BMFA Indoor Scale Nationals, 28th April 2019

Being co-organiser of the event this year meant a rather different experience than usual - I spent more time worrying about how smoothly everything was running and much less about fine tuning the trim of the Redwing. With the latter it was just a case of winding it up, placing it on the floor, letting go and hoping for the best! Having said this, I knew it was trimmed pretty well as I'd taken advantage of one of the Bushfield indoor meetings to tweak a few things. I didn't enter any other classes this time to maximise my availability for organising duties, but I did have my first experience of scale judging at the Nats, with Gordon Hannah and I doing pistachio scale.

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 81 to reach indoor scale.

Competitor numbers were down again, a fact I was acutely aware of, being the official recipient of the entry forms. This is a worrying trend, even though most of the missing regulars had perfectly good excuses not to be present. So, on the day we had just 31 entries and 58 models flown. Looking on the bright side, this allowed for a relaxed day's flying without the time pressures seen in previous years, and we were able to schedule three trimming sessions during the day, which proved popular, as well as the mass launch and air race.

Open rubber entries were down from 10 to 8, of which six managed to get a 15 second qualifying flight. Richard Crossley won the class with his Lockheed Vega, a model which is now trimmed to perfection and a very consistent performer.

Second was Mike Hadland's Stampe SV.4 (above), the top scorer in static judging and I finished third with the Redwing. Thanks to Paul Tallet for the flying shots in this report. The first two Redwing flights were a bit tight in the turn so I lowered the left aileron a bit for the third flight to hold the wing up a bit more. The third flight, released mid way down the hall, took longer to get into the left turn, so was circling just over the barrier to the pits area. It didn't quite make it back onto the floor for a landing so I was grateful for a good catch by one of the spectators which prevented disaster.

For the fourth flight I launched further back into the hall, and the result was a really nice flight, only spoiled by a slight bounce on landing. I think a few less winds may be the answer to stopping that happening.

Peter Fardell somehow seems to find the time to build a new open rubber model each year and this year's was I think his best yet - a Consolidated PT-3. Inter war biplanes are right up my street, and I loved all the detail, including exposed engine and spoked wheels - an aircraft with bags of charactor. If you look closely at the photo you will see why Peter had to fly his old Auster Agricola on Sunday and leave the PT-3 on the bench - the longerons at the wing root were cracked by a colision with the wall. The model is being rebuilt with more robust sheet fuelage sides all the way back to the cockpit, so hopefully we will see it in action again next year.

Another new Open Rubber model which sadly failed to reach the required 15 second flight time was this great looking Messerschmitt BF 109E by Peter Smart.

In CO2/electric there were six entries, the same as last year. Of these, five made a successful qualifying flight.

Most impressive model at the Nats was probably Richard Crossley's beautifully finished Consolidated PB2Y Coronado powered by four electric motors. It flew just as well as it had at Nijmegen last November, taking off smoothly from its wheeled dolly and circling well within the confines of the hall. The model sits tilted slightly left wing down on the dolly which helps it settle quickly into its circular flight pattern.

Graham Banham's rubber powered Tipsy Nipper, built from Richard Crossley's plan that featured in Aeromodeller magazine, had undergone a change in power source since Nijmegen, and now has an electric motor fitted. The model seems a more consistent performer now and placed second in class. Apologies for the slightly fuzzy photo - not sure what happened there. Kevin Wallace finished one place better than last year, coming third with his Bowers Fly-Baby.

Gerard Brinks from the Netherlands entered this fine flying CO2 powered Sperry Messenger, built from the Modela kit, in both open electric/CO2 and kit scale and finished a creditable fourth in the open class.

Peter Smart was the second modeller to bring along an electric powered flying boat – a delightful Latecoere 300 “Croix de Sud”, but despite a large amount of (scale) dihedral it refused to stay in a steady circling turn and spiralled in as the flight progressed. Peter said it did the same whichever direction you flew it. Most frustrating!

Kit scale entries numbered 22 this year, a whole seven less than in 2018, but it is still the most popular and competitive class at the indoor Nats.

The winner was again Jon Markovitz. Last time he won with a CO2 powered Keil Kraft Sopwith Camel and this time he entered an electric powered Bristol Scout from the Lees Hobbies peanut scale kit. It flew fantastically with an aggregate flight score a whole 42 points ahead of anyone else (remember that in kit scale, as well as the open classes, flights are judged on realism rather than flight duration). I’ve been telling everyone who will listen recently that a large, light and floaty model is the way to get good flying scores indoors and then Jon comes along and shows us how it’s done with a 13” span peanut. This hobby, eh? You never stop learning!

Second in class was John Bowerman with a much larger Guillows Fairchild 24 (above) and third was Peter Boys with a Skylake Waco SRE.

John Holman entered this Slingsby T-67 built from a laser-cut kit by Siva - a company I'd never heard of before. The model flew well enough to finish 7th in class. Behind you can see John Winfield's VMC Cessna Bird Dog.

Making an interesting comparison to the VMC Bird Dog was this neatly built Frog Senior version by Dave Crompton.

A new award this year was the Veron Tru-Flite trophy, in memory of Phil Smith, awarded to the highest placed Veron model at the contest. This was won by Gary Flack with this fine flying Aeronca Champion.

Another Veron entry was this very smart Luscombe Sedan by Dave King.

Peter Smart built this very nice Standard J-1 from the Dumas kit but sadly failed to record a qualifying flight. Paul Tallet photo.

Having done some static judging for the first time this year (in pistachio) I now have a better appreciation for the hard work put in by our team of volunteers. Here are Doug Hunt and Paul Hoey studying Chris Blanch's Megow SE5A.

All-sheet models models are fine to enter in kit scale and Ken Bates entered this reproduction of the old Frogflite (formally Yeoman) kit of the Auster Autocar. Judging by the slow flying speed, the wood in the kit was much lighter than you would have found in the original! Plans for the whole range are available at Paul Bradley's excellent site here - well worth a visit.

One of my favourite kit scale models was this delightful Ryan ST built from the old Tern Aero kit by Ian Pallister. He had converted the model to electric power. Sadly the model refused to cooperate when it came to trimming so a qualifying flight wasn't achieved.

A trio of Wacos by Peter Boys to gladden the heart of any golden age aviation enthusiast. At the right rear is Peter's third place kit scale entry - a Waco SRE from the Skylake kit. At left rear is a peanut scale SRE and at the front a Waco AGC-8 for open rubber.

It was good to see Isaac Markovitz entering the event for the first time with a VMC Jodel D-18 - not the easiest of the range to trim, but after failures in rounds one and two, flights three and four were successful and Isaac finished a creditable 13th overall. Dad Jon is holding his last minute peanut scale entry - a Halbastadt D.II from the Lees Hobbies kit.

Peanut entries were down on last year, but still reasonably healthy at 14 - as mentioned above I didn't enter my Ripon this time.

No surprise that the winner once again was Mike Hadland with this Bucker Jungmann. Mike's secret is to build well-detailed models which score well in static, but at a very low weight, so as not to compromise flying performance. It's the latter that I find so hard!

John Valiant's new foam peanut was this Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmovik in winter camouflage. Best flight was 47 seconds and the model placed 4th in class.

Nick Peppiatt's smart Nesmith Cougar was one of only three peanuts to break the one minute barrier, finishing fifth overall.

I really liked David Prior's new Zlin 50M peanut which got a decent static score, but trimming is still a work in progress.

Chris Blanch placed third in class with this Bowers Bi-Baby. Like the Bucker Jungmann, this is an excellent choice of subject with those swept wings and reasonably long nose.

This pretty Fairchild F.22 was the work of John Bowerman - a really neatly finished model that deserves a better photo!

Pistachio entries were one down on last year with eight models competing.

Richard Crossley won with the delightful foam Martin Baker MB.5 that he made for last year's Nijmegen contest (see that report for a photo as I somehow didn't manage to take one on the day!)

Chris Strachan placed second with this nicely finished Wittman Buster. This picture gives a good impression of how tiny these pistachio models really are! Paul Tallet photo.

Chris Blanch's Ford Flivver pistachio gathered quite a bit of attention - a quick view of the photo above will soon reveal why! Apparently Chris built his Flivver model conventionally only to find it impossible to trim. It did however seem to be stable if flown inverted. As there is nothing specific in the rules to say you can't fly a model upside down, he rebuilt it with the wing section reversed, resulting in the model shown here. Single surface wings are not penalised in pistachio, it's just that normally the decoration would be visible from above when the model is standing on its wheels. The wing was built flat, but has developed a bit of droop, giving some dihedral when flown upside down. I have to say it was a rather confusing model to judge, and at one stage even the BMFA competition secretary herself got involved to give a ruling! Chris was a little disappointed it didn't fly as well on the day as it had done before, but it still managed 24 seconds. I have to say it looked most amusing circling around the hall upside down and it certainly raised a lot of smiles!

Peter Iliffe brought along a selection of his superb R/C models for display. The standard of finishing gives us all something to aim at and Peter is always willing to share his methods and techniques with interested parties. However, whether we can achieve the same outstanding level of finish having obtained this knowledge is another matter!

I'd not seen Peter's Fokker Triplane before - another absolute stunner!

A few comments before the final results listing: The number of entries continues to fall and despite increased spectator attendence and the splendid efforts of Poppy Gowler selling lots of raffle tickets, the event once again made a loss. It will be down to Doug Hunt and myself to organise a successful event next year, so please can we have your feedback on this year's Nationals - what did you like and what didn't you? What could be improved? Would you like to see scale glider back on the schedule? Do you think the kit scale rules need changing? If you entered kit scale this year, what are the barriers you see to entering an open class next year? Or are you content just to enter the one class? I am now secretary of the Scale Technical Committee so in a good position to bring up and debate possible rule changes at our meetings, so please do get in touch with your thoughts.

Heping organise the event this year has really opened my eyes to the large number of willing volunteers without whom the Nationals wouldn't happen. With the static and flying judges, timekeepers, scorers, tech support and door teams you are looking at about 30 people - about equal to the number of competitors! So, a big thank you to them and especially John Minchell who steps down from his lead organising role after three years. Hopefully he can now find time to build some model aeroplanes!



Name Model Type Best Flying Score Static Score Total Position
Richard Crossley Lockheed Vega 1875 1610 3485 1
Mike Hadland Stampe SV.4 1690 1715 3405 2
Mike Stuart Robinson Redwing 1735 1560 3295 3
Gerard Brinks Douglas Y10-43 1720 1030 2750 4
Peter Fardell Auster Agricola 1150 776 1926 5
Ken Bates D.H.Hornet Moth 800 806 1606 6
Peter Smart Messerschmitt BF109 - 1318 1318 -
Peter Boys Waco AGC-8 - 1302 1302 -


Name Model Type Best Flying Score Static Score Total Position
Richard Crossley Consolidated PB2Y Coronado 2134 1512.5 3646.5 1
Graham Banham Tipsy Nipper 1610 1581 3191 2
Kevin Wallace Bowers Bi-Baby 1630 1393 3023 3
Gerard Brinks Sperry Messenger 1705 1122 2827 4
Chris Strachan Tipsy Nipper 675 1201 1876 5
Peter Smart Latecoere 300 Croix de Sud - 1282 1282 -

Kit Scale

Name Model Type Sum of best two flight scores Static Score Total Position
John Markovitz Bristol Scout (Lees Hobbies) 223 80.3 303.3 1
John Bowerman Fairchild F.24 (Guillows) 178 79.5 257.5 2
Peter Boys Waco SRE (Skylake) 176 79.5 255.5 3
Graham Banham Heinkel He 100 (Flyline) 178 73 251 4
Peter Fardell SE5A (Vintage Model Company) 170 66.5 236.5 5
Gerard Brinks Sperry Messenger (Modela) 157 78.5 235.5 6
John Holman Slingsby T-67 (Siva) 162 71.5 233.5 7
Chris Blanch SE5A (Megow) 168 64 232 8
Gary Flack Aeronca Champion (Veron) 164 62.5 226.5 9
John Winfield Cessna Bird Dog (Vintage Model Company) 150 71.5 221.5 10
Tony Rusby Taylorcraft 169 47.5 216.5 11
Dave Crompton Cessna Bird Dog (Frog) 144 70.0 214 12
Isaac Markovitz Jodel D-18 (Vintage Model Company) 146 67.0 213 13
David King Luscombe Sedan (Veron) 144 64.0 208 14
Mike Sanderson Auster J-4 149 50 199 15
Rich Moore Bristol F2B Fighter (Comet) 122 71 193 16
Ken Bates Auster Autocar (Frogflite) 113 79.3 193.3 17
Chris Brainwood Piper Super Cruiser (Keil Kraft) 124 67.5 191.5 18
Brian Stichbury Andreasson BA-4B (Peck) - 66.5 66.5 -
Peter Smart Standard J-1(Dumas) - 64 64 -


Name Model Type Best two flights (sec) Flying place Static score Static place Total Overall place
Mike Hadland Bucker Jungmann 119 3 144 1 4 1
Kevin Wallace Bowers Bi-Baby 92 4 126 4 8 2
Chris Blanch Bowers Bi-Baby 89 6 127 3 9 3
John Valiant Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmovik 92 4 111 6 10 4
Nick Peppiatt Nesmith Cougar 121 2 84 9 11 5
Peter Boys Waco SRE 55 10 131 2 12 6
Chris Strachan Beardmore Wee Bee 128 1 69 12 13 7
Gerard Brinks Sperry Messenger 61 9 113 5 14 8
John Markovitz Halberstadt D.II 66 8 84 9 17 9
John Bowerman Fairchild F.22 55 10 90 8 18 10
David Prior Zlin 50M 18 14 96 7 21 11
David King Heath Parasol 81 7 54 14 21 12
Gary Flack Hawker Tempest F.B.11 51 12 70 11 23 13
Bryan Stichbury Piper Cub 29 13 66 13 26 14


Name Model Type Best two flights (sec) Flying place Static score Static place Total Overall place
Richard Crossley Martin Baker MB5 81 2 62 1 3 1
Chris Strachan Wittman Buster 63 3 48 2 5 2
Roel Lucassen Rogozarski Brucos 60 4 46 3 7 3
Nicj Peppiatt BAT Baboon 86 1 40 7 8 4
Chris Blanch Ford Flivver 45 6 46 3 9 5
Tim Horne Waco SRE 20 8 46 3 11 6
Brian Stichbury Andreasson BA-4B 46 5 42 6 11 7
David Prior Bede BD-4 27 7 38 8 15 8

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