A sunny, calm day at Walsall after weeks of miserable flying weather could only mean one thing - yes - the indoor scale Nationals were
Rather frustrating after the lousy weather weíve had this spring with so little opportunity
for trimming. Itís a fine hall, and personally Iím happy we made the change from Nottingham. One or two people have commented
that they miss having the second hall for fun flying which we used to have, but for me the much larger pits area at Walsall,
giving spectators and competitors more room to mingle, swings it for me.
I had originally planned to get the Robinson Redwing finished for this year, but hadn't managed it, so the Fox Moth was
wheeled out again for Open Rubber.
It was also deja vu in Peanut, as the Blackburn Ripon made another appearance, but I was forced to enter
something new in kit scale, as the Shark was banned as a top three finisher last year. Hence I brought along the Airsail
Piper Tomahawk, which hadn't been flown since I painted it. All three can be seen on my table below.
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.
Scroll down to page 84 to reach indoor scale.
Competitor numbers were lower compared to 2017, which was rather disappointing, but at least this meant that we didnít have the
time pressures that last yearís bumper entry gave us, and we were able to fly all four rounds of kit scale.
The scale glider class had been dropped for this year which freed up time to reintroduce the mass launch fun event.
Open rubber entries
were down from 11 to 10, of which only four managed to get a 15 second qualifying flight. Compare this with last year when nine
models got a successful flight on the board. For a flagship class this is a disturbing trend. All four models that put a
qualifying flight in had been entered before, including my winning Fox Moth and Richard Crossleyís second placed Lockheed Vega,
so it appears that very few new models are being built for this class.
Below is a video of the Fox Moth's fourth flight taken by Monique Lyons, who also took the other videos embedded in this report (thanks again Monique!)
Richard Crossley's Lockheed Vega took second place and was flying very well, as you can see below.
Third place was taken by Chris Strachan with his peanut sized Bee Gee Baby Goodyear Racer.
The only other open rubber model to get a qualifying flight in was this beautifully finished Waco AGC-8 by Peter Boys which finished
fourth in class. I love those yellow pinstripes - all done with a lining pen apparently.
Peter Fardell had built a new model for the class, a Callair A-9 agricultural aircraft,
though I understand the aircraft modelled is used as a glider tug. I thought the extensively weathered finish was very well done -
the worn fuselage registration exactly matched photos of the real thing. Sadly Peter didn't quite manage a qualifying flight,
though he might have just scraped one if the wall hadn't got in the way - see below.
For some reason Peter Smart's new Aeronca Chief was refusing to behave, even though it had flown fine at Nijmegan in November, so he too failed
to get a 15 second flight in.
In CO2/electric there were six entries compared to seven last year. Of these, four made a successful qualifying flight,
compared to six last time.
Winner of the class was a superb new Piper Tri-Pacer by Richard Crossley, incorporating more detail than
his old, smaller red and white one, and it flew wonderfully. Flight 4 is shown below.
The top three placed models were high wing cabin monoplanes, showing you donít need
to model a complicated, difficult to trim type to do well. Graham Banham was second with his familiar electric powered Cessna C-37, always a reliable flyer.
Chris Strachan took third place with his CO2 powered D.H.80 Puss Moth. Chris's third flight (the best scoring) is shown below.
Kevin Wallace finished fourth in classs and was the only other person to get a qualifying flight in with this Bowers Fly-Baby Biplane.
29 models were entered in kit scale, a few down on last year but still very healthy. Of these, only three failed to make the required 10 second qualifying flight.
This emphasises just how high the standard of flying is in this class. The top two places were taken by C02 powered models, marking
something of a resurgence for this power source, often passed over in favour of electric nowadays.
Huge credit to Johnathan Markovitz
for getting his Gasparin G63 powered Vintage Model Company Sopwith Camel (a mere 16 inch span) to fly so well
(particularly as he had smashed it up really badly on Saturday evening).
Dan Mellorís second placed West Wings Piper Cub also flew superbly making very long, slow scale-like flights. Apologies for rubbish photo above!
Simon Rogers had built this lovely vintage Comet design of the Lockheed Vega Winnie Mae" - another large, light model. I liked the way all the markings shown on
the plan have been carefully
reproduced on the model (there is a lot of small lettering on the fuselage).
Team Darby were flying Cessna Bird Dogs this year and this is Andrew's prototype for the new VMC kit. Even though I have a cupboard full of kits yet to build, I may
just have to get hold of one of these. As you can see below it flies really well, even with very little dihedral, and the model finished 5th in class.
James Darby entered this all-sheet Frogflite Cessna Bird Dog, which finished a very ceditable 9th in class. The colours and markings were
transfered to the 1/16" sheet balsa using T-shirt transfer paper. I love the team bird dog T-shirts!
My Piper Tomahawk finished in 6th place and mostly kept away from the walls. It does have a nice straight take-off run, but it also has a straight landing approach
so the trick was to have the right number of winds on so that it was pointing down the length of the hall when it straightened up at the end of the power run. The
flight below was its best effort. Shame it bounces so much on landing though.
Kevin Wallace's Piper Super Cruiser, from an Easybuilt kit, was built very lightly, and flew nice and slowly.
The old Keelbild range of kits are very rarely built nowadays, so I was delighted to see that Richard Moore had chosen to
enter their Hawker Hurricane design in Kit Scale. The range was rather sturdily designed by modern standards, so I think Richard
did very well to record two qualifying flights - getting it trimmed to fly in the confines of the hall appeared to be something of a challenge!
John Bowerman did a lovely neat finishing job on the Aerographics D.H.Chipmunk kit using coloured tissue and was rewarded with the third best static score.
The Brinks family made the trip from The Netherlands to take part, and they entered three different CO2 powered Sperry
Messenger models built from the Czech Modela kit. Needless to say I don't know which of these models belongs to Gerard, Mirdin or Merrijn!
Peanut scale entries were similar to last year at 18, of which 14 posted flight scores. New Nijmegen style timing slips were introduced this year with only
space for three flights on them. These had to be completed and handed in before the slip for the next three flights was issued.
This was very successful in getting flyers to hand their times in gradually during the day instead of all nine flights at the end of the day, making the scorerís job much easier.
No surprise at all that the winner once again was Mike Hadland with his latest Bucker Jungmmann, finishing first in static and second in flying.
My Blackburn Ripon few nicely to get second place, with a two flight total of one second better than last year. I feel 90 seconds
is close to the limit I can get with this model and I am very grateful for the 10 second ROG bonus - I'd be lost without that.
However, 90 seconds was still the fourth best flight score, so pretty happy with that.
Chris Blanch finished third with a new model of a Bowers Bi-Baby. Interesting that the top four models in the class were the top four in static and in the same order.
I can't remember that happening before. The top three were also all swept wing biplanes, which may be a reflection of the current Peanut rules. Certainly
a biplane with separate control surfaces guarantees you a decent static score, and swept wings help with stability without going overboard on the dihedral.
It's always fun to see what new foamie John Valiant has come up with to enter in peanut. This year it was a Rogozarski IK-3, a type new to me.
Great finish as always from John. Behind you can see his Focke-Wulf FW-190D from last year.
Gary Flack brought along a pair of foam Jodel D.150 Mascerats - this one is the peanut version
Tim Horne's latest peanut is this beautifully finished VBS-1 Kunkadlo,
a pre-war Czech aircraft of which I was previously unaware.
Gerard Brinks entered this attractive Focke-Wulf FW-56 Stosser. The wheel spats were only fitted to the early
prototypes and make a nice change to the standard version.
Simon Rogers built this Dayton Wright Racer from the old Jetco kit, then added some nice extra detailing,
including the actuators for the variable camber wing on the full size aircraft.
Pistachio entries had been increasing over the last couple of years, but were down this time to nine, of which eight posted flight scores.
Chris Strachan won with his Wittman Buster, whIch I sadly failed to take a photo of.
Tim Horne finished second with his Waco SRE (above) and Chris Blanch took third with a Bowers Fly-Baby.
Here is Gary Flack's smaller Jodel D-150 in the same colour scheme as the peanut scale version - model finished 4th in class.
Roel Lucassen entered this Rogozarski Brucos - yet another aircraft I hadn't heard of! A quick internet search revealed it to be a Yugoslavian trainer from 1940.
Mark Rossen brought along this neat Mitsubishi J2M Raiden which got a decent static
score but was proving tricky to trim.
Before listing the full results, perhaps a few words to add to
the post event discussion about how to increase participation in the open classes.
As noted above, Kit Scale has proved to be very successful, but not in the way it was originally envisaged, which was to act as
a feeder class to encourage more people to enter the Open classes. Any feedback on this would be very welcome, so please drop me an email
with your ideas and comments. I have a vested interest in this, as I am helping John Minchell organise the Indoor Nats next year, and will
be in a position to contribute to the discussions at the BMFA tech. committee meetings, as well as talking with the other organisers.
If you enter Kit Scale now but have never entered an open class, please
tell us why not. Whatís putting you off? Is it the documentation requirements? The extra detailing you feel you need to add?
What could we as organisers do to encourage you to take part? I personally l feel the gulf between kit scale and open scale is
not as big as you may think. A light, well trimmed model with a simple colour scheme could easily get you near the top of the rankings.
This year you couldnít have finished lower than fifth if youíd got a 15 second flight in! I would be very happy to give advice about
documentation requirements for the open classes and finishing etc. Ė just drop me an email and Iíll do what I can to help and encourage you!
So, to finish, thanks to John and Graham for organising another successful and very enjoyable Nationals, and to all those other volunteers without whom the event