National Free Flight Society

SEN 2222

Table of Contents SEN 2222

  1. Fitting Free Flight into today’s World.
  2. Loggers and altimeters
  3. What’s the spec?
  4. Bob Hanford’s F1P
  5. Altimeters, Altitude, Working time and Publicity
  6. Isaacson Winter Classic and Kiwi World Cup

Fitting Free Flight into today’s World.

I think John Carter’s recent correspondence on the altimeter debate makes some excellent points. – High performance models travel a long distance in anything but near-calm conditions – there’s no argument there it’s basic physics.- In many countries large flying sites, indeed any flying sites, are becoming increasingly scarce.- the rise of safety concerns generated by inappropriate flying of UAVs/drones means that we should always have models WITHIN OUR SIGHT- Land owners are becoming less tolerant of us wandering over land outside our designated fly site
Limiting flight times is the only sensible direction of travel, assuming we want to keep free flight alive. To do this we need to think carefully how we organise the contest itself, as well as looking for ways of limiting model performance.I think it is disappointing that championships have been reduced to 5 flights from 7, but in anything but clam conditions it helps with retrieving. However, the reduction in flights has allowed organisers to delay the first round resulting in all rounds being in thermally conditions. Whilst I recognise that it might be difficult to get volunteer timekeepers out on the field early, we really should be trying to maximise rounds when thermals may be scarce and consequently flight times are reduced.
In terms of reducing model performance there have been many ways discussed including banning variable geometry and/or camber, limiting aspect ratio etc. However, John Carter’s idea of using altimeters to measure launch height and penalise those launching excessively high is a really interesting idea and, in my eyes, merits some further discussion and debate.
We’re in very real danger of killing the hobby we all love, if we’re not very careful and address the issues our free flight is increasingly facing. Yes we’ve all spent a lot of money on the models in our box, but by sensible and progressive rule changes to limit performance we can generate rules that don’t immediately ban our best models, purely limit their performance and give us the best chance of saving free flight.
Whilst I will still continue to fly F1A, I am increasingly recognising that I need to fly classes with lower performance in most contests and only fly F1As in the more significant UK events.
The issue about juniors taking up free flight is very complex, speaking as the father of a junior that has flown in the most recent European and World Junior champs, but perhaps that debate is best separated from the performance debate.
Mark Gibbs

Loggers and altimeters

From: Urs Schaller

I don’t enter the question about limiting the performance of FF models, I
just want to show what already exists in the CIAM rulebook about electronic
devices. There are already some FAI-CIAM official classes who use loggers
and altimeters to acquire result related data’s.

First class to use an electronic device was F5B, electric RC multipurpose
gliders. In this class the consumed energy is logged and nowadays also
transmitted in real time to a public display, just ask Steve Neu from the

Second class was F5J, a newer class for RC electric gliders. In that class
the memorised height after motor stop is a result sensitive data which is
part of the final given points. As a member of the working group writing the
rules I had information as how the questions John Carter ask about
tolerances, approved devices etc. were solved.

Within CIAM an EDIC (Electronic Device In Competition) committee was founded
to write down the technical specifications and considerations, the
verification, the approval and the used procedure in contests. Have a look
at, Sporting Code Section 4 – EDIC V2.
Only approved devices can be used in competition.

For use in FF somebody has to write watertight rules for the use of such
devices. Similar as I read was done during the first use. Before starting
the model a defined procedure has to be run, as hold up the model for n
seconds, put it down to the ground and so on. Of course some questions
remain open and have to be verified, but the basic’s exist already. Maybe
the soft-ware has to be specific for FF to avoid tampering after the
landing, this could be done by cancelling all previous data files at every
new connection to the battery.

Urs Schaller

What’s the spec ?

From: Martin Gregorie

Although I’m no longer an FAI flyer, In my former work I have a similar
background to Roger and have spotted one problem with EOB’s
specification and have one addition to it.

(the Spec)
Contest name, flight number
Competitor name, country and contest number
Model number, FAI license number
Timekeeper details, pole number
Time of model release/launch. In the case of F1A, the time of the pennantfalling away from the model, for F1B,C,E, the model leaving the hand of the competitor.
Time of model landing or striking an obstacle such that normal manual timing criteria would be terminated
(end of Spec)

There is a potential problem with requiring the altimeter to record
contest and timekeeper details. Both can be avoided by requiring a
clock chip to be part of the altimeter because capturing the launch
date and time is enough to unambiguously identify the contest and round
number while avoiding a data input task before each flight as well as
the need for the flyer to include a complex enough input device to
record these details.

The omission is F1C related: since its almost impossible to tell when
the engine stops during a mass launch, it would be helpful if the
altimeter shall also capture the engine shutoff time. Since timekeepers
almost never allow for rundown time, but do include the time taken fore
engine noise to reach the ground, it should be sufficient to take the
shutoff time from the on-board timer and add on the time needed for the
sound to reach the ground (the altimeter knows the shutoff altitude and
the speed of sound is near enough to constant at the heights and
temperatures of our flying fields for this to be calculated).

The time resolution of the timer needs to be specified.

Rather than inventing the recording format and anti-tampering method,
it may be worthwhile to adapt the formats used in fullsized gliding
competitions, which is described here as (PDF document):

Bob Hanfords F1P

Hi Roger. Bob Hanford is the current F1P Amarica’s Cup holder so I asked him about his experience with his F1P model. His replay is as follows, with permission to reprint:
“My F1P is all balsa, geodetic wings, plastic covered pylon model flown Rt-Rt, but it does utilize auto rudder and VIT, although there isn’t much stab movement.  The VIT is a very simple fork type, that catches the stab when the power line is released, and then pivots out of the way for D/T.  It’s an Astro Star rib set built to a Pearl configuration, with a slight increase in wing span from the Astro Star.  The CG came out much farther back than expected when I built it, but since I always cover and finish the pylon last, I was able to sweep it back to accomodate the change without having to add weight, although it did shorten the tail moment a bit.  It was easy to trim, and the only times I’ve crashed it is when I failed to hook up the auto rudder line.  I think the F1P’s are LESS launch critical than F1J’s, but apparently that’s just me.  I’ve flown the same model for 10 years, and won or tied for the F1P cup five times.  It’s almost as big as the A/B Satellite I fly, but only weighs half as much, so it’s one of the best gliding airplanes I’ve got.  It’s been consistent and reliable, and I am confident that I can pull it out of the car and fly it without any test flights, and it will behave properly.  It’s a simple model to build and fly, and much less sensitive than the F1J’s.  Seems like a better entry level event that would allow a younger flyer to make the NEXT step to F1J when ready.  Bob Hanford”
No problem here. It’s hard to beat a testimony like this.               Gil

plus a little correction from Bob. 

Gil—I checked the back America’s Cup scores, and what I stated previously isn’t correct.  I won or tied eight times in the ten years—the other two years I was second by one bonus point each time.

Altimeters, Altitude, Working time and Publicity

From: Ross Jahnke

John (Carter),
the point you made a few SEN back was that technology was a deterrent to
new modelers and I disagreed. In the most recent post you said, “A bigger
profile more marketing and sponsorship plus places to fly near urban areas
are what is needed to attract youth and more . We are a secret sport.” On
that point I’m in total agreement with you. How great would it be if we a
significant number of spectators attend our contests, or a celebrity
involved in the sport. I just think that when a young person does get
exposure to the sport, higher tech models will be more enticing.

I also agree that initial altitude is important to achieving a max, but
once a model is in lift, initial altitude is often exceeded, and distance
downwind becomes a bigger factor in visibility. Mike Achterberg’s point
about altimeters and small fields is a good one. Also remember that a good
CD will adjust the max time if conditions warrant. I’m not sure what you
mean by working time, is that the length of the round? Does that include
winding a motor?

The Isaacson winter classic

February 11- 13 at Lost Hills, California – 13, 2017 at Lost Hills, Cali


Join us for one of the premier West Coast Free Flight Contests! We are again hosting the Kiwi New Zealand FAI World Cup. All FAI classes are America’s CupAMA and NFFS classes are National Cup. This is a Cat. II contest


Saturday FAI Events

Kiwi – New Zealand World Cup!

Note: 7 rounds!

F1A, B, C, P & Q

Round Schedule: Saturday 2/11



3 – 7 on the hour, to 3pm

Round One Maxes:

F1A, B, C&P 240 seconds

F1Q 180 seconds

Fly-Off Schedule:

Round eight, 5 minute max.

F1A 3:30pm–3:40pm

F1B 3:45pm–3:55pm

F1C/P/Q 4:00pm–4:10pm

Additional rounds to be announced


NEW! Jean Batten Awards

For highest placing lady flier in F1ABCPQ and F1GHJS

Grand Master Award

For best performances in F1ABC or Q by a sportsman over 75

Roger Morrell, FAI Event Director


Sunday FAI

F1G, H, J* & S

*F1J – contingent on pre-entries (4- min)

Round one, 8:00 am! Champagne Flyoff!

Time to the ground. Round Schedule:

Rounds 2-5, two minute max.






Fly-Offs will begin at 12:15 noon and finish by 3:00.

At 3:00, any remaining ties will be broken by using Champagne Flight Times


Monday! “Kiwi” World Cup – Slope Soaring F1E

10:00am – 3:00 pm. Five rounds, 60 minutes each. Peter Brocks, Event Director


Saturday Only! 8am-5pm

Paul MacCready Hand Launch Glider

E-36 – AMA rules.

E-36 Mass Launch TBA

E-20 NFFS Prov. Rules

Bud’s Buddies Big “E” Unlimited+ Rubber, AMA Rules

Vintage FAI Gas Five rounds, NFFS rules


Gollywock One Design 3 – 3min max

Gollywock Mass Launch Sat. Evening TBA. Everyone flies! A Bob White Event!

NOS Gas 1/4A, 1/2A & C. Separate events.

AMA Gas C, D, Sup. D Combined. Classes will be separated for NC pts.


Sunday Only! 8am – 3pm

Paul MacCready Catapult Launch Glider

NOS Gas A, B & Early 1/2A

AMA Gas 1/2A, A & B Combined



Large and small NOS Rubber combined-NFFS Rules

Bob White Award for top NOS Wake

Classic Glider NFFS Rules


Lee’s BTV West, 12″ CLG. See Lee

NEW! 2017 Special Event!

$1000 prize for the most maxes in these 2 minute classes. P-30, all CLG, all HLG, and E-36. These events will compete against each other for the single

$1000 prize! Thank you, Bill Vanderbeek!

FAI Registration Fri. 1pm Pre entry on SEN

Entry Fees:

“Kiwi” World Cup events $30

All others, $20.00 – includes one event.

Additional events $5.00 ($10 World Cup) each.

All must be current member AMA /MAAC and Lost HillsAssoc.

World Cup events require an FAI License.



Awards: Sunday 4pm

Jr.-Sr. Open Class combined.

First through third, each event.

Perpetual Gollywock and Nos. Wake awards, courtesy of BobWhite

Awards Ceremony and RAFFLE!

Winners MUST be present!

Contest Directors:

Norm Furutani

15423 Haas Ave.
Gardena, CA 90249
(310) 323-1943

Roger Morrell

1916 B Gates Ave.
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
(310) 374-2136


For Updates: watch SEN or go to:

Monday, reserve day for FAI Even

In memory of our dear friends, Bob and LaVera Isaacson 

Reminder :Fab Feb online entry form is available at:
It lets you sign up for all the FAI events at the Kiwi Cup, Ike Winter Classic, North American Cup, California Cup and The MaxMen International.  Held at Lost Hills from 11 to 20 February 2017.
The Ike Winter Classic also has a lot of other AMA Free Flight events but advance sign up is not needed for those.  The online advance sign up will speed things up for everyone, particularly International visitors who need to do extra paperwork.

Roger Morrell