National Free Flight Society

SEN 2809

  1. Perspective
  2. Unintended consequences


From : Per Findahl

Hi !

As I saw my name in the comments for the “Falling down launches” I just want to give my opinion on this matter and some more.

What we often see in proposals is that often all background is based on OPINIONS, not FACTS. I really don’t like this approach, this is the way why we end up with Km of comments on social media based on 95 % opinions and maybe 5 % facts (My own estimation). To get in a proposal that people will listen to it must be the other way around, 95% facts and 5 % opinions.

Let’s make a parallel. I have seen many times F1B pilots hurting themselves when a stretched out rubber motor broke, its facts. I also had this happening to myself, so I know the pain when it hits my hand. I have also seen myself one young junior F1B pilot breaking a stretched out motor and it ended up in his long hair, extremely painful as I heard. I know one Swedish F1B pilot broke a metal hook while stretching out a rubber motor, it came back to him at full speed and ripped off half a finger. I was told a story (I think by John Carter, you can correct me if I’m wrong John) At an open rubber contest, the pilot was winding a BIG motor. It broke and came back and hit him straight between the legs. All down there became blue and swollen, he had to go to hospital. At the hospital the doctor asked, how did this happen ? The pilot replied, my rubber blew up ! (Quite a funny story in a way ! )
Based on this I could put a proposal, let’s ban F1B pilots from stretching out the rubber while winding, everyone can see it is extremely dangerous ! No one can say I’m wrong, right ? But in all I’m missing the big picture. I don’t really have the relevant background facts, how many serious injuries did we have in reality ? These facts must be put in comparison also with how will a ban stretching out the rubber influence on our sport ? If looking at it with an open mind, I must say my opinion based on the facts is not strong enough to put in a proposal to ban stretching out F1B motors.

We are facing the same thing now with the “falling down launches”. Where are the facts backing up this proposal ? I haven’t seen anything at all except OPINIONS.

I can quickly give a short background to my own flying and injuries up to today flying F1A. With wooden models I don’t remember other injuries then twisted ankles while running (Towing or retrieving). Later on the hands was the problem. With carbon spars the pull in the line was big and I hurt my hands many times from the line. Based on this experience I now use protection for this and I developed my handle on the line. Starting to fly full carbon wings and trying to get higher I put in more efforts in the running and acceleration techniques. Now 2 rather bad injuries came. I very often hit my left knee to the ground at the end of acceleration. At some points it was so  bad that I could not fly or run for several days after. Also when releasing the line I made some funny things. I let go of the line from my right hand, and it always ricocheted away and hit my left hand in full blast. The result was bloody and extremely painful. You could often follow my bloody tracks in the snow flying in winter….

When Jama came up with the Falling down technique I saw the potential for me, it fits my way of flying really well. I dont run extremely much during the launch, but  I’m explosive, and with the falling down in the end it really could help me to get some extra meters in the launch. So I started learning this about the same way as when I started skateboarding when I was really young. How bad can it be ? I will not fall and hurt myself ! Of course this is just stupid. After falling a few times on my skateboard I had protection both on my head, knees and elbows….  After flying with the falling down technique for some time I learnt the hard way that not using protection is stupid. My soar point is my right elbow. When doing bad timing in the fall or breaking a line, it was always my right elbow that got hurt. Learning from my mistakes  I now wear good protection for this. On the other hand with the falling down, the injuries with my knee and left hand disappeared ! And in a way, hitting my left knee was really a bit worse than the right elbow….

The same thing is if there will be proposals for cutting performance on our models. Please present FACTS when you make the proposal, then people will listen. We have seen proposals like “Lets ban Flappers in F1A to get shorter flights” But if you put such a proposal, before you must run maybe 5 contests with this rule and then present the facts. This was the facts before with flappers. Now we tested and this is the results without flappers. Facts, and people will listen.

I’m Swedish CIAM delegate also and I will listen to facts, no doubt, but just only opinions….. Nope.

And there has also been a discussion about countries’ NAC’s and maybe not all pilots are ok in a country when supporting a proposal. This is of course up to each country how it’s organized so there will be a healthy discussion, before the proposal is put, and of course also when voting. It should always be a democratic process. If there is no, or little, communication in your country it’s up to YOU to make this discussion happen, it’s not FAI or CIAMs fault !

We should of course always take safety seriously. I have seen injuries happen, as I described in F1B above. But also in F1A. In Odessa I saw one young flyer fall while towing and breaking his arm, really bad of course. On the other hand at the same championship one other gentleman fell after the banquet and also broke his arm… Life is dangerous. In one of my own contests a F1A pilot fell on some barbed wire when retrieving and destroyed his eye…. Very sad also. But how can we protect from this ? In F1C I saw maybe the most close calls. A few times models coming down full speed and just missing the people on the ground. I saw once a F1C model hit the achilles of another pilot cutting off the achilles, also a really bad injury. So we should look to this with open minds, but at the same time we must weigh one thing  against another.  What can we do in our rules and what is part of the sport ? If we put too many restrictions in our rules we might destroy our sport, making it very difficult for both competitors and organizers.

Per Findahl


Unintended consequences

From:Charles Markos

As often happens a rule change can have an undesirable side-effect.
Mandating a :”fixed hook” for F1A may solve a problem but create a new
one.  For early F1As the necessary functions of DT timer start and
auto-rudder changes were accomplished by a pull-pin (or pins) as an
auxiliary attachment to the towline.  Circle-tow has introduced both
functions into the action of a swinging hook.  I, for one, have used such a
feature on an A-1 design from previous years, the Li’l Dip design by
Charlie Sotich  Not used for circle tow, just AR and DT timer.  If a
fixed-hook requirement were to be implemented, it would make obsolete 99%
of the F1A models being flown today for the very reasons just mentioned.
Be careful of what you wish for (Aesop).

Chuck Markos