BMFA Indoor Scale Nationals, 27th April 2003 - Page 1

One of the highlights of the free flight scale modelling year for me is always the BMFA Indoor Nationals and this year's event was as enjoyable as always. The best thing about the event is chatting to fellow modellers and seeing old friends again. It is a real luxury to be able to talk modelling all day with fellow enthusiasts. In my humble opnion, you couldn't wish to meet a nicer bunch of people!

Entries were slightly down on last year - 50 compared to 52, but quite a few new models were in evidence, and there was a dramatic revival in the Pistachio class, which had no less than 10 entries this time. As usual there was fun flying in the other hall 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.

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.

This year I entered my Mitsubishi Claude in the Open Rubber class, as I had finally managed to persuade it to keep away from the walls when flown indoors, and my new Corben Super Ace in the Peanut Scale class. Both flew fairly well, The Claude eventually finishing 6th. Here is a shot of it with the new scale prop I had hurredly made the day before the contest.

The Corben finished up well down the field in the Peanut class, but I had a lot of fun flying it.

Derek Knight won the Open Rubber class with an extensively rebuilt and repainted version of his Electric D.H.82 Tiger Moth. As it flew round, you could swear it was still electric powered, but the whirring noise came from the neat gearbox installed behind the nose block. The first two flights were affected by a slight stall, but Derek fixed this for the two second round flights, which were both excellent.

Derek's electric powered Bristol M1B, powered by three geared KP-00 motors, was also flying very nicely, as these photos show.

The model finished third in class with a very impressive points tally.

One of the real crowd-pleasers from the event was Chris Strachan's rubber powered Facetmobile. This odd machine could best be described as a home-built lifting body, without any conventional wings or tailplane. This is Chris's second Facetmobile model, and based on his experiences with the first one, he had reinforced some of the fuselage structure with carbon fibre to stop the tissue distorting them.

The flying behaviour was rather eccentric, as the model took off steeply pointing straight at the far wall, turning slightly right. Just before it hit the wall, it turned sharp left, and picked up a nice left hand circling pattern, before straightening up to land.

As Charlie Newman pointed out in his flight commentry, Radio assist should not really be allowed at an indoor free flight event!

I have a soft spot for Waco cabin biplanes, and Peter Boys brought along this beautiful new Peanut scale VKS 6/7 model. The model got a very good static score, and a best flight of 35 seconds.

Richard Crossley built this delightful Pistachio scale model of the Martynside Semiquaver from foam. The realistic wing ribs are just airbrushed on (very convincingly). The small span made for quite a large model (by Pistachio standards).

Completely untrimmed before the event, Richard soon got it flying after adding quite a lot of noseweight (to the propellor hub). The model came joint top in static, and finished 2nd overall. Best flight was 26 seconds.

Barrie Pursglove entered this nicely finished model of a Fairey Swordfish, based on the Aerographics kit, in the open rubber class.

How about this for an unusual Peanut scale subject? Gerard Moore built this attractive Savoia S.13 which was circling around the hall very nicely. The removable motor stick is necessary for rubber flying.

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