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    • Sydney Lenssen
      Can F3J survive the treatment meant to save it
      What are the new rules?
      Two weeks ago the RC Soaring Technical Meeting in Lausanne took the bull by the horns and introduced new rules aimed at saving F3J glider contests from sliding off the world and continental championship schedules - the death of what for many soaring pilots is the most popular of silent flight competitions.
      Joe Wurts, the first F3J World Champion in 1998 at Upton-upon Severn, UK. Twenty years later with the latest F3J WC about to take place in Romania, many soarers are fearing that this could be the last.

      THE NEW RULES
      From next year pilots can use electric winches - either/or hand held winches - for launching their models. The models must have a maximum surface area of 150 dm2 and a minimum loading of at least 20 gm/dm2. There will be no dropped round in fly-offs, and no reflights for mid-air collisions after 60 seconds into the slot.
      CIAM, the world ruling body for this class is hoping that its new rules will halt the massive fall in numbers of F3J pilots wishing to compete, sixty per cent over the past five years and still falling, and restore its popularity.
      But among many F3J pilots, the bull is still shaking its horns. There has been an extraordinary shock reaction: hundreds of pilots from all over the world have reacted on social media, protesting, angry and forecasting the end of this class. Many pilots are concerned, ranging from previous finalists and champions to your typical enthusiast who enjoys travelling across country and continental boundaries to participate in their friendly sport. Only a few can see the logic and reasoning and are prepared to wait and see how the changes work in practice. More than a few want CIAM to think again!
      In all fairness, while not condoning some of the rude remarks, I still have severe doubts that F3J will survive. What I hope to write here is a sober report on F3J problems and why I believe that rules revision is vital. I remain hopeful that CIAM’s approved changes prove to be a step in the right direction.
      WHY CHANGE MUST HAPPEN
      How many pilots and helpers do you need to run an F3J competition?
      Last summer I was shocked when speaking to Arijan Hucaljuk, world and european F3J champion in 2016 and 2017, to find that he had flown only one new F3J model that year. In Croatia there had been so few pilots wanting to qualify for Slovakia. He now has more F5J models and flew in this class more often than not.
      In Britain, a survey was made of committed and earlier regular F3J pilots, asking their intentions for 2017. With great regret BARCS came to the conclusion that the F3J league to determine the national team could not be run. In previous years half a dozen or so qualifying rounds were contested. So GBR team 2017 was scrubbed and for the first time ever we had no team entered. Same applies this year for the Romanian world championship.
      The BARCS committee reckoned that to run a typical one day low-key friendly contest you need to attract at least 16 pilots, and that would only give you four pilots per slot. Any last minute absentees would render the day scarcely possible. The days have gone when winning a place in the national team was the pride and joy of keen F3J pilots.
      The numbers problem is not limited at national level. Despite the high entry fees payable to FAI championships for pilots, helpers and team managers, reduced entries increase the financial risk of running a championship. Until recently, opening and award ceremonies found the whole host town gathering in the main squares, sharing and enjoying the sight and excitement of pilots from so many countries. But they cost money.
      The vital point is that to survive F3J must attract more pilots.
      Why are numbers falling around the world? Main reasons are that as pilots grow older they cannot find the energy, ability and will to tow, and feel uneasy about not sharing the effort. The cost of models - competitive ones - has reached a level that deters all but the richest and keenest of youngsters and dads. When you do find a “youngster” - somebody no older than say 30 - he finds that he is trying to make friends with people 20 and sometimes 50 years older. The chance of an immediate meeting of minds and enjoyment are slim.
      To survive as a class, F3J needs to go back to square one, the era in the 1980s when pilots from Holland, France, Germany and England found that they could meet to compete two or three times each summer, the birth of Eurotouring. The gliders they flew were often rudder/elevator. Single man tows were in order and the two-man variety was still 10 years away. Why was it popular? The participants were keen to see and watch F3B pilots, but that was a difficult sport taking greater skills, distance, speed and duration, three separate tasks. 
      Why can’t we compete with something much simpler they would ask: simple duration with a 10 minute slot time, plenty of time to natter and swap experiences, and most pilots did not even launch on the buzzer - you waited until somebody bold enough found what looked like good lift.  
      OK, that is oozing nostalgia and we are never to see such times again. But the lesson is that we need to find something much simpler and cheaper if we want to attract new people join the fun. F3J was born to be a simple thermal soaring contest, easy for anyone to join.
      A look at the new rules
      In March the CIAM 2018 agenda was published and Uncle Sydney’s Gossip column was revived to comment, and I made a mistake in concentrating on the proposal to allow winches for F3J launching. The main emphasis should have been given to the changes in the model’s specification, size weight and wing loading.
      The Slovakian proposal for the meeting was that the weight of the model should be at maximum 1.7 kg, a very strange idea aimed at reducing costs. But as most delegates agreed, this did not address the issues.
      The best and most convenient method of reducing the flight performance of F3J, as spelled out by Philip Kolb two years ago, is to limit the span and insist on a minimum wing loading.
      What CIAM has decided is to go for a minimum surface loading, 20gm/dm2 and maximum surface area. I am told that other simpler options were debated, higher loading up to 23/25 gm/dm2, or a far easier, simpler to process requiring weight to be divided by the wing span with a minimum weight of say 0.6 kg per metre span.
      Don’t be surprised if all these numbers in the rules are changed after trial runs in the years to come.
      I don’t see that the new rules will necessitate many pilots to buy new models. It will be easy if necessary to simply add ballast. It will be interesting if the manufacturers find it necessary to develop new approaches to optimise performance. I have not seen so far any computer simulations to estimate the increase in sinking speeds and consequent loss of flight time.
      What I understand is that in straight flight the higher wing loading will hardly affect sinking speeds. But flight times will reduce markedly in circular flight when to you fly into a patch of weak lift and you seek to centre the thermal. My own rough guess was to recognise that 150 dm2 max. area at 20 gm/dm2 equals 3 kg which I often ballast to in typical  UK winds. Unballasted my two current Supras weigh in at 2.1 and 2.3 kg.
      Most experienced F3J pilots appreciate the excellent development work over the last 20 years put in by the main designers, producers and their dealers, in aerodynamics and materials and building techniques. CIAM’s new rules appear to protect producers from requiring to retool drastically, although some may not agree with that!
      When the CIAM agenda was sent out before the meeting the proposal to allow winch launching gave little or no detail or rules to determine the specification of the winch and battery, and how winches would be used in the competition. It was indicated that the same specifications would be used as in F3B and that seems to have been followed in the issued minutes.
      The minutes also say that for world and continental championships a maximum of six winches and six batteries may be used at any time on the winch line by each working team. Interchanging among winches and batteries…is totally  the responsibility of the competitor.
      This appears to hint at what the rule makers mean to happen. Critics have wanted to know if winches and batteries are to be allowed to stay in place in the safety corridor, and how would the launching spots be arranged along the corridor? For any one round, the three man team will fly from one spot, with its six winches plus batteries. These are then cleared away to be laid out again in the next round at a different launching point along the line. 
      There has also been speculation that if the number of teams competing exceeds the number of flight lines available, then two teams could occupy each launch point and the matrix could ensure that only one pilot would need to fly in that slot. That means two lots of six winches and batteries on the spot.
      FAI championships progress at a leisurely pace and swapping positions along the line will even out fairness. 
      It all sounds complicated but also feasible. What is not clear at present is what happens if hand towing is taking place also somewhere along the line, a potentially dangerous situation can easily occur. A few pilots I have spoken to feel that it won’t take long for winches to dominate and hand towing to disappear.
      HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE MEDIA
      The following section contains a selection of edited entries from Facebook, RC Groups and BARCS websites which give a flavour of what the world’s pilots thinking.
      Darius Mahmoudi: was among the earliest inviting comments on CIAM decisions made by people not wanting us to keep F3J and its quality, or simply don’t understand what we do.
      Jo Grini: F3K and F5J classes have rocketed sky high, possibly making F3B and F3J smaller. We should have come up with solutions that make it easier for new pilots and younger to enter.
      Dominik Prestele: That rules are ****. We maybe gain 10 people and lose 100.
      Massimo Verardi:  The new rules are not enough to change something but enough to make a lot of confusion.
      Thomas Schoenbucher: Better decision would be to allow bungee. The funny fact is, I have enough old planes in the basement.
      Marco Generali: In many countries the national championships already use winches, a small disadvantage while travelling, but less trouble than bringing a full team of towers. The 20gm/dm2 wing loading is a big limitation given the 1500 gm planes seen in recent years, but only the small amount of dead condition flights will be affected.
      Marco Juznic: Keep the rules like they are, people who like F3J will continue to fly and help each other. Sooner or later people from F5J will come back because F5J will be overcrowded.
      Tuomo Kokkonen:  In many countries winches are needed otherwise running a 10 pilot competition is not possible. But that does not mean that international F3J rules have to be changed. Eurotour flying as we know it will stop, and there is a danger F3J will die in Europe.
      Joe Wurts: The conception of F3J was to bring back the “good old days” where stick and tissue open frame aircraft could have a world championship event. Prior to the first WCs I forecast that the event would evolve  to very high technology carbon fibre airframes with even higher strength/weight ratios than the F3B planes. It took a while, but this outcome eventually happened.
      Conny Ulvestaf:  Not all pilots can get the super duper light models, now with the 20gm limit all will have the same equipment. F3J has had fantastic development in the last 5 years. Will this stop now? Probably. Is this good? Probably not.
      Cederic Duss:  We need to find a way to push people to come. A winch won’t help.
      Tobias Laemmlein:  Even worse than I was hoping. In a way we need to accept the new rules. I could live with the wing loading thing This will increase the level of competitive challenge and makes the pure thermal task more appealing. The leading edge in aeroplane development anyways has shifted towards F5J already. The winch will kill F3J, at least from the perspective that I, and let me guess many others too, the simplicity and the team.
      Thomas Kiesling: For those that travel by air, winches are far cheaper than bring dedicated towmen. I’m not sure winches will save the class, but I also don’t think they should be a reason to kill it. There still will be a team aspect. It will just be different. Not necessarily better or worse, just different.
      Graham Wicks: I have a nice Hollenbeck winch for sale. The 20 gm wing loading is like trying to take a step backwards. In the modern world you don’t reverse technology.
      Joe Wurts: Lots of heartfelt comments. I remember making similar proclamations  of doom when HLG transitioned to DLG nearly two decades ago. Then I flew some DLG and got on board with the concept and my negative thought went by the wayside. One of the reasons why I’m not attending this year’s F3J WC is that we could not sort out a full team with helpers.
      Tuomo Kokkonen: What do you think will happen to F3J Eurotours. Is there a practical way to continue despite the rule change?
      Darius Mahmoudi:  I just can speak for my Contest in Riesa. If we continue next year, there will be local rules to mitigate this. But my concern is that there won’t be a lot of pilots left to participate.
      Erik Dahl Christensen: It will always be valuable for subcommittee members to receive as much information and perspective as possible from  pilots with hands-on knowledge  from all classes. I know that Ralf Decker has made and tested a system to detect the exact release point and height. It was tested 2/3 years ago and can be used to make F3J look even more like F5J with more than time gain from  low launches. Is anybody interested?
      Daryl Perkins: I for one am good with the winch rule. In this country (US) we had to fly off winches to keep F3J from dying.  I do understand that many of you will be against winches. At some point you will have to face the fact that without new blood coming into soaring, the use of winches becomes a necessary evil. I am quite disappointed with the minimum loading rule. It accomplishes nothing but shifting optimum design for each given condition. What it has done is turn the clock back 10 years….I don’t like to see technology going backwards.
      Ryan Hollein:  It would be a pity if we change the rules and start with winches. We were flying in a German/Cyprus mix team (in Lviv) and had no problem getting our planes up. If we needed something there was always someone who offered us his help. This year I participated in 3 competitions flying with pilots from 7 different countries and we had lots of fun - and some problems understanding each other.
      Philip Kolb: A minimum weight limit has little or no meaning as long as it does not come along with a maximum span limit. To emphasise thermal flying skills my proposal would be to implement a “sporty” definition of minimum weight and maximum span - say 2 kg and 3 metres??? - FUN!
      Joe Wurts: 2kg and 3 metres kinda reminds me of the very first F3J planes!
      I like the span limitation concept, maybe even more than a minimum weight limit. My only concern is visibility. My eyes aren’t getting any younger!
      Jim Soars: Holy crap, winches are approved. I can’t wait to see the logistics of the flight line in a large competition.
      isoaritfirst: I would be looking for the thrill of a nice thermal or the fun of hanging onto a small one. I’m less interested in sticking my nose in the dirt. Flying gliders is an attractive and competitive game. Perhaps F3J has concentrated too much on the comp at the expense of the grace, which attracted most of us into flying gliders in the first place.
      Maria Freeman: If it is about “thermalling”, then reduce launch heights or increase slot times.
      Bob Dickenson: I guess that we all ought to just get on with enjoying our flying as much as we can, while we can.
      Austin:  If they are serious about saving F3J, then this comes to mind…
      Wing span max 3.1 m Minimum weight 2100g Maximum weight 2200g Nose radius should be fat to reduce dart board landings Single man tow with pulley and 130m line Line thickness max 1.15mm Pilots must use timer/launcher from opposing teams when not flying Pilots must not receive any advice or spotting from their timer/launcher unless it is a safety matter Bring back discard after six rounds flown I am taking models back in time I know, but wasn’t it great then?
      Richard Swindells: Austin’s ideas are great had they been implemented 10-15 years ago. However the bird has already flown the nest for F3J.
      Models we are flying today launch higher, travel further and sink slower compared to what we were flying 10 years ago. Although sink rates might not have halved, overall performance has at least doubled.
      WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
      There is still a long way to go to sort out a whole host of questions. It is fortunate that these new rules will not be required until 2019, but I hope that opportunities will be used to test any new systems. We do not want to see a real championship frustrated by having to stop and debate how to proceed.
      I think it would also be sensible to clarify the best way to continue with Eurotour events. It would be simple to just carry on with present existing and tested rules. There is a strong and important link between FAI and Contest Eurotour, and most of the Eurotour events carry the FAI symbol and flag. No reason to run championships and Eurotour with the same rules.
      Sydney Lenssen

    • Radioglide 2018 returns to the BMFA National Centre near Grantham over the late May Bank holiday 26th - 28th. With the centre facilities now maturing, this year’s event should prove to be one of the most exciting with four action packed competitions, the BARCS AGM and the return of the popular Soaring Market Swap Meet.
      Saturday 26th will see the running of the prestigious BMFA F5B National Championships, sharing the field with a BARCS ELG competition. The latter is open to BARCS members only and offers the opportunity to fly a double entry of Open and either 2 metre or electric 100” at a discounted rate. BARCS members who enter both the ELG and the subsequent F5J event benefit from a further £5 discount for the two £25 down from £30.
      Sunday sees the F3K DLG’s take to the field alongside day one of a 2 day F5J competition run to UK variation rules. In the evening, the formal side of proceedings take place in the conference hall with the AGM, as announced elsewhere, commencing at 6.00pm followed at around 7.00pm with the running of a free bring and buy swap meet for you to bring along your pre-loved soaring items to pass on to new homes and pass the time chatting to fellow enthusiasts.
      On Monday, the final rounds of the F5J competition will complete.
      The on field activities are subject of course to the weather.
      Those who wish may camp on the field, whilst those who prefer more comfort should find plenty of local accommodation to suit their pocket. See BMFA National Centre for more information.
      Entries can be made online HERE
      Alternatively enter by completing the form below as per instructions on the form (F5B entries to be via BMFA website at BMFA F5B Nats).
      RADIOGLIDE Entry Form 2018.docx
      RADIOGLIDE Entry Form 2018.pdf

    • Can winch approval save F3J?

      By Sydney Lenssen, in F3J,

      Rule changes to halt terminal decline
      Uncle Sydney’ Gossip column returns
      FAI’s Aeromodelling Commission meets next month, 27/28 April 2018 in Lausanne, Switzerland. For F3J pilots the main topic on the agenda is how to halt the decline in silent flight contests. What does CIAM want to change?  What chance for these changes to save terminal decline?
      Winches to be allowed.
      If this proposal goes through the “launch of the model aircraft will be by hand held towline or winch.” Ever since 1998 when the first F3J world championships were held at Upton on Severn, pressure has been on CIAM to bring in winch launching. At numerous team managers’ meetings held by Jury President Bartovsky during World and European championships, arguments for and against have raged. Many countries do not have enough people to give one or two man tows, so they run their qualifying comps to local rules using electric winches. I guess more than half of countries do this. When they turn up at FAI championships, their pulleys and hand winches are brought out. In the UK perhaps we had one or two practice sessions at home before leaving.
      Certainly there is a difference between a regulation F3B winch and a two man tows. The best pilots still gain the most height either way. The big difference is what you need to carry on your travels, especially by airline. Winches and batteries are bulky and heavy. So far all votes have been to stick with hand towing.
      In CIAM agendas, any rule amendment is followed by its reasoning. 
      The winch proposal stems from Slovakia and they say: “The majority of pilots are older persons who are no longer physically capable of towing models. ( Uncle’s note: I have not seen anyone on crutches yet!) 
      “Also smaller teams lack helpers capable of towing. There is also the problem that some pilots are unwilling to assist other pilots because of their physical condition. The winches are widely used in other categories and also at many F3J home competitions.”
      Allow me to remind overseas Gossip readers that the UK has used winch launching for many years. Two years ago BARCS surveyed F3J pilots asking whether or not they intended to continue competing for the next year. About 50 established pilots replied and only eight replied positively. With great regret the BARCS committee decided that contests could not be run with that number: running the qualifying league to select GBR national teams was impossible, and for the time being F3J contests would not be organised. Since then two invitations to resume and run an F3J comp have fallen on deaf ears.
      Returning to the supporting data prepared by Slovakia in the agenda document. “The number of pilots in F3J category is decreasing rapidly. In the last 2-3 years the number of pilots at World Cup or Eurotour competitions has decreased by circa 60%. People are switching to other categories, hence the rules should be designed in the way that motivates them to carry on flying.
      “In case the use of winches would be considered, we propose to apply same rules as the rules regulating the use of winches in F3B category, maximum starting current to be 510 Ah and cable length to be 150 m.”
      In my personal experience and I have attended several FAI championships in Slovakia over the last 15 years, and their organisation of contests is amongst the very best in the world. They are aware that the changes proposed are radical, and they have consulted widely with pilots and trainers from different countries. People agree that the change in F3J rules is inevitable to keep the category alive.
      Rarely have the arguments for change in FAI rules been put so strongly.
      I shall be surprised if the new rule is not adopted, but it is not a foregone conclusion. My query at this stage is that the proposal appears to allow winch towing alongside hand towing which could prove difficult if not dangerous and unsafe. The proposal is also not clear on the location of the winch’s turnaround pulley with respect to the launch line/safety corridor, line length or how long winches and batteries would be allowed to stay on the launch line.
      There are one or two other rule proposals. Australia thinks that the winners of fly-offs should be determined by the sum of all scores with no discards.
      Present rule states that if six or more fly-off rounds are flown, then each pilot’s lowest score can be discarded. 
      This proposal is so sensible and surely it must be approved. The reasoning? If no discards had been allowed, then the senior winners in the 2012, 2014 and 2016 F3J World Championships would have gone to different pilots; Joe Wurts in 2016, Joe Wurts in 2014 and in 2012 in South Africa, Jan Littva would have been champion.
      One other significant change, also submitted by Slovakia, deals with the characteristics of F3J gliders. The new suggested rule is that the minimum flying mass should 1.7 kg, with the added phrase, weight of models may be checked randomly immediately after landing during the contest. I don’t follow this change. The reasoning given does not help either. 
      “The price of models is very high and pilots, especially juniors, can no longer afford new models. As a result the number of pilots is decreasing rapidly. Instead of motivating juniors, the number of juniors is decreasing.” That statement is true, but how relevant is minimum weight?
      Will the rule changes save F3J?
      In July 2014 after the F3J World Championships in Martin, Slovakia, that I wrote a Gossip column entitled “F3J is in terminal decline”. It reported on the team managers’ technical meeting led by Tomas Bartovsky and several topics were discussed: models had become very expensive, fewer junior pilots, accurate timekeeping at glider release and landing, and the steady reduction in pilot numbers. 
      Several experienced pilots suggested way to make F3J more attractive, such as having a maximum wingspan and a minimum wing loading, because the available models produced by skilled manufacturers were now too good. In reasonable weather, in the summer months of the championship season, many pilots find flying 10 minutes is easy.
      The simplest and best summary of today’s falling number problems is that F3J is not the sort of competition which appeals to an ever larger number of aeromodellers. In the early 1990s, F3J set out to be the simple thermal glider competition, easy for anyone to join, contrasting with F3B which demands far greater expertise.
      This Gossip column produced a world-wide response, not only on the BARCS website  but also through RCSD and RC Groups in USA and around the world. More than 100 modellers wrote in, more than a few very critical of my words “terminal decline.” But it was encouraging that many well known pilots - Kolb, Wurts, Paddon and many others - responded with constructive ideas for future action to boost F3J popularity.
      Bob Owston, famous for designing and building his own models, wrote:
      “I am generally against limiting performance via design constraints such as wing loading and areas, there is a case for limiting the international class to a 2.4 metre (100 inch) span. This would reduce costs, particularly for youngsters, be more manageable and render the class competitive for homebuilders. Ailerons and flaps would be permitted.”
      In my view Philip Kolb came with the best solution: Limit the span, (a maximum span limit), and wing loading, (a minimum wing loading), both at the same time.
      Several contributors suggested more efforts to show friends and youngsters the magic of thermal soaring, use non-stretch tow line with one towman and no spotters. Keep everything simple! Whatever change you make, remember that climbing in a thermal is the main reason and attraction of  the sport, not launching or landing. 
      Uncle Sydney’s verdict
      I welcome that CIAM has recognised that unless changes are made, F3J is likely to disappear. I admire the efforts of the US pilots, for example, where over recent years Daryl Perkins and several other stalwarts have cajoled and encouraged enough pilots to travel thousands of miles over a fair spread of the continent in sufficient numbers to run a competitive league. 
      In other parts of the world - Canada, Australia, Japan, Argentina - fighting for a place in the country’s national team is far more difficult in terms of logistics than Europe with its Eurotour events. Survival of F3J depends massively on the efforts of pilots who were engaged from the start of the class and were often in the past amongst the more successful winners. Sadly we are all growing older and less able to cope with the rigours involved. They should now try to identify those who will follow. 
      Allowing winches is perhaps a start in the rehabilitation process, but by itself is not sufficient.  After next month’s meeting it will be two years before new rule changes are allowed. Let us hope that does not turn out to be too late. 
       

    • BARCS AGM 2018

      By Nick Jackson, in BARCS,

      BARCS 2018 Annual General Meeting will be held at 6pm 27 May, Buckminster Lodge, Sewstern, Grantham. NG33 5RW
      Venue is the BMFA National Centre and timing is the Sunday evening of Radioglide. The AGM will be followed at 7pm by a glider swap meet. (Swap Meet details tba).
      Nominations for officers or member of the Committee should be sent to me by 28 March.
      (I need to know the proposer and seconder and to have the agreement of the nominee. Please PM me - ‘Nick Jackson’ - or email jackson272894@yahoo.com with any nominations or queries.)
      Proposals for the AGM should be sent to me by 27 April
      (I need to know the proposer and seconder. In some cases (as indicated in the Constitution) more than one seconder is required. Please PM me - ‘Nick Jackson’ - or email jackson272894@yahoo.com with any proposals or queries.)
      Please do attend the AGM if at all possible and have your say there. Please also consider joining the Committee, which is keen to have additional members.
      Nick Jackson, BARCS Hon. Sec.

    • Tribute to Chris Moynihan

      By Sydney Lenssen, in BARCS,

      CHRIS MOYNIHAN - November 1945-February 2018
      Recently chairman of both BMFA and BARCS
      Always looking for lift: Chris Moynihan on the visit of the Barcs committee to Buckminster Lodge, the BMFA’s National Flying Centre, in preparation for RADIOGLIDE 2017. The event was the first major competition to be held at the Centre.
      From the left, Gary Binnie, Barcs Chairman; Chris, already ill although few knew it at the time; Manny Williamson, BMFA’s key leader in NFC’s development and side view of Peter Allen, now Barcs treasurer.

      Farewell to the best friend of all British aeromodellers
      The death this week of Chris Moynihan is very sad. He will be sorely missed. Graham James who has known Chris, flown in the same club together and worked together for BARCS over many years, has written an worthy tribute. I would like to add a few words. He was a good friend and such a hero.
      A few years ago, the UK F3J world was in a turmoil because of arguments over the lack of rules for winches. Some pilots had more powerful winches than others - seen as an unfair advantage. All winches and batteries must be certified as in F3B contests said some pilots, others reckoned the extra burden of testing would deter recruits with pilot numbers already dropping. A majority of the existing league competitors were not bothered one way or other.
      A ruling had to be made by SFTC, the silent flight technical committee of BMFA, Britain’s body responsible for FAI soaring affairs. Although I was not on this committee I was invited to attend the meeting to help resolve the impasse which had arisen. Only a few SFTC members flew F3J, but they were all eager to make their ruling.
      After a couple of hours of stalemate, Chris said that he would review what had been argued, and picked his way carefully and accurately through all the arguments. He patiently demonstrated that we were not at loggerheads but indeed very close to agreeing a solution. He was masterly at resolving a vexatious issue. For me it was a lesson and technique that I had not been conscious of before. He would certainly help the current Brexit shambles.
      At BARCS committee, Chris kept us up to date with relevant BMFA developments, especially the new National Flying Centre. He always seemed to have simple solutions which would help progress matters to everyone’s advantage. He was always able to name people who had expertise and could help. He seemed to know every flying site across the country.
      I shall miss his expertise, humour, common sense and intellect. Aeromodellers in this country are the poorer without him.
      Sydney Lenssen, February 2018

    • Chris Moynihan

      By grj, in BARCS,

      It is with great sadness that we report the passing, on Tuesday 6th February, of the former BARCS President and BMFA Chairman Chris Moynihan at the age of 72, following a long battle with cancer.
      I stood alongside Chris for many years in his roles on the BARCS Committee as Secretary, Chairman and President of the organisation. He was a man of great integrity, drive and ambition, always pushing to improve the lot of aeromodelling in the UK. He fought hard to form close alliance between BARCS and the BMFA sacrificing his position as BARCS Chairman to re-election on a platform of affiliating BARCS to the BMFA. In more recent times he has been a strong advocate for the BMFA  National Flying Centre, bringing his ambition to fruition, as the Chairman of BMFA, with the opening of Buckminster Lodge last year. He also bought his negotiation skills to the table in discussions with aviation bodies including the CAA.

      Many will remember competing against Chris in Open Competition, where his dogged determination to win would be ably demonstrated. In particular he was well remembered in fly off situations, on occasion campaigning what might best be described as ‘behind the edge’ technology, in large floaty ‘free flight’ style models and beating more sophisticated designs. I remember him talking at a Thames Valley Silent Flyers meeting about tips on lift detection and spoke somewhat tongue in cheek, of allowing his neck hair to grow, so that he might feel the change in wind direction that indicted lift in the flat calm of a late afternoon fly off. He was winner of many competitions at national level particularly in Open and 100s classes, taking Midland League, Radioglide and Victor Ludorum awards on several occasions and was awarded a Fellow of BARCS in honour of his services to the organisation.
      Although primarily known for his thermal soaring prowess, his love of aviation ran deep in both modelling and full size. He was a member at the Shuttleworth Museum often attending their summer evening flying displays. As BMFA Chairman he attended many flying events and was enthusiastic about all aspects of the hobby, particularly fascinated by the skills of the free flight scale modeller and the ingenuity of the ‘heavy lift’ student challenge. He enjoyed all forms of slope soaring, organising trips to North Wales for TVSF where he would fly everything from Phase 5, 60” slope racers and quarter scale gliders through to a pioneering PSS SE5a. He also enjoyed Sunday flying of electric aerobatic and oldtimer models at his local club field, followed by some lively debate with the pub crowd on a Sunday lunchtime
      Chris was a Manchester lad who had great affection for the Red side of his home town. Having worked for many years in human resources, Chris’s career saw him move around the globe and in particular South America. A geography graduate, Chris had rekindled his interests in recent years and studied Geology, participating in field trips on coastal walks and welsh mountain scrambles to indulge his passion.
      Chris is survived by his wife Anne-Marie, two Children Paul and Amy plus grandchildren.
      His funeral will take place on Monday 19th February at St Joseph's Church Gerrands Cross SL9 8RY, followed by a service at Chilterns Crematorium, Amersham and a reception to follow, details will be confirmed at a later date. If you would like more information on this, please contact me directly grjinflight@yahoo.com
      Rest in peace Chris. Your friends will remember you.
      Graham James
       

    • Entry is now open for Interglide 2018. The event will take place over the weekend 23rd - 24th June at the same location as last year. Full details together with online and postal entry is available on the Interglide website. Entry has been open two days and already there are 9 pilots from France entered.  
      https://www.interglide.co.uk/
      Report from the 2017 event can be seen here https://www.interglide.co.uk/2017-results
       

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