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FAA and AMA news

The FAA just published their plans for the management of UAVs and that includes all forms of unmanned aircraft in the USA airspace.  This report is 470 pages long and there are still many unanswered questions.  On the good news side most of the restrictions that we would have found very constraining have been removed.  The AMA just conducted a streaming You Tube session that members were invited to watch.  This is available on the AMA Web site.  One very important item was that probably the most important criteria for doing this is national security in general not specific aviation security, that is input  from the FBI and Homeland Security.  Meaning that the biggest concern is using a UAV as part of a terrorist action to , for example deliver a IED (home made bomb) to a specific target  rather than a model colliding with a full side aircraft.  The AMA executives on the session were asked about Control Line and  Free Flight models  and he said that at this point control line models explicitly excluded and the AMA is working on confirming that Free Flight will be too. The reason is that Free Flight models are not navigable, i.e they can’t deliver a payload to a specific target.  This ties in with the general overall security requirement.  There is a plan where flying sites can be registered and activities on these sites is less restrictive.  At the other end of spectrum there are some very specific requirements that are aimed at commercial operations that use larger UAVs  such as Amazon, Movie production, farming, etc .  Provision has been made for  people from other counties want to take part in activities in the USA. The plan is that these rules would gradually come into effect over a 3 year period.

The AMA mentioned that in response to the original request for information for interested parties the AMA got input from 53000 model aircraft flyers and this gave them weight in the meetings.  The AMA takes this very seriously and it is a major activity for them..

If you are interested in this, you should go the AMA web site to see the You Tube piece.  This covers many more items than we mention here.


FAI News

The current issue of Free Flight News there is some critical information about the scheduling or World Champs, a number of proposed rules changes  and modified World Cup scoring.  This is unofficial information.

The rules changes are for consideration at the upcoming CIAM meeting in April. Advance information may help people think about the rules changes in preparation for the meeting.

Note that the April meeting will be held using Zoom. This may permit additional participation in the meeting as in the past travel costs have been a major obstacle for some NAC to participate.

All information below comes from FFn , not yet officially from the FAI

2021 Championships

FAI confirmed that while the status and conditions for championships should be discussed between CIAM and the organisers, the agreement between FAI and organiser requires that it is ultimately the organiser’s decision to cancel or postpone an event. There would be financial implications if the FAI cancelled an event.

CIAM Contact is underway to get organisers to define their timescale for a decision of whether or not to run a championship. This will be included in the first bulletins of the events, which are likely to be issued in the next 2 or 3 weeks. For the F1 Championship in France they have defined decision time as 4 months before the event. stop press: now revised to 3 months Preliminary entry forms are requested to be returned by January 31 – it is not obvious what they expect from these, most replies will probably be an estimate of numbers to attend with the qualification of attending if circumstances have improved sufficiently.

Romania have moved the F1E World Championships from July to the end of August, with a date of June 1 for decision to confirm the championships.


The following are details of all the free flight proposals for the 2021 Plenary meeting. I have not yet seen the proposals for change to the CIAM General Rules, there may be some in that section which impact free flight. Details will follow later.

If you have any comments on the following, please wait for publication of the official agenda to confirm details and then express your views to your national CIAM delegate.

Proposal from Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany on F1A launching
3.1.4 add 3.1.5.g to list of attempts for which zero time is recorded
3.1.5 Add :
(g) The competitor falls during the process of releasing of the model from the cable to the extent that parts of the competitor’s body other than the feet come into contact with the ground (jumping allowed).
3.1.12 Change:
a) The competitor must be standing, walking or running on the ground when releasing the model from the cable and must operate the launching device himself (jumping allowed).
b) All freedom of action and movement is permitted to allow the best use of the cable, except throwing of the launching device.
c) The model must be released to initiate tow within approximately 5 metres from the starting position marker.
More and more F1A sportsmen can be seen throwing themselves to the ground when launching their models to generate additional line pull, model speed and therefore altitude of the model to increase flight performance. Tests have shown that line pull can exceed 40 kgf during this stage. The risk of the towline breaking is the highest during this falling down stage as the line pull is highest of all tow phases. This high line pull reduces the impact of the body on the ground. However if the towline breaks and, as one but frequently both hands are holding the towline, the sportsman cannot break the fall with the hands. The head, which is one of the heaviest part of the human body, will hit the ground hard. This may lead to injury like concussion etc., in particular if the head hits a hard object like a stone, rock, dried clay or road, which are commonplace on most of the fields where competitions are flown. Several injuries (head, shoulder, elbow, back) have already been reported by sportsmen. This proposal forces the sportsmen to stand up during the launch, thereby preventing injury.

Bonus effects: Since the launch altitude will be reduced by up to
10 metres, flight performance is reduced. No changes in model design are required.

F1B flyoff Proposal from FFSC

To remove the option to have one motor would before the start of a flyoff round.
Change 3.2.8( c ):
The organiser will establish a 7 minute period during which all fly-off competitors must wind their rubber motor and launch their model. Within these 7 minutes the competitor will have the right to a second attempt in the case of an unsuccessful attempt for an additional flight according to para
3.2.5. Starting positions will be decided by a draw for each fly-off.
When the flyoff period for F1A F1B F1C was reduced to 7 minutes, F1B flyers were given the option of winding a motor before the start of the 7 minute period. This has been difficult to control and has been open to different interpretations. It is proposed to forbid winding motors before the start of the flyoff rounds, in exactly the same way that winding motors is not allowed before the start of the basic official flights. While this gives a reduced launch period compared to F1A and F1C, there is no relationship between the classes and the rule will be uniform for all F1B flyers.

F1C Poland proposal
Proposal for an F1C Junior category with additional restrictions
3.3.2 Characteristics of F1C
Additional requirements for Juniors models:
Gearing between engine shaft and propeller is not allowed. Variable geometry (e.g. folding wing) and/ or variable airfoil camber (e.g. flaps) is not allowed.
1. Class F1P does not allow a smooth transition to F1C
2. Class F1P with its technical rules is an archaic one. Results a small number of juniors – 16 in 2018 FAI Junior WCh,
3. During the course of juniors there is no need to build from a scratch or to invest in other models (just replace an engine and readjust a model) – to increase a number of young players competing.
4. Currently, the clubs and F1C competitors have a large amount of good equipment (shorter tail booms, larger fins), built in the 90s, which is suitable for use by juniors.
F1.3.1, F1.4.1, ANNEX 1, ANNEX 2 Poland proposal This proposal, which I will not reprint here, removes mention of F1P in many places and proposes changing back to a provisional class in support of their proposal to use their new limited F1C models for the junior power championship. I assume that they have also made a proposal to change the General Rules where it lists the classes for World Championships.

F1D France proposal

This proposal suggests allowing half motor in F1D Open internationals for CAT 1 and 2.
Add at end of 3.4.2:
For Open Internationals (not Championships) in category 1 (less than 8m) and category 2 (from 8 to 15 m) sites, the organiser may specify that the rubber motor (0,4g) must be replaced by a rubber motor of 0,2g and a spacer (free length but minimum weight 0,2g). This must be announced in advance in the competition bulletin.
The reduced motor and the spacer are to be checked before or after the flight as in F.1.3.2.
This possibility is already used by all F1D participants for training at World Championships in order to make more test flights during training days.
This reduced motor gives the opportunity to run an FAI contest in one day if the number of participants is low and the flying area large enough (hand-ball gym)
Opportunity to fly FAI events in low ceiling where steering may be done by fishing poles.
The idea is to have many open international events in order to stimulate F1D activity, and later on start an F1D World CUP

World Cup Rules France proposal
Add classes F1D and F1D Junior to World Cup.

An indoor free flight world cup could revitalise the category. Not only will the competitors have more occasions to train but they could also challenge foreign flyers. Moreover, it will allow national competitors (not flying in the national team) to take part in an international event and ranking.

For instance in France, only half of the F1D flyers take part in the world championships. Such a proposition could motivate them to compete on a worldwide scale.

FFSC proposal from 2020

Increase bonus points for top 3 places Change Annex1.4 ( c) and (e ):
c) The number of points awarded is 500 for the winner and linearly decreases to zero for the highest place competitor receiving no points. For the competitor in place P This is expressed by:
points = 500 * [ 1 – (P-1)/H ]
The points calculated are rounded up to the nearest whole number of points. Additional points are awarded for the top three places subject to the requirement (b) to be in the top half of the results. Place 1 receives 75 extra points, place 2 receives 50 points and place 3 receives 25 points.
e) Each competitor awarded placing points is also eligible for one bonus point for each competitor they have beaten in the competition. The number of people beaten by someone in place P is (N-P).
The new scoring system introduced evenly graduated points from first place down to half way down the results. In a large competition this results in only a few points difference between the top places. The proposal makes a clearer reward for people placing on the podium of any event.

FFSC proposal

Tidy up handling of competitors with no flight time recorded in round 1.
Modify item (a) and (e) as shown below, with( e) subject to possible change by proposal above.
a) The only competitors considered for the calculation of World Cup points are those who have recorded a time on at least one official flight during the competition. The number of these competitors is denoted by N and the place of an individual in this list is denoted by P.
e) Each competitor awarded placing points is also eligible for one bonus point for each competitor they have beaten in the competition, but counting only the competitors with a flight time in round one of the competition. The number of people beaten by someone in place P is (N-P). (The winner is awarded an additional 25% bonus points, that is he receives 1.25*(N-P) points, rounded up to the nearest whole number of points).
Originally a limitation was introduced to calculate bonus points counting only the competitors who had flown in the first round. This was to prevent any additional bonus points being accrued if extra competitors were introduced during the competition. The rules were later simplified to count only the competitors who had flown in the first round for the basic points as well as the bonus points.
Using this current system can be considered to penalise competitors who had made no flight in the first round compared to those with a zero score later in the competition. It is proposed to return to the consideration of the score in the first round only for the award of bonus points.

Timing proposal from France

The description by France is as follows, but it is certainly not clear if self-timing actually means timing you own flights or just timing by other competitors:
This proposal suggests to formalize and frame the self-timing already widely practiced in international competitions counting for the World Cup.
Add to Annex 2:
The organizers of international competitions counting for the World Cup may use self-timing under the following conditions:
– the timing mode must be announced on the entry form.
– the organizer must provide an official supervisor for four poles.
– the organizer will respect the general rules of organization in the articles above.
Role and power of the supervisor
– The identifiable supervisor must be present at the start line at all times.
– its mission will be to supervise the proper conduct of the self-timing of its four poles.
– he can time the competitor of his choice unexpectedly and control false starts.
– he will have the same powers as the timekeeper cited in the above article
Today the majority of international competition organizers can no longer mobilize a sufficient number of timekeepers; they resort to this type of timekeeping. But there is too much disparity between each competition and it would be good to standardize the practices.