National Free Flight Society

SEN 2660

  1. NFFS 2020 Call for Papers
  2. Two Ideas
  3. Online Entries for Fab Feb 2020
  4. Travel with Evgeny
  5. Some anti-performance ideas
  6. … and Weighty matters

NFFS 2020 Call for Papers
Authors are needed for the 53th edition of the NFFS Symposium. Papers on all aspects of free flight are welcome.

Many years ago the old Model Airplane News published an article entitled “After You, Alphonse.” It was an informal history of a French scientist credited with being the first to successfully design and fly a rubber powered model airplane—in 1871. Successful model aircraft flight therefore preceded the Wright brothers’ first successful powered flight by over three decades. Developments since that time in both full scale aircraft and models has been extraordinary, and to some extent chaotic. The evolution of the turbojet altered the commercial aspects of aviation in fundamental ways and brought about drastic changes in military strategy and tactics. Free flight modelling has been altered by both technology and sociology. Many lament the steady decline in the availability of glow engines suitable for free flight while the development of electric propulsion and other electronic technology for models proceeds apace. The steady decline in the active number of participants in our competitions has been a constant source of concern for some time. But changes in the age distribution and interests of the population affect most other recreational activities that compete with free flight. Consider the ebbs and flows of interest in professional baseball, football, auto racing, and many hobbies.

We should celebrate and memorialize our history while still engaging the inevitability that affects every leisure activity. That is the challenge I offer to authors for the 2020 edition of the NFFS Symposium.

Free flight includes those with interest in several distinct areas: indoor, nitro and electric power, rubber, gliders, as well those who participate in the events of Flying Aces and the Society of Antique Modellers. All topics will be considered, but here are a few general suggestions:

Theory and Design
After more than a century of practice is there really anything new to learn about how and why a model airplane flies? Yes! Race driver Dan Gurney secretly tacked a piece of angle iron to the rear wing of a race care to improve handling in corners and increase lap speed. It took a while for aerodynamicists to explain the phenomenon but the “Gurney Flap” is now used as a trim device by FAC flyers and perhaps others as well.
The airspeed of the modern F1C models has increased in recent years. What special problems do higher speeds create for design and practice?
Articles that attempt to empirically test a theoretical concept are especially useful and welcome.

The evolution of the sport compels us to adapt our building practices as well as the structure of our competitive events. The Nostalgia Gas events are popular and the proposed Golden Age category has many supporters. But the number of available powerplants for both are finite. How can we guide the evolution of such events so as to maintain participation?
Changes needed in some of the rules of competition are a frequent topic of hot debate. A useful perspective is that much of the debate is brought about by improvements in technology.

Any field ignores its history at its peril. While we engage the transformations in the sport let’s not forget how we got here. Articles such as Kevin Sherman’s on Sal Taibi, Mike Schwartz on the Satellite (both Sympo #46), or Louis Joyner’s on F1C history (Sympo #49) are examples of the kind of documentation that we should maintain.

The above ideas are just guidelines, so if you have an idea for something else then submit your thoughts anyway. In any case, please send me a synopsis and a working title as a Microsoft Word document as soon as possible to:

Kit Bays, Editor, 2020 NFFS Symposium 2259 Waterford Drive
Winterville, NC 28590
Phone: 252-717-0702

Two Ideas
From: William East

This is just a suggestion.

Why not have the first round in the morning an 8 or 10 minute flight time.
Flyers would be fresher.
Team Captain would probably need to micro-manage time/flyers.
By taking this road people will be aware of their basic position in the Contest.
It would be up to them and the T.M as to the teams overall position in the contest.

Another suggestion.
Rather than changing the models Aerodynamically why can’t we increase the weight by 20% (a weight that will have an effect both visually and structurally), This suggestion would not make dinosaurs of existing equipment and will still be competitive.

FYI – I hope I have used the right channel to e-mail this.
Hope all is ok.
Bill East.

Editor’s Comments –
Bill,  you did it the right way – just reply to the email that send out SEN.

Online Entries for Fab Feb 2020
The online entry form got Fab Feb 2020 is now available. Note that the official CIAM World Cup Calendar has not come out yet. The CIAM meeting is soon, but no issues are anticipated.
All people flying in the FAI event should=must  enter on line. Your entry will be taken and you will be given a summary of the charges. You do not pay until you arrive a Lost Hills. Most people will pay on 7 February, the Friday before the week’s flying starts but if you arrive later you still pay and take part in the contest. There can be up to 200 entries and it is just not possible to take care of everything before the first round of the Kiwi Cup.  The AMA safety sheet and other forms are pre-printed ready for you so you do not have to write anything out and just need to sign them.

Online entry is not taken for the AMA events that are part of the Ike.
Additional Fab Feb information is available at

Travel with Evgeny
From: Pierre  Chaussebourg

À super good moment with Evguenyi has been the trip from Zrenjanin to Kiev in 1991!
David Ackery and Peter Allnutt remember that too.

It took three days with a minibus WW. Evguenyi has been driving all three days. Victor Stamov was copilot but he had Not been allowed to drive. Only the Master was driving.
First night was in a model club in Hungary. We had a BBQ with the Russian team. The room where we were supposed to sleep was quite noisy with a couple of good snorers so I took my sleeping bag and went outside to sleep under the WW!

Evguenyi was already there and we shared the place.

The next day, crossing the Ukrainian border has been quite an experience…
Then we slept in a hotel which was not qualified to accommodate foreigners so Evguenyi had to go to the police station to get a special permission !
He was so happy to take care of us.

Then we stayed in Stamov flat . One evening Luda took us to Kiev Opera. Bob Sifleet arrived during the dinner. Evguenyi gave his ticket to Bob, saying that he was tired and needed to rest.

When we came back all dishes had been cleaned and stored and he was sleeping in an arm chair !

Victor and Evguenyi are gone…
We ´ll never forget.

Envoyé de mon iPhone

Some anti-performance ideas
From: Didier Chevenard

Hi Roger
Just to put some ideas in the basket of performance reduction suggestions (point 6 Chris Edge proposal for performance restrictions) , limited to F1B which is my current practice

Chris, limiting systems as DPR and VP will in fact probably have only little impact on performances.

1 – DPR is already observed to be very short now that we have more controllable electronic timers
The goal of DPR is to unwind as soon as the model get some velocity to avoid bad performance of prop at high torque (probably cavitation) and better control of the initial trajectory. In any case I do not imagine the timekeeper evaluating if the DPR was at 0.0 s or at 0.3 sec.

2 – As for VP you will open new developments to create self deforming propeller blades to compensate high torque at launch.
(Full size heli rotors have deformable hubs to reduce its mechanical complexity).
Props blades are already quite sophisticated…but, with a mandatory fixed pitch front-end, we will design even more sophisticated blades to generate VP at prop level. We can use CAD to simulate its flexibility under stress and anticipate the areas of deformation to create this necessary VP.
The new designs generated by these studies will  be applied by building  more complicated blades (optimized core thickness and stiffness, precise reinforcement layers and nature, etc).
I suspect that after one or two seasons models will reach the same performance level.

3 – On top of that it is part of the excitement of modellers to have new ideas and developments to increase performance.

4- Even the best model can be on ground in less than 2 minutes if there is a downdraft and you can also make a full score with a low performer if you catch the best thermals possible!

Why not concentrate on the contest organisation itself?

With more stringent rules applied to the launching window we could limit the possibility to wait for “the best thermal available” and reduce significantly the number of full scores. (F1E example).
And if we have less FO participants it is easier to schedule this Fly-off it at a time with much less powerful thermals (late afternoon & early morning)..

5 – As for performance reduction, my opinion is
–  increase wing loading
–  decrease energy (rubber weight)
–  and do both progressively to prevent the elimination of the existing model park with a single rule change.

Unfortunately the long decision process at FAI seems to play against this progressivity.

Have nice flights.

Didier Chevenard

… and Weighty matters

From: Manuel Blanco

Hi Roger :

Some time ago I proposed the weight increase for F1A, B and C, in order to limit efficiency and not have to change the models, because those who have purchased models, have paid a high price for them and it would not be fair to eliminate  It would be a change very simple and within reach of all of us
Greetings Manolito