National Free Flight Society

SEN 2805

  1. F1A safety
  2. On F1A proposal
  3. The Jama Flop
  4. What is a Launching Device
  5. Lorbiecki Roll

F1A safety

by Jama Danier

Spectacular  altitudes attained by high energy launching are amazing and exciting to watch! Models and tow lines have become much stronger and extra height is achieved by a combination of athletic ability and the launching techniques utilizing the launcher’s body weight at the instant of releasing the line. The  fliers using it end up tumbling/rolling  forwards, falling backwards or sideways.

But high energy launching techniques may cause some impact injuries, leading to soul searching. As we can see It has led to a sweeping new rule proposal requiring F1A fliers to remain or land on their feet(jumping is allowed) after the launch. Falls are penalized.

An obvious difficulty is the need to call falls. Was the fall intentional or accidental?  Should the timers keep their sights on the model or the flier? Being far away aggravates the problem. Messy, to say the least.

High energy launching techniques rewards mostly fliers with athletic ability and  younger fliers at the expense of older ones. Banning it will trash many years of effort sunk into developing high energy launching techniques – contradicting CIAM’s mission to strive towards technical excellence.

Of course, safety matters. In practice, a flier like me always wears  protection and as I mentioned before I have not suffered any injuries since I started flying F1A. Requiring the wearing of a suitable light helmet and protective gear would definitely help and will be a Good Solution. Mandating protective gear would likely be supported across the board and violations are easy to spot. Tripping or accidental falls are just ignored as they are now since its performance mostly neutral.

On F1A proposal

From: Allard van Wallene

On F1A proposal

First of all let me state that yes, I drafted the proposal and yes I also launch my F1A falling down. But the proposal was not my idea, I was asked to draft it by the CIAM FF subcom members from Germany and yes, Switzerland.

Drafting is something which is not an easy job and I do this professionally on a daily basis, hence the ‘legal’ language. For some it is also not easy to read or understand, which results in several misunderstandings (no, you do not get a zero, just an attempt).

I love to see my ship rocketing skywards lying on my back as it brings a few extra meters. A run and a fall followed by the whistling sound gives great satisfaction. Some argue hat falling down is something athletic only for the real athletes among us. I beg to disagree. I adopted the falling technique because I am not athletic enough to sprint the 100m Usain Bolt style, far from it. If you could, trust me, you wouldn’t need to fall down. The proposal is not to cap performance, it is just a side effect. OK, so much for ‘clowning around’ as someone put it when he ran out of arguments.

The reason behind the proposal is unexposed on social media. Which might be convenient for some, so here it goes again.

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 (see my test on Facebook). 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 mostly 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 (why is Kosonoshkin’s head all padded up, once bitten twice shy?). This proposal forces the sportsmen to stand up during the launch thereby preventing injury.

The danger of this type of falling technique is known even among sportsmen practising it (see Findahl’s closing comment in his latest Symposium report contribution). What would happen if a junior participant cracks his head on one of them petrified fossils on the Poitou field at the world champs? And CIAM knowing about the danger this could happen? What would the kid’s parents say? Would we tell them they should have let their kid wear a helmet in a 43C heat when no one else did?  I for one would feel responsible not having acted earlier on the matter if the proposal would be left in my out tray.

Leaves me to say that I am personally OK with either outcome of the vote. A sound discussion with arguments will lead to an opinion and ultimately a vote at CIAM in April. The majority counts. Democracy at play. But please refrain from insulting those who do not follow your opinion.

All the best for 2021!


The Jama flop

From: ?

Dear SEN,

As you might imagine, the Canadian team, out of deep concern for the health and continued performance of our Champion sportsman Jama Danier has invested many hours of intensive discussion and brain storming on the topic of the Jama launch (AKA the Jama flop, and the Jama drop). Some of our favourite options for safety and/or added performance include: 1. As Jama tows, the team will jog just ahead of the master sportsman with a plush and very springy mattress. Immediately preceding the moment of supreme action the master will give a command and the mattress will be tossed on to the ground beneath him so that he might land safely and in comfort, at which point he might choose to observe the flight or take a brief nap. The topic of additional pillows and a blanky was controversial but it has been decided that if required (for example – morning flyoff) these will be velcroed to the mattress itself during the event to prevent spillage and tripping hazards for other competitors.  2. In the interest of even greater performance it has been decided that Jama being vertiginously challenged could benefit from more potential energy. So it is proposed that the team should dig a series of 10 foot deep pits at strategic points around the field (points where thermals are known to abound). Each pit will be lined with mattresses and partially filled with feathers (for safety). At the strategic moment the master will select the nearest pit and execute the flop into it such that the line can be release after he has fallen an additional eight or nine feet. Our calculations indicate that launches in excess of 253 meters are possible with this technique and our team of Canadian lawyers have found no mention of drop-pits being an illegal device in the FAI sports code. Further, the mattress lining and feathers serve to resolve any safety concerns that our European friends (cough-pansies-cough) may have. 3. Less safe but potentially quite effective and possibly cheaper and less work than mattresses and drop-pits is the tight-end tackle technique or the “hulk hogan hug and hurtle”. In this scenario a team member of robust stature lopes after the master as he tows (Bernard Guest (6’5” ad 250 lbs – 2m, 125 kg) was selected by the committee). At the moment of maximum max-potential the master gives the word and the large team member runs at Jama at full tilt. On impact (shoulder to midriff, shoulder to head or head to head is deemed to be too dangerous) he (the tackler) grasps him (Jama) around the midriff and throws himself and Jama to the ground. The idea is that the extra mass and momentum supplied by the tackler will impart a large amount of additional energy to the model (assuming Jama is able to keep his arm in its socket where it belongs). This technique raised some eyebrows in the committee conference room. It was suggested that after completing the first training session, Jama may choose to run away from the tackler instead of concentrating on launching, thereby jeopardizing the glory that is deservedly ours. Various additional techniques are under consideration to encourage compliance, including: dressing Jama in an inflatable sumo suite, providing a Toronto Argonaughts football helmet and pads, and lastly, encouraging the tackler to hide behind small bushes so that he can pounce on Jama at unexpected moments. As yet the training sessions have been delayed due to Covid-19 (tacking people violates the social distancing rules) but Bernard has been diligently working on his technique using a series of padded dummies. We have some more on order from Amazon because the he keeps breaking them. The Canadian FAI lawyer team found no mention of a moratorium against imparting physical violence on team mates in search of the max so we feel confident at this stage that this cheap and effective technique will bring home the silverware in 2021 (or 22). Fresh meat …err…I mean, F1A sportsmen and women, are encouraged to apply for future Canadian teams beyond the next world champs.

These are our favourite ideas for now but others are under development and we will report them as they are fleshed out.

An anonymous member of the Canadian Team.

What is a Launching Device

From:Charles Markos

Although I still have a fleet of 4 F1A birds, they are flown only to
support the event.  If I could run at all, they would execute a “bunt”
transition.  Sometimes I even get a max. The only time I have fallen down
was when I tripped while towing, but kept the towline in hand.  The reason
for this email is to ask for a definition of what is being called the
“launching device.”   That is, does it include the towline itself? Or does
it refer back to the old days when we kept the lowline on a reel while
towing so it could be speedily be gathered in?  Letting loose of the reel
was a danger to others and would result in an immediate zero score flight.
If releasing the line during a launch was to result in a zero score, then
I predict that soon articulated hooks would be introduced so that the ring
at the towline’s end would simply slip off the hook.

Chuck Markos

Lorbiecki Roll

From: Ross Jahnke

Jama Danier did not invent this launch style, it should be called the
“Lorbiecki Roll.” John Lorbiecki was towing an F1A at Bong in the 1980’s,
when we were sharing the site with some hang glider fellows. As our event
was sanctioned and theirs not, they had to give way for a while. One of
them put his fully assembled glider in the back of his pickup and drove up
and down the flightline acting bored. On one pass the tip of the hanglider
hit John in the back of the head, causing him to do a somersault on the
road. He managed to hang onto his towline, get up and complete the launch.

Running in circles looking at the sky while both hands are occupied with a
long piece of string is hazzard enough, and should be banned as well