BMFA Indoor Scale Nationals, 27th April 2008

This was another hugely enjoyable day out at Nottingham University, with increased entries in every class, lots of new models and a real blossoming of the Kit Scale class, introduced for the first time last year. Entries in this were up from 12 to 17 this time, and I really hope some of the first-timers will have enjoyed themselves so much that they will think about moving up to one of the open classes next time.

Summarising the rules again briefly; any model built from a commercial kit, or using a plan from a commercial kit, is eligible, and the model is judged not against a 3-view, as usual, but against the kit plan, and in fact discrepancies from the plan are penalised. A photo has to be provided of the colour scheme, and that is it as far as documentation goes. The flying is judged as per the normal open classes, so flights have to be made in front of the judges and spectators, one at a time, where they are judged for realism, not duration. The model has to stay in the air for 10 seconds to make a qualifying flight. The scores from the best two flights count towards the total, where they are added to the static marks. There were some great flights put up during the kit scale rounds, with some very nicely trimmed models in evidence.

There were no changes I could see to the normal class rules, so if you need a refresher, please refer here.

Normally I enter the open rubber and peanut classes at the Nats, but this year I decided to have a go at the CO2/electric class for the first time, using a 1/24 scale Aichi "Val" built from the Diels Engineeering kit, and powered by an Atomic Workshop Voodoo 25 electric motor, Zombie controller and Li-poly battery. The model was built in a relatively short space of time for me (seven months), and I had done some trimming flights outdoors the week before, so I knew the trim would be fairly close. Unfortunately, some precious time in the days before the Nats had to be devoted to repairing damage incurred when I flew the model into a tree! It was a case of setting too much time on the controller, and you would think that would have taught me a lesson, but no, as you will see.

Trimming in the hall had been going well, with the model circling left after a long straight take-off run, but the model had not been gaining much height. So, just before my first official flight I decided to remove a small bit of noseweight. This had unforeseen consequences, as once the model had settled into its circuit, it just kept climbing, getting closer and closer to the roof. Eventually the inevitable happened, and the wing crashed into a roof truss, and the model headed vertically earthwards until it met the floor. The motor and mounting plate flew out and started writhing around on the floor like an injured animal, and several bits flew off the model. Wheel spats were at odd angles as well, resulting in several holes in the tissue.

I had about 15 minutes to get it patched up for the second flight, and got to work with the cyano. The wing leading edge break just had to be left as is, so I had to hope the trim would not be too affected. The upper cowling only had one magnet left to hold it on, so that remained precariously balanced for the rest of the day. I should add at this point that I had not photographed the model before the first flight, so I am grateful to Bill Brown for the photograph above.

Anyway, I cobbled it back together for flight two, after thinking I had reduced the first stage flight timer. In fact, as it turned out, the difference to the previous flight was negligible. So, after another textbook takeoff, the model headed for the roof again, and started flying through the roof trusses, miraculously missing all the vertical members, until the wing just touched something up there, which dropped it and upset the flight. It took a couple of gentle stalls to recover, then picked up the circling pattern again, miraculously (again) still circling in the centre of the hall. Eventually I could hear the motor second stage kick in, and the Val began to slowly descend, and approached to do a textbook landing. It was, I think, the most nerve-shredding model flight I have ever done, but the judges seemed to like it and it got a nice round of applause from the spectators. The high score from the judges indicted that I cannot have been deducted too many points for interfering with the roof structure and in fact that score, plus reasonably good static points, was enough to win me the class. This is only the second time I have won anything at the Nats, so was very happy, especially with a new model.

Thanks to Jonathan Crossley, here is a video in wmv format of the Val's third flight, which was going very well until the turbulence-induced wobble (it looks like the model flew through its own slipstream) (file size 3.8 MB).

I had a new plane to enter in the peanut class as well, namely the Gotha 145. Once I had attached a battery of trim tabs to the bottom wings (well, four actually) to compensate for the incidence angle difference I had inadvertently built in, the model started circling nicely left without dropping the left wing and heading for the floor. As it was first time out, I gradually built up the flight times, rather than going for broke, so my best time was only 31 seconds from a take off, which gives 41 seconds when you add the 10 second ROG bonus. I am sure there is more to come, and I was very happy with sixth place first time out.

Before we get to the model photos, I must congratulate the organisers for arranging to have the full depth curtains deployed round the hall. These greatly reduced the damage incurred with a wall collision, though obviously not the subsequent drop to the floor!

The Curtains did have one disadvantage though, as the dark colour of the ones at the end of the hall meant a significant reduction in video quality whenever a model flew in front of them. At least it did with my camcorder. There was just not enough light, leading to grainy quality and pale colored models just got hopelessly overexposed as they flew in front of them. I am still going to include some videos of the flying, on the basis that poor quality is better than non at all, but apologies that the standard is not up the usual you have come to expect.

I think this was probably my favourite model from the event, Richard Crossley's 1/24 scale rubber open rubber entry of Tex Johnston's racing Bell Airacobra "Cobra 2", which won the Thompson Trophy in 1946. The model is built from the Diels Engineering kit, with just a couple of minor mods, namely increasing the tip dihedral by half an inch and increasing wing incidence to 3 degrees. The markings are home made decals printed onto clear decal sheet using a laser printer. The carrier film was invisible over the gloss yellow enamel finish.

The model flew very well, making very smooth take offs and landings with that tricycle undercarriage. You can see a video here (file size 2.7 MB). Richard finished second, behind Mike Hadland's familar Bucker Jungmann.

Another attractive yellow model entered in the open rubber class was this Bernard 191 "Oiseau Canari" by Reg Boor. The model put in three good qualifying flights, and finished 5th in class.

Andy Sephton brought this ABC Robin out of retirement to enter in the open rubber class, one which the model had won many years ago. The trim did not seem to have have been hugely affected by the long period of storage, and Andy finished just behind Reg in 6th position.

Tim Horne really loves his Goodyear racers, and arrived with another new one this year, a Misty I. The unusual scheme, complete with stitching, was very skillfully executed. As expected with a new model, Tim had some trimming difficulties, but did manage one qualifying flight in the open rubber class, finishing in overall 7th place.

After coming second in kit scale last year, Alasdair Deas turned up with a brand new model to enter in the Open Rubber class, this immaculately finished Hawker Cygnet, built from his own design. Unfortunately the model just failed to achieve a qualifying flight, but I am sure it will be competitive once the trim has been sorted.

Last year, Peter Smart struggled to get the 15 second qualifying time with his delightful wright Flyer, but this time with more rubber on board, the model was getting much higher, and put in a set of four excellent qualifying flights, eventually finishing fourth in class. You can see a video of the fourth flight here (file size 3.1 MB). The model is catapulted from its launch rail, much as the original was (though I don't think the Wright brothers used a rubber band).

This Vought Sikorsky Kingfisher was Graham Banham's entry in the Electric/CO2 class. The model is built from the Diels Engineering 1/24 plan and featured a nicely done airbrushed scheme. The model was a great, consistent flyer, powered by a Voodoo 25 electric motor, and exhibited the same long straight take-off run as my Val, before settling into left hand circuits. Unlike me, Graham was clever enough to adjust the timer settings to keep his model out of the roof! I am not sure why the static mark was not higher for this model, for it was only this that prevented the model from finished higher that fourth in class.

Thanks (again) to Jonathan Crossley, you can see a video of the Kingfisher in action here (wmv format, file size 3.8 MB).

Two Evans Volksplanes were entered in the Electric/CO2 class this year, this electric powered one belonging to Dave Hanks. Unfortunately the model kept running out of hall before it could do a circuit, so failed to register a qualifying flight.

Chis Strachan entered a Volksplane as well, but his was CO2 powered. The model put in a couple of good flights and finished 6th in class. Click here to see a video (file size 1.8 MB).

Laurence Marks brought along this very attractive Bristol M1D racer, built from the Aeromodeller plan and powered by a CO2 motor. The model certainly flew well enough, but had a knack of landing a fraction short of the required 15 second qualifying time.

As well as his Wright Flyer in the rubber class, Peter Smart had another early bird entered in the electric class, this charming Voisin Biplane. Built lightly, the model was a nice slow flyer and turned in a couple of decent qualifying flights. You can see one of them here (file size 3.4 MB).

Turning to the kit scale class now, this was the winning model - a Cessna 180 built from the Herr kit by Graham Banham. To show potential entrants what you have to beat, have a look at the video here (file size 2.9 MB).

Here is a model that brought back a few memories, A Keil Kraft Piper Super Cruiser, built by Dave Crompton. When I built one of these way back when, it was certainly not finished as nicely as this. Dave's model got the joint highest static mark of the class. The model finished 5th out of 17 entries, not at all bad for a first-timer! You can see one of the flights here (file size 2.2 MB).

This West Wings Westland Widgeon was built by John Churchill, and was another model that got a high static score, just 1 point away from the top mark.

Something a bit unusual in the kit scale class was this Fleet Canuck floatplane built by Chris Blanch from the Easy Built kit. Another good flyer as you can see here (file size 2.4 MB).

John Valiant entered this foam Messerschmitt Bf 109K in peanut scale. Best flight was a very impressive 54 seconds, and John finished second in class behind Mike Hadland's Bucker Jungmann.

I do like the Comper Swift, so was pleased to see this peanut sized example built by Ian Melville.

Probably the cutest model at the event was this Pistachio scale Pitts Special by Peter Smart which flew amazingly well for such a tiny model. With a best time of 42 seconds and top static marks, the model was a deserved class winner. You can see a video of the Pitts in action here (file size 3.2 MB).

I thought John Valiant was very brave building this lovely foam replica of the Keith Rider R-4 Schoenfeldt Firecracker for the rough and tumble of the air race.

Finally I thought you would like to see Peter Iliffe's latest masterpiece, an Albatros D.V. This is not actually a completely new model, as the wings have been taken from his previous D.III, which was damaged at Interscale. Peter was not happy with the way the repaired fuselage looked, so decided to build a new one - this time for a D.V. The wings now carry printed lozenge tissue rather than the painted camouflage that was there before.



Name Model Type Best two flights (sec) Flying place Static score Static place Total Overall place
Mike Hadland Bucker Jungmann 121 2 124.0 2 4 1
John Valiant Messerschmitt Bf109 105 5 103 5 10 2
Chris Blanch Grumman Turbo Ag Cat 112 3 92 8 11 3
Nick Peppiatt Tefft Contestor 107 4 91 9 13 4
Peter Boys Waco VKS 6/7 51 11 113 3 14 5
Mike Stuart Gotha Go 145 75 9 103 5 14 6
David Prior D.H.Hornet Moth 0 15 131 1 16 7
Reg Boor N.A. P-51D Mustang 17 13 108 4 17 8
Chris Strachan Wee Bee 142 1 0 16 17 9
Andy Sephton Lacey M.10 85 8 90 10 18 10
Roel Lucassen Gee Bee X 98 6 74 13 19 11
Nigel Druce Andreasson BA-4B 64 10 88 11 21 12
Brian Stichbury Andreasson BA-4B 92 7 67 14 21 13
Kevin Wallace Sopwith Bee 0 15 97 7 22 14
Tim Horne Legrand Simon L560 0 15 82 12 27 15
Divs Masters SE5A 28 12 0 16 28 16
Ian Melville Comper Swift 15 14 57 15 29 17


Name Model Type Best two flights (sec) Flying place Static score Static place Total Overall place
Peter Smart Pitts Special 79 5 75.0 1 6 1
Richard Crossley Polikarpov I-16 105 2 62.5 5 7 2
Divs Masters SE5A 28 7 74.0 2 9 3
Nick Peppiatt Lippisch Storch 122 1 44.0 8 9 4
Peter Boys Stearman PT-17 3 8 73.0 3 11 5
Chris Strachan Wittman Buster 82 4 56.0 7 11 6
Reg Boor Bristol Brownie 57 6 61.0 6 12 7
Andy Sephton Lacey M.10 89 3 41.0 9 12 8
Roel Lucassen Navy Wright NW-1 0 9 68.0 4 13 9


Name Model Type Best Flying Score Static Score Total Position
Mike Hadland Bucker Jungmann 1618.5 1564.0 3182.5 1
Richard Crossley Bell Aracobra 1506.0 1413.0 2919.0 2
Chris Strachan Bee Gee Baby 1497.0 1069.0 2566.0 3
Peter Smart Wright Flyer 1446.0 989.0 2435 4
Reg Boor Bernard 191 GR 1211.0 1161 2372.0 5
Andy Sephton ABC Robin 943.0 1215.0 2158.0 6
Tim Horne Misty I 838.0 1044.0 1882.0 7
Derek Knight Anec II - 1781.0 1781.0 8
Vibes Masters Cessna 180 1217.0 514.0 1731.0 9
Divs Masters SE5A - 1638.0 1638.0 10
Peter Boys Waco VKS 6/7 - 1455.0 1455.0 11
Alasdair Deas Hawker Cygnet - 1428.0 1428.0 12
Marc Rossen Monocoupe 810.0 594.0 1404.0 13
Ken Bates Parnell Pixie 268.0 787.0 1055.0 14
Kevin Wallace Lacey M.10 - 820.0 820.0 15


Name Model Type Best Flying Score Static Score Total Position
Mike Stuart Aichi D3A1 "Val" 1726.0 1275.0 3001.0 1
Divs Masters Sopwith Triplane 1369.5 1556.0 2925.5 2
Richard Crossley Douglas TBD Devastator 1384.0 1287.0 2671.0 3
Graham Banham Vought Sikorsky Kingfisher 1634.0 954.5 2588.5 4
Peter Smart Voisin biplane 1110.0 1092.5 2202.5 5
Chris Strachan Evans Volksplane 1179.0 463.0 1642.0 6
Nigel Druce Andreasson BA-4B 1118.5 284.0 1402.5 7
Laurence Marks Bristol M1D - 1241.5 1241.5 8
Dave Hanks Evans Volksplane - 610.0 610.0 9
Derek Knight D.H.87 Hornet Moth 268.0 - 268.0 10

Kit Scale Competition

Name Model Type Best two flight scores Static Score Total Position
Graham Banham Cessna 180 (Herr) 130 74 204 1
John Bailey Pilatus Turbo Porter 128 70 198 2
Ian Melville Taylorcraft (Herr) 102 84 186 3
Dan Mellor Piper Cub (Union) 109.5 70 179.5 4
Dave Crompton Piper Super Cruiser (KeilKraft) 81.5 87 168.5 5
David Whitehouse Hawker Fury (Veron) 105 60 165 6
Tim Milner Piper J3 Cub (West Wings) 90 73 163 7
chris Blanch Fleet Canuck (Easy Built) 89 69 158 8
David Ridgeway Auster AOP.9 (Veron) 98 77 175 9
David Ridgeway Luton Minor 80 69 149 10
John Churchill Westland Widgeon (West Wings) 57 86 143 11
Kevin Wallace Douglas Skyraider (Guillows) 76 66 142 12
Vibes Masters Cessna 180 (Herr) 72 67 139 13
Russ Lister Reggiane Re 2000 (Bluebottle) 46 87 133 14
Ken Bates Aeronca 27 76 103 15
Brian Stichbury SE5A - 61 61 16
Alex Marks P-47 Thunderbolt - 52 52 17

Previous page

Next page

Back to home page