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    By grj, in BARCS,

    The 2014 competition season finished on 12th October and the final league positions can be seen in the class tabs above.
    It’s been a season of mixed fortunes weather wise particularly spring and early summer but there have been some really fine days and some great flying conditions. All the major events went ahead successfully, though some were curtailed by deteriorating forecasts and the Scottish Nats had to be postponed and events run on later dates.
    There were one or two unfortunate date clashes which did affect attendance to events in close proximity. But overall the season was well catered for in all the different classes. Electric launch continues to dominate the scene, with F5J gaining interest through the promotion of the BMFA league and the series run by Peter Mitchell at Bartletts Farm.
    Thanks must go to all the CD’s for their continued organisation of events for our pleasure and to the clubs who release their fields. I don’t wish to offend those not mentioned individually but special thanks should go to Brian Austin for the popular Bartletts Farm Series, Alan Morton for Mike Lucas 100s and Peterborough Winter Series, Bernie Jones for co-ordinating the BMFA eSoaring and F5J Leagues (and CDing many individual events), Mike Fantham F3K and Peter Allen driving F3J events, Radioglide and Interglide.
    I will be contacting all current trophy holders and arranging the handover of pots in due course.
    So the 2015 season is already underway with the Peterborough Winter Series and an Ipswich Multilaunch comp. I look forward to receiving details of future events to include in the calendar.
    Thanks again and enjoy the coming season.
    Graham James

    By Austin, in News & Information,

    Roy Pitts, aged 89, passed away on 26th August 2014. A Service and committal was held at the Llanelli Crematorium on 9th September 2014
    Memories of my friend Roy Pitts  by Geoff Dallimer, Sept 2014
    I first met Roy when he was setting up a small factory unit to manufacture a model airplane kit of a radio controlled sailplane that he had recently designed. At the time I was a contributor to the RCME magazine, and I was very intrigued to see the many jigs and fixtures that Roy had designed to facilitate manufacture of the model kits. The design featured one of the first lightweight glass moulded fuselages. It was the start of ‘RadioSailplanes’ and the ‘Wildflecken’ story.
    Later, I was able to fly the design of that name with great success at many competitions around the UK and across Europe. Together, we also visited the village of Wildflecken which at that time was close to the East Germany border. The nearby hills were a very popular slope soaring centre which Roy had often visited with his many German friends.
    Roy was a practical engineer and gave considerable attention to detail and the use of machinery to produce kits of great quality. He often told me that tight joints need less glue. Advice that I found difficult to follow! He built a beautiful fifth scale model of a K-13 (?) sailplane, using stainless steel tube carefully welded just like the full size original. Just right for his two year old son Mark to sit in the cockpit!
    A regular flyer at many soaring events throughout the 70’s and 80’s, Roy was a sponsor for one of the first international soaring events held at RAF Benson. He was also a very early member of BARCS and supported many of their activities whilst camping at the venues.
    I also came to hear of Roy’s interest in classic cars, and to see the many classic cars that he re-built and restored. He was very good with a paint spray gun, and was often the man behind the fine finish on many a top competition model!.
    We had many great times together. Later we discussed these, and swapped ideas for the future, such as airbrakes and tow hooks, that could be moulded from plastic. We talked in his workshop, sipping Rum and Coke with his wife Paul, late into the night, whereupon I had to sleep over on the settee, before leaving early morning for work! Roy and Paul also build up a thriving plastic moulding business which employed local staff, from these small beginnings.
    I remember…….travelling to European competitions…….
    We had spent the day flying at an event in Italy, now we were heading back to one in France. It was night time. Roy and I were both asleep. I woke up with a start. Our car was travelling north on a French motorway, ten feet behind a very large lorry. And I was the driver!!
    We couldn’t find anywhere to stop over, so Roy took over the driving. I settled down to sleep in the passenger seat. I was awakened abruptly when I was rolled sideways as the car pitched and rolled.. It’s OK said Roy, we’re back on the road now!
    After late night working in his workshop, we had taken an early morning ferry from Dover. We had driven down from Calais towards Milan. The weather was fine and very warm. At a small town in the Italian foothills we pulled up at the red traffic lights. They changed from Red to Green, then from Green to Red. We didn’t move. I looked across to the driver, he was asleep again!
    We drove up this mountain track that on the map looked like a road, in reality it was a track used by walkers. They waved their walking sticks angrily at us as the dust from our car enveloped them. On arriving at the mountain top there was hardly room to do a three point turn to get the car down again. But it was a great place to fly our models. Lift from all directions!
    Our flying was watched by some friendly Italian locals. That’s a great sport they said. Roy turned up the demonstration. He did a loop, Oh My!! they said , He rolled the model inverted….Oooo and, ….the battery and receiver fell out!!! We searched the slopes without success!
    Roy was a very modest man, he suffered a disability with little complaint. He was always ready to help others. He was an enthusiast modeller and was never idle, be it constructing models, workshops, converting loft space, building a glazed annex, or working at his many machines. I’m sad that he is no longer with us, but he has left his family and friends with so many great memories of happy times together.
    I was asked if I could collate the results and happenings at Tudor Farm for this year’s Radioglide competition so here’s my attempt!
    Saturday 24 May
    Two competitions were held on Saturday, F5J in one field and 100S across the road in the other. The day started with heavy rain and did not initially look promising so I held off at home until lunchtime, on the drive over from Brackley the weather improved greatly.
    The F5J started around 1:30, very ably directed by Bernie Jones. This was my first F5J competition and I found it very interesting in comparison to F3J, lots of tactics involved, do you use a short or long motor run etc. or in my case who do you follow! There was a soaring weather window of a couple of hours then light rain returned to end the fun. Eleven pilots took part, I was pleased to come eighth but the winner was Colin Boorman (pictured below and also his first F5J competition) closely followed by Colin Paddon and Kevin Beale.

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    Position Pilot Score 1 Colin Boorman 3975.7 2 Colin Paddon 3926.6 3 Kevin Beale 3674 4 Terry Pelling 3198.2 5 Colin Lucas 3133.7 6 Terry Weeks 3098.3 7 Graham Wicks 2693.3 8 Gary Binnie 2601 9 Peter Mitchell 2588.9 10 Kevin Dart 2483.9 11 Peter Allen 2050.7 Across the road the 100S guys directed by Alan Morton were launching regularly and we had a grandstand view of one Tracker’s demise on the line! 12 pilots competed in the 100S with John Shenstone a very worthy winner, Alan second and Neville Warby third. A joint F5J/100S prize giving was held after the 100S fly-off.
    100s Scores
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    Pilot Rnd 1 Rnd 2 Rnd 3 Rnd 4 Rnd 5 Final Score % Score Position 11 Alan Morton 1000 998 1000 1000 1000 4998 100 1 5 Neville Warby 966 976 1000 1000 1000 4942 98.9 2 1 Mark Deval 1000 1000 910 954 990 4854 97.1 3 9 John Shenstone 610 983 952 1000 994 4539 90.8 4 3 John Stanswood 861 1000 849 803 1000 4513 90.3 5 4 Graham James 885 896 979 746 989 4494 89.9 6 2 Gengiz Philcox 956 1000 904 902 718 4480 89.6 7 8 Robin Sleight 837 682 839 982 829 4170 83.4 8 7 Ken Goddard 666 757 994 641 715 3773 75.5 9 10 Bob Dickinson 610 774 842 523 668 3417 68.4 10 12 John Hulet 961 967 879 601 0 3408 68.2 11 6 Alan Lipscombe 1000 375 1000 953 0 3327 66.6 12 table.tableizer-table { border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #4196C8; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }
    slot 1 Time Bonus total running total Points   Final Positions   total %               1st 9 John Shenstone 1000 100 11 Alan Morton 5.5 50 400 400 825   2nd 11 Alan Morton 825 82.5 5 Neville Warby 5.37 50 387 387 798   3rd 5 Neville Warby 798 79.8 1 Mark Deval 5.2 50 370 370 763   4th 1 Mark Deval 763 76.3 9 John Shenstone 7.15 50 485 485 1000   5th 3 John Stanswood 0 0 3 John Stanswood     0 0 0   6th 4 Graham James 0 0 4 Graham James     0 0 0   7th 2 Gengiz Philcox 0 0 2 Gengiz Philcox     0 0 0   8th 8 Robin Sleight 0 0 8 Robin Sleight     0 0 0   9th 7 Ken Goddard 0 0 7 Ken Goddard     0 0 0                                 slot 2                     11 Alan Morton     0 0 0           5 Neville Warby     0 0 0           1 Mark Deval     0 0 0           9 John Shenstone     0 0 0           Sunday 25 May
    Sunday dawned with much better weather, a glance at various forecasts before I left home said that it would be breezy which it definitely was!
    Again, separate competitions were run in each field, Multi-launch and F3J (Day 1 of the team trials). F3J started promptly after briefing by Sydney Lenssen as the field had been set up on Saturday, blue skies and fluffy cumulus clouds had most people flying the slots out (but underestimating the wind strength and not making the landing tape in my case!).
    We could see the multi-launchers launching and I was puzzled why they seemed to stop very early. As there were only seven competitors they had whizzed through the four-round matrix, CD’d by Terry Weeks there were six electric flyers, one winch launcher and no DLG entrants. The result was Terry Weeks first (with a perfect score of 4000 points), followed by Ray Gadenne and Terry Pelling.
    Back to the F3J field we were all having fun with the challenging conditions, the slots seemed to alternate with good air and bad air, I did spy a few gliders being retrieved from adjacent fields! Mid-afternoon the whole grid of full-size gliders (from the Nationals at Lasham) filled the sky. They were on a 380 km cross-country task so their task setter had confidence in the conditions (300 k tasks are set on good days, 500 k tasks on ‘mega’ days).
    Sunday’s F3J ended after six rounds and plenty of sunburn!
    Monday 26 May
    Monday morning’s weather was almost the same as Saturday, steady light rain but the winds were much lighter. We had been asked to arrive early to help set the F3J field up which we did and then moved it again after some debate about what the wind direction was actually going to be.
    While we were moving the field around the F3K guys got off to an early start and could be seen staying airborne on nothing in the other field (and quite happily flying in the rain).
    The rain stopped and off we went with Round 7 of the F3J, I removed all the ballast from my Cluster and wondered how I was going to stay up for 10 minutes! My winch line bunched badly and my first ‘ping’ did not work as I think power had been cut and I was stuck on the line, second ping worked to nearly get me up with the rest of the gliders in that slot. We all floated about at minimum sink and managed to find ‘good air’ that was probably coming off of the chicken sheds (the smell was not so good however!). Fascinating to see the true glide performance of the models.
    Light rain returned halfway through Round 7, we hung around optimistically hoping that it would stop but it became obvious that the game was up. Round 7 slot scores were voided and there could be no fly-off.
    The F3J result (which was taken as the placings after Round 6) was Dave East first (5,744 points), Kevin Dart second and Neil Jones third.
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    Rank Name Raw Score Rnd1 Dur Rnd2 Dur Rnd3 Dur Rnd4 Dur Rnd5 Dur Rnd6 Dur Score Pcnt 1 East, Dave 5744 1000 941.9 929.8 988.6 955.7 928 5744 100 2 Dart, Kevin 5724.9 1000 768.6 1000 1000 974.7 981.6 5724.9 99.67 3 Jones, Neil 5690.9 977.2 981.7 1000 776.6 955.4 1000 5690.9 99.08 4 Boorman, Colin 5641.7 996.1 959.5 856.2 1000 1000 829.9 5641.7 98.22 5 Paddon, Colin 5478.7 978.9 1000 1000 992.2 1000 507.6 5478.7 95.38 6 Allen, Peter 5433.7 998.7 614.6 1000 930.8 1000 889.6 5433.7 94.6 7 Glover, Chris 5394.3 721.5 1000 993.5 1000 716.4 962.9 5394.3 93.91 8 Wicks, Graham 5323.3 772.4 923.8 986.5 1000 752.3 888.3 5323.3 92.68 9 Beale, Kevin 5310.5 988.9 1000 998.7 687.6 790.3 845 5310.5 92.45 10 Osbourne, Ozzie 5198 756.4 1000 953.3 655.4 832.9 1000 5198 90.49 11 Johnson, Brian 5163.5 1000 607 1000 793.8 762.7 1000 5163.5 89.89 12 Devall, Mark 5010.2 843.6 954 981.4 673.4 1000 557.8 5010.2 87.22 13 Philcox, Cengiz 4990.6 846.1 1000 781.5 560.3 817.2 985.5 4990.6 86.88 14 Binnie, Gary 4939.3 734.6 620 863.3 863.6 991.7 866.1 4939.3 85.99 15 Duff, Ian 4923.1 996.2 736.2 711.2 985.7 493.8 1000 4923.1 85.71 16 Borowski, Andre 4893.6 1000 663.9 763 1000 466.7 1000 4893.6 85.19 17 Dickenson, Bob 4640.6 966.2 514.2 974.5 483.2 989.8 712.7 4640.6 80.79 18 Stanswood, Jon 4600.5 790.9 678 864.5 549.7 767.7 949.7 4600.5 80.09 19 Shenstone, John 4165.7 407.1 807.2 759.1 875.9 619 697.4 4165.7 72.52 20 Raybone, Mike 4097 0 854.7 813.3 572.6 1000 856.4 4097 71.33 21 Dunster, Chas 4096.5 1000 0 682.4 505.4 945.3 963.4 4096.5 71.32 22 James, Graham 3672.9 786.6 82.1 478.5 802.2 618.3 905.2 3672.9 63.94 23 Lipscombe, Al 3025.9 747.4 0 365.1 577.7 637.2 698.5 3025.9 52.68 24 Lloyd, Rick 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Meanwhile over in the other field the F3K chaps were still flying. CD’d by Lorry Green the result was first Richard Swindells, second Darius Zibikas and third Vytautus Zibikas.
    And there it was, all over for another year! Shame that the weather played a part in spoiling what is always a great weekend, my thanks to all the organisers and CDs.
    Gary Binnie.
    Radioglide results from the other classes.
    Radioglide 2014 F3K results and report
    Radioglide 2014 Multilaunch results and report

    By Geoff Dallimer, in News & Information,

    Another BARCS Founder Member passes away. David Dyer
    BARCS was originally set up by a group of 12 people namely: G W Dallimer, D Hughes, R A Favre, C Thompson, M P Garnett, N F Robson, N Webb, J R Carter, D Thornburg, J H Shaw, G H Johnson and D J Dyer. They had BARCS numbers in that sequence with Geoff Dallimer being BARCS member 1 and Dave Dyer member 12. Sadly besides Neil Webb and John Shaw being no longer with us, Dave Dyer also passed away earlier this year and a shortened version of an obituary written by Geoff Dallimer is given below.
    David John Dyer – 7th March 1946 to 29th January 2014
    Written by Geoff Dallimer
    David and I had known each other since he first joined the Stevenage Model Flying Club as a junior in his school days, and later as close friends and flying partners, as many of you will be aware.
    David was born in the North London Borough of Wood Green. Later, the family of five moved to the new town of Stevenage around 1954, where he was educated at Thomas Alleyne Grammar School.
    He became an Engineering Apprentice at English Electric Aviation, Stevenage, and continued his further education at North Hertfordshire College, Letchworth, eventually obtaining CEng, and MIEE qualifications.
    Following his marriage to Christine in 1967, they lived in Stevenage until they were able to purchase a bungalow in Blunham, Bedfordshire.  Having completed his apprenticeship, David was offered a post in the Electronics & Control Systems Department of Cranfield University, where he was involved with Analogue and Digital computing, and Electronics design. He continued work in that area when the University became Cranfield Institute of Technology (CIT) supporting research in many subjects.  About that time he designed the Electronic Control System for a rolling road within the Large Cranfield Wind Tunnel, which was subsequently used by Adrian Newey and Formulae One racing car aerodynamics development teams.
    After CIT formed Cranfield Aerospace Ltd, David was appointed Principle Project Engineer leading the Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) work in the UAV Systems Group. He also acted as ‘pilot’ during initial flight trials.  Throughout the subsequent years he was involved with several major UAV projects including MACHAN, XRAE, OBSERVER, and the X-48B and X-48C development programmes.
    At the time of his retirement from work at Cranfield University through ill health in 2010, David was Cranfield Aerospace Limited UAV Programmes Manager.
    David was able to take advantage of both his work experience and that gained from his hobby at the highest level. David’s attention to detail was the key to much of his success. He applied his model flying experience to the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, and his electronics and computing knowledge to model building and flying. Some of these are listed below:
    MACHAN was one of the early UAV projects undertaken by David, being designed to take off from a R/C guided trolley, and later from a static launch rail. Amongst several aerial surveillance tasks for which it was designed, Machan was able to carry a BAE line scan Infra Red camera in its nose. The project was also unique in having the first successful wholly digital flight control system designed in the UK.
    Developed in association with RAE Farnborough, the system had many programmable flight patterns that could be set as operational tasks making use of GPS navigation. Test flights, for which he acted as ‘test pilot’, took David on frequent visits to a test range at Pendine beach in South Wales. Later development took place at the Saddle Rock battle training area near Calgary in Alberta, Canada.
    The XRAE UAV development programme further stretched David’s experience. It brought the concept of a neutral stability airframe design that relied entirely on the digital control systems to maintain it in flight.  This neutral stability enables the vehicle to be insensitive to gusts or wind disturbance. The development of the essential control algorithms again took David to test facilities around the UK at Salisbury Plain, Carmarthen bay, and Southend.
    The OBSERVER UAV development programme followed, but I have few details of that programme other than it was a fully autonomous battlefield observation system, designed and developed in collaboration with QinetiQ, combining “gust insensitive technology” and a fully autonomous digital flight control system to deliver an “information at the fingertip” capability.
    CASSIAS is a highly capable fixed wing UAS with excellent payload and range capabilities, available in either IC or electric variants. The system includes a fully autonomous Flight Control System with intuitive touch screen control and is highly adaptable to a range of sensor payloads.
    David and his colleagues in the UAV Systems group used this vehicle to undertake, and successfully completed, a project which was funded the European Community Environmental protection programme. This required the construction and flying of an UAV at altitude over France to measure the variation of solar reflectivity from a variety of farm crops. Then to use the collected data to create a mathematical model of changes that might occur to the atmospheric environment. It was a difficult task made harder by the need to transmit data to and from Cranfield from the remote field in France.
    X-48B was the highlight of David’s work career, and that for which he was most proud, was a major project in collaboration with the Boeing Aerospace Research and Development Corporation, USA.  The X-48B UAV project aimed to build and fly a sub-scale model of a larger full scale military aircraft project.  The replica vehicle was required to be truly accurate within <1mm and to reflect the flight and control characteristics of the full size prototype.
    The Cranfield Aerospace UAV Systems Group had a significant responsibility for the Flight Control System and Vehicle integration. Apart from his contribution to the technical design, David was very heavily involved in the project management between the Cranfield Aerospace and UK contractors, and those of Boeing on the West coast of the USA.  Flight trials were at the NASA Dryden Mohave Desert Flight test area adjacent to Edwards Air force Base in Arizona. Over 90 test flights were made there, and all of the project objectives were successfully achieved.
    So much of his time and effort went into this last work programme, both at Cranfield and working from home, that David, sadly, had little time for his model aviation activities. Apart from flying a variety of R/C models with the Stevenage Club, as with most teenagers, David had other interests. One of these was music, for which he built Amplifiers and Speakers for a Hi Fi system. He played guitar as a member of a four man pop group known as ‘Fernado and the Hideaways’. The group was road managed by his father and they performed at a number of local and distant venues.  Unfortunately, they didn't quite make it to ‘Top of the Pops’, but David sometimes entertained us at competition campsites with a little guitar strumming.
    David and I first began to take an interest in competitive R/C soaring in 1968, when the concept of R/C soaring first appeared in the magazines in an article written by Nick Neve and Chris Foss. We both converted free flight A/2 class models to R/C, but found it difficult controlling the model with a transmitter, when running holding the towline to launch the model! The free flight method of launch was soon changed to that pilot with model and a helper to tow the model!
    Nick Neve recalls:
    ‘As the CD of the first inaugural thermal soaring contest at Golden Cross on 18th August, 1968, I recall David and Geoff coming down to observe and learn, and then the following year came with models they had designed and built and flew with success’.
    In the subsequent years we flew together at many soaring events throughout the country, each of us achieving considerable success.  At York, Harrogate, Hull, Lincoln, Oxford, Dover, Eastbourne, Halton, Bracknell, Reading, Newbury, Swindon, to name but a few.  In addition, many happy hours were spent at both Henlow and Wheathampstead, developing the models and practising before contests. David was often accompanied by wife Christine with the lunch box and tea.
    David gained so many friends throughout the country, and later many more overseas friends after international soaring events in France, Belgium, Germany, Doylestown,USA, (where he achieved second place in the first ‘Air Olympics’), and Australia.  His friends will all remember his cheerful and inquisitive personality, and his dedication to getting everything right.
    FAI F3b Class soaring became David’s main interest and this lead to the development of many new  building techniques to construct the models. David was able to commission CNC profiled wing templates, a metal tailplane mould was machined, and we jointly built a precision wing cutting machine together with wing and fuselage moulds.  Carbon fibre moulded sheets were diamond cut into wing spars before being vacuum moulded into the wing structure. David designed and constructed a 433Mhz UHF variometer Tx & Rx to assist thermal detection, but the system was banned!
    Always well placed in F3b League events, David was team reserve pilot at the 2nd F3b World Championships at Amay, Belgium in 1979. He was a member of the British F3b team in the 1981 World Championships in Sacramento, USA, placing 14th, despite breaking an arm in a winch accident. He was a team helper and reserve pilot again in the 1983 F3b World Championships at York, having just failed to qualify for the team.
    The highlight of David’s modelling activities came in 1985 when he qualified for the UK F3b team to Australia. After six days of competition, David and his two fellow members of the UK team won the World Championship Team award, with David  achieving 6th place in the individual championship.
    David acted as Contest Organiser, and assisted in contest organisation at many events too, including both  National Championships and F3B league events. These included the National Championships at Folly Farm near Tewkesbury; RAF Fairford in Wiltshire; and RAF Strubby, Lincolnshire.
    As a change from competition soaring, there was a beautiful Scale Waco biplane constructed by David; his ‘Tri-Tri’ Open class soarer was published in the magazines; and he was joint contributor to a book titled ‘Radio Control Soaring’ published by RM magazine. David was a person who was fully committed to both work and hobby, and especially to his family of wife Christine and daughter Serena. Nothing gave him more pleasure, or was more life changing, as no doubt others have found, than the arrival of their daughter Serena in 1989. Naturally his interests became broader and there was little time for model flying.
    David took so much pleasure from all that he did, and enjoyed so much enjoyment and satisfaction in return. It is hard to believe he is no longer with us, but he will certainly always be in our thoughts.
    Well done David, now rest in peace.
    One obscure item on CIAM’s agenda for its Plenary meeting in Lausanne, 10-12 April 2014, deals with what to do about electronic devices which help control models in international contests. Unless FAI gets to grips with this issue in all forms of model flying, some delegates see the latest gadgets, easily fitted into all types of model aircraft, as posing a threat to the future aeromodelling as we know it today.
    The chances are that the meeting will debate a proposal put forward by the German national aero club – DAC e.V – and proposed by Gerhard Woebbeking, one of CIAM’s vice-presidents. He wants to see rules which specifically prohibit any electronic device in a model aircraft which automatically stabilises the model or allows it to be flown automatically to a selected location.
    The Sporting Code and official rules for F3B, F3J, F3F and the F5B/J classes limit themselves to stating that the model must be controlled by the competitor on the ground using radio control. Then they add, any technological device used to aid in supplying data of the air’s condition or direct feedback of the model’s flight status is prohibited during the flight. The single and only matter which is allowed by telemetry is the signal strength of the receiver and the state of the receiver battery, presumably on the grounds of safety. Not that many pilots take advantage of this permit.
    So what is there to be worried about?
    The wise men in Lausanne recognise that CIAM does not have full control of aeromodelling even though it does set the rules for competitions and records. They also recognise that times change. Not so long ago, the FAI used to insist that contestants must build their models for themselves and then fly them.That rule was abandoned when prefabricated and moulded models with superior performance and reliability could be bought off the shelf by competitors.
    It used to be that if your freeflight model had to come down after a specified flight time, a dethermaliser was triggered by a slow burning wick or a clockwork device. These are still used today, but nowadays the pilot can actuate a radio device which dethermals the plane. All serious freeflight competition models are crammed full of technology and electronic devices such as tracker assistance. They too along with F3B/J/F/K models are candidates for autonomous electronic aids.
    The big fear is that no matter what is said in the rules, more and more pilots are going to start playing with “enhanced electronic control systems” – EECS – because they find them enjoyable and challenging. This applies particularly to younger people, highly computer literate and eager to solve the many algorithms required and put them into practice.
    In many classes of competition including F3B/J and F, nothing in the rules specifically forbids the use of automatic reacting electronic aids to control the model, and real advantages can be gained by exploiting this omission.
    The halfway house to EECS which has been around for many years is the simple rate gyro. The technology of rate gyros, like the rest of the electronic world, has allowed a steady reduction in size and weight and the gyro can be easily switched off and on from the transmitter. Not so long ago in the early days of F3K, some pilots used them to help control yaw with the discuss throw. Uniquely for the F classes, words were put into the rules to ban them. Still to this day many RC helicopters have rate gyros to help with stability and control problems.
    Future F3J contest scenario
    Take a look at what the future might hold in an F3J contest.
    Five seconds to the start buzzer, twiddle the sticks, check the launch switch, a bit more towline tension and off and away. The model swings gently to the left in the side wind and corrects itself, small dip and off with a zoom. Level off just before the top and swing left again across the side wind. Settles happily and switch into cruise – cruise with “EECS” to be correct. What is EECS? The computer transmitter and receiver’s enhanced electronic control systems, full bells and whistles.
    Nine minutes thirty seconds later, glider is over the next field at a comfortable height in a gentle thermal which keeps it level. With fifteen seconds to go the model’s nose drops, it speeds up coming in with barely a waver, slows a little to avoid the next door pilot, then into the spot. There’s a tuft of grass standing proud in the rough field. The nose stops at 98 landing points. Dammit! Time – 9:55.
    Walking down with the scores to the control tent, the pilot finds that everyone with EECS fitted has done better. Only two pilots are still flying without electronic aids and one of those has a better score, the other is a minute adrift. Two pilots have won the 1,000 points, both on 9:57 and 100 landing points.
    What does EECS do?
    The “latest” version of EECS has gyros to maintain stability in roll, pitch and yaw, an accurate timer, it has sensors which can identify other models and takes avoiding action if they threaten to collide, it has thermal recognition sensors which detect vertical air movements and the direction from which they come, then sending signals to ailerons, rudder and elevator to centre the thermal.
    In our F3J contest, when the thermal is strong, then the flaps and ailerons with EECS will drop a degree or two into thermal mode; when it’s too weak, then back to cruise or even distance mode with the flaps and ailerons
    up a little to search again for the core of lift.
    At the appropriate time according to how far from the launch point the glider has travelled and the predicted wind speeds for the return flight, the model will leave its thermal, head for home, correcting its flight as it goes to arrive at the field with fifteen seconds to go.
    You know the rest. It usually hits the landing spot unless it hits an unseen tuft of grass. The pilot, he has done nothing except launch his model and he can get help with that too. At no time, unless the pilot suspects that his EECS has gone wrong, does the pilot touch the transmitter controls or switches.
    If his model is capable of flying for 10 minutes from a 200 metre height launch, the glider will always fly out the slot. If there is lift anywhere within a mile from launch, then the model will find it and fly out the slot. Exciting? What do you think?
    One example of this type of technology in action was the recent flight, organised and televised starring James May and a helicopter launched ugly glider, from Ilfracombe to Lundy Island. The glider carried the GPS coordinates of its landing site and it flew and landed autonomously to that site. Eye catching as it was, it was not in the same league as the FAI approved record by Joe Wurts of a 120 mile flight cross country pre-designated point to point flight.
    By flying with EECS it is not too difficult to give Joe Wurts, Benedikt Feigl, Philip Kolb or Daryl Perkins – and others – a run for their money. But all those contestants who rely wholly and only on their piloting skills and ability to read and utilise air, as per the FAI’s Sporting Code, will surely have dropped out from international contests by this stage. They don’t see the point in competing with electronic gadgetry for that is not “sporting”.
    Or perhaps we shall see two categories of contest in all the present classes, one for fuddy duddy and traditional pilots following the Sporting Code and one for the EECS fanatics with no holds barred.
    Is that the future for F3 contests and if so when? It could be at any time in the near future. The EECS equipment is all available today, you can buy it easily on the internet and most components are pretty cheap and likely to get cheaper. As far as I know, it hasn’t all been put together yet, programmed and trimmed out, but I would not be surprised to hear someone claiming to have done it after this article.
    F3F flyers have been debating the possible benefit of rate gyros which would certainly help in the landing approach when coming through severe roll over turbulence on some slopes. However the F3F contest group also recognise that gyros are the thin end of the wedge, and they definitely take an element of control out of the pilot’s fingers. Regardless of the commercial viability and potential benefits, it can be seen that other forms of instrumentation and associated algorithms could remove more direct control from the pilot.
    The attraction of competition to develop various forms of EECS is real and can be seen from various computer forum exchanges. Many computer savvy enthusiasts are happy to have a go!
    So far we are describing mainly F3J, but the same imminent prospect applies to all forms of radio controlled model aircraft competitions, and some forms of free flight contests especially the F1A/B/C classes.
    Of course, at this time, the principle for any FAI competition is that the pilot must control the model at all times during the whole flight, and that is embodied in the Sporting Code. It is worth repeating that in the FAI rules of many classes including F3B/J/F, nothing is stated which prevents pilots from using automatic electronic devices to help control the model.The reality is that competitors making use of such devices can gain significant
    advantages. The only allowable exceptions so far are devices which measure the height of launch and/or duration of motor run for certain electric motor powered competitions. F5J relies on the the motor/height to be controlled, measured and logged and is vital to make the competition work.
    Is this future inevitable?
    The big fear is that no matter what is said or might soon be written into the rules, more and more pilots are going to start playing with these EECS systems because they find it enjoyable and challenging. This applies particularly to younger people, highly computer literate and eager to solve the many algorithms required and put them into practice. It is impossible to “uninvent” things and as King Canute found, it’s impossible to hold back the tide.
    When they get together to exchange ideas and experience, then surely they will organise contests. The very people who all countries are trying to encourage to join into existing classes to swell competition numbers are those most likely to be attracted to these newer challenges. Forget your iPad and computer games, model aeroplanes with EECS are really fun, and you get out into the fresh open air even when it is raining and windy!
    The FAI/CIAM position today
    Changes and new developments in aeromodelling will happen. That is a vital part of why most of us enjoy and are dedicated to the hobby/sport. Now is the time for CIAM to look long term and find the best way to embrace these changes without changing the ethos of our flying events.
    A few of the National Aero Clubs around the world have discussed the situation with their aeromodelling bodies and for the most part, as in Britain, the national aero clubs have delegated responsibility to recognised aeromodelling bodies, BMFA in the UK.
    For FPV – ‘first person view” – there is one basic rule: the model of limited size and weight should be kept in visual line of sight with bare eyes. In the UK this means that a model being flown by a pilot using headset goggles or screen should be kept in sight by a helper close by. Relations between CAA and BMFA are harmonious, and in March this year, the mass of fixed wing and rotary craft will be increased to 3.5 kg and the height limit permitted from 400ft to 1,000ft.
    Early days so far, and what sort of control is there on who does what? Indeed at the same time as these legal limits are about to be raised, the potential technology of FPV together with higher transmission power than is currently legal will allow flights well beyond the line of sight. The temptation to push the boundaries ever further will be a welcome challenge to many FPV flyers and others. How many pilots are there today flying by themselves far beyond the line of sight, and the very nature of FPV is the thrill of this ability.
    The Times this weekend reported that Nans Thomas, aged 18, has been charged by the French police in Nancy for flying a drone plus camera without authorisation to video his city. On YouTube “Nancy vu du Ciel” went viral with 400,000 views in two weeks, and it is artistic and breathtaking. The police say there was a danger of a crash and the flights showed no respect for people’s private lives. The potential penalty is 12 months in prison and a 15,000 Euro fine. M. Thomas bought his drone on the internet and says he had no idea that he needed any permit.
    So far CIAM has defined three categories: FPV, “first person view” where the model is carrying a video camera transmitting to a headset goggle worn by the pilot or to a screen close to his transmitter. These systems are already in widespread use in gliders, powered and pure, and far more commonly helicopters and quadricopters.
    Autopilot systems where the controlling pilot activates or deactivates programmable automatic systems to stabilise the model aircraft or to initiate a programmed flight path. The system are capable of returning the aircraft to a selected location when the radio link is lost.
    The third is small Unmanned Aeronautical Systems, sUAS, which are small models with programmable autonomous controls which are mission orientated or to be flown beyond visual line of sight and
    computer controlled for nearly the entire flight. These aeroplanes of all sizes are commonly known as “drones” at this time, and some are capable of flying around the world, to my mind often on highly questionable missions.
    Substantial funds are being spent by countries, also around the world, developing sUAS, and these will lead to more robust data and video links than the simplex systems with their potential for single point failures currently available for FPV type flying. Miniturisation of electronic devices and the creation of tiny sensor packages for this type of sUAV will progress rapidly and the boundaries between sUAVs and model aircraft used solely for recreational sport will blur.
    More and more frequently the benefits of these technologies can be seen by all of us in all sorts of harmless and and cost beneficial applications. A friend of mine in Canada surveyed a piece of land in an almost inaccessible location with a laptop controlled drone taking photographs every second, a one day job which would have taken months, perhaps forever, if the forest jungle had to be accessed on foot. One small and peaceful example.
    The major risk is that the “pilot controlled” aeromodelling activities are likely to be affected. Irresponsible sUAV or FPV flying, and how can anyone police or prevent this from happening, could trigger massive public pressure to restrict model flying.
    The National Aero Clubs in most of the countries contacted in an FAI questionnaire in 2013 replied that they would like CIAM to take these sUAV activities under its aeromodelling responsibilities, and that CIAM should make and require all countries to follow rules.
    CIAM has been aware of electronic device problems for some time. In 2008 a working group deliberated and decided that UAVs and autonomous flight have no place in model aircraft flying within CIAM. This was unanimously approved. Last year, CIAM looked at what is essentially the same as this year’s proposal but could not come to any decision because most of the delegates did not see or understand what or where the problem was or is.
    This year’s Plenary Meeting in Lausanne is unlikely to recognise or solve all the problems raised by EECS for the future. It is not a simple matter of rules. The situation calls for strong Statesmen with vision.
    Sydney Lenssen
    Writing this article I have consulted several friends for suggestions and some have provided additional information previously unknown to me. Grateful thanks to them. Responsibility for what is written is mine.
    Any comments and suggestions?
    Download a copy of this article aeromodellings-future.pdf

    By PeteMitchell, in Articles,

    My old and faithful electric Xplorer 3.5 suffered one more nasty arrival last summer. This one due to a radio fail, not me.
    Despite an extensive search before the model was found it spent over a week lost in an uncultivated area of hedgerow with its nose buried up to its wing in soft earth. The damage did look bad and at the time I could not face making the repair so I put the model in a cupboard and forgot about it.
    6 months later a wanted request on the forum got me thinking about it again. I thought it would repair quite well. This resulted in me offering it to a couple of guys who had expressed an interest. The pictures below show the damage did nothing to encourage them to take it on, so I decided to do it myself.
    This model was my first all moulded electric thermal soarer, and it has always been a joy to fly so I wanted to see it usable again. The wing is f3J construction, before spread tow carbon, and is strong. A previous accident 2 or 3 years ago did damage the centre panel, and at the same time destroy both tip panels, but this latest event did more serious damage to the centre panel.
    These pics show some of the damage to the centre panel, it can be seen that the top and under side skins were split and although it can’t be seen here, it was subsequently found that the top carbon spar had been  almost completely severed.

    So how to repair?
    I first thought of removing all the damaged skins and replacing them with balsa covered with glass cloth. But this meant that I would also have to re paint, and anyone who has seen the models I have repaired will know that I don’t like spraying.
    In the end I decided to retain the damaged wing skins and repair them by piecing them together. The top surface was repairable by glassing the inner side of the shell, and as I needed to cut a big hole in the underside to do this and gain access for the spar repair this decided things for me.
    Here you can see the underside of the panel after I cut it open.
    This removed the damaged skin so that I could repair it and gave access for the spar repair.

    To repair the spar I first had to remove the balsa webbing. I ground out as much of the balsa in the damaged area as I could safely reach with my Dremel,  and then carefully finished the cleaning out with a balsa knife and Permagrit tools.
    Here can be seen the hole in the spar webbing and the intact lower carbon spar.

    I have repaired a number of models (not all mine) with broken spars. So far as I know, none of them have failed since, so this is how I do it. First I make a length carbon fibre plate to suit the size of the spar. In this case the broken spar is thin, about .8mm thick and approx. 25mm wide.  To make the repair I cut a carbon plate 1mm thick and approx. 80mm long. Replacement webbing was made with built up sections of 8mm balsa.
    The spar replacement carbon plate is first pushed into place under the broken spar and the replacement sections of balsa webbing then forced into position between the lower good spar and the repair. Plenty of 30min epoxy is used to glue it all in-place with each part of the repair.

    The wing panel was carefully lined up with a mark one eyeball and left for 24hrs under weights to hold it all in place.

    Once the epoxy cured, I drilled a 1.5mm hole all the way through the wing from top surface to the bottom, through the spar and webbing, either side of the spar break. Into each of these hole’s I cyano a 1.5mm carbon fibre rod. The rods pin the spar repair plate to the original spar and stop any possibility of a glue failure to be caused by the shearing effect of excessive loads in flight or a heavy landing.
    The wing skins were pieced together, with glass cloth epoxied onto the inner surface with wing skinning epoxy.
    To finish the repair the surface sections must be replaced so that the monocoque strength is retained as far as is possible. I made joining strips by laying up carbon cloth with 1mm balsa, and these were then epoxied into the wing forming a ledge for the repaired pieces to be fixed to.

    One small area of the leading edge had disappeared in the crash so I moulded a piece of carbon cloth to the leading edge shape and this was cut to size and fixed in place with cyano.

    The panel is now almost ready, it’s not pretty, but it is strong, weighs approx. 25g more and will fly again.
    One tip panel suffered a small amount of damage and this was repaired in the same way as the centre panel.

    All the equipment in the model, except for the lipo and the nose spinner survived the crash, and will be used again. However the rx was replaced by Multiplex,  although they could not actually find a problem with it. I will also replace the 2 Futaba S3150 rudder and elevator servos in the fuselage, with the much smaller MKS- DS6101. Nothing wrong with the 3150’s, but as they are in the fus, under the trailing edge of the wing, their weight means that more weight is required up front to balance the model.
    Having done a trial balance on the re-assembled model, I find this now means that I can use a smaller, lighter weight lipo and the overall result is that the total flying weight is only increased by only a small amount despite the extensive repair.
    When the weather warms up  I can always clean it up and re-spray it  :o)
    Update 23 Feb 2014
    I have flown the model now and it is just like it was before the crash –  excellent

    As an experiment I decided to use Solartrim to cover some of the repair, the pic shows the underside and I may try the same thing on the topside

    Peter Mitchell