BMFA Indoor Scale Nationals, 29th April 2001

This yearís event was a very encouraging one from the point of view of quantity of entries - no less than 55 in the four classes, of which 48 flew - a great improvement on last year, and there were lots of new models to see. This may well have been the result of the decision to present new awards in all classes for the best placed novice - anyone who had not previously had a top three finish. There were also a good number of spectators, and the balcony overlooking the hall seemed full all day, not to mention the many fun-flyers who were using the other hall. The atmosphere was informal and friendly as usual, with people ready and willing to talk about their new models, or discusss techniques. As well as the formal competition classes, there was the organised mayhem that was the air race (how many times can you lap a course in 10 minutes) and a mass launch to close the meeting - last one down wins. These last two events were open to all, and great fun.

Before the photos here is a quick reminder of the BMFA competition classes and their different rules.

The Open Rubber and CO2 / Electric classes have a total based on flight score plus static score, split 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 flying 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 (Rise Off Ground). Four timed flights are made, and the best two are added together to give you a flight score (in seconds). The models are ranked in order of flight performance, and also in order of static judging. Bonus points are given in the latter for such features as multiple wings, scale rib spacing, having a pilot, separate control surfaces, exposed engine detail etc. 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.

I entered two models this year for the first time, and was very pleased to come third in Open Rubber with my Caravan, which flew very reliably, and fourth in Peanut with the new Jungmeister. This latter scored well in static, but is a bit overweight, achieving a respectable flight score only because of the 10 second bonus for an ROG flight.

English Electric Wren by Richard Granger

This is a huge model to be flying indoors, with a span of no less than 52 inches. The fact that it manages so well is due to its very low weight of just 102 grams. This means it flys very slowly - just like the real aircraft at Old Warden. Power is supplied by a Brown twin CO2 motor. Richard was having trouble trimming it early on, but pulled one superb, leisurely flight out of the bag to deservedly win the CO2/Electric class.

Denight DDT by Andre Petit

Andre had another successful visit from France, picking up second place in the Peanut class with this Denight DDT racer. The model scored highly in static (notice the scale ribs in all the flying surfaces), and managed flights of around a minute to achieve the highest flight score in the class. Andre also took 2nd place in Open Rubber with the Me 209 he flew last year, but which performed even better this time.

SE5a by Divs Masters

Another masterpiece from the Divs Masters stable - a brand new SE5a for peanut scale. The detail on this one was stunning - all the fuselage stitching was accurately reproduced, the rigging was amazing, as was the gun detail and cowl louvres. The model got easily the highest static marks in the class, but flight times were disappointing. Early days though, and when it is sorted, it will very difficult to beat!

Peter Smartís Early Birds

Superb collection of 1/36 scale foam models by Peter Smart - all CO2 powered (all Gasparins I think). The artistry of these models has to be seen to be believed - particularly impressive is the depiction of wing ribs using airbrush shading.

The little D.H.2 even features a rotary engine that goes round with the prop! Peter entered the Rumpler Taube in the CO2 class, and a combination of excellent detail, plus very realistic (and slow) flying was enough to give him second place. The Short 184 floatplane, seen at the back on the right of the top photo, was being test flown at the meeting - still some work to do, but it is going to look great in the air when sorted.

Peter's latest multi-engined foam masterpiece is this amazing Lockheed Super Constellation. Power comes from four separate rubber motors - one in each nacelle - no fancy gears or anything. Peter did some test flights, including one memorable successful ROG flight towards the end of the day.

Loire 411 by Jacques Cartigny

A second visitor from France to the event was Jacques Cartigny, who brought with him some models of interesting French subjects , including this very unusual dive bomber. Construction was foam, so it was very light, and it flew well. Combined with the fourth best static score, this was good enough to net Jacques 3rd place in the peanut scale class, and the novice award.

Sopwith Scooter by Kevin Wallace

Not a new model this, but I think first time at the BMFA Nationals. Power is supplied by a Gasparin GM 120 CO2 motor. The model flies very realistically - not too fast, despite it having one wing less than most Sopwiths! The first flight was a little too good, as the model kept climbing until it was amongst the roof girders - unfortunately it met one head-on, and plummetted to the ground. This damaged the motor, so a piston and ring change had to be carried out. Kevin got everything running again in time for his third and fourth flights, which went without a hitch, and he was rewarded with fourth place in class, and the novice award.

Gloster Javelin by Steven Glass

Crowd pleaser of the event was again Steven Glass with his amazing electric ducted fan foam Gloster Javelin. This year he was doing ROG's with it! The main reason he only finished sixth in class was that the landings were rather bouncy (almost a series of touch-and-go's). He hit the wall hard on the final flight and broke the nose off, which was a shame, but I am sure it will be flying again soon.

Junkers Ju 87 by Reg Boor

Believe it or not, this Ju 87 entered in the open rubber class is basically the old Keil Kraft kit. It flew well, and looked very stable in the air. When I built one of these kits in my younger days, I have no recollection of it flying at all!

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