BMFA Indoor Scale Nationals, 21st April 2002 - Part 1

It hardly seems 12 months since the last one, but here we were again at Nottingham University for the biggest scale indoor meeting of the season. Entries were slightly down on last year - 52 compared to 55, but there were plenty of new models on show, and many fine flights were made. As usual there was fun flying in the other hall, a swap-meet and SAMS Models in attendence, making it a good day out for those who did not enter the competitions. The Air Race and mass launch were also run again with entry open to all. The former is particularly good fun - I was helping Dave Hanks, and we managed to put his little Chief Oshkosh racer into the spectator balcony not once but twice during the 10 minute race!

Before the photos here is a quick reminder of the BMFA competition classes and their different rules. Please skip the next two paragraphs if you have just been reading about the 2001 event! 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.

This year I entered the Bucker Jungmeister in the Open Rubber class, and my PZL P.24 in the Peanut Scale class. Both flew pretty well, and the PZL did its best ever flight from a take-off of 39 seconds. Here is snap of it caught in mid-flight.



The Bucker ended up 5th place in class, and the PZL 7th - so not bad, but plenty of room for improvement! I've got to decide what to build for next year now......




One of the stars of the show was Richard Crossley's large rubber-powered Lockheed Electra. Constructed entirely of foam, the model uses a separate loop of rubber in each nacelle - each about 2.5 times the motor hook to peg distance. All four props go the same way round.



The model takes off nicely after a straight run, then settles into left hand circuits. Flight time is limited, but it achieved the required 15 second minimum. The model got a great response from the watching spectators.






Steven Glass had his new electric ducted fan Douglas Skyray painted and trimmed out ready for the event, and he was rewarded with 2nd place in the Electric/CO2 class. Steven told me he was able to fine tune the flight pattern in a much larger hall than the one at Nottingham, and gradually tighten the turn up using the adjustable vanes in the exhaust until he thought the model would circle within a normal sized sports hall.





The model flew very reliably during the contest, and scored excellent flying marks. Most impressive was the long straight take-off run before the model settled into its right hand pattern. This was another favourite with the crowd!






Peter Iliffe's 1/24 scale Albatros D.V was a fantastic example of craftsmanship - an absolutely gorgeous piece of work, and one I would have been very hesitant to risk by flying it! The level of detail is amazing, and the fuselage is constructed, as per the original, from wooden panels, in this case attached to wound laminated balsa formers.



Cockpit detail was immaculate, as was the exposed engine - scale ribbing of course, and printed lozenge tissue (as found elsewhere on this site). Power is from a Gasparin G.28 CO2 motor, and all-up weight 30 grams.



I am happy to report that the model did fly, and survived unscathed, coming fourth in class, and winning Peter the novice award. With a bit more work on the trim, this model is definitely a potential class winner.




Chris Strachan was flying this new Peanut scale Hurlburt Hurricane Goodyear racer, built from Dave Livesay's plans (download available here). The model flew very well, and on one flight completed two full circuits up in the roof structure, miraculously avoiding everything! It finished in fifth place in the Peanut class.







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