It is widely accepted within F3J circles, BARCS and the BMFA that recent efforts, while well intentioned, to expand the participation of flyers in this soaring class have not proved successful. The much hoped for expansion of the league in 2011 and 2012 has effectively resulted in little in the way of a wider overall participation and the polarisation of the league North and South. 2012 has shown a further reduction in the overall number of competitors. Despite the sterling efforts of the league manager and the respective organisers, co-ordinators and the helpers both North and South league rounds have struggled to secure sufficient entries to ensure viable and scoring competitions. Competitors will know that the minimum number of competing pilots has been set at 15 for the competition to count towards the league and also selection for the UK F3J international team.
The declared objective of the BMFA F3J league is to increase the popularity of F3J and to provide a fair and merit based platform for the selection of a UK international team. Regrettably, it is evident that
- the league, as it is designed, has failed to secure the increase in popularity/participation;
- the UK team has been dominated by pilots prepared to compete at the 3 designated UK national (premier) competitions or who compete in Europe; and
- the decision to move both the Nationals and Radio glide to a one day format has resulted in the entry lists to both being dominated by pilots who live within 3 hours travel time of both locations.
So where do we go from here? The considered view that has emerged is that doing nothing is not an option. There appears to be common acceptance within BARCS and the BMFA that the F3J league format needs to change to
- encourage greater participation in locally organised competitions (which could be smaller and with varying levels of skill amongst the pilots);
- encourage a greater number and broader geographic representation amongst pilots wishing to compete to represent the UK at European and World Championships; and
- provide a more challenging competition format for the selection of pilots for the UK team and which is more reflective of the European and World’s competition format.
At its meeting in December the SFTC received and approved a proposal to reorganise the format of the F3J League for 2013 and thereafter and the basis by which pilots will in future compete for selection to the UK international team.
F3J League: Changes to take effect from January 2013
To attempt to encourage wider participation, it is proposed that
- there should be no limit to the number of local F3J competitions that count towards the BMFA F3J league.
- each competition to be run to BMFA F3J rules
- a minimum of 3 rounds must be flown for the competition to count towards the league
- each competition will be scored on a percentage basis with highest qualifying pilot for the fly off being awarded a score of 100 points. No additional points will be awarded in terms of the position achieved within a fly off.
- a pilot may compete in as many BMFA recognised F3J competitions as he/she chooses.
- the aggregate score from the best of 4 results of each pilot in each year will count towards establishing the pilot’s league position.
- A pilot’s qualifying percentage score (not including the fly off bonus points) from any of the 3 premier competitions (see below) will also count towards the BMFA F3J league.
- the highest (aggregate) scoring pilot will be declared the champion of the BMFA F3J League for that year;
- in the event of two or more pilots achieving the same aggregate total score, the highest individual competition score of each pilot within the 4 results will be used to determine the champion. If the individual scores are identical a tie will be declared; and
- the champion will be awarded a BMFA trophy in recognition of that achievement.
In order to encourage local competitions, the minimum entry number and the numbers in a slot for a league competition will be the same as the E soaring league – ie a minimum of 8 competitors must compete for the competition to qualify for inclusion in the BMFA F3J league and to count towards the Champion’s trophy. Additionally, and in terms of the competition matrix, the competition must be organised in such a way as to ensure that not less than 3 pilots compete in each slot.
A second entry using a model of a restricted specification (eg a 100” model) will be permitted in league competitions but the competitor must specify to the CD before the start of round 1 which of his/her two or more competition scores is to count towards the BMFA F3J league.
The results of all qualifying F3J League competitions should be forwarded to the BMFA F3J Co-ordinator who will publish the results and aggregate scores of the competing pilots.
Entry fees for these competitions will be determined by the individual organiser/CD of the competition. .
F3J UK international team selection: Changes to take effect from January 2013
It is proposed that Radio glide, Interglide and the Nationals will be 2 day premier competitions. These 3 competitions will be the only designated qualifying competitions for the selection of pilots for inclusion within the UK international team and will be advertised as such.
The geographic location of Radio Glide and Interglide within the UK is not restricted. Bids will be invited annually from interested persons/clubs within the UK to host one or both competitions. The geographic location of the F3J nationals will be determined annually by the SFTC.
Taken in combination these 3 events will give up to 6 days of competition. The longer 2 day format is intended to enable more rounds to be flown in each competition than the 1 day format. Obviously, weather conditions may affect and restrict the actual number of rounds flown at any of these 3 competitions. However, the expectation will be that the matrix provided at the commencement of each competition will comprise of 6 or more rounds. A minimum of 3 rounds must be flown for the competition to count towards the UK team selection.
Also, for each competition to qualify for selection purposes, a minimum of 15 competitors must compete and a minimum of 4 pilots must compete in each slot.
The international team will be selected from those pilots with the best aggregated score from 2 of the 3 two day competitions. A second entry by a pilot using a model of a restricted specification (eg a 100” model) will not be permitted at these premier competitions.
The highest qualifying pilot for the fly off at each of the 3 premier competitions will be awarded a score of 100 points. A competitor’s final score will include any bonus points subsequently awarded for a fly off placing. In the event of two or more pilots achieving the same aggregate total score, the highest individual competition score within the 3 results of each pilot will be used to place the pilots affected. If the highest individual scores are identical, the next highest scoring competition will be used as a tie break.
Two reserve dates (one mid season and the second at the end of the season) will be included in the premier competition calendar in the event that either Radio Glide or Interglide cannot take place due to adverse weather conditions or other such restriction.
Organisers of each of the premier competitions (Radio Glide, Interglide and the Nationals) will determine their own entry fees. CDs/organisers of all silent flight competitions designated as BMFA team selection competitions are required to levy a charge determined annually by the SFTC. For the 2013 season the charge has been set at £5 per competitor per day. This levy must be included in the total entry fee to be charged and the total sum raised must be paid in full by the CD/organiser to the SFTC without delay following the conclusion of the competition. All sums paid to the SFTC by the organisers will be used entirely to support silent flight teams travelling to and competing at FAI European and World Championships.
The results of all the premier competitions and SFTC team travel sums should be forwarded to the BMFA F3J Co-ordinator who will publish the results and aggregate scores of the competing pilots.
Finally, I am thankful to Chas Dunster for his kind offer to act as the BMFA F3J Co-ordinator for 2013. I expect that Chas will publish his own F3J League bulletins shortly and as league events are organised locally. .
Chairman – BMFA Silent Flight Committee