National Free Flight Society

SEN 2025

Table of Contents – SEN 2025

  1. Glider Highway Landing The Sequel
  2. F1B for sale
  3. Democracy in Action
  4. Kudos to Leslie from the Dinos
  5. F1C Rulings

Glider Highway Landing The Sequel

From: Ken Bauer

Longtime SEN readers may remember the story I wrote around 12 years ago of a hand launch glider that landed in the middle of Interstate 5 Freeway in Southern California and miraculously survived. Many may also recall my stories of testing gliders on very small fields while relying on RDT for recovery. For years I have pushed the limits of small field flying testing F1A gliders on local sports fields and school playgrounds while most of the time getting away with it. I have had a few encounters with trees, school buildings, soccer goals, etc.., but overall the increased amount of flying I’ve been able to do by flying close to home has outweighed the occasional repairs from not pushing the RDT button soon enough or getting over confident about the landing space. But I just had an episode that may make me rethink that whole strategy.

A couple weeks ago I was at it again out early on a Saturday morning getting in some small field test flights before moving on with my day. The field is one I discovered a couple years ago when I first came to the bay area. South of San Jose is the Coyote Creek flood control area owned by the park and recreation department. I found a perfectly flat area with few weeds, great for running on, surrounded by high school sports fields on one side, an orchard on another side and some plowed and weedy fields on the other sides. And just next to one of those small adjacent fields is Monterey Highway, a full speed 4 lane road with power lines overhead and railroad tracks on the other side.

I’ve had many great test flights here over the last couple years and the light wind conditions were perfect for testing a rebuilt LDA glider. After a few flights I finally nailed a nice high launch with smooth bunt to glide. It pulled out right over the middle of the field and had plenty of room for at least a half turn of glide before DT, or so I thought. Conditions were also overcast and cloudy which tends to produce bumpy air with some turbulence even in the early morning and I should have remembered this. I noticed that the glider was headed right towards the road but still was very high with plenty of space so it seemed safe to let it go for that half turn and head back to me. But then I noticed that just as the glider was trying to settle into turning right the bumpy air was pushing it left resulting in a straight glide towards the road. By the time I realized the seriousness of the situation it was too late as the glider was almost over the road. But now it was finally turning so I figured everything should be fine as it will head back towards me again. But the air was against me because as soon as it was pointed back to the middle of the field it continued a tight turn over the road area. With the RDT in my hand I had to make an immediate decision. At this point I was running to catch up to it but was still not close enough to accurately judge the location. Judging that it was probably just over the field side of the road I pushed the button just as the position over the field was maximized. But the model DTed flat with no spin and the nose pointed itself back towards the road. Next thing I know the model landed right on the the lanes of the opposite side of the road and was obscured by a center concrete barrier about 3 feet high. As I was running up to the road I saw a car a ways off on the model side of the road but in my head is the thought “it’s a big airplane, all I need is for that one car to drive around it and then I can pick it up and be home free”. But just seconds after that thought and just as I reached my side of the road that one car, a big white SUV, came flying across the road around 60mph, didn’t swerve or slow at all and then I heard an agonizing crunching and thrashing sound and saw bits of model airplane squirting into the air as the vehicle whizzed by.

I was in shock. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I ran across the road cutting myself while climbing a short metal fence on top of the concrete road barrier. I picked up a few pieces of the model before the next car came along but found nearly nothing left. Wings shredded, stab busted up, and the fuselage demolished. Only two of the 4 servos left in the rear part of the nose pod. Everything else forward of that – hook, timer, batteries, couple more servos, RDT, all gone. I’ve never seen such total destruction except for when I had a glider explode on power lines in Oregon. I started wondering what was the driver of that SUV thinking? Maybe they were texting or talking on their phone and were not paying attention to the road. Or maybe they were one of these “drone haters” I’ve read about in the news that think their privacy is being invaded by flying toys and they take pleasure in destroying a flying machine. It seems like any normal person would have easily seen a 2.2 meter obstruction in the middle of the road and would slow and drive around it to avoid possible damage to their own vehicle. There was plenty of room with two lanes on that side of the road and no other traffic. Oh well, I’ll never know what was with that driver. I only know that I’m never going to let a model get near that road again!

So what did I learn from this painful lesson?When using RDT on small fields:1. If you’re tempted to make one more circle before DTing, DON’T!2. If the air is anything but calm and smooth never assume that the model will circle where it should.3. If the model is getting close to a hazard move as quickly as possible to get under it to best judge where it will land when the RDT button is pushed.4. Remember that the model may still drift a considerable distance between the DT point and the landing point.5. Stay away from roads at all costs!

In hindsight I obviously should have just DTed the model immediately when I noticed the first tendency to go straight. Or if I had hustled more and had been closer I may have seen how close over the road it was and could have elected to let it keep flying and taken my chances with the power lines and railroad tracks on the other side of the road. But that’s free flight. Could of, should of, would of….
Ken Bauer

Editors Comment – there are times when flying at our small field at Perris and my F1B takes it into it’s head to go straight towards a busy road and I use my RDT – I used to feel that I was being needlessly cautious (PC way of saying chicken) But now I feel better about having pushed that button !

F1B for sale

From: Matvey Neyman

Continuing announcement kindly published in SEN 2024 I regretfully bring myself to sell the following:
1. 180 cm span Kulakovsky model equipped with M&K electronic timer with RDT and altimeter.
Timer installation was made by producer in accordance with my special request.
The model is ready to fly, has no concealed problem. The only reason for sale is that I temporary paused competing.
Price $1600.
2. Another item for sale is the same model but without wings. Initially it has 6 panel wings but I sold them because didn’t feel any advantage using them. The purpose was to install ordinary 4 panel wings instead of 6 panel.
There was no crash or something like that with this model.
Price $1300.
Detailed photos are available by request.
Skype: matvey.neyman

Democracy in Action

From: Frédéric ABERLENC


Just to comment and approve the proposal of Leslie:
In France, 1 month before the Lausanne meeting, we have organised a referendum with all the French competitors.
The French vote in Lausanne was based on it.
This is really the best way to proceed.
Maybe a good idea for 2016 to ask and impose to each federation to do the same…

Kudos to Leslie from the Dinos

From: michael achterberg

Kudos to Leslie and thanks for all the work for proposals to F1c, an event he doesn’t even fly. But as a sportsman has seen the need to point out the point out the problems an forward the discussion. Many thanks.
All the points spoken of are valid and accurate. In my opinion the CIAM wants some performance reduction in F1c again, but the 4 sec proposal is too damaging to the event. It’s a little over kill. It basically forces active modelers to buy folders to have a change to win. This was not their intention I believe.
Although very few commented on 4.5 sec and 5 sec proposal I made for fixed wing direct drive, still believe it is the simplest way to reduce performance, balance the field, give new and old fliers a reasonable chance of winning and is cost effective.
Unfortunately few have stated this as a viable option. Just saying we don’t want 4 sec is not addressing the performance issue. And really without gears, flappers and folders there wouldn’t be an excessive performance issue. Now, we can’t ban all these models, but we can adjust to address the needs and wants of all parties involved. Question is how to do it? I still believe the CIAM will work with the flyers, but you’ve got to throw the big dog a bone.. Good luck to all.

F1C rulings

From: gil morris

I design and build my own F1C models and have done so for 35 years. I have four folders, three of which have geared engines. I also have a flapper with direct drive. That’s all I have for F1C. To banish gears, folders and flappers would put me out of business. That would be brutal.
Gil Morris

Editor’s comment : often when talking about sophisticated models, we equate the complexity of the model with the size of the sportsman’s wallet (or maybe the current emptiness of same) But we forget that there are many people
also spend their most precious resource, their time in building their complex creation. Gil is just one example, others like Allard, “Leki”, Thomas Koster or Bob White come immediately to mind. This time is more important than money.

Roger Morrell