National Free Flight Society

SEN 2273

  1. Take a breath – take a wider view
  2. SCAT Annual
  3. F1A restrictions and Full-size glider classes
  4. Dino’s Solution.
  5. Frédéric ABERLENC at the Maxmen
  6. On going FB


Take a breath – a wider view
From: Ross Jahnke

Gentle Readers:
the F1A discussion on SEN and Facebook reminded me of a quote by Mark Twain; “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” As long as I have been involved in competitive free flight, such discussions have
occurred around the F1 events. Sometimes they result in a rule change, sometimes they don’t. The difference today is that social media allows us to debate based upon the moment, one contest, one flight at a time. What would be better is to have some data over a period of years to see if there really is an issue.

Comparing five years of contest results from the pre-LDA F1A to five post
LDA and flapper years of contest data, would we see a difference in the
number of modelers making the fly off? Would we see more 10 minute fly
offs? Would we see more or fewer entries? If its fewer is the age of the
contestants a factor, we are covering over a decade in time after all? Its
also not clear if more people in a fly-off is the result of conditions
rather than the models. And did more people in a fly-off really create
an insurmountable problem?

What contest data wouldn’t show us because its not recorded, is the number
of times timers lost sight of models in the fly-off rounds, or confused two
models far in the distance, or when two timers record widely different
times for the same flight. This information is often anecdotal. It is
subject to memory, which fades over time. Model performance could be the
cause but so could aging eyes. Have LED flashers had an affect?

I think if we searched the long term data we wouldn’t see a massive change
worthy of rule modifications. Technology is improving the models but
technology is improving our ability to time and retrieve them. Lets keep
moving forward, lets see where our creativity and problem solving abilities
lead us. Backwards rarely works and its never a good way to
build enthusiasm, or entice the uninitiated.

Ross Jahnke

March 18 & 19, Reserve March 20, 2017 at Lost Hills Field, CA
FAI Events:
**Saturday, March 18: F1A, F1B, F1C, F1Q F1P
Seven [7] one hour rounds start @ 8AM with extended max times
F1A and P:  240 sec, F1B and Q: 240 sec, F1C: 300 sec
Remaining round maxes are 180 sec.
Flyoff times will be posted

**Sunday, March 19: F1G, F1H, F1J, F1S
Tie Breaker flight to the ground. F1G 7:45- 7:55; F1H 8:00-8:10; F1J &S 8:15-8:25
Standard Five [5] rounds 45 minute long starting @ 9AM, 120 sec maxes.
2 FO flights starting 45 min after end of last round.  Event start times will be posted.
If tied at end of standard and two FO rounds, tie breaker flight will determine the winner

2016 Perpetual Trophy Winners: F1A- Mike McKeever, F1B- Blake Jensen, F1C Ed Carroll,
F1G-  Tiff O’Dell, F1H- Jim Parker ,  F1J- Glenn Schneider (from 2015)

Saturday: Hand Launch Glider, E-36, ½ A Nostalgia, Classic Towline Glider 8AM-5PM
Sunday: Catapult Glider, P30, ABC Nostalgia Gas, 8AM-4PM

Other Events: Sat 8AM – 5PM and Sunday 8AM-4PM
Vintage FAI Power,, 5 flts,180 sec maxes, no rounds (may enter multiple eras and days)
Nostalgia Wakefield, Sat 8AM – 5PM and Sunday 8AM – 4PM (may enter both days)

Entry Fees: 
FAI events: FIA,B,C,G,H,J,P,Q ; $25 first event, $10 for second
Other events: $15 for first event, $5/each added non-FAI event
All-In Fee of $45 to fly your little hearts out!
AMA age Juniors:  HLG & P-30 free, Other events $5, or All-In Fee of $10

Trophies awarded for 1-2-3 places
Perpetual trophies for F1A,B,C,G,H,J  and Nos-Wake winners receive a perpetual trophy (if it shows up at the field!)
Due to low entry levels; F1J, P, Vintage FAI Power, Classic Towline and Nostalgia events 2nd and 3rd place awards will be sent post-contest.
Junior Hi-Time Glider, Rubber and Power Trophies
$100 to the top 20 Something F1ABC flyer

AMA & Lost Hills Field Assn memberships are required
FAI events run to the 2017 FAI rules except as noted herein
Protest in addition to $30 requires equipment needed for model processing
Q flyers to measure, calculate and monitor one another’s motor runs
No Moto-flapping

Contest Directors                                                       
Jim Parker
25018 Wintergreen Ct. Stevenson Ranch, CA 91318                               [818]404-3834[c],

F1A restrictions and Full-size glider classes

From: Martin Gregorie

Ron Kreetz suggests that F1A models could adapt ideas from the
competition gliding world by introducing a Standard class for F1A. Its
an interesting idea, but consider:

Gliding currently has a number of competition classes:
14m, Club, Standard, 15m, 18m, 20m two-seat and Open.

– 14m, 15m and 20m two-seat classes have no technology restrictions
and are free to carry water ballast [1] provided they don’t exceed
the class weight limit. The class name is the maximum wingspan in
metres. Span and max weight are checked before every competition
flight after the glider has been ballasted by filling the wings with

– Open class removes the span limit, but has a maximum flying weight,
which is checked before every flight.

– Standard class has a 15m span limit, bans variable camber (flaps)
but enforces the span and max weight checks. Water ballast is

– Club class is for older Standard class (15m span) gliders but ballast
is banned and the gliders are handicapped on performance in an
attempt to make the competition depend on pilot skill rather than
glider performance.

[1] a racing task round 3 to 4 fixed points is won on elapsed time, so
overall speed is important. As ballast increases flying speed without
harming the glide ratio, there’s an advantage in carrying as much as
possible without unduly harming the climb rate in thermals.

Currently the two most popular competition classes seem to be Club and
18m – some food for thought there.

The main problem with applying the Club, Standard Class and 15m class
approach to F1A is that these classes are never flown together: if they
are flown on the same day, then you can guarantee that all three will
be flying different tasks with the Club task the shortest and the 15m
task the longest, but this approach to F1x competitions would make for
either very long events or a manpower / scoring problem.

Intuitively the Club class (handicapped) approach would be better for
F1x in that everybody could fly in the same contest, but I have no
ideas about how a handicapping scheme might work.

Anyway, I hope this summary of how gliding competitions are run is
useful input to this discussion.

By way of background, I flew mainly F1A from 1966 to 2003 and have been
a glider pilot since 2000. I’ve been flying a Standard Libelle, a Club
class glider, since 2006.

Martin Gregorie

Dino’s Solution.

From: Michael Achterberg

Hello out there in cyber land. Cudos to Ken, Tony and Bernard. They are correct. Classic F1c is a bust. F1p a bigger bust. Dont fix what aint broke.. I dont hear the F1a flyers complaining about their event. I,  like many others can hardly wait to see one of those spectacular vertical seeming Jet propelled launches. It is AWESOME.. Seems like people not involved in these events like to propose rule changes. Why is that?? They see these people having too much fun.?.? I dont get it….. As for duration. The models of 30 years ago still go as far in wind and stay up as long in a thermal as they did 30 yrs ago.. You want to cut down people in flyoffs?? Simple!!!! Ban thermal detectors and fly 7 round contests. Problem solved..Dino………

Frédéric ABERLENC at the Maxmen
Hello Roger

As requested, here is my alty log in Max Men

Looks like 100m to me  Frederic took 4th place

On going FB Discussion

Chris Edge The question is asked “What problem are we trying to solve?”. We are trying to solve the problem of models flying off sites and outside the ‘control’ of the user. There are a number of issues that covers including increased regulations in various countries, encroachment of sites, roads/pylons/oil sites/factories being ‘in scope’ for long flights, especially in FOs. There is no point in saying that ANY site is immune, it isn’t; models do fly in to the Lost Hills production facility where there are dangers. If you don’t care about a potential road accident, damage to an expensive facility and the litigation to the CD (who don’t forget is ‘happy’ that these flights occur) then fine. I would rather we are proactive about these things and improve safety before the next F1C hits power lines and sets fire to something. How do we do this ? Well ONE way is to reduce performance, something I happen to agree with. I do like the idea of a span limit and even a single defined aerofoil but I’m well aware I’m in the minority when I say that. So there you go, a comment from CHE without mention of Haggis, er, ………….. CHE

Roger Morrell Chris. It is clear from other places that there are quite a number of people interested in addressing the potential problems of models flying off our flying sites and conflict with new associated regulations. There are other problems associated with Free Flight such as level of participation and ability to attract new flyers. Because this posting is second hand the original author is not taking part in the discussion we have not had clarification from him. Bernard suggested from reading the article it might be something else

Don DeLoach Bottom line: Are we more likely to grow Free Flight with models requiring 10-minute fields, or models requiring 3-minute fields?

Mike Valerie McKeever Don I agree it’s much easier to grow free flight on smaller fields but most folks new to free flight do not start off by flying sophisticated FAI models requiring larger fields. That does not mean we need to reduce performance on FAI models so they can be flown on small fields. There is plenty of joy to be found in models with less performance. Should someone want to fly FAI, they will be aware of the financial, training and travel requirements involved.

Bernard Guest Exactly! We need to separate what we are trying to solve. Don you are addressing the greater issue of growing free flight. This has nothing to do with F1A performance unless you require all free flighters to fly F1A (which no one would suggest … even if it would make us all better humans ??). Chris Edge makes a set of points more relevant to F1A performance, but the issues he raises are locked into free flight as a concept. The models are free of our control regardless of their performance. Chris Edge, what do you do when the newly “limited performance” F1C thermals down wind in a boomer and lands on a highway causing an accident? All that changes with the performance limit is that you lower the probability of the downwind disaster a bit. Unless of course your restrictions are so draconian that they prevent models from flying more than a few hundred meters in even the biggest thermal … in which case most of us would say to hell with it and go off to fly RC gliders or some other free flight class. I think you can see that my worry is that FAI ff would be regulated out of existence.
I will not bother to address the “my models aren’t so good and my back hurts” rationale because that just won’t fly????

Roger Morrell Bernard Guest, there is one more category -which says that there are only a few fields in the world big enough to fly a high performance FF model. A question is what’s big enough and how do you figure that . Taking the thermal example not filed is ever big enough. This is not necessarily a liability question but just being able to fly without annoying the neighbours. The is a tech solution which would required a geo fencing device that would DT the model if it got to with in a set distance of the site boundry.

Tony Mathews Roger, another tech solution could be to R/C fly the model back away from the Geofence. To fly upwind you need a glide speed above the average wind speed. Which for F1B/F1A would limit the max wind speed to 4-5 m/s. Which is another solution. 9 m/s max FAI wind speed and a 3 minute max with time and distance required to DT down from a thermal requires a massive field even with so called limited performance models. So for smaller fields reduce the max wind speed and/or the max times.

Bernard Guest Roger Morrell makes a decent point re field size, and one which the Brits have pointed to several times. Here again I have to point out that any free flight model is free of the modeller’s control. Not just FAI ships but all models from hangar rats which vanish in the slightest whiff of a thermal to giant AMA gas jobs that require more substantial lift. They can all fly out of bounds. So, what is the solution to the shrinking field problem? One is to cultivate that all important relationship with adjacent land owners, another is technology like RDTing such that models do not overfly out of bounds zones (highways, oil and gas processing facilities, grump neighbours etc.), or a geofence to prevent models flying out of bounds (this requires a model to know where it is … so more tech not less). Note the last two are both areas where high performance FAI ships are actually at an advantage because they have the technology already built in where as your giant open rubber model or gas job with fuse/mechanical DT is hopelessly at the mercy of the elements. So, this issue is, again, not solves by messing with airfoils or wingspans. It is solved with outreach and technology. Personally I would be happy with a geofence rule: If you do three minutes or hit the geofence and DT you get your max.

Bernard Guest Another topic not covered earlier is the general issue of models all performing so well that anyone, even the aforementioned “average flyer”, can max out , yielding a flyoff with 40 people all vying for the podium. I actually think this is a real issue. Personally I would like to see 50% or less making the flyoff. How to achieve this? Well go back to 7 rounds for starters, hell, go back to 14 rounds for the maxmen!. Making the flyoff should be HARD! It should require a maximum effort, good preparation and a top performance. Perhaps make the first and last 4 minutes? Maybe shorter rounds? Maybe 25 g of rubber for B(??). I am open to suggestions here.

Don DeLoach Is it fair to say that F1A is on a path toward the following inevitabilities: 1) 120m launches, 2) flappers, and 3) younger, more athletic sportsmen?

Bernard Guest I am no F1A expert but my answer to start. The F1Aers can follow with more educated answers: 1. maybe for the top flyers but probably not everyone. 2. I think flappers are a bit of a red herring. What you gain in launch may be lost in drag associated with the flap mechanisms and also lower reliability related to high complexity. However, a flapper expert would know more than I. Is it telling that our top Canadian flyer is one of the best in the world and is not using a flapper (at least not that I am aware of)? 3. Sure. FAI is, and arguably, should be, skewed towards the younger more athletic flyers. Like all sports.

SEN Status

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Roger Morrell