National Free Flight Society

SEN 2404

  1. Top Dudes 2018
  2. Fab Feb 2018
  3. Hybrid team selection
  4. Mini Events
  5. What is SEN?

Top Dudes 2018
Every year at the Fab Feb Contests SEN awards the Top Dude Awards to those who were first place in their class across all events.  In the past this has been done for only F1ABCQ this year we have added F1EHGJS in spite of the latter group being only 2 contests. We use a slightly modified World Cup points allocation system. We list below the top 5 in each class.  As there is only one Top Dude in a class only one person in each class gets the award

The award is a personalized custom designer Chaos T-Shirt with a unique design that looks like a series of airplanes circling tight in a thermal.   Previous winners include Artem Babenko who was spotted wearing his Top Dude T-Shirt during this year’s events.  The T-shirts will be sent to the postal address you used at registration in the size we guess you are !   If you wish to change the address or give us the size send an email to SEN at The sizes on these T-shirts run a little small.

Balassiano  Aviv    ISR 1118 1
Halbmeier   Dirk    GER  970 2
Findahl     Per     SWE  705 3
Kosonozhkin Mikhail RUS  657 4
Bajorat     Volker  GER  612 5

Andriukov  Alexander USA 952 1
KulakovskyOleg       UKR 896 2
Stefanchuk Stepan    UKR 784 3
Mathews    Tony      CAN 766 4
Malkhasyan Sevak     USA 689 5

Babenko    Artem   UKR 961 1
Savukhina  Larisa  RUS 925 2
Shvedenkov Yury    CAN 835 3
Mennano    Guy     USA 787 4
Mathis     Richard USA 736 5

Murphy  Jack   USA 12641
Sifleet RobertUSA 1214 2
IoergerThomas USA  961 3
Seren   Paul   GER  8374
Kaynes  Ian    GBR  6055

Richardson Mike      USA 725 1
Andrist    Alfred    SUI 702 2
Sifleet    Robert    USA 614 3
Brocks     Peter     USA 564 4
Andrist    Christian SUI478 5

Jensen     Blake USA  821 1
Findahl    Per   SWE  770 2
Balassiano Aviv  ISR  516 3
Reshef     Ziv   ISR 484 4
Parker     Jim   USA  444 5

Baruch  Abraham  ISR 588 1
Nouvian Richard  FRA 569 2
Brocks  K Peter  USA 519 3
Ji      Xiangxue CHN 476 4
Gorban  Evgeny   UKR 418 5

Parker   Faust   USA 706 1
Faux     Kenneth GBR 509 2
Ashworth Hayden  USA 408 3
Sahlberg Peter   USA 400 4
Kanegawa Shigeru JPN 307 5

McGuckin Derek USA 706 1
Parker   Julie USA 606 2
Murphy   Jack  USA 572 3
Ray      Ralph USA 508 4
Ivers    Dick  USA 407 5

Fab Feb 2018
Fab Feb 2018 is over. This year we had very good weather that only started to get windy on the last day of the contest and then it did not stop us from completing the event.  This year there was no rain; there had only been minimal rain at Lost Hills this winter and this could be seen in the dry nature of the field and vegetation.  The weather was probably different from any other Fab Feb year in that each event was different, all with unusual conditions. There were longer periods of dead calm in the mornings, some periods what looked like perfect weather without much wind but could be extremely turbulent, some great traditional thermal conditions and finally some period of deadly doldrums that one normally associates with October rather than February.   These conditions provided for challenging flying conditions, often with large fly offs but we enjoyed great contests with fair sporting results.
One special item this year was the large group of both senior and junior flyers from China.  Fortunately for us the Fab Feb dates coincide with the Chinese New Year that is a major national holiday in China. This made it easier for the big group to attend.  We hope this can be a regular thing.

Each of the 3 World Cup events has its own personality and is run by a different group of people.  The first event: The Isaacson Winter Classic and Kiwi Cup offers both AMA and FAI events. Some of the AMA events such as P-30, catapult and hand launch glider, E-36 and Vintage FAI Power attract some international sportsmen.
We do one entry process for all events where the entries are taken online but you do not pay until you physically arrive at Lost Hills and sign up. With the large number of participants the advance sign up is needed for the FAI events (only the Ike has AMA and for those advance sign up was not enabled). This helps the organizers properly prepare for the events. With over 60 people in each of  F1A and F1B, signing up on the morning of the event like we used to do in the first events is just not possible,  The advance sign up also helps in completing the AMA associate membership and safety sheets that are required for flying in the USA.

The Wings people in Serbia offered their online sign up and scoring system but because all the parties involved, the 5 organizing teams (when counting the 2 F1E events), AMA, Lost Hills Association, Gabby’s restaurant, the Ladies Tea party and the America’s Cup banquet,  it was not possible to use it.  In the past we had tried using an online scoring system but the mobile phone coverage on the field was not good enough for all the possible flight lines to make this practical.

Besides flying in the organized competition many people take advantage of the conditions to do additional trimming and training.  There is not something every day as some slack has to be in the schedule to allow time for weather and other incidents.

There are a number of social events. Several years ago we has a team from Mongolia take part and this group included some ladies.  Some of the ladies who regularly attend the event wanted to show hospitality to these visitors and organized a Ladies Tea Party on the Tuesday, a non-flying day.   This turned out to be an outstanding success and has been repeated every year since.  There is a formal banquet on the last weekend where the trophies for the preceding year’s America’s Cup are presented. Also at that dinner SCAT presents the Jon Davis-created Mentor award for a person who has made a major contribution mentoring junior flyers. This year that went to the well-known Northern California flyer Bill Vanderbeek. One day we have an informal evening meal at Gabby’s local Mexican restaurant.  Gabby’s also have a food truck and provided Mexican food, burgers, hot dog and cold drinks on field for lunch.

Thanks: Besides the people who ran each event and their helpers there were a number of people who were very important in making the event successful.  They include Colleen Pierce from AMA HQ who organized “official invitations” that some international visitors need to obtain travel visa for the USA; she also helped in improving the way we do AMA associate memberships and other sanction requirements. This year at the Friday sign up the entries were processed and money collected by Lindy Murrell, helped by Larraine and Connie from New Zealand and Tony Mathews from Canada.  Gabby’s restaurant in Lost Hills provided food on the field and opened specially for us in the evenings.  Doc Schneider of the Lost Hills Association helped us with arranging the extra facilities, toilets, etc. that we needed on the field for our large number of people.  Some of the contestants worked with Everett at All Carts to rent a golf cart. Claudia Nolugen at the Lost Hills community center arranged for us to use that Wonderful facility for the sign ups and the America’s Cup Banquet..

At the prize giving of the Isaacson Winter Classic and Kiwi Cup, Norm Furutani announced that he would be retiring from running that event.  The Winter Classic was started by Bob Isaacson and Norm Furutani 29 years ago. It included both FAI and AMA events as Bob and Norm flew both.  When Bob and his wife LaVera were killed in an automobile accident, the event was renamed and I stepped in to help Norm run the event.  When the FAI portion became a World Cup event I focused on that portion and Norm did the overall management and ran the AMA events.  With Norm’s retirement I can continue with the FAI events but to keep the AMA events on the calendar I would need some significant help to run those events. Anyone interested should contact SEN.

Communications:  Communications between the organizers and contestants is always difficult, particularly during an event such as this one that runs for over a week. We use electronic communications. We post and send information via SEN and strongly recommend that participants sign up for SEN email distribution. We also post information on the Facebook Free Flight group.

Planning for next year’s event will start soon.  From time to time we have people who want do something special at the event. It might be flying or social.  Typically, people contact us much too late about the possibility of doing this. We need to be asked by this October to make sure it is properly fitted into the schedule.

Hybrid team selection
From: Aram Schlosberg

There are a number of basic approaches to select FAI teams. The first is a series of national contests [SNC], ranging from two to seven contests. Two examples:
The Israeli system uses a single site and 6 annual contests for each event. The best five results count, where one gets 100 points for maxing out plus bonus points for beating others in the flyoff + 1. Elimination means dropping a thermal round in two of the five best contests. (Because of a large number of A flyers, it is followed by two more contests for the top 12 and 6 flyers.)
In the States, due to geography, we hold a single finals comprising of two daily contests in each event. The combined winner (by rankings) makes the team. The other two members are the winners of a daily contest.
The alternative approach is based on World Cup contests. For example, the Swedish teams are the three top Swedish flyers in each event in the World Cup the year before a World/European Championships.
Placing well in World Cups is predicated on excellent flyoff performance, while a SNC emphasizes consistent thermal flying. The question is whether the two approaches be combined?
Suppose one team slot in each event is granted to the best flyer in the World Cup contests the year the team is selected, provided they place in the top ten or twenty positions. Otherwise, the third team position is kept by third flyer on the team using a SNC. (In our case, this would require reverting back to a 14-round format.)
For the US, a hybrid approach guarantees that Alex Andriukov will be on every B team; for the Israelis, that Aviv Blassiano (who has never been on a team) will be on their A team.
A hybrid team selection mitigates the flaws inherent in a SNC. In fact, the Ukraine already uses a hybrid approach.

mini events
From: David Ackery
Yes I agree.

PLEASE don’t treat the mini events so badly.

If the first flight max is set  at some huge number the contest will be over for most fliers from the very beginning.

CDs, please don’t do it. Please give us a normal contest where it is decided at the end, with a normal flyoff.

For F1A, B, C the first round max  is not set at 10 minutes.

That flight happens at the end of the contest, not the beginning.

Yes I know it may well be easier for the contest director, to set a huge, impossible max for round one

but surely the contest organisation is there for the fliers, and not the other way ? .

I hope so.

best regards

David Ackery

What is SEN
This is SEN, short for SouthernCaliforniaAeroTeam Electronic News. The SouthernCaliforniaAeroTeam  aka SCAT is a model airplane club that is dedicated to FAI class free flight model airplanes and so is this electronic newsletter
It is published on a frequent but irregular basis. There is no charge for getting it. A few nice people make donations to help defray the costs. It can be read online at or you can have it emailed to you.
We welcome contributions from all our readers about all aspects of FAI free flight model airplanes. Contributions include, notices of upcoming events, results , individual items for sale, information about new product and services of interest to our readers, suggestions about rules changes, discussions or comments on new technologies. Over 1000 people read each issue and they are in about 40 countries world wide.

We do not publish pictures or plans , although you can include links to them. Ideally material for inclusion should be formatted fairly simply. An article with complex formatting is more likely to get messed up when included in SEN. Results of contests should be submitted in a Microsoft Excel file.

Remember that for many of the readers English is a second language. Also it most important to exchange information so sometimes there will be errors of spelling or grammar, this is not a problem and we are more interested the ideas and information rather than how it is written.

While the main interest of SEN is FAI class free flight we publish items of information about of classes of free flight and subjects that we think will be of interest to our readers. An important aspect of FAI Free Flight is innovation and new ideas so looking at what people are doing in other branches of our hobby/sport is always a good idea. Recently some people have complained about us including reference to non FAI events, we appreciate that our hobby is very diverse so we use editorial judgment that this information is of interest to some of our readers.
Preparing SEN is a lot of work and it is made easier by us just cutting and pasting the information that you send. If you make a mistake and need to correct something be sure to resend us the entire corrected item and we will republish it in the next issue. Never just send fixes to the incorrect article and ask us to make it right, we don’t know what you think is right, you have to do that. Similarly if an article you wrote got messed when included in SEN you are welcome to reformat it it more simply and we will include the re-structured piece in the next issue. If you have sent several versions of an article and you think we published the wrong one, do not ask us to publish the right one, just sent it us again.

If you are selling an item, be sure to tell people how to get in touch with you. It is a good idea to say what city and country you live in. Remember we will print the Advertisement as you write it, we are not you ad copy writer.
As a general matter of course we publish the name of the person who wrote the article. There are very few people, one less since the death of Martyn Cowley aka Biggles, when we use a nom de plume. Typically unattributed articles are written by the editorial staff.

We use a service provider to manage the server used to host our web site and another to do the mailing. The mailing service provider uses a number of anti-spam techniques. To comply with the service provider’s rules email subscribers should sign themselves up and do their own email address changes. Links on to do this are in every SEN issue.

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

Roger Morrell