National Free Flight Society

SEN 2322

  1. F1E World Cups in October – summary
  2. Answer to George Voss on GPS tracking
  3. F1C Observations
  4. Additional comments re. demise of F1C
  5. Re: SEN 2321 Comment on F1C participation
  6. At last a word from the Dino
  7. We have met the enemy and he is us


F1E World Cups in October – summary
From:Peter Brocks

There are 3 F1E World Cup contests in Lost Hills this October:

Oct. 5 (Thursday) California F1E Cup (postponed from Feb.)
Oct. 6 (Friday) Kotuku NZL F1E Cup
Oct. 10 (Tuesday) F1E Sierra Cup
Oct. 11 (Wednesday) Reserve Day for F1E contests in case of inclement weather

Answer to George Voss on GPS tracking

 Re: SEN 2314

From:Frédéric ABERLENC

Here is an answer to George Voss for Tracker:

Hello George
You can find all the infos about the Icare2 system on
Icare2 is widely used in free flight now.
Total budget for 2 transmitter and 1 receiver is 520 Euros
Best regards


F1C Observations 

From: Bernard Guest

Hi Sen,
Thought I would make a comment on the whole F1C thing.

First, I do not fly F1C (I fly F1B which is a fairly healthy class….although it could be better) so you all can take my analysis with a pick of salt. Doug asks is F1C dead? Well it does appear to be so. The question is why? This question is important because the other, currently healthy, FAI classes may soon follow.

Some have pointed to the old canard “You dropped the BOM and we never recovered”. I don’t think this is the reason. If it were then why do the other classes continue to flourish? Also if your only excuse for not flying F1C is the BOM rule then what the heck is stopping you from building you own carbon models? If Babenko can learn to do it you can. Are American modellers incapable of learning a new technique or material? Are they so inflexible? Is Ukraine and Russia the only place where innovation and development is possible? With the tech revolution happening around us and all sorts of wonderful tools being developed times were never better for a person who wants to build their own cutting edge ships. Why aren’t you prospective F1C flyers doing it? Heck, build an old fashioned wooden F1C and fly that. All you would need to buy is the engine and the timer kit. Why aren’t you doing that?
I think the answer is that free flight in general is the game of a past generation and F1C in particular is the game of a very narrow set of people from that past generation. You have to be keen on internal combustion, noise, oil, “that smell”, tuning to the n’th degree, endless tinkering etc etc. to fly F1C. The people who came up with those genes are simply dying off. Kids today are interested in programming, computers, drones, electric motors etc. etc.
Also to become a serious FAI competitor you need great mentors and teachers. You need people close at hand who can show you the ropes. This is true in the post BOM era and would be even more true if all competitors had to build their own models (because to be competitive you would have to learn to work with Carbon, CNC molds, electronics etc. etc.).
Also, are we forgetting the real cost of competing? Travel! wanna be an FAI competitor? Then you better have a serious travel budget. None of the other FF classes require a big travel budget. Ask any of the serious FAI guys what they spend on travel per year……the cost of the models is really not the issue folks.

Finally, don’t complain unless you are doing something about it. Who is out there promoting F1C, or FAI in general for that matter? Who is doing show and tell at schools?


Perhaps we might think about how we can promote and develop the sport we have instead of dwelling on the past and picking at old wounds. The past was great, enjoy the memories, but don’t get trapped there. The past is not, and can never be, the future.

My two cents.

Additional comments re. demise of F1C

From: Bernard Guest

Hi again all,
This comment is aimed at those who look to the FAC model for inspiration in revitalizing FAI. Be weary of this comparison folks. The FAC club is a fantastic thing but it is definitely not a model that would work for FAI. My experience pecking around the perimeter of the FAC over the years has shown me that the FAC is a staunchly traditional place where new fangled innovation is strongly discouraged/frowned upon. These guys take being luddites very seriously and are proud of it.  RDT is considered to be a form of “radio control” and electronic timers are almost unheard-of. Although, interestingly, their power class is dominated by electric motors and electronic speed controllers. Gone are the days of the diesel powered scale model at FAC contests (perhaps this is telling? perhaps F1Q should replace F1C?).  Back to my point; If you are seen to be searching for a loophole or working all the angles to try to get a winning edge in the FAC world, you are quickly branded as a “suspicious person” of questionable repute. When I asked lots of questions about the rules and tried to explore the possibilities for gaining an advantage in FAC competition I was informed in no uncertain terms by some in leadership, that I was a person of questionable character and that the likes of me might not be welcome. My point here is that the ethos of FAI which is compete, innovate, search for and exploit any advantage, squeeze every ounce of performance out of the rules, is not compatible with the ethos of groups like SAM or the FAC. The FAI flyer really is a sportsman and looking to the excellent and successful FAC model, though tempting, may not be a viable approach for the types of folks who get their kicks in the FAI world. We are all free flight enthusiasts to be sure, but we are fundamentally different in our motivations.

another few cents.


Re: SEN 2321 Comment on F1C participation

From: Leo Reynders

Hello Roger,

I am not an F1C flier yet (but working to become one). I very much like the
articles of Bernard, Ron and Steve on F1C participation. They triggered to
me the following:

I remember the time when the ³builder of the model² rule still was in place:
So many modelers building so many different designs, mostly simple but
clever, and having so much fun.

I am in favor of an informal reintroducing the ³builder of the model² rule:
The idea is that competitors that claim to be builder of their model get a
separate ranking, embedded within the official ranking. No need to implement
formal CIAM rule changes: I simply invite organizers of FF competitions to
offer the possibility to the participants to claim to be ³builder of the
model² and make an additional ranking for these competitors, just for fun
and for offering these competitors the appreciation they deserve for
building their own model.

A definition of ³builder of the model² could be something like ³Builder of
the model is everyone who has made himself all connections between fiber
reinforced parts, wooden parts and foam parts². With such a definition
prefabricated FRP parts like tail booms still can be bought but for example
rib caps have to be applied by the builder himself.
Free flight has too much become a sport of model fliers instead of model
builders. Shouldn¹t we start doing something about it?

Leo Reynders

At last a word from the Dino

From:Michael Achterberg

As to F1c The world has changed. Some for the good and some not.. Instant gratification for kids is the way of the world. Sad but true. Builder of the model rule didn’t kill freeflight! If anything it help it hang on for a couple more decades.  As for saving freeflight that die was case decades ago when the modelers didn’t secure freeflight sites, with there lack of vision for the future. Take Gardner field, Taft, Lost Hills as an example.  Bob Waterman had a plan in place to have all the property to Highway 46 in place for nothing. Zero$$$$. And Cuffmac voted No.Didn’t want the liability.. With the push from Bill Booth and others John Creen bought our field for us. Then Cuffmac took his offer to give to us and said No! So he set up Lost Hills model Association.  If I were him, I would have told us to stick where the sun don’t shine and banned us from the field.. So here we are. Same thing in Hungary.. They could have had Domsod for property taxes and grazing rights in 1995. The farmer offered it. But that never happened either. Fortunately they have another lovely site. The world has changed and freeflight like cassette tapes and DVD’s have gone away or on there last leg. The cost too high and No place to fly. Enjoy the moment. Our time is passing unless with change our perception of freeflight. I believe there is a way to save it. But it involves a change in perception and technology..  If someone designed a system that used GPS that could control rudder to glide model into the wind after a certain distance then freeflight could live on small fields. And freeflight could survive a while longer. But alias that won’t happen. So don’t blame technology, builder of model rule,  blame ourselves for lack of foresight. Everyone wants to blame someone for F1 demise, but look at lowly 1/2A has. No entrees, no interest and dead. It’s freeflight as a whole not just F1c. Biggest problem! No fields world wide..Simple! Our time is passing.
Enjoy it why you can….
See ya.Dino

We have met the enemy and he is us

From: editor

Doug and Ron are quite right the numbers in F1C are diminishing faster than the other classes and it is indeed sad that what once major part of the international Free Flight scene is but a shadow of it’s former self.

The responsibility for fixing it lies with those who fly the event.

F1C is the only class where a good model could do 10 minutes without thermal assistance on a 5 second engine run in dead air morning.  While LDA gliders get very high, they don’t get as high and can’t do in dead air.  The only way a F1B can do it is with thermal assistance.  It is interesting to note that the models flown in the F1P junior class are the same size as FAI Power models i.e. F1C of the golden age of 1960 and 70s, yet only have a 1 cc engine and still perform very well, close to that of a F1B.  In addition for historic reasons F1C is the only class where a wide range of flying surface areas is permitted, this enables the folders.  If we look at the evolution of there F1C there have been significant steps – the Flapper, folder and geared engine all that have contributed to the current situation that “could’ have been stopped. There have been 2 rule changes that have imposed performance and cost limiting  restrictions, namely : the exclusion of closed loop feed back systems and the requiring that the model must be held by the fuselage. This latter rule stopped the use of tip or discus launch for F1B or F1C.  Testing of discus launch had been done with F1B models. Both of these restricted performance and cost, so why not gears, flappers and folders ? I saw on FB that work had been done on making variable pitch props for F1C, I was surprised that this has not been forbidden.

There is a position taken by some that says well if I’m not having fun you need to share my misery so change the rules to kill F1A and F1B too.  Let’s not kid ourselves, those other classes are at risk too because of increasing performance but it is not at the level of F1C.  We won’t fix F1C by killing F1A and B. F1C flyers need to focus on addressing their issues. There is a perception by the officials of various National Aero Clubs that F1C is more dangerous than other classes, F1C flyers need to address that, discussions around why a RDT won’t work are counter productive.

The structure of the FAI rules changing process and committees  makes collaborative work extremely difficult to brainstorm on finding a fresh approach. There have been rules change proposals to have different motor runs depending on the motor or aerodynamic configuration. But none has come to the top as the ideal approach.

There have been other suggestions such as the one coming from the UK as how to simplify and reduce performance and cost, but again the proposals have not provided the silver bullet magic solution.

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Roger Morrell