over the last eighteen months or so , with construction of aircraft well progressed we hope to be back flying F1C & F1J as soon as possible.

We are exactly the types of fliers that the FAI should be trying to entice back into the sport , but to hear of a rule change policy that potentially makes all of our efforts and expenditure on direct drive motors and construction techniques of traditional styled aircraft (non folders , etc) to be regarded by current sportsmen as now non competitive a little disheartening.

We will however build on and hope that some sort of common ground for competitive rules can be established for all in F1C.

Myself :- I believe FAI classes to be at the sharp end of modelling development , all categories truly represent the cutting edge of flying , we shouldn’t try to inhibit performance , it is the spectical of these aircraft flying right on the edge of the envelope that will inspire other non fliers to become involved.

We’re a small group even on an international stage , keep the current 5 second engine run rule and let’s get on with getting out there and have some fun.

Shayne McDonald

More F1C ideas

From: michael achterberg

Here’s a thought.
Can organizers run a contest with a little different setup to use as a base to propose a rule change if the contestants agree to it before hand? Will the CIAM allow this? Does anyone know ?
Well, here’s the proposal. SCAT club propose to fly F1c with a slight change.
Motor runs for gears, flappers an folders at 4.5 sec. And fixed wings direct drive at
5 sec.. Or 4 sec and 4.5 sec. But 4sec is over kill in my opinion. Use this as test bed. And ask the New Zealand organizers and Canadian organizers to try at Lost hills in Feb. I’m sure the Ukrainian group and the Russian group would be on board with this.
By doing this we level the playing field and create new interest back into the event. A fixed wing model which there are a ton of becomes a relevant option again. I can think of 7 to 10 former F1c flyers that might come back to the event in the US alone. But how many worldwide? 100’s? Maybe more. It isn’t going to save the event long term I understand. But it will create a great deal of interest back which is badly needed.
And the the folder,flapper people will like because they want to have people to fly with. And they all have good fixed wings models in a box somewhere. The manufacturers can make new airfoils on new wings for new and old customers. This will create interest again in a once popular event. New people might be interested as the resale market will be available with models that are competitive with the folders/flappers. As it is now all those are in fact worthless.
There is a lot of pluses to doing this. Hell, Dukie might dust off some an come fly again. I know Terry Kerger would.
And for the people who said it gotten too expensive an too technical for them to be competitive they can be back in the game again. And be there right now.
This will get a lot of people unretired if you will.. And the dinosaurs can fly their toys for a few more cycles.. It’s up to the organizers to propose it. I dont believe the CIAM would strip World Cup status if it is proposed as a test base for new rule proposal. And I’m positive all the flyers will be on board for this idea. And we all have models to give to a junior or young wanabe flyer that would be instantly competitive with this proposal. It’s a win, win for a once great event. Otherwise its a dead event. Period..
Give it some thought an write in.. I’m done now. It’s up to the flyers and organizers to run with it. Or do nothing and event is gone. Maybe one to more cycles at best.. Signing off now. Building flappers..
The last of the writing Dinos..

Arm Chair Ace f1abc

Hi Mike

I liked your last couple posting on SEN. You made good points on the last one. Another issue I see with the 4 sec motor run in F1C is more broken models. When things go wrong with the transition from bunt to glide it takes forever for the models to settle down…now they won’t have as much room to settle down. And yes, really tough on the fixed wing guys.

After all of the talk talk talk about rules I’ve come up with a new event, you should appreciate this.
Arm Chair Ace F1ABC
Flow charts, graphs, and power point presentations are encouraged.
Models not needed.
No flying allowed.
Each “Ace” shall be allowed 15 minutes to speak his mind.
The more absurd and ridiculous the ideas the higher the score. Common sense scores low.

What do you think? Flying sites are a non issue. Although I’m sure there will be protests about not having experience with public speaking being a disadvantage and I should have more time to make up for this….blah blah blah. Need new rules…blah blah blah. On well, seemed like a good idea.

Have fun, Jim

Roger Morrell