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  • Sydney Lenssen

    WITH RELUCTANCE AND SADNESS

    With great regret, the BARCS Committee has to announce that they will not be organising any F3J league competitions this year and are unlikely to start again until further interest in participation emerges.

    This means that F3J will not be held at RadioGlide, the BMFA Nationals and other venues which had been announced on the Forum. Some contests to be run at RadioGlide and the Nationals will be rescheduled and provide alternative opportunities to compete.

    Your committee circulated a question to some 40 pilots who fly F3J:  “Do you intend to enter any F3J competitions this year?” Replies were received from 19 pilots within 24 hours. Seven members replied positively: Yes. Another replied: Perhaps. Others said: No.

    Your committee had stated in the questionnaire that it believed that a minimum of 12 pilots was required to run contests which form the basis of awarding UK team places for the World Championships next year 2018. Some positive replies noted that they believed that at least 16 pilots was a minimum, probably more realistic.

    No F3J pilot who has competed over recent years would want to see this form of competition shrivelling and dying a slow death, especially in the country which provided the original thinking to and established F3J as a recognised FAI activity. Hence the decision to stop. Sorry.



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    satinet

    Posted

    It's a shame. A good contest I thought. 

    Sorry it will have to join f3b in the memory banks.

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    4 hours ago, satinet said:

    What does this mean for barcs as an organisation?

    No change really as an organisation, why would it?

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    pete beadle

    Posted

    Hi all

    It's not all doom and gloom you know........personally,I never liked F3J anyway.......It just MIGHT prove to be the incentive that BARCS needs, to suggest that we go back to the format we used to call "BARCS Open".....a UK national competition, independent of the BMFA. NOT concentrating on European competitions to international rules, organised locally with leagues based on were you were in the UK......with national competitions open to all, in case other European fliers wanted to compete in OUR UK national competitions.........sounds good to me........ 

    We've done it once, who says we can't do it again?.......and no, no smiley faces, because I AM serious.......

    Regards

    Pete

    Glad to be BARCS member 1702   

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    thermaldoctor

    Posted

    59 minutes ago, pete beadle said:

     

    Towline launched gliders are now almost history in the UK. Its all dropped off the edge of a very sharp cliff and happened much quicker than I anticipated.

    I for one am totally gutted. No f3j and no f3b. If someone had told me that 5 years ago I would have said they were mad.

    Its successor, electric soaring, could have given a fresh start to the whole thing with the majority of pilots agreeing one way forward. Sadly though it is proving even more diverse and politically charged than ever before. Only in the UK does this happen.

    A very sad day for UK soaring. Best of luck with it all gentlemen. I will keep in touch as a spectator as I have made some very good friends and had some great laughs and great times and truly value the friendships that have developed out my participation in F3j both in the UK and around the world. I even met my other half as a direct result of F3j on that fateful night at the 2002 World Champs banquet in Lappeenranta, Finland. I will also always remember the 40mph winds, the snow, and the tent scattering tornado in South Africa 2012 and Austin as he sat huddled up in the team tent covered in a blanket with what looked like frost bite on his legs. May it rest in peace

    Regards as always

    Neil

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    Richard Swindells

    Posted

    For me the effort to enjoyment ratio was never quite there with F3J, I missed the tactical element from when I first started flying BARCS Open in the mid-late eighties. I absolutely hate health & safety culture, but I could be sure that it never reached F3J! Every time I did a two-man tow it felt dangerous and I'm genuinely surprised there were not more serious injuries & lost fingers over the years. 

    Other classes have developed that now provide a much more genuine test of soaring ability, where you can easily get 6-8 or even 10 slots in a day and still have lots of spare time to relax and what the other pilots. 

    From where I am sitting, the future of thermal soaring in the UK looks very positive.

    I get slightly intrigued by the politics of the "J" classes, but hopefully moving towards events that need less "team" involvement will help bring people together. I'm not so interested in regional leagues, I'd prefer to be able to compete in every part of the UK to build up a score.

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    satinet

    Posted

    7 hours ago, pete beadle said:

    Hi all

    It's not all doom and gloom you know........personally,I never liked F3J anyway.......It just MIGHT prove to be the incentive that BARCS needs, to suggest that we go back to the format we used to call "BARCS Open".....a UK national competition, independent of the BMFA. NOT concentrating on European competitions to international rules, organised locally with leagues based on were you were in the UK......with national competitions open to all, in case other European fliers wanted to compete in OUR UK national competitions.........sounds good to me........ 

    We've done it once, who says we can't do it again?.......and no, no smiley faces, because I AM serious.......

    Regards

    Pete

    Glad to be BARCS member 1702   

    That might work if the reason f3j died was because of the rules and not because of other issues. Not least over all decline in numbers and the rise of electric.

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    satinet

    Posted

    5 hours ago, Richard Swindells said:

    For me the effort to enjoyment ratio was never quite there with F3J, I missed the tactical element from when I first started flying BARCS Open in the mid-late eighties. I absolutely hate health & safety culture, but I could be sure that it never reached F3J! Every time I did a two-man tow it felt dangerous and I'm genuinely surprised there were not more serious injuries & lost fingers over the years. 

    Other classes have developed that now provide a much more genuine test of soaring ability, where you can easily get 6-8 or even 10 slots in a day and still have lots of spare time to relax and what the other pilots. 

    From where I am sitting, the future of thermal soaring in the UK looks very positive.

    I get slightly intrigued by the politics of the "J" classes, but hopefully moving towards events that need less "team" involvement will help bring people together. I'm not so interested in regional leagues, I'd prefer to be able to compete in every part of the UK to build up a score.

    Disagree with you there. The number of pilots is declining all the time. On the rare occasions i go slope soaring i usually have the slope to myself, which definitely wasn't the case even 5 years ago.

    Even f3k only has what 10 pilots at a comp. That's bad given the convenience of dlgs and the cost to fun ratio.

    F5j seems mostly older guys not new comers.

    F3f will say there are a lot more comps but i think there are fewer doing it.

    The cost of models has gone off the charts which doesn't help. Models near 2k are now not uncommon. The fun to cost ratio isn't there for me. 

    With regards to health and safety - f3k is hardly safety first with people launching and landing around each other in the ' Box'.

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    pete beadle

    Posted

    Hi all

    For me, I don't think any individual change over time is to blame

    Back in the 80's -90's I used to work in Europe a lot, and was really interested in the "other side" of the argument relating to the different way big European organisations went about solving their financial and commercial problems.

    It was at this time that I was on the receiving end of a heated complaint triggered by my trying to explain the "British method" of dog eat dog business practices, especially in the international banking business. My European counterparts in the meeting were ranged against me citing the British "blame culture" existing, in their eyes, solely to find "who was to blame" and then, having found them, fire them........the UK was, to them, only ever thinking short-term and putting the high cost of labour in the UK as the biggest problem,  suggesting that increasing individual work productivity  would be a much better solution, rather than importing cheap labour from Europe to do low-wage jobs UK workers wouldn't "deign" to do.....sound familiar?

    IMHO we gave gone the way of Formula One where the sport is elitist, horribly expensive and totally results based

    This was not always the way here in the UK. With amateur sport no longer making up the bulk of competitive sports we have, to a great extent, lost the fun of competing and replaced it with the need for winning at any cost, resulting in the "£2,000 a time" planes, brutally efficient and expensive back-up equipment such as winches, and the importing of stuff designed to help us win rather than doing it ourselves.....

    Just as UK model shops are rarer than hen's teeth now, it's now a fact, it's just not enough to look for someone or something to blame.......we must adapt.......unless, of course, we actually prefer not to have low-cost, entry level, soaring sport?

    Having thrown the brick in the pond I await the "ripples" of counter argument

    Regards

    Pete

    BARCS1702

    PS I welcome Proglide as a perfect example of what we can do....if we want to....and wish these guys every success in their endeavours.....for me, that's the way to go now.......

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    satinet

    Posted

    At the end of the day if there were lots of people coming through all the other problem would not be very significant. 

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    martynk

    Posted

    2 hours ago, satinet said:

    At the end of the day if there were lots of people coming through all the other problem would not be very significant. 

    Very true. Competitive Aeromodelling is dying in all disciplines with only a very few specialists left in certain fields. When this generation moves onto that great flying field in the sky that will be the end of the problem, all true competitive classes will cease to exist as there will be insufficient numbers to make the sport viable.

    There is no education programme in place, the BMFA is now primarily concerned with recruiting sports flyers and selling insurance and there is no natural bridge in place to move from Sports to Competitive flying as there was in the 50s to early 80s

     

    Edit: Natural bridge. The concept of a model flying club has changed (with only a few exceptions - like Peterborough  MFC) that actively promote local club level competitions throughout the year. There are one or two clubs in the NW (mainly Tyldesley MFC) that are actively trying to promote inter club competitiveness, but in the main this concept has disappeared. For a healthy national competition scene, you need a healthier grass roots competition scene. Fix that and you will have a life time supply of aeromodellers coming through the ranks

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    ChuckGlider

    Posted

    Living in S Wales, I am primarily a slope soarer, and why wouldn't I with some of the best slopes in the UK within an hours drive from my door step.

    But on those odd occasions when the wind drops and it isn't worth me loading the car with slope models, I pack a balsa built F5J model and a balsa 2m electric powered model into the car.

    Finding a local field long enough to stretch out a hi-start has been almost an impossibility, which is why I turned to electric power.

    The local club I belonged to, weren't particularly happy with me stretching my 90m hi-start across the field, and I wasn't particularly happy with being buzzed by IC 3D models, and 3D heli's flying directly over the landing strip, hence why I am no longer a club member.

    Now I'm not particularly competitive, preferring the fun aspect of flying, but from what I've seen, and heard, the competition scene is very clicky, (which puts me off straight away), the models are wayyyyyy above my modelling budget level, and I feel that competition in the UK will never survive unless they can attract the youngsters into the sport. I can't afford £1k for a model, let alone £2k, and TBH, I wouldn't spend that much on a model anyway, but how can a youngster afford that? It seems to be only the more, mature people who have grown up families and more disposable income that can afford the more expensive models.

    At the age of 57 I have only just purchased my first fully moulded model, and that is not likely to happen again for a good few years. So maybe the answer is for fathers to instill some interest in our hobby to their kids, get them to build balsa models that are affordable, and a new tow line type competition may evolve in the future with back to basics models. You only have to look at the balsa models available in the USA, and a thriving competition scene.

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    Richard Swindells

    Posted

    13 hours ago, pete beadle said:

    ........

    IMHO we gave gone the way of Formula One where the sport is elitist, horribly expensive and totally results based

    This was not always the way here in the UK. With amateur sport no longer making up the bulk of competitive sports we have, to a great extent, lost the fun of competing and replaced it with the need for winning at any cost, resulting in the "£2,000 a time" planes, brutally efficient and expensive back-up equipment such as winches, and the importing of stuff designed to help us win rather than doing it ourselves.....

    Just as UK model shops are rarer than hen's teeth now, it's now a fact, it's just not enough to look for someone or something to blame.......we must adapt.......unless, of course, we actually prefer not to have low-cost, entry level, soaring sport?

    Having thrown the brick in the pond I await the "ripples" of counter argument

    Regards

    Pete

    BARCS1702

    PS I welcome Proglide as a perfect example of what we can do....if we want to....and wish these guys every success in their endeavours.....for me, that's the way to go now.......

    When I first started flying BARCS open as a teenager in the mid-late 80's my first competition model was an Algebra 3M, with a Fleet Radio.

    The cost of my model, the radio, servos, glass-cloth etc came to about £400

    That's about £1200 in todays money.  £1200 today will buy you a frsky TX + brand new shadow F3J.

    UK model shops are thriving and fantastic, but they are not on the high-street anymore. Instead I can pick something from t9 and it would arrive on my doorstep tomorrow morning.

    If I want advice, I can ask online and get hundreds of the worlds best pilots reading and potentially replying to my question, rather than the lottery of good/bad advice from the local hobby shop.

    Yes, Pro-glide is the perfect example of what can be done, with a thousand free man-hours, money, patience, skill and dedication and a team willing to collaborate to make it happen. It's not the way to go unless you have a passion for chemicals, modern technology, computer aided design and a love of moving with the times, rather than complaining that "stuff just ain't how it was"

    We now have a national centre for modelling, which appears to be embracing all of the thermal soaring classes. There are sure to be a LOT of column inches in the BMFA news this year about what we are all doing, so plenty of opportunity to capitalise on that to generate some new interest.

    The soaring classes were more popular when they had more exposure, after years of us all grumbling about being side-lined, we better make the most of this chance!

    -------

    I appreciate that the large majority of pilots at competitions are there primarily for their own enjoyment, but of course there is also a core group that get their enjoyment from aiming for those top places. Trying to combine these different types of aspirations into a single event is challenging and is essentially the reason for the accusations of "Elitism". It's no fun when your there for pure enjoyment with not a lot to aim for as a mid-table pilot., flying next to Mr Highly Strung Competitor. I think both types of pilot can easily be accommodated.

    If we want to energise the core membership of pilots who want to fly enjoyable competitions but not go all-out for Team places, just introduce a "sportsman" and "masters" category.

    The UK team is selected from the Masters Category (Scored as the BMFA League), a pilot MUST declare their intention to fly this category at the beginning of the season and pays double the standard entry fee to each competition.

    There are no individual prizes or trophies for the Masters category at any individual competition. Only Sportsman class pilots positions are recognised at the prize giving. The sportsman class is the BARCS league.

    The three top places of the Sportsman category MUST fly as Masters in the following year. They are allowed to pay just the standard fee for competition entry during that following year, but will receive no prizes or trophies during that year as Masters.

    There are no regional leagues, all pilots are matrixed together. 

    The World Champ team is picked from the top-3 of the masters league at the end of the year. Best 4 scores ( scores from 2-day events receive a 2% bonus)

     

     

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    satinet

    Posted

    If you go to an f3x comp people will be happy to see you and happy to help you. It's a myth that there are nasty cliques (never mind clicks) who won't talk to you.  Sure people have their mates and what not but I've always found people very helpful and welcoming. 

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    Steve J

    Posted

    5 hours ago, martynk said:

    Competitive Aeromodelling is dying in all disciplines with only a very few specialists left in certain fields.

    There is a competitive discipline that seems to be growing in popularity, but it doesn't involve gliders.

    Steve

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    pete beadle

    Posted

    "There is a competitive discipline that seems to be growing in popularity, but it doesn't involve gliders."

    Sorry, but why would that "competitive discipline" be of interest to glider-guiders?.......let alone F3J glider guiders........which, I seem to remember, are the subject of this wake........:frantics:

    Regards

    Pete

    BARCS1702

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    EssexBOF

    Posted

    I realized that electric would be the way forward some 10+ years ago, all the lugging about of winches broken tow lines etc plus getting older made it not a competition that was enjoyable any more.

    I was still working then at a school and ran a modelling group after school, that started with 12 students but sank to 2-3 after 3 months, so as to be not viable.I said then that the hobby as we knew it would not survive more than 20 years.( remember the A level student trying to cut 6mm rod with a tennon saw, whilst holding down on a bench, rolling back & forth):frantics::frantics:

    Started electric comps when they were not fashionable, in 2006-7, with E Soaring. This was interesting but was not that competitive until height limiters arrived in 2008-9. The rules as such were not great as to an even playing field, so this led  me to start the Bartletts Comps which were IMHO a fairer test. These have now evolved into a very fair type of comp, not quite as serious as F5j but not that far removed. I like F5j as well as both comp allow ALL flyers of any age, to compete on an even keel, cost of models withstanding.

    The other thing is that electric has given a kick start for the build of models that can compete on equal terms

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    isoaritfirst

    Posted

    There is little point trying to develop a class for low cost models. 

    Who would travel typically 150 to 300 miles to fly an easy glider. 

    Competition flying at anything other than club level is expensive. 

    But if the event gives a focus to a weekend away with friends and a chance to learn from the best in the country, then it's good value. 

    Competition flying is about a lot more than the competition. 

    As to it being clique or elitist. Top pilots generally have a few very nice models, but don't think for a second that they snear at lesser models. They would have started in this sport with a sheet of balsa and some glue like everyone else. 

    Some have been modellers all their lives and if you need help with a gentle lady or you're going through a bad Phase, they will have been there and will be only too happy to help. 

    Just don't ask them while they are standing on the start line with a WC place hanging on a their next move. Or even just after, or for a day or two, if it didn't go well. 

    Events do become like clubs. Regular competitors become friends and it may take a couple of events to just find how you fit into the group. 

    But you will be very welcome. 

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    oipigface

    Posted

    Mike's remarks are largely true, but having experienced, friendly and helpful people around is not a good substitute for an effective training system, (as martynk points out). F3F certainly lacks one of these, and I imagine that F3J is much the same. It is all very well answering questions when new recruits ask them, but one of the things about being a new recruit is not knowing even what questions to ask. 

    There are a number of attempts available on the web to help F3Fers advance. (There's even one by me.) Such documents are a poor substitute for having someone watch what you are doing, criticise constructively, and suggest ways to improve. They seem to do this much more effectively in France and Spain (and possibly other countries, too). In fact, I have had more help with my flying from Spaniards than from any other nationality.

     

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