National Free Flight Society

SEN 2243

SEN 2243 – Table of Contents

  1. What is the real issue
  2. What about adding weight ?
  3. Use of altimetry poll
  4. Comments on the CIAM proposals
  5. Follow Up Thoughts
  6. Q and the CIAM on FB
  7. Jama and Gil – Wow

What is the real issue ? (Important Question!!!)

From: Alan Jack

Are you willing to take this risk?

With respect to Malcolm “we all have problems with flying sites”  is not another issue, it is the primary issue.  Imagine the position of a contest director who allows a flight to take place knowing that it will leave the flying site. The key word is “knowing”. Then imagine that an incident takes  place because of this overflight which causes damage to people or property. Could the contest director (and the flier) argue that he was not culpable? Could we even begin to defend such a legal case never mind what our consciences were telling us?

I have flown extensively around the world and I have many times flown off site when it was entirely predictable that I would do so. I am not talking here about big thermals just straight forward contest flights where the aimed for flight was certain to take the model beyond the boundaries. Just to name a few to help Ken; Lost Hills (Isaacson flyoff), Salonta (Romania World Cup flyoff), Omarama ( NZ world cup flyoff), Poitou (France World Cup flyoff), Eifel Pokal (Germany World Cup contest), Rinkaby (Sweden World Cup flyoff), I could go on…  Those are all outside the UK; in places were Eagle’s dare!

So are we still willing to take that risk or is it now necessary to take the steps to have flights which can reasonably be expected to stay within our designated space? If we must take those steps then models which need to fly for 8mins to get a good sporting result create a huge problem for a contest director. I am not sure that I know any site that can accommodate such a flight when the wind is near to the current maximum value, nay probably near half that value, not even Narrandera!

Alan Jack

Editorial Comment

Alan’s article is important because it asks us to first figure what is the most important issue that faces us today.  In his article he suggests that this is something – civil responsibility that no one else has discussed.  Going along with this is just having a place to fly and not making too much of a nuisance of ourselves that no one wants to see us around.

The insurance issue is one that is partially  dealt with in the USA with AMA Insurance.  It is the reason that we require all visiting flyers taking part in event in the USA to have AMA associate membership. When you take part in a contest in the USA you sign a safety sheet where you are attesting that your model is in good condition, fit to fly and you understand all the safety rules.   I’m not sure if it is still the case but the largest non-injury related claim against AMA insurance was for damage to crops and infrastructure caused by a UK F1C flyer (not Alan!) whose model hit power pylon at the Sierra Cup near Sacramento and set fire to the field. In this case the flyer’s  UK BFMA that is supposed to cover you anywhere in the World refused to pay.

While not necessarily known even by people who fly there regularly the Lost Hills Association has spoken with most of the neighbors and explained about what we do and the AMA insurance.  Of course with the recent orchard the Lost Hills Association has put into effect special instructions on what to do and what not to do with respect to trees.  And failure to follow these will result in immediate ejection from the field.

I was a little curious as to how the UK ”unlimited” events are handled ? It seems that the Open Rubber and Open Power classes with the unlimited single fly off must produce very long flights that have to go off the field.  If I understand correctly the Open Rubber has been partially replaced by one where the rubber limit is 50 grams but that still has much more potential than a F1B?

What about adding weight ?

From: Manuel Blanco

Hi Roger

Two years ago with the discussions about changes in regulations in F1, Icomment that the simplest thing was* ADDED WEIGHT,*

On the 7 regular flights and on each fly off put (for example an extra
weight) in the center of gravity THIS METHOD, WAS REGULARLY USED BY
ANDRIUKOV WHEN THE WIND INCREASED (and I guess used by others)

1-This can help that with the *Same models we can continue flying* and
only decreases efficiency

2- If someone wants to make *Models of wood that are heavier* than the
current ones of composites, they can be as competitive as the modern and

3-With heavier models forces us to be *Better adjusting or improving our
senses* for good launches and location of better thermics

4-Possibly the* FIELDS* can be smaller due to the reduction of efficiency

5- Finally all this forces us to *Continue Improving* our creations (I
make all my models in carbon fiber with aluminum molds, but I would not
mind doing them in BALSA)

Manuel Blanco  now F1C Spain
(Representative of the Cuban team to world championships since 1971)

*Manuel Blanco*

Use of altimetry poll

From: Allard Van Wallene

I’ve invited you to fill out the following form:
Untitled form

To fill it out, visit:

Hi, here a first attempts for a poll. I think it is important that also nationality of participants to the poll is known, as it can serve as a guideline for the CIAM delegates. Also, as it is important to those who actually participate to international events and to avoid votes from  “ the local chess club “, I added the option of active contest participation too.

Comments on the CIAM proposals

Re: SEN 2241-From: john carter

Hi just read the CIAM  proposals interesting to note the Dutch proposal to reduce the difference in F1C v flappers /and fixed wing but at the same time they propose the use as altimeters as the way to sort  disputed flights. It’s nice to see some effort is addressing excess performance but this should be done a cross the board and be after proper debate and joined up thinking .

The proposal to use altimeters I think as it stands in real terms is unworkable in many contests it takes the CDs all there time to get fly offs done, now a proposal to add more work for hard pressed organisers. Yes the result of a contest must be fair and representative of the flights completed but this proposal will I believe just add to an issue that is caused by excess performance (yes I now u can’t do anything about thermals )
One issue regarding the use of altimeters to determine out of sight flights is when we fly in poor visibility ie rain and mist as we do on occasion . The guy with an altimeter
will.  just go OOS and claim his max on the altimeter reading ? The incorporation just adds an other layer of argument .

May be it would be a better idea for us to hone our timing skills.
A good idea to reduce fly off periods from ten minutes this will have some effect on flight times but I think the working period should go to five minutes as we are going to use in the UK this season .


Follow Up Thoughts

From: Ken Bauer

I’ve been working far from home this week with lots of time to think and
just happened to see Eddy the Eagle on a very long airplane flight which
led to my remarks, but I want to clarify and add more thoughts and then
I’ll be done for a while.

All free flight events big and small are great in their own way, and I
never intended to hint that FAI events are in any way better than others.
Personally I love small catapult and hand launch gliders as well as indoor
gliders and rubber and peanut scale, etc…  The point of the Eddy story is
not to insinuate that the large events are the best, but rather to support
the thought that if one really loves a big event one should be allowed to
compete in and enjoy the event regardless of circumstances if one has the
desire.  Since we already have at least in many countries a variety of
events it might make more sense to switch to an already existing smaller
event if conditions necessitate rather than cutting back the performance of
the larger event and thus hurting the people that enjoy and are invested in
that event.

With F1A as an example we have a smaller event F1H with a max of only 2
minutes rather than three.  I believe that the max time flown during mid
day rounds with wind and big thermals is what really sets the size of the
flying field required rather than absolute model performance.  Any glider
or model with a high or low launch can get very high in a thermal after 3
minutes and can easily take twice that time to come down and flight times
of 8 minutes or more are common on big thermal fields and with wind these
will travel a long distance.  Only a shorter max like 2 minutes will help.
I’m suggesting that flyoffs with our super F1 models with say 8 minute
still air performance might not be the real field problem since most
flyoffs of these types are held (or should be held) late evening or early
morning so an 8 minute flight in those conditions will not go as far as the
8 minute flight in the thermal and wind conditions.  And it is likely that
many more flights are made in the thermal/wind conditions and so
statistically that’s where the real problem is, not with absolute
performance as flyoff flights are much fewer in number.  So if flying
fields become the limitation for our events, why not just switch to the 2
minute max events that already exist?  One gets both lower max and
significantly lower performance.  Fly F1H instead of F1A, and leave F1A
alone for those that still like it wherever that may be.  I would even
suggest that if the international rule makers agree that we are absolutely
flying site limited, then the responsible change might be to announce that
for international competition a switch will be made to F1H/F1G/F1JorPorQorS
at some future point in time maybe 5 or 6 years away.  This would allow
people plenty of time to fly their existing larger models and prepare for
the change.  But that might be extreme I can’t say I think it is the
solution.  As long as there are a few sites in the world where F1A/B/C can
be flown then maybe best to continue that way.  Just an idea.

Next I want to commend Allard on his efforts to develop electronic
timekeeping.  He should be thanked for his effort, but unfortunately I have
read here and there suggestions that maybe this effort “may not reflect
progress” because it seems to be attached to expensive FAI models.  I just
want to say that in a few years we could easily have tiny sub gram stickers
that could be applied to ANY FF model large or small.  This could be a
boost to aid management of free flight events everywhere as stickers could
be stuck on everything from scale rubber to D gas greatly easing the burden
we put on timekeepers and enhancing our fun at all types of events.  So
let’s give technology a chance to develop and remember that most of these
technologies typically develop in the FAI events before they filter down to
all the other classes.  So please be kind and supportive of our innovators
who might happen to fly FAI events.  And compared with other technologies,
a timekeeping module should be the least threatening of just about
anything.  No threat or change to models or flying at all.  Flyers don’t
even need to understand the devices.  If they makes contests easier then
great.  If not accepted then no harm done.  Nothing to lose here.

One more related subject.  John Carter made a great point by mentioning
that we have responsibility.  I’ve been pondering what this might mean.
Who are we responsible to and for what?  Here’s my ideas which I hope might
be helpful somewhere in our process.

*1.  Responsibility to land owners*

If we don’t have fields to fly on, we have no sport.  Since all our fields
are or are surrounded by land we don’t own, respecting that land is a
priority.  If we annoy, disturb, or cause damage to property owners we risk
losing fields.  Each unique flying site has to set its own rules and
determine when long flights become a threat to the field and make changes
accordingly.  Per my discussion above I suggest the only real way to
significantly reduce model flight distances is to switch to events with
shorter max times and less performance such as the present FAI mini events.

*2.  Responsibility to non modeling friends and young people*

This is a hard one.  A big subject.  Arguably the future of free flight?
Here is my OPINION, and only that as I don’t want to start a ruckus.  I
believe our responsibility is simply to do whatever we can in our own
personal circumstance to expose others to our hobby.  There is no pass or
fail, no right or wrong.  Free flight as we know it today may very well
morph or disappear in 10 or 20 years but as long as we enjoyed the sport
and let other people see it then we should be satisfied and not feel
guilty.  We can’t control other people, only let them be aware we exist.
And we have to accept that public interests and thinking are completely
different than 50 or 60 years ago when anything that flew generated real
excitement on its own.  Today only drones are doing that.

Personally I’ve helped cub scouts build delta darts and have given modeling
presentations to youth and church groups.  I fly small gliders and even F1A
on small local fields and parks where people wander by and watch.
Occasionally people stop and ask questions and I talk to them as long as
they will listen.  But so far no serious interest.  I’ve supported my son
in the junior FAI program which is a great benefit to all that are involved
regardless  of whether they continue in the sport or not.  I’m happy I’ve
done all this but I haven’t seen any serious free flight modelers produced
from it.

Kids today are drawn to new exciting things and when something that
interests this generation comes along no PR or promotion or advertising is
needed.  Look at FPV drone racing.  In just a year or two it has grown into
a sport way larger than free flight with national TV coverage on ESPN and
multiple events across the US attracting thousands of competitors.  That’s
great because that’s what those people want to do and we shouldn’t fret or
worry about our sport.

*3.  Responsibility to ourselves, the free flight community*

I’ve concluded this is the big one.  We should prioritize everything to
preserve the people that currently participate in and fly free flight of
all types.  The potential for losing our current flyers through poorly
thought out rule changes or problems at poorly run events is much higher
than the probability we will gain new flyers through the best imaginable
public relations campaign.  We must support each other.  Roger’s idea of a
survey to consider changes is a great one.  Rules should not be passed
without the majority consent of the people who actually fly the effected
event.  Retaining participation should trump all other concerns.  I suggest
that a rule change which causes people to quit flying an event (as we have
witnessed recently) is irresponsible regardless of the intended result as
long as safety is not an issue.  I would also suggest that this
responsibility to our present participants even trumps the land owner
responsibility, since with no flyers you don’t need the field anyway.

It’s the people and friends we have in this support that make it fun and
rewarding so let’s take care of each other and remember this when faced
with changes.

I hope these thoughts might help free flight in some way.

Thanks, Ken

Q and the CIAM from FB

Aram Schlosberg

The various rule proposals to CIAM were published on FFn by Ian Kaynes, and also appeared on SEN 2241. There are various proposals in different flavors to reduce the energy multiplier and to increase the energy cutoff weight to 600 grams. If J is reduced to 3J/gr the maximum motor run is reduced to 30 seconds. Of note (from my perspective) is a German proposal to (1) mandate an on-board EL and (2) to make it responsible for shutting down the motor. This is a resurrection of their previous EL proposal that was soundly rejected because is completely MESSED UP the internal electronic architecture. My other point is that static energy testing UNDER estimates the actual energy used by 5-10%. And practically, if on-board ELs are required only 2-3 American Q fliers will remain standing.Top of Form

Per Grunnet
 Aram, you are right that an EL is the best way to get every joule your model is allowed. Static measurement will give you less.
So the mandatory EL is a help to compete on equal terms.
In my view the problem with the mandatory EL is, that E36- and (I think) American Electric A-models can’t be used in Q-contests. Newcomers will have to build (buy?) Q-models. This will not be good for attracting new Q-fliers.

Mar Ci For me there should be an extra rule in case someone Uses a F1S model in a Q contest: no energy limit and 10s or maybe 15s motor run. Without thermal a f1s cant stand a Chance vs a Q model. Just in case the F1S model will be used based on the specific rules for the class S. Kinda like F1P and f1c

Per Grunnet This is a good idea … but only 10 seconds run if the multiplier becomes 3 joule/g.y

Aram Schlosberg The discussion has to be confined to the various Q proposals that have been submitted with a 2016 Nov 15th dead line. New ideas will have to wait another two years (thank goodness).

Yuda Avla You finally seeing the light!

Omri Sirkis Dear F1Q flyers.
I treat F1Q as seriously as any other F1 class. I think the current rules offers a great challange for innovative modellers. The idea of using an E36 in F1Q contest is not good imo. its like using a p-30 in F1B…. the same goes for not using a limiter.
I am also an F1B sports man and like every other sports man i will buy and use the best rubber i can.
A good limiter costs less than 5 pound of rubber and last longer

Kertész Gábor I think the problem is that the SET still doesn’t exist. We can’t check the amount of energy that the energy limiter provide to the engine. I can write any parameters in my self made energy limiter and nobody can check it.

Jack Murphy In my view requiring a limiter is an unnecessary rule because those who don’t use one handicap themselves by about 5-10% in run time, at least when doing an a/b test with my equipment. As far as flying an E36 in F1Q- why not? It serves to give a sportsman a start. I talked my friend Drake Hook into propping down his E36 and flying the event and now look at him. And he has his two sons interested as well……

Ray Elliott I’m with Jack and others on this. Making EL’s compulsory is unnecessary for the reason quoted. As for using an E36 I have done this as a means of getting into F1Q and have used one as a reserve now I have a purpose built Q ( and am building another ). I think we should be trying to encourage people to try Q not put them off. I note also the comment above about the non- availability. of SET’s.

Jama and Gil – Wow

From:Denny Dock

I watched Jama fly his F1A flights in VERY strong winds. He pulls so hard on the launch, he fell down on each flight. The extra bunt height was amazing. I have no idea how it stayed together!!Watching Gil fly F1c was just as impressive! Models or fine tuned machines??I don’t have a dog in the fight so I would be the last person to suggest any changes,but I sure love to watch them perform and sure see why fliers don’t want to see the quality diminished.


Editors Comment

Denny – sounds like you were in Florida for the KO or at the Nats.  Jama dives like that to max pull down = max acceleration at moment of launch, we have not figured how he avoids  the cows “patties” on many  flying fields and the fire ants in FL.  I agree that Gil handles a F1C turning 30K+ with complete confidence, very impressive.

SEN Status

Our new web site is online with archives of SEN going back to 1997 plus many items about FAI Free Flight. It can be found at

Existing SEN subscribers can update their preferences by following the update your preferences link at the bottom of this page.

New users can sign up at  this link 
or at the SEN website

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.
All the latest information can be found at
Roger Morrell