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    Robin Sleight

    CAA Revised Air Navigation Order

    By Robin Sleight, in News & Information,

    Air Navigation Order
    All types of flying in the UK including that of model aircraft is subject to regulations as created by the Civil Aviation Authority.  Fortunately the BMFA and BARCS enjoy a good relationship with the CAA and UK regulations are much more model friendly than in some counties notably the USA.
    The CAA will, come about July/August this year, re-issue CAP 658 – Model Aircraft.
     Key changes are a legal definition of what is a model – a small aircraft flown specifically for Sport and Recreation, and what is a small
     UAV- a small aircraft flown for some commercial purpose.  Additionally this revised CAP make rulings, as applicable to gliders over 7kg  in weight.  These are identical to those which have applied for some time to powered aircraft (IC and electric).  No changes whatever, simply a few clarifications, apply to models of less than 7kg in weight.  All changes, indeed the whole CAP, are very sensible and the entire CAP is worth reading for the good advice it contains as well as the regulatory definitions.
    In more detail any model over 7kg (now including pure gliders), require specific permission before being flown within controlled airspace or within an active airfield traffic zone.  The inclusion of gliders is new but only in line with existing rules for powered models.  No other limitations apply up to a weight of 20kg.
    For gliders which weigh between 20 and 150 kg a formal “Exemption Certificate” is now required.  Powered models, including electric powered soarer’s in this weight bracket have required such certificates under the existing CAP regulations but (very sensibly) pure gliders too are now included.  The advice of the LMA should be sought in regard to such certification as they operate a CAA approved model inspection scheme on behalf of all UK aeromodelling associations.  The issue of such a Certificate requires build inspection/s and flight test but the full requirements are detailed by the CAP and available from the LMA.   The CAA in conjunction with the LMA will agree to “grandfather rights” as applicable to models in this weight bracket which already successfully flying.  However any such model will loose the grandfather right to the waiving of the exemption certificate if it is either subject to non trivial structural damage or acquires a new owner.
    Finally gliders over 150kg in weight are treated in much the same way as full size aircraft and the CAA should be contacted to advise requirements.  Approval from EASA is also likely to be required
    Sydney Lenssen

    Tribute to Harry Coover

    By Sydney Lenssen, in News & Information,

    Harry Coover – every aeromodeller’s friend. By Sydney Lenssen.
    Last year Harry Coover received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama, 52 years after “superglue” was introduced.
    Harry Coover might not be a name known to every aeromodeller, but his invention of cyanoacrylates resulted in an adhesive which is used by all of them worldwide. If you had to name a substance vitally important to modellers today, no longer would it be balsa wood, but “Zap”, “Loctite”, “Super Glue” and many hundreds of other brand names which spell instant adhesion.
    Harry Coover died on 26 March 2011 aged 94, and his obituary dispelled one of the myths which I always held firm: cyanoacrylates were invented during the Vietnam war, and sprayed on to seal open wounds until soldiers could be flown to operating theatres. That application  is true and it’s the one of which Coover was most proud.
    But the reality is that zap was discovered by accident during the second world war when chemist Coover was experimenting for Eastman Kodak with clear plastics which could be used to make unbreakable gun sights; that got nowhere. In 1951 he came back to cyanoacrylates for jet cockpit canopies. Testing for resistance to heat, his co-worker Fred Joyner – appropriately named – found that refractometer lenses were bonded together. They recognised that this stuff could bond almost anything under most conditions.
    Superglue appeared on the market in 1958 and was called Eastman 910, and in 1963 Eastman Kodak sold the formula to American Sealants who then produced Loctite Super Glue.

    The original product
    Aeromodellers and many other buyers made zap immensely profitable, especially after Coover’s patent expired, but by that time he had filed nearly 500 patents, many of them extremely successful.
    So next time you are rescued while out flying by a drop of zap, think and thank Coover!
    Sydney Lenssen

  • Our picks

    • At this time of angst in the Coronavirus Pandemic, many of us are feeling bored and without many opportunities to fly our models, and that means more time on our hands. So here is a chance to catch up Uncle Sydney’ Gossip Columns, running over the years from 1998 through to 2019.

      Before starting let me thank Jojo Grini who has maintained a web diary of all my reports in Norway and sent it round the world. Thanks also the Austin Guerrier who helped me to reach websites in UK and USA and other continents. And other F3J pilots told me that they enjoyed my Gossips.

      To read, type the following address: www.f3x.no/f3j/gossip/index.htm. Be warmed it takes a long time to read it in full.

      Sydney Lenssen
      • 0 replies
    • by Sydney Lenssen, July 2018

      Brian Austin has been co-opted by the BARCS Executive Committee as the new President of BARCS. His three year term of office will be confirmed by the membership at the AGM 2019. I am confident that this announcement will be welcomed by all BARCS members. Many, if not all, members know Brian from his long record of achievements and activities in the silent flight field. He is especially known for his friendly cheerful manner, always at hand to help fellow modellers.

      Four years ago, Brian was awarded BARCS’ Eppler Trophy, in my opinion, the association’s the most prestigious award with a long list of distinguished aeromodellers such as Eppler himself.

      Graham James, BARCS President at that time, wrote the following citation: In the early years of BARCS, awarding was often a relatively straightforward decision as new construction methods, materials, wing sections, control methods and launch and landing requirements demanded continuous model development. Today, many of us have moved onto moulded ready builds and the skills of the true modeller are largely being lost.

      One person, Brian Austin, continues to lead the field in home design and build models. Responsible over the years for many familiar Open and 100s designs, his name is now better known in electric circles not only for his planes but also as a driving force behind competition rule progression. Names like Trilogy, Alacrity and more recently the Watts series of electric gliders, of which Watts New is the latest incarnation, will be familiar to us all. For many years, he has also been the responsible for running a very successful series of competitions in Essex.

      Although tempted by shiny plastic models too, he continues to fashion exquisitely beautiful soarers, built to standards that most of us can only
      aspire. They take the latest look and feel of moulded machines, but are built in more traditional ways. Brian pilots competition winning models.
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      • 0 replies
    • 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.


      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!

      • 12 replies
    • 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!) .....

      • 32 replies
    • by Sydney Lenssen, BARCS President and Gary Binnie, BARCS Chairman

      We and the BARCS executive committee wish all members, and indeed everyone who enjoys model flying and thermal soaring, a very happy Christmas, and also a very special year ahead in 2018. May all your achievements, higher scores and hopes be realised.

      Year 2017 has been a mixed year, probably for everybody. The biggest triumph by far has been the successful opening of BMFA’s National Flying Centre at Buckminster. BARCS can be very proud that it was the first group of aeromodellers to utilise the facilities on offer by organising a successful Radioglide 2017 at the end of May. 

      There is still a long way to go until BMFA realises all its ambitious plans for the NFC. Very sensibly, they are taking a careful financial route. Many members will not have even seen the site so far. Don’t hesitate. Many other members are in the band of volunteers, regularly making the Centre bigger and better. Offer to help if you can!

      One of the prime movers to establish the National Flying Centre is Chris Moynihan as chairman of the BMFA and also a member of the BARCS executive committee. Many years ago, it was Chris who tackled the difficult job of persuading BARCS to grow closer to the BMFA. He then went on to become chairman of the BMFA with his dedicated drive and skill at bringing together proponents and opponents. Very sadly, due to health problems, Chris has stepped down from both the BMFA chairman role and the BARCS committee. We shall all miss his wise counselling. 

      All the very best - and plenty of thermals - for 2018!

      Sydney Lenssen, BARCS President
      • 0 replies
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