International Indoor Fly In, Nijmegen, Holland 9th - 10th November 2019
The fact that I am currently so involved with the running of the BMFA Scale Indoor Nats makes the IIFI an even more special event - I just have to turn up with
my models and fly them, without worrying about the organisation of the competition. This was my third visit and it is now a fixture in my calendar.
The original plan was to park my car near Harwich and travel over with Richard Crossley and Graham Banham, but a last minute change in circumstances
meant that I ended up driving over
myself with Peter Smart. One benefit of this was more space for models, which considering I was taking over a 54" span Taylorcraft was no bad
thing! Below is the Taylorcraft packed into its foamboard box ready for the trip.
After the overnight crossing to Hook of Holland, it's a two hour drive to the hotel, leaving plenty of time for a leisurely lunch before heading
for the Jan Massinkhal. We were free to trim from 2pm until 8pm and what a treat to fly again in such a large hall. As well as my unflown
Taylorcraft, I had also worked
hard to get my 1/24 scale PZL P.24 finished, not to enter it in any class, but just to get to trim it in the hall.
First hops with the Taylorcraft showed a slight stall, which had to be corrected by tweaking the elevators downwards as I couldn't add any nose weight (the model was 1 gram under the
maximum limit of 200 g). The flying speed was amusingly slow. After adding some left rudder and bending the left aileron down a touch it
was circulating nicely, but the turn tended to open out as the power ran down, resulting in some near misses with the wall - I was grateful
for a couple of excellent spectator catches which saved any serious damage.
The solution was to add some right thrust and a touch more left rudder. Despite the model's size, it was circling comfortably in the hall, using less than half the available space.
Satisfied with progress, the Taylorcraft was parked up ready for the competition the following day.
The schedule on Saturday and Sunday was the usual mix of scale and indoor duration, with all the scale classes flown both days. Open and kit scale classes have two rounds on Saturday and two on Sunday.
The breaks while the duration classes are flown gives useful time for socialising, or if necessary, doing repairs.
Scale classes are flown to the same rules that we use at the BMFA Indoor Nationals, except that the open electric and open CO2 are flown as
separate F4E classes.
Competitor numbers were noticably up on last year, which was good to see. The standard of the flying also seemed higher than
ever, meaning that it is really hard to place in the top
three in the main scale classes. This is definitely not a complaint, but rather an incentive to raise one's game.
The Open Rubber class (F4D) had 19 entries, four more than 2018, of which only three failed to make a qualifying flight of 15 seconds.
Here are some the open class models awaiting static judging - the ones nearest the camera are all rubber powered. At the front you
can see Peter Fardell's Consolidated PT-3 biplane. Peter worked on the trim
all weekend which paid off with two good qualifying flights achieved on Sunday. Below you can see the round four flight.
My Robinson Redwing (visible behind Richard Crossley's yellow Lockheen Vega) is flying reliably now and finished 5th in class. See videos by Vladimir Alfery below.
My favourite model of the meeting was Antonin Alfery's Vought V-173 flying pancake. This one is his fifth version, and the simplest,
with no gearing and just two rubber motors (which he winds together). I was amazed it took off so well, but landings were a bit
of a lottery due to the very long undercarriage legs.
See the video below and be amazed - how on earth do you even start trimming something so unconventional? The model finished second in class behind Martin Huk's Bleriot XI.2 (which also won the class at the 2017 event).
Lars Tolkstam's Rumpler C.1 finished third in class and achieved the highest flight score of any open class model at the competition. The slow
flying speed is due to the model's light weight (only around 23 grams), plus a fair amount of wing area.
Jaccques Cartigny entered this very nice Potez 29, built with no dihedral, as per the full size aircraft. Stability was very impressive - presumably the deep boxy fuselage helps.
Tim Horne's marvellous Douglas World Cruiser was untrimmed before the event, and although progress was made during the weekend, the model sadly failed to register an official flight.
With the fourth highest static score in class, the model has the potential to be a real contender at the scale indoor Nats in April.
Enrique Malz brought some of his exquisite models over from Israel for the event. This Velie Monocoupe was entered in both open rubber and kit scale.
Photo by David Brohede, who has kindly allowed me to use his beautiful flying shots in this report.
Open electric (F4E) had 9 entries, up from 6 last year. The battle for top spot was very close between Derek Knight's
Tiger Moth and George Kandylakis's D.H.9., with Derek just edging it. This great photo of Derek's Tiggie in action is by Derek Brohede.
Derek got the higher static score, and George the better flight score. George's D.H.9 is interesting in that it is fitted with RC gear, allowing him to set the trim for the model, then lock the controls for free flight.
Photo above by David Brohede.
Peter Smart had buit a new electric model for the event - this splendid Fokker F.36.
This fantastic little Hansa Brandenburg W.20 was the work of Jiri Dolozel. Very smooth take-offs were achieved using a wheeled dolly.
Another flying boat using a dolly for take-offs was Richard Crossley's fine flying Consolidated PB2Y Coronado.
Another great photo by David Brohede, this time Antonin Alfery's electric powered Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXc, which flew really well
to take fourth place in class.
Participation in the CO2 class was slightly higher than last year, with one more entry, but still only six models.
It was close at the top, but Martin Huk just beat Antonin Alfery to first place with this lovely Fokker B.II. It is a fine flyer as you can see below.
This is Antonin Alfery's second placed Rumpler C.IV
Gerard Brinks spent the whole weekend getting his new Lockheed Orion trimmed and his persistance was rewarded with two good qualifying flights
on Sunday. The model, which is built from the Easy Built Models kit, finished 3rd in class.
There was a healthy entry of 20 in Kit Scale, seven more than 2018 and only two of these failed to make a qualifying flight.
Both myself and Richard Crossley decided to see if it was possible to build one of the Comet 54" span high wing monoplanes to an all-up weight of less
than 200 grams (the the maximum allowed) and then persuade it to fly indoors. Richard chose the Aeronca Chief, shown in David Brohede's great photo above. The low wing loading gives
a realistic slow flying speed, and we both found there was no difficulty keeping these large, but stable, models away from the walls. Richard took first place in class - have a look at the video below.
My Taylorcraft was a bit heavier than the Aeronca - in fact the length of motor I used (17 grams and 5 loops of 1/8") was
calculated to just stay under the weight limit. David Brohede photo.
The flight below had just 400 turns on - any more and the motor tended to run out of turns before
it had landed. Video by Vladimir Alfery.
Vlastimil Simek finished second in class with this Aerosport - I don't know the kit manufacturer - possibly Czech? The neat all-tissue finish
is exactly what the judges are looking for in kit scale (the model placed third in static). Behind is the Waco SRE of Peter Boys.
To emphasise the point about neat tissue finishes, third in class went to John Bowerman with this Guillows D.H.C.Beaver which came fourth in static and
flew really nicely.
The Golden Age Reproductions Kawasaki Ki 61 Hien design is a favourite over the pond for the Flying Aces WW2 combat event and Vincent Merlijn showed that
it can perform very well indoors as well. Originally I was convinced the model was painted, but I was wrong. The camouflage was done by tearing off little pieces of green
tissue and individually applying them to the silver tissue using dope. The Hien finished 4th in class. David Brohede photo.
On the left here is Peter Fardell's Bristol Scout built from the Lees Hobbies peanut kit. On the right is Jiri Dolozel's Curtiss Robin.
Peter Smart had worked hard to finish a Golden Age Reproductions Albtros D.V for kit scale. Trimming proved extremely problematical and by close of play
on Saturday Peter gave up, took off the wheels and prop for recycling and stamped on it. It was really flat. Pancake flat. The
remains were disposed of in the bin by the door to the hall, right next to where the Czech modellers were based.
On Sunday morning, Antonin Alfery came over to our side of the hall and engaged Peter in conversation. He seemed very keen to show him something up
in the roof of the hall, "hey - look up there!" Pete was somewhat baffled. Next moment a biplane, launched from the balcony, sails over their
heads, gliding down to make a reasonable landing. Peter does a double take and realises it is his Albatros, now re-inflated and with a steel nut
in the nose for ballast.
As you can see, the Czech guys had worked wonders with CA and plenty of patience to restore the aircraft to a 3D shape and flying condition.
The model was then placed on the Judges table together with its documentation.
As a postscript, once we got back to my house on Monday morning, we made sure it could never be resurrected again by giving it a Viking funeral!
Peanut scale entries numbered 21, five more than last year.
Sorry this isn't a very good photo, but here you can see, left to right, Wout Moerman's Fokker F.II, Martin Huk's Letov S.39, Antonin Alfery's Albatros W.4,
Jean-Claude Bourdeaudhui's Jodel Bebe and my Blackburn Ripon.
Peter Smart's Gossamer Albatros qualifies for peanut on the 9 inch fuselage rule. Best flight was 67 seconds.
Gerard Brinks entered this nicely finished Sperry Messenger - sixth in static with the same score as my Ripon.
Pistachio entries were up by three from last year with 12 people prepared to take on the challenge of excessively tiny model building.
Here are a selection on the judging table - from left to right Antonin Alfery's Albatros D.II (which won the class),
Wout Moerman's Koolhoven FK.46, Jiri Dolozel's sopwith Rainbow (second in class) and Bryan Stichbury's Andreasson BA-4B.
Here is a closer view of Jiri Dolozel's beautiful pistachio Sopwith Rainbow. It's a little gem - fully covered, painted
and detailed with scale structure and it flies for 36 seconds looking as stable as anything.
It's almost enough to make me give the class one more go (no, no - away with this temptation - it will all end in tears again!)
Martin Huk's pistachio entry was this Kokusai TA-GO, a type new to me. It was a late war Japanese attempt
to design a simple to build, cheap kamikaze aircraft using minimal materials.
If you thought pistachio scale was small, Christophe Cramoisan brought along some amazing models that were even tinier.
This is his Waterman Gosling, complete with spoked wheels and detailed engine cylinders. Photo by David Brohede.
In conclusion, it was great to see more entries this year, and many thanks to Roel, Bernard and the rest of the IIFI team for organising such an enjoyable
event. If you have any interest in scale FF indoor competition, I highly recommend that you visit next year. With a fantastic hall, some of the best scale
models you will ever see, a chance to meet fellow modellers from many different countries and great
food laid on by the hosts, it's hard to beat.