BMFA Indoor Scale Nationals, 7th May 2000

Although entries were a little down this year, this was made up for by the large number of new models present, as well as some new faces. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly and it was, like last year a very enjoyable day, despite my not managing a single qualifying flight this time! My best effort with the Boeing F4B-2, which might have just sneaked above the required time was cruelly interrupted by a metal post just as it approached to land. Never mind, at least it took off and flew for at least a little while in a stable looking fashion, which is definitely progress!

Before the photos here is a quick recap on the BMFA competition classes and their different rules.

The Open Rubber and CO2 / Electric classes have a total score based on flight score plus static score, split roughly 50/50. Four flights can be made and the score from the best flight counts. Static judging is very rigorous, and the standard of documentation provided by most of the entrants is extensive. To qualify, you have to make a flight of only 15 seconds. The flights are judged on realism in the various stages of the flight, i.e. take off, climb out, cruise, approach and landing. No extra points are given for longer flights than 15 seconds. Thus a very detailed, heavy model can score lots on the static points, and should be capable of a 15 second qualifying flight. Of course, a heavy model will fly faster (too fast for scale speed usually), be harder to trim and probably do less well on the flight score than a lighter model (they also hit the wall harder!). As always, it is a fine balancing act between weight and detail.

The Peanut (13" wing span) and Pistachio (8" span) classes have different rules, in that the flight scores do depend on flight time. Realism in flight is not judged, just the time it stays up. You get a ten second bonus if you ROG. The models are ranked in order of flight performance, and also in order of static judging. The final positions are obtained by adding the flight position to the static position - lowest score wins. For example 2nd in static and 3rd in flight would give you a total of 5 points. In this class you really do have to watch your weight.

Sopwith Camel by Dave Causer

Daveís latest creation looked as if it should be sitting in a display case in a museum somewhere, not flying round the confines of a sports hall! Span was somewhere round the 25" mark, and it was CO2 powered.

As the model took off for its third contest flight, it was apparent that Dave had increased the throttle considerably from the previous one. After a lively climb, the model was soon dicing with the girders, and the inevitable happened - head on into some steelwork, and a vertical descent to the floor. Dave collected the bits that had fallen off, and amazingly got the model repaired in time to make an excellent fourth and final flight, and won the CO2 / electric class.

Gloster Javelin by Steven Glass

The award for most exciting model at the event would have to go to Steven Glassís marvellous Gloster Javelin, powered by the new KP electric ducted fan unit. The model was built from foam, around two feet wing span and featured a bell-mouth on the front of the fan unit, behind the scale intake openings to increase motor efficiency. At the rear, the twin scale jet nozzles were retained, with a clear trim tab placed between them to direct the thrust. Early in the day the model hit the wall hard, and the nose cone was destroyed. Nothing daunted, Steven then carved a new one from foam, and coloured it black with a handy felt tip pen before continuing flying. In the photo, the new nose is temporarily held in place with strips of tape while the glue dried. The model usually just got round within the confines of the sports hall walls, and one memorable flight included a pass under the spectator balcony and over the heads of the fliers underneath before emerging safely back out into the hall again to continue its flight. This got a hearty round of applause!

Folkerts Speed King by Richard Crossley

Richard put in some fine flights around the 60 second mark with this 8" span foam Folkerts Speed King, several involving flying in and out of the roof structure - sometimes it made it through the girders and sometimes it didnít, but it was very entertaining for the rest of us! The long fuselage helps to get a decent amount of rubber in, and one clever idea was to have the rear rubber anchorage the same distance behind the centre of gravity as the prop hook was in front. This means a change in rubber size has no effect on the trim. Weight of the model is under 3 grams. Note the customised documentation pack under the model.

Pottier 100 TS by Andre Petit

Always nice to see overseas visitors at competitions over here, and Andre Petit certainly had a worthwhile trip, coming third in Peanut Scale and winning the mass launch fun event. Both of these were achieved with this little French Homebuilt. I had never seen a model of one before, but apparently quite a few have been built and flown in France. Proportions are ideal for a flying scale model, and it is very stable, even without any dihedral. This model got easily the highest flying marks in the Peanut scale competition. The plan is available for download - just click here.

This was Andreís other model, entered in the open rubber class. An unusual aircraft that had several people guessing as to its identity. The model is a 1/20th scale Messerschmitt Me 209 V2, built from one of those Czech plans (available from Michael Woodhouse Free Flight Supplies) and beautifully painted. It flew well, banking fairly steeply, but achieved good height, and stayed well away from the walls.

Bucker Jungmann by Mike Hadland

An outstanding new model from Mike featuring a superb finish, and it flew very well indeed to win the Peanut scale class. Sorry the photo does not do the model justice!

1911 Valkyrie by Phil Siddall

You may remember the photo of Phil's peanut Valkyrie at last years Nationals - well this year he went one better and built a larger one for the open rubber class. Scale is 1/18th and the weight, remarkably, under 10 grams. The model took off and flew very slowly and realistically - not far off scale speed. Very impressive.

Phil also did a demonstration flight with this Wright Flier model. Flight time is limited by the layout but it looked a treat in the air.

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