National Free Flight Society

SEN 3136

  1. Just went out for coffee
  2. Timing the flights, model performance issues. A different perspective.
  3. Lets Not pull another F1P
  4. Dad speaks out
  5. Can do, May do, Must do
  6. A (last? ??) word from Ian
  7. On Elephants
  8. Limiting is Expanding

Just went out for coffee

And look what was in SEN’s Mail box

Timing the flights, model performance issues. A different perspective.

FromTapio Linkosalo
The recent discussion started with timing issues at the past championships, then moved over to model performance. The one thing common with these two is that out free flight models fly for extended times, covering large distances. Another issue that emerges is the huge fields that we need for flying.

So let me take one step back and make a suggestion from another perspective. What if we flew our competitions with 3 minutes flight times only, for all flights? Ok, maybe 4 minutes on the first two rounds, as is common now, but from that on, only 3?

What I suggest is as follows: on ordinary rounds (5 or 7), your aim is to keep airborne entil the max. Just as before. No change here. But, for the fly-off, change to “altitude fly-off”. Your aim is still to fly for 3 minutes, but fly as high as possible at the end of the period. Use altimeters to record the altitude, and DT at that time.

As in current altimeter fly-offs, the highest flight altitude at 3 minutes wins. If it seems that one flight is too much a random process, or there is too much inaccuracy in the altitude measurements, make the fly-offs 2 or 3 rounds instead of one. Sum up all the DT altitudes for each pilot, and the largest sum wins. With this concept, you are only flying for 3+ minutes, not 6 or 8, so the retrieving distance is much shorter than with current fly-off times, the models are much faster to retrieve (for reading the altimeters) and thus it is much easier to organize multiple fy-off -rounds.If you want to keep the concept of only the best fliers carrying on, then after first fly-off round drop the worse half off and let only the better half to proceed.

Lets Not pull another F1P

From Michael Achterberg
For sure most of suggestions below will certainly cut down flyoff numbers. These choices will do same thing to A,B,and C that we did to F1j for the F1p event. America didnt have one jr fly F1p and wont again next year.. Be careful what you wish for!!

One suggestion is to eliminate variable camber models. Very few if any in F1c. None in F1b and a guess of maybe 30% to 40% in F1a. An banning folders in F1c would be I think 100%. Just a guess but think it close. So you are suggesting eliminating about
$1,000,000.00 of models.. Dont have to worry about flyoffs…Wont be anyone flying…

Jerry’s suggestions were reasonable to a point. F1b can fly with 25gr. But think 10% reduction will take care of most long 8 min flights. Believe lost 10%( 27gr) will make all flights hard enough to lower flyoff numbers.

All those making 182, to maybe 190sec with 10% reduction in motor weight will drop round.
Have no idea about F1a.. They are all great flyers and think they should make suggestions themselves. But now it’s an awesome spectator event..

As for F1c which is in a renaissance of sorts.
Cant remember last time we had 70 power flyers at WChamps..Think been decades.
We do have a chance to help the people who run these big contests though. One of there hardest jobs is getting enough timers.

In my mind Technology has saved the day.
Suggest we learn how to best use it.. Maybe use timers as an overseer and use altimeters
as main timer for flights.Since the data is coming over phone seems possible to have helper hold phone which is getting feedback data from model..Seem like that can be simply shown to pole timer holding cards to verify and write in time.. I’m sure there is better way that can be designed in coming years to make it perfect and simple..

The price of models is very high, but they generally last for years and they hardly ever are totaled.. The engineers have done a great job in making at least most of components nearly crash proof. So the initial costs are high

but they will last for years.. Over a few years of flying they are cheap. Just think how may balsa models you would have totaled over few years..An the modelers are having fun.. It must be working we just had 387 entrees and 40 countries at this WChamps… Let not pull another F1p!!
Just my opinion.
Thermals, Dino


Dad speaks out

From: Mickael RIGAULT
Hello Roger,
Answer to Can Tezcan:
small correction: Elouan had an altimeter in his model at the Fly off of the European championships. it didn’t work. so not to say that I did not do it for my son. THANKS
Envoyé de mon iPhone


Can do, May do, Must do


Answer to M.Can Tezcan
Dear sir,
As it seems you don’t “read the book”, may I give more explanations to my last remarks…
the rule 1.2.3.a)b)c) is very accurate in the way the free flight models must be timed, from the beginning to the end of the flight, particularly when a model disappears from the sight of a timekeeper.
Could you tell me where in the rule 1.2.7. we can find something about that?
In the case a model terminates its flight in the sight of timekeepers, there is no problem taking the time recorded by the altimeter on board of this model. But in that case, the times recorded” should” be the same.
But in the case a model disappears from the sight of timekeepers (rule 1.2.3.c), could you tell me how you determine the end of the flight with the altimeter?
Of course, the model will continue to fly after disappearing from the sight of the timekeepers, and the altimeter will continue timing up to the moment the model stops (in a tree?) or on the ground… and the time recorded by the altimeter will be longer than the one registered by the timekeepers… And this is the point where there is something wrong in the rules !
One more thing: the rule 1.2.7 says: In case of a fly-off, altimeters MAY be used: it does not say MUST be used…
One more time, the use of altimeters is not MANDATORY if the rules say MAY be used !
This word MAY should be forbiden in every rule book ! (not only aeromodelling books !)
Believe me sir, I am not against the use of altimeters, but in these championships, I say that the existing rules were not accurate enough and were giving an advantage to people having altimeters on board.
This is unfair and I confirm that even the CASI might not accept that!

Editor’s Comment

It is obvious that this part of the Sporting Code needs some work This discussion has pointed that out.  The fact that there are differences of interpretation  by senior members of our fraternity  show that this part of the sporting code needs work.  So lets leave it that , or rather to the FFTSC.

A (last? :-)) word from Ian

The end of Ian’s report on FFn. Note in particular  the sentence starting This conflicts … as mentioned in a recent SEN by Bernd Hoenig.

The ever increasing model performance and reliability was
apparent in this good weather. The main questions arose about
the use of altimeters as a timing reference. This produces delays
in producing results and also a problem in that flight out of sight
may be counted. This conflicts with the regulations in many
countries that when flying free flight models there should be
unaided visual contact
. Transmitting the scores from the line to
the central organisation was a great efficiency at this event, we
need to progress towards the model making that direct
transmission after landing.

Editor’s comment – note in the following piece by Peter Barron the mention of how LEDs increase the unaided line of sight. So is one a Can, May or Must for the Eifel Cup ?


On Elephants

From:Peter Barron
Free Flight is an endurance sport.
This sounds like an obvious statement but it is key to addressing each of the elephants in the room. I think that what many fear when discussing improving or”excessive” performance is contests coming down to a decision of one flight, one set of time keepers, one judgement, one bit of luck. And in many ways they are right. That is infact the reason our sport moved to rounds and maxes in the first place, to keep one long flight from winning a whole contest. And while many might look at F1A day of the championships as a failure of this process, with almost 50% of the field in the first fly off. I will say that no flight with no model by not even the best flyers in the world is guaranteed a max. And in fact F1A day can also be viewed as a success in this respect. With the 6 minute round narrowing the field considerably, and the contest concluding with all flights within the bounds of the 8 min.

I’ve heard much about 10 minute airplanes, but I contend that a single 10 minute fly off flight and all the tribulations that brings does not need to be how contests are decided. As we debate the “excess” performance out flying the bounds of our fields and out of our ability to reliably see, I remind us that we do not have to fly any max times unsustainable by current conditions. Free Flight is an endurance sport and no max is guaranteed. If 6 minutes is all we determine to be a sustainable round max time, then fly 6 minutes again, as needed to determine a result. If the field can support 7 then you go to 7 for the second extra round. If we as responsible sporting body are to do our best to follow guidelines on line of sight, then field conditions should determine max times with that as a reasonable expectation.

On electronic timing aids, I am all for the continued growth and use of technology to aid in accuracy, as long as the primacy of the human time keepers are remembered with all the inherent judgement that requires. We have long since moved from mechanical sweep clocks to digital stop watches with accuracy to hundredths of a sec, but we still acknowledge the need for human judgement and at times even a jury to best use that accuracy. The ability to provide the timers or the jury with another point of electronic accuracy to make the appropriate decision is not a fundamental change to our sport, and I do not see as something to be feared. As to them being required to compete at high level, that is still the decision of the competitor and is left to their judgement. Recall the rapid expansion of Led flashers as electric timing aids years ago. We all acknowledge that having a good strong well seen flasher can result in your model been seen for more of a flight. But it is no longer the case that flyers come back to the officials complaining of an unfair result if they choose not to fly with one. Similarly I have known flyers that choose to take out their trackers for certain flights, and our usual response, a quiet shake of our heads, for while they may squeeze out a bit of performance we all know that Free Flight is an endurance sport.


Limiting is Expanding

From:Gene Ulm
Limiting performance in f1a could be done without changing models or line specifications: return to allowing only two models to be entered.   Sportsters would by nature be more conservative in their choices of models, flights and flight profiles.   A flyer could enter an ultimate performance flyoff Lda flapper, however it would also mean that you would lack a spare normal rounds model.

This may result in more flyers flying normal rounds models in fly offs or flyoff models in normal rounds.  Neither being optimal.  Fewer max outs and fewer flyers in flyoffs flying ultimate performance.

Side benefit for those who have concerns about rising costs, it cuts model costs in half and doesn’t obsolete a single model.

Make an attempt less than 10 seconds, instead of 20.  Again this may reward more conservative flights and models.   Again a sportster could terminate a flight following a bad launch but there would be little chance it would be on the ground prior to 10 seconds.   Safety and saving the model could still be an option, however, it would also make every flight a first serve; nobody goes for an ace when there is no second serve.

Gene Ulm