BMFA Indoor Scale Nationals, 1st May 2016

We were back at the Wolverhampton University Sports hall for the 2016 Nationals, a move welcomed by everybody I met, because of the large "pit" area. There is so much more space round the tables than we had at Nottingham and spectators could wander around looking at the models without feeling they were getting in the way. It was also nice to stretch wind without blocking the gangway!

This year I had the luxury of bringing along a new model which had already successfully flown indoors, as I'd driven up to Peterborough three weeks beforehand to get the Fox Moth trimmed, albeit with many details yet to be added. It didn't take long to get it going on Saturday evening - it just needed a bit of noseweight to stop a gentle stall and a touch more left rudder. Thus I passed on the chance to do a trim flight on Sunday morning. The first competition flight on 800 winds was a low level affair, though it managed the 15 second qualifying time OK. "Right" I thought, "let's not touch anything, but just pile on the turns". So, with 1100 turns, the model took off for about 2 seconds, then taxied madly round the floor for 50 seconds or so.

Feeling a little gloomy at lunchtime, I was delighted to see that a trimming session had been scheduled. I was convinced that lack of power was not the issue - it just looked under-elevated, plus the left wing was dropping with the torque of the motor. So I dug some Blu-Tack out of the nose and bent the left aileron down a bit more. Things looked immediately better, so I dug yet more noseweight out, which resulted in the model climbing away properly. I have no idea why the model should have got nose-heavy overnight!

Anyway, flights three and four were just about perfect - probably the best indoor scale flights I have ever made. The flight scores were such that I was able to win the class despite a lack of detailing compared to several other of the rubber entries. As you would expect I was delighted to win - it was way back in 2004 when I last won this class with the Curtiss Sparrowhawk. Large and light seems to be the way to go - certainly that's the route I'll be taking for all future open class models.

Monique Lyons took the videos below of my third and fourth flights (for which I am very grateful!)

I entered the little P.26 in the Peanut class again, and despite breaking off a wing three times after collisions with the wall, I managed an aggregate time 20 seconds better than last year by the simple expedient of letting the model ROG, and taking the 10 second bonus. I was happy to finish 6th out of a strong field of 21 entries.

As usual, I'm not going to summarise any class rules as they can all be found painstakingly detailed in the latest BMFA rule book here

In the open rubber class this year 14 entries were put in for static judging, compared to 12 last year. Of these, only two failed to get a qualifying flight, which indicates to me that the standard of flying has improved compared to previous years. Maybe more people just got the chance to get their models trimmed out before the event? There were a lot of new models in the class as well, which is always good to see - well over half were new to me. I'd love to see more kit scale entrants have a go at the open rubber class next year to boost the numbers still further - the jump up to the open classes isn't as big as you think - just make sure you have the documentation covered.

Gerard Brinks was one of the very welcome group of Dutch modellers who came over again for the contest, and he showed that it is perfectly possible to enter both Kit scale and an open class with the same model and be competitive. His elegant and colourful Douglas Y10-43 built from the Golden Age kit flew very smoothly and finished 6th in Open Rubber. A lump of clay on the right wingtip, as seen here, can be a useful way of holding up the left wing of a model as it is turning left. Thanks To Monique Lyons for the video below and all the embedded YouTube videos in this report.

Gerard's son Marwin Brinks also entered both kit scale and open rubber with the same model - in this case a very neat Howard DGA-6 "Mr Mulligan" and finished a creditable 9th in the open class.

Always a treat to see a new model from Richard Crossley, and he had this suberbly finished Lockheed Vega for open rubber this year. Great attention to detail on the airframe, with all the complicated little fairings included. The outstanding finish was obtained using airbrushed Tamiya acrylic paints. Model finished second in class.

Peter Smart brought along a new Re8 - a machine with bags of charactor (and lots of rigging). Peter's flight scores got better with each round and he ended up third in class. See the fourth flight below.

It was great to welcome Robert Pajas to the event again with another collection of exquisite models. This is his Fokker Universal immaculately finished in the colours of Standard Airlines. Model finished 8th in class - I can only think that the relatively low static mark was due to a documentation problem.

Tim Horne brought this ambitious twin rubber F-82 Twin Mustang which was proving tricky to get to fly in the confines of the hall. Tim persisted though, and his fourth flight was his best - always very satisfying. Note broken spinner caused by a collision with the wall. Multi engined models entered in the open classes get a 10% flight bonus, so are certainly worth considering.

Yet another new model was this Howard Pete racer by Chris Strachan. Chris always trims his racers to fly very smoothly and positively, just like they should, and this little beauty was no exception.

Chris Blanch brought along this Fleet Canuck which was designed to ROG using wheels placed discretely under the floats. The model was not behaving as well as it should, but Chris managed a qualifier with his third flight.

There were 9 entries in the Electric/CO2 class, the same as last year, of which six made qualifying flights. Top two were the same as last year - Richard Crossley winning with his Fine flying Tri-Pacer, and Graham Banham taking time off from his organising and judging duties to finish second with his Cessna C.34. Both models are electric powered using Voodoo motors from Atomic Workshop.

Derek Knight had this new and superbly detailed D.H.82 Tiger Moth with him. Top scored in static, but flying scores were let down by the model's slightly steep approach and nose-over when landing. With some adjustments to the controller settings, certainly a potential winner next year.

Just look at that cockpit detail! This does show how you can go to town on this area with an electric model, as you don't have to leave space for the rubber motor.

Robert Pajas's models are always finished to an extremely high standard, and this Aero A-23 is no exception. Unfortunately Robert failed to get a qualifying flight with the model.

There was a bumper entry in kit scale this year - up from 20 last year to no less than 30 this time, and every single model got at least one qualifying flight. The standard of flying in kit scale really was outstanding this year. Due to the large number of entrants in all classes, there was pressure all through the day to keep on time, despite an early 9.00 am start for the competion. You had to keep a careful eye on the boards and be wound or charged and ready to go when your name got to the top. It all worked out fine in the end though, and the threat to cut the number of flights in some classes was not found necessary. We finished at 6.00 pm, bang on schedule. One idea I've heard since the event, which I think is a good one, would be to issue a running order on a sheet of paper to each competitor, so you then know exactly when you are up for a flight without having to check on the board (which only shows the next three competitors).

Winner this year was Monque Lyons with this Fokker D.VII built from the Herr Engineering kit. It is a great flyer as you can see below.

Mike Langford took second place with this very pretty Stinson Reliant, from the old pre-war Comet design. The attractive scheme was achieved using an ink-jet printer to colour the tissue. You may spot a few wrinkles and irregularities behind the cowling - this is because Mike had to fix a concertinaed nose after an earlier collision. Fortunately this didn't have any adverse effect on the flying performance - in fact I think it flew better after the crash.

Rob Smith was one of only four entrants, including the two mentioned above, to get a flight score of over 100 points. The Thomas Designs Piper Vagabond is a proven performer indoors, and with its light weight and large wing area it just floated around the hall.

Ralph Sparrow finished 5th in class with this very smart Auster Arrow - apparently covered in Mylar rather than tissue. Model was a lovely slow flyer.

Great choice of subject by Simon Rogers, who entered this Besson MB11 from the Mike Midkiff desgned Ozark Model Aviation kit. The model was extremely well finished and deservedly got the highest static mark of the day - finished 12th place overall. Simon got a hand-launched flight in the bag before he tried using the launching dolly, seen in the video below. This just made the qualifying time, but as Simon realised afterwards, a bit more rubber was really needed to get the model to a better height.

Andrew Darby had the rare chance to build and enter a model from a kit he designed himself! In this case, the Vintage Model Company Cessna 140. These always seem to fly well - just about the perfect first scale model for a beginner I reckon. Andrew's neatly finished example flew very nicely and got to a decent altitude as it cruised round.

One of the prettiest kit scale models I thought was this Velie Monocoupe from the old Flyline kit, built by Bryan Lea.

The Keil Kraft Beech Bonanza seems quite an ambitious subject for indoor scale, but Chris Strachan had his example flying purposefully around the hall after a smooth take-off from that tricycle undercarriage.

Peter Fardell chose the Aerographics Blackburn Monoplane as his kit scale entry this year and he had made a really nice job of it. Love the pilot! Trimming was proving a bit tricky on the Saturday evening, but Peter had it flying fine on Sunday. It was good to see such variety in the Kit Scale class this year - a reminder that you don't have to buid a high winged cabin model to be competitive.

Peanut scale was again strongly supported, with 21 entries, 19 of which posted flights. Last year we only had 13.

Mike Hadland won again with his familiar Bucker Jungmann and Nick Peppiat finished one place higher than last year, in second place, with his pretty Blackburn Bluebird.

Kevin Wallace took time out from running the SAMS Models stand to enter this Bowers Fly-Baby - 3rd in static and 9th in flying was good enough for 3rd place.

A new foam peanut from John Valiant was this beautifully finished Fairey Firefly in Dutch markings. Best flight was 37 seconds.

Dave Crompton really likes Volksplanes - here is his new peanut scale example, nicely finished in an attractive Swiss scheme.

The Savoia Marchetti SM 87 is an ambitious subject for peanut, but a very attractive one, beautifully modelled by Robert Pajas.

Chris Chapman finished fourth in class with his all sheet balsa Hawker Fury. Note the subtle representation of the wing ribs. A best flight of 65 seconds was most impressive.

Ralph Sparrow entered this pretty Bristol Scout Type D - placed 6th in static and put in a best flight of 33 seconds.

Good to see a few more Pistachio entries this year - 10 this time, with 8 recording flights. Winner was Gary Flack with a foam Westland Wyvern. Here it is shown with Gary's larger peanut scale version.

Wout Moerman was runner up with this delightful Koolhoven FK 46. Best flight time was an impressive 41 seconds.

Scale glider was yet another class with a bigger entry this year - 12 models made flights this year. People are still experimenting with the best way to get their creations airborne - anything goes, including just chucking the model off the balcony. The event was judged on flying only, though some sort of scale judging could be brought in at future events.

The secret of success is definitely to build as lightly as you can, to minimise flying speed and give the longest possible time in the air. Peter Smart showed how to do it with his new Slingsby T.1 Falcon featuring single-covered flying surfaces and undoped tissue - weight was around 6 grams. The model is winched gently into the air then after release picks up a gentle curved descent. The trick is to release the model at the correct place in the hall to keep it away from the walls.

Andy Sephton finished in second place with another winch-launced glider (a Slingsby Prefect), and Brian Lever came third with a very light foam glider launched using a towline (he didn't have to run very fast!)

Robert Pajas went in a different direction and produced this fully covered, painted and detailed Piper TG-8 training glider. If there had been a scale judging element to the event, Robert would have finished much higher up the leaderboard.

So, to sum up, one of the best indoor Nats I can remember, with a bumper crop of entries, a high standard of flying, plenty of spectators and loads of new models to see. A special mention should go to Graham Banham and John Minchell, who deserve thanks for steering proceedings so well at their first attempt and squeezing everything into the day.



Name Model Type Best Flying Score Static Score Total Position
Mike Stuart D.H.82 Fox Moth 1970.0 1436 3406.0 1
Richard Crossley Lockheed Vega 1636.0 1484 3120.0 2
Peter Smart Re8 1612.6 1360 2972.6 3
Divs Masters SE5a 1360.0 1606 2966.0 4
Lawrence Marks Piper Vagabond 1936.0 966 2902.0 5
Gerard Brinks Douglas Y10-43 1668.0 1188 2856.0 6
Chris Strachan Howard DGA-3 Pete 1400.0 1148 2548.0 7
Robert Pajas Fokker Universal 1470.0 1072 2542.0 8
Marwin Brinks Howard DGA-6 1466.0 846 2312.0 9
Peter Boys Waco AGC-8 1011.0 1246 2257.0 10
Tim Horne F.82 Twin Mustang 1030.0 1068.0 2118.0 11
Chris Blanch Fleet Canuck 1061.0 1032 2093.0 12
Derek Knight Isaacs Fury - 1234 1234.0.0 13
Peter Fardell Antoinette IV - 946 946.0 14


Name Model Type Best Flying Score Static Score Total Position
Richard Crossley Piper Tri-Pacer 1804.0 1516 3320.0 1
Graham Banham Cessna C.34 1853.5 1315 3168.5 2
Divs Masters SE5a 1359.0 1687 3046.0 3
Derek Knight D.H.82 Tiger Moth 1265.0 1700 2965.0 4
Chris Strachan Sorrell Hiperlight 1466.0 1076 2542.0 5
Vibes Masters Lacey M.10 1129.0 1377 2506.0 6
Robert Pajas Aero A-23 - 1694 1694.0 7
Peter Smart Avro Lancaster - 1488 1488.0 8
Charlie Newman RWD 8 - 1455 1455.0 9

Kit Scale

Name Model Type Best two flight scores Static Score Total Position
Monique Lyons Fokker D.VII (Herr Engineering) 213.0 81 294.0 1
Mike Langford Stinson Reliant SR7 (Comet) 198.0 90 288.0 2
Peter Boys WACO SRE (Skylake) 189.0 85 274.0 3
Rob Smith Piper Vagabond (Thomas Designs) 199.0 70 269.0 4
Ralph Sparrow Auster Arrow (Keil Kraft) 184.5 83 267.5 5
Gerard Brinks Douglas Y10-43 (Golden Age Reproductions) 195.0 70 265.0 6
Bryan Lever Jodel Bebe (Veron) 183.0 75 258.0 7
John Holman Piper Family Cruiser (Keil Kraft) 151.0 90 241.0 8
Andrew Darby Cessna 140 (Vintage Model Company) 146.0 93 239.0 9
Chris Blanch American Eaglet (Comet) 183.0 55 238.0 10
John Markovitz Auster Arrow (Keil Kraft) 178.0 60 238.0 11
Simon Rogers Besson MB 11 (Ozark) 142.0 95 237 12
Robert Pajas Stinson Reliant SR2 (Comet?) 153.0 80 233.0 13
Peter Fardell 1912 Blackburn Monoplane (Aerographics) 154.0 75 229.0 14
Vibes Masters Cessna 180 (Herr Engineering) 171.5 55 226.5 15
Stephen Haines Pilatus PC-6 Porter (Micro-X) 168.0 55 223.0 16
Bryan Lea Velie Monocoupe (Aerographics) 140.0 80 220.0 17
Reg Boor Arado 96 (Comet) 159.0 60 219.0 18
Dave Crompton Piper Family Cruiser (Keil Kraft) 142.0 77 219.0 19
Bill Dennis Nieuport 27 (Veron) 145.0 70 215.0 20
Chris Strachan Beechcraft Bonanza (Keil Kraft) 140.0 70 210.0 21
John Bowerman D.H.Puss Moth (Aerographics) 134.0 75 209.0 22
Lionel Haines Corben Baby Ace (Peck Polymers) 120.0 85 205.0 23
Russ Lister SE5a (Aerographics) 139.0 65 204.0 24
Danny Wynne-Fenton SE5a (Vintage Model Company) 126.0 75 201.0 25
Wout Moerman Grumman Wildcat (Veron) 121.0 75 196.0 26
Tony Rushby Aeronca Champion (Veron) 144.0 35 179.0 27
Laurie Kirby Comper Swift (Veron) 127.0 50 177.0 28
Ken Bates D.H.Hornet Moth (Performance Kits) 103.0 60 163.0 29
Marwin Brinks Howard DGA-6 76.0 52 128.0 30


Name Model Type Best two flights (sec) Flying place Static score Static place Total Overall place
Mike Hadland Bucker Jungmann 124 2 127 1 3 1
Nick Peppiatt Blackburn Bluebird 87 8 127 1 9 2
Kevin Wallace Bowers Flybaby 81 9 119 3 12 3
Chris Chapman Hawker Fury 123 3 98 10 13 4
Luis Bautista Baumer B.II Sausewind 99 7 104 8 15 5
Mike Stuart Boeing P.26 Peashooter 62 13 114 4 17 6
John Valiant Fairey Firefly 72 11 105 7 18 7
Wout Moerman Fokker F.II 122 4 86 14 18 8
\Chris Strachan Beardmore Wee Bee 209 1 65 17 18 9
Ralph Sparrow Bristol Scout Type D 62 13 109 6 19 10
Robert Pajas Savoia Marchetti SM 87 27 18 114 4 22 11
Gary Flack Westland Wyvern 73 10 93 12 22 12
Stephen Haines Lacey M.10 115 6 71 16 22 13
Brian Lever Nesmith Cougar 119 5 56 18 23 14
Dave Crompton Evans Volksplane 41 17 100 9 26 15
Chris Blanch Grumman Turbo Ag-Cat 49 16 90 13 29 16
Andy Sephton Westland Woodpigeon 14 19 95 11 30 17
John Bowerman Andreason BA.4 61 15 82 15 30 18
Vibes Masters Nesmith Cougar 71 12 54 19 31 19


Name Model Type Best two flights (sec) Flying place Static score Static place Total Overall place
Gary Flack Westland Wyvern 58 4 63 3 7 1
Wout Moerman Koolhoven FK46 80 2 60 5 7 2
Chris Chapman Messerschmitt Bf 109E 45 6 67 2 8 3
Nick Peppiatt BAT Baboon 99 1 46 7 8 4
Divs Masters SE5a 30 8 79 1 9 5
Reg Boor Bristol Brownie 40 7 63 3 10 6
Tim Horne Screaming Meany 80 2 35 8 10 7
Chris Blanch Bowers Flybaby 57 5 47 6 11 8


Name Model Type Best flight score Place
Peter Smart Slingsby T.1 Falcon 2000 1
Andy Sephton Slingsby Prefect 1985 2
Brian Lever ? 1520 3
Chris Strachan RM 10 1909 4
Dave Crompton ? 1773 5
Monique Lyons Slingsby Prefect 1694 6
Peter Fardell Tanski Lotnia hang glider 1586 7
Russ Lister SG-38 Primary Glider 1551 8
Reg Boor ? 1477 9
Derek Knight ? 1467 10
Robert Pajas Piper TG-8 1357 11
Simon Rogers ? 1321 12

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