BMFA Indoor Scale Nationals 9th May 1999

This was my first visit to this event, and my first serious indoor competition, and I had a great time. There were some marvellous models on display and I have to say, a really friendly and helpful group of people. It was good to meet so many modellers whose names have become familiar after years of reading Aeromodeller magazine, and what a nice bunch of folks they are!

Firstly, some notes on the competition classes and their different rules.

The Open Rubber and CO2 / Electric classes have total score based on flight score plus static score, split roughly 50/50. Four flights can be made and the score from the best flight counts. Static judging is very rigorous, and the standard of documentation provided by most of the entrants is extensive. To qualify, you have to make a flight of only 15 seconds. The flights are judged on realism in the various stages of the flight, i.e. take off, climb out, cruise, approach and landing. No extra points are given for longer flights than 15 seconds. Thus a very detailed, heavy model can score lots on the static points, and should be capable of a 15 second qualifying flight. Of course, a heavy model will fly faster (too fast for scale speed usually), be harder to trim and probably do less well on the flight score than a lighter model (they also hit the wall harder!). As always, it is a fine balancing act between weight and detail.

The Peanut and Pistachio classes have different rules, in that the flight scores do depend on flight time. Realism in flight is not judged, just the time it stays up. You get a ten second bonus if you ROG. The models are ranked in order of flight performance, and also in order of static judging. The final positions are obtained by adding the flight position to the static position - lowest score wins. For example 2nd in static and 3rd in flight would give you a total of 5 points. In this class you really do have to watch your weight.

Now to the models - I know I missed some of them, but below are a selection that caught my eye. I have another film in the camera that is not yet finished - when I get that developed, I will add another photo page.

SE5a by Charlie Newman

Charlie Newman's winning CO2 powered SE5a. The photo does not do the model justice, as the level of detail is quite remarkable. It looks for all the world like a museum display piece rather than a flying model. It is quite large for an indoor model (somewhere around 30" span) and things got quite exciting during its third flight, when it got very close to the roof beams, fortunately just passing underneath. There was a large round of applause from the spectators after it had landed safely.

Avro 504K by Dave Causer

Dave Causer's 22" span Avro 504K, powered by a KP-01 electric unit. Another very well detailed model. Dave's design has now been kitted by Aerographics, and is available from SAMS models. The short nose of the original suits the KP-01 unit, and no additional nose weight was needed to get the c of g correct. Model flew pretty well, though a little fast for my taste.

Avro 504K by Barrie Hotham

Barrie built this Avro 504K from the Aerographics kit, though used his own wood, and incorporated plenty of details. Looked very smart in its civilian colour scheme (Brooklands School of Flying). As the model was only finished the day before, Barrie did not risk flying it in the competition. Below the model you can see the sort of documentation that the regulars bring along.

Handley Page H.P.42 by Peter Smart

Peter Smart's latest foam masterpiece - a Handley Page H.P.42, powered by four KP-00 electric units. The engine cowls have been removed here to allow access to the motors. Trimming was proving tricky, at least when trying to ROG, but it flies well from a hand launch. The model was not flown in the competition, Peter opting to fly his Bristol Bombay instead in the C02/electric class.

D.H.Tiger Moth by Mike Hadland

Mike finished third in Pistachio with this neatly finished Tiger Moth. Covering is pre-painted condenser paper.

Isaacs Fury by Mike Hadland

Another of Mike Hadland's models - this time a peanut Isaacs Fury. For those not in the know, this is essentially a model of a model, as the Isaacs Fury was a scaled down "man carrying model" of the Hawker Fury. Mike's example was a very smooth and stable flier.

Travel Air Woolaroc by Barry Hetherington

This is quite a large model (around 30"), which was entered in the open rubber class. At the start of the day it had a habit of attacking the walls, but after lunch, it was flying much better, though prone to the odd unaccountable wobble during an otherwise stable looking flight. A nice model of an unusual subject.

Handley Page Heyford by Barrie Pursglove

This great looking model was designed for twin electric power, but the two KP-00 motors just did not have quite enough grunt to get it off the ground. With a bit more power this is going to be an impressive sight in the air.

Valkyrie by Phil Siddall

As a stark contrast to the many heavyweight models on display, Phil Siddall built this exquisite peanut scale Valkyrie to the remarkable weight of only 3.5 grams. (This is Phil's second Valkyrie - his first came out at 4 grams, and was considered too heavy!) Covering was condenser paper. One problem with choosing this prototype is that you have to use a scale diameter propeller, which limits duration somewhat, but the model still did 35 seconds ROG, and looked great in the air flying at something very close to scale speed.

Results Summary

CO2 / Electric

1st Charlie Newman, SE5a
2nd Derek Knight, Tiger Moth
3rd Mike Goldby, D.H.9a

Open Rubber

1st Divs Masters, Sopwith Triplane
2nd David Prior, Sopwith Baby
3rd Peter Smart, Tupolev Bear
4th Mike Stuart, Curtiss P-6E Hawk

(well, I have got to put my own model in, haven't I? - the little Hawk got poor static marks as I expected - after all, it is a 1935 Dime scale design, and was the only model in the class not fully painted, but it flew a treat, and in the first round of flights got the second highest marks after Divs Masters' Triplane. Needless to say, I was extremely pleased to finish fourth overall in such esteemed company!)


1st Peter Smart, Arado 196
2nd Nick Peppiatt, FRED
3rd Lindsey Smith, Evans VP-1


1st Divs Masters, SE5a
2nd Nick Peppiatt, Lippisch
3rd Mike Hadland, Tiger Moth

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