Types of RC model
Whilst the club is predominantly populated by sports fliers, the following introductions may help explain what some of the various types of RC aircraft are, and how they were intended to be used. Not all are suitable for our flying site, pylon racing for example; but they are intended as a guide to what can be done. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and will be added to as suitable descriptions become available.
You are not obliged to fly in competitions to fly any model aircraft. However, once the basics are mastered and a reasonable level of competence is achieved, there is nothing like comparing your abilities against others, even at a modest level, to take your skills and knowledge forward in a quantum leap.
The Leicester club has a small enthusiastic group of electric powered modellers (planes that is not modellers!) with plane sizes from 30cm foamies up to 2m aerobatic pattern planes using up to 2.5kW.
The main emphasis is on gliders of various sizes. Most flyers treat the electric scene as an addition to IC powered craft BUT NOT ALL, there is a group dedicated to all electric flying having decided to getaway from the IC planes completely, including myself.
Help is to hand for anybody wanting to try this side of our sport.
Remember, we do it quietly!
RC Fun-Fly'Fun-Fly' was conceived at club level probably all over the country during the sixties. In 1985 the newly formed BMFA Mid-West Area launched a national event that became an integral part of the August Radio & Control Line Nationals'.
The event is split into two classes. 'Class One' for the experts and 'Class Two' for anybody with a 'B' certificate who enjoys a 'laid back' approach to competition flying. Both classes include a 'Longest Glide' task that requires the pilot to stay in the air as long as possible after a 20 or 30 second climb. Also included is a 'Limbo' task, that is won by the pilot that completes that maximum number of passes through the Limbo Gate in two minutes. A 'Touch & Go's' task is included in both classes which is run on the same basis as Limbo over two minutes. Class One only includes a 'Triple Thrash' task that requires the entrant to complete three Touch & Go's, three Loops, three Rolls & a final Touch & Go in the fastest time. Class Two only has a precision time and 'Spot Landing' task.
The event was originally started to introduce people to competition flying, and to encourage them to take part in the other disciplines that are flown at national and international Level. This ambition has been achieved with many competitors going on to fly very successfully at national and international
The name 'Fun-Fly' may suggest that this is not a serious event, but if you come and watch what is going on at our line you will probably be surprised to see the skill of the pilots and how fierce the competitive spirit is, without spoiling the comradeship that model flying is fortunate enough to enjoy.
There are as many and varied classes of competition in silent flight as there is in power. The variety goes from 1.5 meters (60in) hand launched duration classes, through to scale glider comps, launched from the slope or aero-towed behind a powerful tug model aircraft. In between you have, speed, aerobatics, electric duration, pylon racing, flat field thermal duration, slope cross-country; in a word, something for everyone.
The first place to look as a start point is your local club where you learnt to fly. Many clubs hold fun comps or quite easy going club events which is a gentle way in. If you are having difficulty finding a silent flight club, you should contact the BMFA who hold a listing of Silent Flight orientated clubs, or the British Association of Radio Control Soarers (BARCS), who not only provide a complete list of clubs affiliated to the BMFA, but will also know where all the keen silent flyers are based, even if there is no club to hook up with.
Traditionally the entry route into competition flat field thermal soaring competitions was with a 100-inch span hand towed model. If you learnt to fly on gliders this is probably the sort of model you learned on. This is still a good way in, as the models are simple with only rudder and elevator control and possibly brakes as well; invariably they have comfortable dihedral to enhance stability and controllability.
There are now also many competition classes for electric 'self-launching' powered gliders. This does away with lines, winches, and tow-men, so solo flying becomes easy. One of these will also give you more airtime because a standard battery pack should provide about three climbs to an altitude of 200-metres for every charge.
Electric silent flight has lots of popular competition classes from duration on limited size battery packs, to full on pylon racing; although these are still broadly captured under the heading of silent flight, such models have an awesome performance and bear no resemblance at all to gliders.
Once at the stage in your chosen type of silent flight, the best advice is to take a look at a local competition, preferably with a club, colleague who is already into the competition circuit who can explain what is going on and remove some of the fears you may have
The BMFA, BARCS and BEFA (British Electric Flight Association) all publish their competition dates and venues on their websites. Glider comps are always friendly events because everyone needs the help of other competitors to take part fully, so everybody helps everybody else,
Up to four models fly ten laps of a triangular course. Depending on the class that is raced. the course will be a length of 400m for F3D, F5D AND Sport 40 or 880R for Club 2000.
F3D is the longest running class of pylon and racing takes place worldwide under the FAI umbrella. The models and engines used are very specialised and quite expensive.
F5D is an electric class of pylon, but again the models and motors are very specialised.
Sport 40 was originally introduced as an inexpensive class of racing but unfortunately over the years it also became so exotic that the few remaining flyers moved up to F3D. If the average club flyer was to be encouraged to have a go at Pylon Racing it was decided that a less specialised and relatively cheap D class of racing was needed.
During the closed season of 1999 the committee of the then Club 20 Association got their heads together and the Club 2000 class was born. There was an air of determination that flying skill and not bank balance would rule the day. Out went exotic materials, out went expensive engines and in came a sensible class, with easy to build airframes, to be powered by a standard .25 sized engine. The motors are relatively quiet and can be flown on a club field to practice.
Club 2000 has now become the most popular class of pylon, with regular monthly meetings attended by like minded modellers who just want to race without spending a fortune.
How RC models used to be trimmed and flown It's never too late to turn back the clock and have a bit of fun.
A piece of all too rare relating of exploits from our Membership Sec. Come on folks, you must all have a tale to tell? Admin.
Woes of an Aero Modeller:Having finished all the excuses for not flying my Bi Stormer I turned up at the field hoping that it would be so windy everyone would forgive me for not unpacking the beast. But foolishly I decided to at least have it noise tested, so it was all assembled, and into the pits we went.
by Peter Valentine 18th April 2008
by Peter Valentine 18th April 2008
My planes talk to me and give me warnings, honest! Having boasted about how easy it was to start the RCV 90 CD the so and soing thing just would not start! That was warning number 1. Eventually the beast started running. Incidentally a current test of the RCV 130 stated problems with starting due to too much after run oil and such! Get it really wet with fuel first to clear any gunge and then it is a pussy cat.
So we did a noise test, and I received warning number 2, I failed! Willing torturers promptly found a different propeller of higher pitch and manufacture (APC), and with that fitted another engine test got us under that 82 dba target.
So, foolishly I plonked the Bi Stormer on the patch, yelled take off and ignoring the warnings let go of the tail. It was beautiful, a lovely take off, bugger the warnings! Then the fun started, it decided to only turn left and dropped the left wing. Somehow we nursed it round probably overflying the C/L folk, sorry about that (No problems, but if it happened every time we might ask the committee for bunker to be built ;) Zoe). Andy Prime came to my rescue and with fine skill made a safe landing. As an afterthought or reminder the RCV 90 refused to stop. The tick over was so slow but stop oh no!
Back home I think the problems were found. A loose wing dowel allowing the lower wing to move and no inter-wing struts allowed the interconnected ailerons to do silly things! Thanks guys for all the advice on these matters, I have built struts and disconnected the upper and lower ailerons. Using EPA should now allow me to stop the engine.
I would take up Gregorian Chant except that I can't sing!
The arrival of 2.4 GHz is an exciting development in the radio control of our models, and some members are reporting satisfactory use of the equipment. As you know we implemented the BMFA advice and called for a 'peg on' system and black RX flag. However, we are aware that 2.4 GHz is used in different ways, and the equipment for some may be unsuitable for others. For example, some sets have a much less powerful TX and or a RX with limited range used by model cars or indoor flying, some recommend using a double RX system whereas others are using a single RX but advising how to orient the aerials to ensure good reception.
It is not practical or desirable for The Club to try and lay down rules to cover all these things any more than we do with 35 MHz gear where mixed equipment is used by many. However it is our DUTY to inform you that the first law of aeronautics is that we are all responsible for safe operating, and accidents or damage caused by taking risks with equipment may invalidate insurance; and The Club would not accept any responsibility. For this reason we have decided that only the full 100 mW powered Transmitters may be used on our sites.
It is therefore YOUR responsibility to ensure that the combination of TX, RX and aerial alignments are suitable and safe for the type of flying you intend, Thus Short range RX's should NOT be used at our sites, and if you are in any doubt about the combination you wish to use you should contact the distributor and seek advice BEFORE flying.
35 MHz TX's, RX's, and servos of different manufacture are pretty much interchangeable, but we are not certain that this applies to 2.4 GHz, so again it is your DUTY to ensure that your set up is safe. Incidentally the BMFA warms us that modules or sets may be imported to the UK without the CE mark, and if you use such equipment YOU would be responsible in the event of failure or accident.
Please remember the BMFA's slogan. Safe Flying is No Accident.