International Indoor Fly In, Nijmegen, The Netherlands 12th - 13th November 2022
It had been three years since the last International Indoor Fly-In at Nijmegen, due to Covid and the
associated travel restrictions, so it was great to be finally back. There is quite a lot of driving involved as
well as two overnight ferries, but definitely worth it I think. Having Pete Smart as a travel companion and
assistant navigator was a bonus - it is not so much fun on your own!
The Jan Massinkhal is a brilliant indoor flying venue, unusual in that it is not only large but square - ideal
for what we do. This means that unlike at Walsall the competitors tables are arranged around against the walls,
rather than having a dedicated pits area at one end. The event features both scale and duration indoor classes
and the scale classes this time were flown to the 2019 BMFA rules. Understandably, the organisers had taken the
decision to see how our new rules worked out in practise before deciding whether to adopt them. Duration classes
are flown in dedicated slots, giving the rest of us the chance to do repairs and generally socialise while they
I know the organisers were a little concerned as to how many entrants they would get, but in fact I counted 26
scale competitors with many European countries represented, including 7 from the UK.
Our usual procedure after docking on Friday morning is to drive to our favourite hotel (The Rozenhof) just outside Nijmegen and pass the time
there until the trimming session at the sports hall starts in the early afternoon. This year, however, due to
some sort of mix up at the venue, the session had to be delayed until 6pm. So, a somewhat lazy day ensued,
followed by an excellent evening meal at 5pm and a dash to the Sports Hall to start flying. We still had the
promised 5 hours in there, which meant it was possible to fly until 11pm - definitely the latest I have ever
been model flying. Despite a certain amount of fatigue setting in, nobody was willing to return to the hotel
early and miss out on valuable trimming time.
As well as my competition models I also brought along my Auster B.4 Ambulance and newly completed West Wings
Hawker Hart to see if I could trim them for indoor flying. The Ambulance was soon flying very steadily, but after
a few tentative hops with the Hart, I got worried by the rather hefty collisions with the floor and decided to wait
and try it outdoors on a softer surface when the weather allows. I concentrated of tweaking the trim on my kit scale
Veron Nieuport 27 - a process which continued all the way to Sunday. I didn't risk the SOC Seagull on Friday - the
last flight it had made was at Walsall, which had been a qualifying flight, so I thought I'd just try and get one flight
in the bag on Saturday before I fiddled with anything.
Every scale class has flight rounds on both Saturday and Sunday, which helps give a more relaxed feel to proceedings compared
to Walsall. If it all goes wrong on Saturday, you still have a chance to sort things out in time for Sunday.
Plus you get a banquet on the Saturday night, which is a great chance to mix with fellow enthusiasts from other countries.
The Open Rubber class (F4D) had 14 entries, all of which made a successful a qualifying
flight of 15 seconds.
Here are some the open class models awaiting static judging. Nearest the camera, left to right, are Antonin Alfery's electric Spitfire Mk.IXc, Pete Fardell's rubber powered Bleriot
and Graham Banham's rubber powered Botali P.A.M.A.
Here are the top two models in the open rubber class. Antonin Alfery's brilliant Chance Vought V-173, in yellow at the back, won again as it had in 2019.
Jiri Dolozel ran him close though with his gorgeous Avia BH-9, seen at the front of the picture. The Avia would have won were it not for the 10% twin bonus
added to the flight score of the V-173.
Below are videos I took of both models on Sunday.
Third place went to Richard Crossley's Nakajima B5N2 "Kate" which flew beautifully, as it had at the BMFA Indoor Nats,
Lars Tolkstam's Rumpler C.1 finished fourth in class. Light weight makes this model a superb slow flyer.
I managed 5th place with the Curtiss SOC Seagull. What was most pleasing was that my fourth and final flight was the best one.
Flight three did not get very high and the model flew left with quite a steep bank. The only change I made before flight 4
was to add an extra 1/64" ply shim to give more right thrust, and the effect was dramatic. See video above by Vladimir Alfery.
Pete Smart brought his Pitts Special out of retirement and had it flying as well as I've seen it. The landing on the
video below couldn't have been any smoother. Pete finished 6th in class.
Pete Fardell's Bleriot has made the transition from outdoor to indoor competition seamlessly - the slow flying speed makes
it a very realistic performer, as you can see here.
This is Tim Horne's pretty new Caudron C-635 Simoun which proved rather a handful to trim. Tim worked hard on it over the
weekend and was rewarded with a couple of hand-launched qualifying flights.
Open electric (F4E) had just 5 entries, which was a bit disappointing. I'm hoping I'll be able to add one more to that number next year.
Antonin Alfery won the class with this beautiful Spitfire Mk.IXc, looking more like a very well built plastic kit than a free
flight model. Construction is from foam and the model uses a brushless electric motor.
Richard Crossley finished second with his Consolidated PB2Y Coronado. The video above was taken by Vladimir Alfery
from the upper level, which gives a different perspective.
In third place was Graham Banham's new Porterfield Collegiate which got the joint highest flight score in the class.
Peter Smart's Fokker F.XXXVI is now flying better than ever and finished fourth in class.
Although he didn't enter the model in the competition, Antonin Alfery was test flying this new electric ducted
fan North American FJ 1 Fury. The fuselage is carved foam, hollowed out before adding the fan ducting. The fuselage was tissue-covered to
get a smooth surface for painting. Note the flaps are modelled extended to increase wing area and provide more lift. I believe an
altimeter is incorporated, calibrated so that the motor shuts down once the model has touched down.
The model flies beautifully as you can see in Vladimir Alfery's video below.
Only three people entered the CO2 class this time so unless some more CO2 flyers turn up, I suspect it is only a matter of time before it
is combined with the electric class.
Antonin Alfery won the class with this lovely Pfalz D.XII. I think the fuselage is moulded foam, with all flying surfaces
in balsa and tissue. The lozenge fabric was beautifully done.
George Kandylakis came second with this 1/20th scale PZL P.24. The model is enlarged from my 1/24th scale design,
the plan for which is available here, so I was thrilled to see it flying so well.
There were 11 entries in Kit Scale, a bit down on previous years. Last time we were here, Richard Crossley won with his Comet 54" Aeronca
Chief and he did it again this year. It just shows how well a large, lightly built model can fly indoors.
Jiri Dolozel came second in class with this Earl Stahl designed Rearwin Speedster, as kitted by Flyline.
I was very pleased to get third place with my Veron Nieuport 27. I'd been tweaking the trim slightly all weekend, adding more down and
side thrust, more nose weight and finally a bit of tip weight on the right hand wing. It's always nice
when your best flight is the last one. You may notice some damage to the right wing - this was a result of a collision with another model. Thankfully, after making
repairs and patching up the tissue, the trim remained unaffected.
George Kandylakis finished fourth in class with this CO2 powered Blackburn Monoplane, built from the Aerographics kit.
This is Peter Fardell's new Fokker D.VII from the Herr Engineering kit. The model was trimmed during the event and got
better and better - the last two flights on Sunday were the best of the weekend.
Martin Lambert worked hard on the trim of his Guillows DHC-1 Chipmunk and he ended up with the third highest flying
score in the class.
Peanut scale was the most popular class again with 15 entries.
On the judging table here we have, at the back on the left, Antonin Alfery's winning Albatros W.4, next to Jiri Pavlicek's
Clutton FRED which finished fourth. In the middle are my Vought OS2U Kingfisher (left) and Jiri Dolozel's gorgeous Avro 539
floatplane. I managed to push my best flight time with the Kingfisher up from 34 seconds from an ROG to 43, giving 53 seconds
including the ROG bonus. Still 7 seconds away from a max under the new BMFA rules though.
However, in view of the stiff competition I was pleased with 5th place.
At the front of the photo you can see Lars Tolkstam's second placed Gerner G.1 which got the highest flight score of anybody
- best flight was an impressive 72 seconds.
Here is a closer look at Antonin Alfery's winning Albatros W.4.
Mats Johansson entered this nicely finished and well-detailed Bristol Scout which got the fourth best static score.
This unusual Bleriot 25 canard was built by Georg Tornkvist. Georg's models have been proxy flown at Nijmegen for several years
as he was unable to attend in person due to his age (in the high 90's). Sadly Georg passed away during the Covid pandemic so his Swedish
friends wanted to enter this model in his loving memory.
The Legrand-Simon LS 60 makes an attractive peanut scale subject - this example was entered by Jean-Claude Bourdeaud'hui.
Pistachio remains a popular class in Europe and there were 11 entries this time. Watching them all flying so well was almost enough
to persuade me to have one last go at building a successful one. Almost, but not quite!
Winner was Antonin Alfery (who, you may have noticed, had a very successful weekend) with this Curtiss-Cox Cactus Kitten. I'd never heard of
this aircraft before, but it has an interesting history, being a monoplane racer before the triplane wings were fitted. The model posted
an impressive two flight total of 108 seconds.
Here is Jiri Dolozel's second-placed Fairey N.10 racer - another absolute gem. It scored top in static and third in flying -
best flight was 45 seconds.
Lars Tolkstam finished third in class with this Udet U.12 Flamingo.
Andrea Hartstein entered this neat Peyret Avionette, which qualifies for pistachio under the 6" fuselage rule.
Here are a couple of foam pistachios - on the left a Farman F.380 by Luis Bautista and on the right
Richard Crossley's Martin Baker M.B.5. Richard's documentation booklets are always very impressive!
After some pressure from former competitors, the scale glider class made a comeback - I think the last time was back in 2017.
I wish I had paid more attention to the rules, but I think there was a static judging component, with the models
simply ranked in order. Then four rounds launched from the upper viewing area where the aim was to get as close as possible to a
mark on the floor, plus two mass launches to see who stayed up the longest (or got the furthest?)
One of the mass-launches is shown below. Winner was Vincent Merlijn with an Akaflieg D.30 and Peter Smart came second with the Slingsby T.31
shown above (Peter flew this actual aircraft)
In conclusion, the numbers may have been a little down, but the 10th IIFI was as enjoyable as ever. As I say every time I go, it's a privilege
to fly in such a marvellous hall, and thanks are due to Bernard, Roel and the rest of the organising team for all their hard work,
making this such a well run and friendly event. A visit is highly recommended if you have any interest at all in indoor scale models.