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  1. Sydney Lenssen

    Final F3J Festival For Rules Mark 1

    BABENHAUSEN - 15/16 SEPTEMBER 2018 What promises to be a “sweet and sour” weekend of Contest Eurotour flying before the new F3J rules allowing winch towing instead of two-man hand towing come into force - January 2019 - will take place weekend September 15/16 September in Babenhausen just a little way south of Frankfurt. Why sweet and sour? After the biggest set of rule changes by CIAM in Lausanne since the stake was banned, many dedicated pilots, with their deep tradition of friendship and fun, say that the winch and new rules spell the end. Entry numbers tell a similar tale. Contest Eurotour F3J entry numbers are down to less than 200 in total compared with more than 600 in previous years. In many countries F3J meetings are being cancelled. That is the “sour”. One compensation in this sad tale is that F5J is booming. Entry numbers have passed 500 and growing. Pilots who have resisted using propellers and electric motors to launch are expressing surprise at how exciting it is to learn new skills and strategies. When Philip Kolb heard about the rule changes, he hit upon the idea of encouraging F3J pilots old and new to get together for a final celebration of 21 years of FAI contests and FAI Championships under Mark 1 rules, a chance for everyone to enjoy a great reunion, keen competition with plenty of beer and stories old and new. Babenhausen is also the last contest in the 2018 Contest Eurotour series and the new champion will be crowned. That is the “sweet”! Philip’s call for an F3J farewell party did not go down well at the start: even his good friend Stephan Lammlein described his idea as nonsense. “We must make ourselves strong and press for better rules.” Darius Mahmoudi thought Philip’s idea was counterproductive at uncertain times for F3J.Philip backtracked a little. “Let’s call it a retro meeting for F3J and attract as many ex-F3J pilots to come - including me.” Babenhausen is a contest for the F3J family to get together again, and as Erel Cankan says, “if all of us in the family wants, we will find a way to put things back on track again!” At the time of writing 90+ pilots have entered for the two days. Let’s all hope that the weather is kind. The new flying site is planned to allow 120 pilots to compete, so there is still a chance to enter. Flying or spectating come along and help everyone celebrate in style and joy. Cheering our world champions What are our reminiscences? Let’s start with F3J world champions, Starting with 1998 at Upton upon Severn, the winner was Joe Wurts, still flying today in various classes, and still standing on podiums and revered worldwide, always ready to give expert advice. The start of World Championships as opposed to European friendships.Two years later the championships were on the island of Corfu, troubled a little by smoking forest fires and won by Jan Kohout from the Czech Republic. He plays a lovely guitar repertoire but was tempted out of thermal flying a few years later by mountaineering. Next stop was Finland in Lappeenranta where a worthy winner was Arend Borst from Canada who almost won in 1998, and appropriate since the next world championships were already booked for Canada. 2004 Red Deer was a chance for teams to experience the Rockies and compete on a sod farm. The week was almost marred by a typhoon which managed to uproot one of two giant marquees held down by three metre scaffold tubes which were just ripped out of the ground as the cover blew nearly 200 metres and almost onto the main highway. Winner this time was David Hobby from Australia flying in his first F3J contest with no track record in this class. In his job he did fly remote-controlled drones across the Atlantic, a true professional. Back into Europe for the 2006 worlds and flying in Martin, Slovakia one of the worlds most beautiful model flying sites. What happened? David Hobby won again, and not only that, in the fly offs he had a mid-air which increased the dihedral on the port tip by 20 degrees and tore the surfaces but he still flew some 400 metres to land safely near the landing spot. he was so far ahead by this point that he didn’t even need his reflight to become champion again. One country, Turkey, had been F3J keen from the start and had set new standards in how well contests could be organised and managed. The reward was being chosen for the 2008 world championships and again flew on a pristine sod farm at Adazapari. The winner was Benedikt Feigl, younger brother of Sebastian Feigl who had won a team world medal two years before, and son of Peter Feigl who flew models and full-size gliders. The three man Feigl team was and still is a notable force to be reckoned with. The next world event was in France in Dole Jura, 2010, and although the flying site was not ideal, the food, wine and activities were great. Daryl Perkins who had been world champion some four times in the F3B class became world champion in F3J, much to his delight and my surprise. I had always reckoned mistakenly that Daryl did not have the same keenness for J as B. US teams are selected after one trial contest, not a series or league, and Daryl until 2009 had never gained a team place. But his competitive spirit was not deterred. He came and conquered. Since then he has been the driver for F3J in the United States and encouraging to keep it alive and kicking. The world championships in 2012 moved to a new continent, held in South Africa at Kempton Park, still flown in mid summer and so that the weather was a testing mix of snow, wind and cold in the Southern Hemisphere. The event was well organised in an exciting country by Michelle and Craig Goodrum and yet another win for Benedikt Feigl. This was the first WCs that I missed, but I was lucky because I cannot take cold. Vladimir Gavrylko recounted that he looked forward to getting back to his hotel to thaw out, only to find that the bath taps were running cold too! In 2014 the world championships returned to Slovakia and Martin and a new young pilot with the widest of smiles, Jany Littva became world champion. He was to become one of the young pilots with skills that left the established oldies wondering what they could do to match the pilot skills and reactions. Slovenia has always held a strong reputation in the F3J circuit with its beautiful and unique flying site in Bovec, surrounded by a wide bowl of mountains. Sadly the sports airport there was lost to models when a new road widening scheme chopped off space. But the site at Vipava is almost as good, just as friendly and blessed with good wines. Champion of the world in 2016 was Arijan Hucaljuk from Croatia, another youngster with a shy smile, a man who seems to smell thermal lift that others cannot see, a man who stands with his feet forming a V-sign around the landing spot and 9 times out of 10 puts the nose down on the spot. And finally in 2018 the world championships moved to Romania, to Brasov where Arijan Hucaljuk won again, just one of a series of trophies in F5J and F3K which Arijan has won over the last few weeks over the summer. In his comments last week about the Dupnitsa F5J first European Championships, Graham Wicks reports that Arijan’s launch height was 14metres in one slot, he sank to 7 metres and then thermalled to fly out the slot. What a pilot, another win! Having reached the end of the list of F3J world champions, the feature which intrigues me is that there are three pilots who have won twice, David, Benedikt and Arijan which is remarkable considering the number of excellent highly skilled pilots from so many countries, any of whom could have triumphed, but these three have something extra. What? Who will be flying in Babenhausen’s F3J Festival? Not surprisingly most of the entries are from Germany, this year’s end of the Eurotour, and many of these pilots are not people I recognise to date. I hope they will excuse me if I stick to people I know, some going back to when F3J started. Dieter Rybold will be flying along with Knut Bundgen, one of the organisers, Robert Braune has a strong track record and I am pleased to see lady pilots Catharina Schmidtkunz and junior Carolin Weihe. Stefan Hollein will be flying the flag along with Ryan. A keen sponsor/pilot/guru is Thomas Rossner of Servorahmen fame who enjoys beer and seems to turn up at all the best competitions all over the world. Helmut Rohner is another pilot who flies everywhere, takes lots of photographs and make puzzles on Facebook, and always tells me off - “Sydney, du weiss ich spreche kein Englisch.” Next on the list of pilots is the inspiration for this Festival, Philip Kolb who sadly is transferring his loyalties to bigger and better classes of glider models. Karl Hinsch has flown with Philip for many a year. Stephan Lammlein will be there although at this point his son Tobi who now lives and flies for Switzerland, a former German junior world champion. I remember his mother Gabi going shopping in Lappeenranta because she could not put up with the stress of watching Tobi in the flyoffs. Jany Littva and his father Dr Jan Littva are entered, Cederic Duss a more recent star pilot, Jaroslav Vostrel of the Pike family, Martin Rajsner another star, Christian Keulerz, Felix and Willi Parsch, Christian and Manuel Reinecke and the keenly competitive Dominik Prestele. DariusMahmoudi will fly as well as report I suspect for Aufwind. We shall also be pleased to see Arijan Hucaljuk, no doubt keen to add to his 2018 prizes. I am also delighted that Erel Cankan and Salahi Tezel will be flying in from North Cyprus to fly the Turkish flag. Italy could not be left out and Marco and Giuseppe Generali along with the Gallizia family Giuseppe, Carlo and Marco. I am especially pleased to see Vladimir Gavrilko and Oleksandr Chekh from Ukraine, but there will not be time over the weekend to assemble the swimming pool. That’s the list as it stands at the time of writing. There could be and I hope there will be more to come. Apologies again to those pilots I don’t recognise. I do not know how Tomas Bartovsky found out that I was intending to attend Babenhausen, but he did ask me to pass on his best regards to the F3J family and all his friends. I do know that Tomas is a firm believer that F3J will survive and thrive, and will get over the rule changes. “There will always be those keen pilots who wish to become champions!” Finally I am sure that many of us will have lost friends who have passed away over the last 20 years, friends who shared the same enthusiasms and dedication to F3J. I should like to remember Mustafa Koc, Otto Barvels, Utz Giesa, and Hans Fischer, and if my memory was better, others too. Uncle Sydney - really gossiping for the last time. 2 September 2018 View full news and information
  2. It was after the CIAM Meeting in Lausanne where the go-ahead was given for winch launching, that many F3J pilots, especially in Germany, expressed dismay that hand towing might disappear. Philip Kolb came up with idea of holding the last Contest Eurotour of 2018 in Babenhausen, 15/16 September, as a special farewell, a chance for pilots old and new, for champions and faithful heroes, for all who have loved F3J over the past 20 years, to get together under the old original rules. There are still 50 or so in the 120 places available. The attachment gives details in German and English. Ausschreibung-Babenhausen-_BadL-F3J-2018-deut-engl.pdf View full news and information
  3. You are invited to Kent Interclub Glider 4 Multilaunch competition to be held at the Invicta club field Sutton Valence. The exact field will be signposted on the day from the A274 running south from Sutton Valence. To enable a enjoyable day please could you add your name to this post no later than Friday August 17th with model class, and frequency if not 2.4 (Glider, Electric, Open, 100" etc) so a matrix can be set up? The Rules are BARCS Multilaunch as used last year where Electric launched gliders must have a Motor stop function set at 175m and 30 seconds. Random checks on this may be made so please ensure you have a reader for your device. For Electric launched gliders the Time Keeper must record the F5J launch height on the score sheet for CD’s information in addition to normal flight times We want to have a full day flying so please check in 09:30 latest and be ready for Pilots Briefing at 09:45 with the competition starting at 10:00 sharp. A minimum of 4 rounds and a maximum of 6 rounds will be flown Non Kent Interclub flyers Entry fee £5 payable on the day Enter by replying to this post Entrants Keith Fisher Open Electric Richard Harris Open Electric Greg Hayfield Open winch Iain Stingemore Open winch Mike Connell Open Electric Ian Nicholls Open Electric Nick Jackson Open Electric Eddy Small Open Electric Tony Wood Open Electric Brian Martin Open Electric Alan Harris Open Electric Keith Benton Open Electric John Postle Open Electric Alan Twine Open Electric Derek Collings Open Electric Bob Ryan Open Electric Gordon Loomes Open Electric Bob Hope Open Electric Phil Ramsey Open Electric Rob Love Open Electric David Yale Open Electric Brian Austin Open Electric
  4. Can F3J survive the treatment meant to save it What are the new rules? Two weeks ago the RC Soaring Technical Meeting in Lausanne took the bull by the horns and introduced new rules aimed at saving F3J glider contests from sliding off the world and continental championship schedules - the death of what for many soaring pilots is the most popular of silent flight competitions. Joe Wurts, the first F3J World Champion in 1998 at Upton-upon Severn, UK. Twenty years later with the latest F3J WC about to take place in Romania, many soarers are fearing that this could be the last. THE NEW RULES From next year pilots can use electric winches - either/or hand held winches - for launching their models. The models must have a maximum surface area of 150 dm2 and a minimum loading of at least 20 gm/dm2. There will be no dropped round in fly-offs, and no reflights for mid-air collisions after 60 seconds into the slot. CIAM, the world ruling body for this class is hoping that its new rules will halt the massive fall in numbers of F3J pilots wishing to compete, sixty per cent over the past five years and still falling, and restore its popularity. But among many F3J pilots, the bull is still shaking its horns. There has been an extraordinary shock reaction: hundreds of pilots from all over the world have reacted on social media, protesting, angry and forecasting the end of this class. Many pilots are concerned, ranging from previous finalists and champions to your typical enthusiast who enjoys travelling across country and continental boundaries to participate in their friendly sport. Only a few can see the logic and reasoning and are prepared to wait and see how the changes work in practice. More than a few want CIAM to think again! In all fairness, while not condoning some of the rude remarks, I still have severe doubts that F3J will survive. What I hope to write here is a sober report on F3J problems and why I believe that rules revision is vital. I remain hopeful that CIAM’s approved changes prove to be a step in the right direction. WHY CHANGE MUST HAPPEN How many pilots and helpers do you need to run an F3J competition? Last summer I was shocked when speaking to Arijan Hucaljuk, world and european F3J champion in 2016 and 2017, to find that he had flown only one new F3J model that year. In Croatia there had been so few pilots wanting to qualify for Slovakia. He now has more F5J models and flew in this class more often than not. In Britain, a survey was made of committed and earlier regular F3J pilots, asking their intentions for 2017. With great regret BARCS came to the conclusion that the F3J league to determine the national team could not be run. In previous years half a dozen or so qualifying rounds were contested. So GBR team 2017 was scrubbed and for the first time ever we had no team entered. Same applies this year for the Romanian world championship. The BARCS committee reckoned that to run a typical one day low-key friendly contest you need to attract at least 16 pilots, and that would only give you four pilots per slot. Any last minute absentees would render the day scarcely possible. The days have gone when winning a place in the national team was the pride and joy of keen F3J pilots. The numbers problem is not limited at national level. Despite the high entry fees payable to FAI championships for pilots, helpers and team managers, reduced entries increase the financial risk of running a championship. Until recently, opening and award ceremonies found the whole host town gathering in the main squares, sharing and enjoying the sight and excitement of pilots from so many countries. But they cost money. The vital point is that to survive F3J must attract more pilots. Why are numbers falling around the world? Main reasons are that as pilots grow older they cannot find the energy, ability and will to tow, and feel uneasy about not sharing the effort. The cost of models - competitive ones - has reached a level that deters all but the richest and keenest of youngsters and dads. When you do find a “youngster” - somebody no older than say 30 - he finds that he is trying to make friends with people 20 and sometimes 50 years older. The chance of an immediate meeting of minds and enjoyment are slim. To survive as a class, F3J needs to go back to square one, the era in the 1980s when pilots from Holland, France, Germany and England found that they could meet to compete two or three times each summer, the birth of Eurotouring. The gliders they flew were often rudder/elevator. Single man tows were in order and the two-man variety was still 10 years away. Why was it popular? The participants were keen to see and watch F3B pilots, but that was a difficult sport taking greater skills, distance, speed and duration, three separate tasks. Why can’t we compete with something much simpler they would ask: simple duration with a 10 minute slot time, plenty of time to natter and swap experiences, and most pilots did not even launch on the buzzer - you waited until somebody bold enough found what looked like good lift. OK, that is oozing nostalgia and we are never to see such times again. But the lesson is that we need to find something much simpler and cheaper if we want to attract new people join the fun. F3J was born to be a simple thermal soaring contest, easy for anyone to join. A look at the new rules In March the CIAM 2018 agenda was published and Uncle Sydney’s Gossip column was revived to comment, and I made a mistake in concentrating on the proposal to allow winches for F3J launching. The main emphasis should have been given to the changes in the model’s specification, size weight and wing loading. The Slovakian proposal for the meeting was that the weight of the model should be at maximum 1.7 kg, a very strange idea aimed at reducing costs. But as most delegates agreed, this did not address the issues. The best and most convenient method of reducing the flight performance of F3J, as spelled out by Philip Kolb two years ago, is to limit the span and insist on a minimum wing loading. What CIAM has decided is to go for a minimum surface loading, 20gm/dm2 and maximum surface area. I am told that other simpler options were debated, higher loading up to 23/25 gm/dm2, or a far easier, simpler to process requiring weight to be divided by the wing span with a minimum weight of say 0.6 kg per metre span. Don’t be surprised if all these numbers in the rules are changed after trial runs in the years to come. I don’t see that the new rules will necessitate many pilots to buy new models. It will be easy if necessary to simply add ballast. It will be interesting if the manufacturers find it necessary to develop new approaches to optimise performance. I have not seen so far any computer simulations to estimate the increase in sinking speeds and consequent loss of flight time. What I understand is that in straight flight the higher wing loading will hardly affect sinking speeds. But flight times will reduce markedly in circular flight when to you fly into a patch of weak lift and you seek to centre the thermal. My own rough guess was to recognise that 150 dm2 max. area at 20 gm/dm2 equals 3 kg which I often ballast to in typical UK winds. Unballasted my two current Supras weigh in at 2.1 and 2.3 kg. Most experienced F3J pilots appreciate the excellent development work over the last 20 years put in by the main designers, producers and their dealers, in aerodynamics and materials and building techniques. CIAM’s new rules appear to protect producers from requiring to retool drastically, although some may not agree with that! When the CIAM agenda was sent out before the meeting the proposal to allow winch launching gave little or no detail or rules to determine the specification of the winch and battery, and how winches would be used in the competition. It was indicated that the same specifications would be used as in F3B and that seems to have been followed in the issued minutes. The minutes also say that for world and continental championships a maximum of six winches and six batteries may be used at any time on the winch line by each working team. Interchanging among winches and batteries…is totally the responsibility of the competitor. This appears to hint at what the rule makers mean to happen. Critics have wanted to know if winches and batteries are to be allowed to stay in place in the safety corridor, and how would the launching spots be arranged along the corridor? For any one round, the three man team will fly from one spot, with its six winches plus batteries. These are then cleared away to be laid out again in the next round at a different launching point along the line. There has also been speculation that if the number of teams competing exceeds the number of flight lines available, then two teams could occupy each launch point and the matrix could ensure that only one pilot would need to fly in that slot. That means two lots of six winches and batteries on the spot. FAI championships progress at a leisurely pace and swapping positions along the line will even out fairness. It all sounds complicated but also feasible. What is not clear at present is what happens if hand towing is taking place also somewhere along the line, a potentially dangerous situation can easily occur. A few pilots I have spoken to feel that it won’t take long for winches to dominate and hand towing to disappear. HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE MEDIA The following section contains a selection of edited entries from Facebook, RC Groups and BARCS websites which give a flavour of what the world’s pilots thinking. Darius Mahmoudi: was among the earliest inviting comments on CIAM decisions made by people not wanting us to keep F3J and its quality, or simply don’t understand what we do. Jo Grini: F3K and F5J classes have rocketed sky high, possibly making F3B and F3J smaller. We should have come up with solutions that make it easier for new pilots and younger to enter. Dominik Prestele: That rules are ****. We maybe gain 10 people and lose 100. Massimo Verardi: The new rules are not enough to change something but enough to make a lot of confusion. Thomas Schoenbucher: Better decision would be to allow bungee. The funny fact is, I have enough old planes in the basement. Marco Generali: In many countries the national championships already use winches, a small disadvantage while travelling, but less trouble than bringing a full team of towers. The 20gm/dm2 wing loading is a big limitation given the 1500 gm planes seen in recent years, but only the small amount of dead condition flights will be affected. Marco Juznic: Keep the rules like they are, people who like F3J will continue to fly and help each other. Sooner or later people from F5J will come back because F5J will be overcrowded. Tuomo Kokkonen: In many countries winches are needed otherwise running a 10 pilot competition is not possible. But that does not mean that international F3J rules have to be changed. Eurotour flying as we know it will stop, and there is a danger F3J will die in Europe. Joe Wurts: The conception of F3J was to bring back the “good old days” where stick and tissue open frame aircraft could have a world championship event. Prior to the first WCs I forecast that the event would evolve to very high technology carbon fibre airframes with even higher strength/weight ratios than the F3B planes. It took a while, but this outcome eventually happened. Conny Ulvestaf: Not all pilots can get the super duper light models, now with the 20gm limit all will have the same equipment. F3J has had fantastic development in the last 5 years. Will this stop now? Probably. Is this good? Probably not. Cederic Duss: We need to find a way to push people to come. A winch won’t help. Tobias Laemmlein: Even worse than I was hoping. In a way we need to accept the new rules. I could live with the wing loading thing This will increase the level of competitive challenge and makes the pure thermal task more appealing. The leading edge in aeroplane development anyways has shifted towards F5J already. The winch will kill F3J, at least from the perspective that I, and let me guess many others too, the simplicity and the team. Thomas Kiesling: For those that travel by air, winches are far cheaper than bring dedicated towmen. I’m not sure winches will save the class, but I also don’t think they should be a reason to kill it. There still will be a team aspect. It will just be different. Not necessarily better or worse, just different. Graham Wicks: I have a nice Hollenbeck winch for sale. The 20 gm wing loading is like trying to take a step backwards. In the modern world you don’t reverse technology. Joe Wurts: Lots of heartfelt comments. I remember making similar proclamations of doom when HLG transitioned to DLG nearly two decades ago. Then I flew some DLG and got on board with the concept and my negative thought went by the wayside. One of the reasons why I’m not attending this year’s F3J WC is that we could not sort out a full team with helpers. Tuomo Kokkonen: What do you think will happen to F3J Eurotours. Is there a practical way to continue despite the rule change? Darius Mahmoudi: I just can speak for my Contest in Riesa. If we continue next year, there will be local rules to mitigate this. But my concern is that there won’t be a lot of pilots left to participate. Erik Dahl Christensen: It will always be valuable for subcommittee members to receive as much information and perspective as possible from pilots with hands-on knowledge from all classes. I know that Ralf Decker has made and tested a system to detect the exact release point and height. It was tested 2/3 years ago and can be used to make F3J look even more like F5J with more than time gain from low launches. Is anybody interested? Daryl Perkins: I for one am good with the winch rule. In this country (US) we had to fly off winches to keep F3J from dying. I do understand that many of you will be against winches. At some point you will have to face the fact that without new blood coming into soaring, the use of winches becomes a necessary evil. I am quite disappointed with the minimum loading rule. It accomplishes nothing but shifting optimum design for each given condition. What it has done is turn the clock back 10 years….I don’t like to see technology going backwards. Ryan Hollein: It would be a pity if we change the rules and start with winches. We were flying in a German/Cyprus mix team (in Lviv) and had no problem getting our planes up. If we needed something there was always someone who offered us his help. This year I participated in 3 competitions flying with pilots from 7 different countries and we had lots of fun - and some problems understanding each other. Philip Kolb: A minimum weight limit has little or no meaning as long as it does not come along with a maximum span limit. To emphasise thermal flying skills my proposal would be to implement a “sporty” definition of minimum weight and maximum span - say 2 kg and 3 metres??? - FUN! Joe Wurts: 2kg and 3 metres kinda reminds me of the very first F3J planes! I like the span limitation concept, maybe even more than a minimum weight limit. My only concern is visibility. My eyes aren’t getting any younger! Jim Soars: Holy crap, winches are approved. I can’t wait to see the logistics of the flight line in a large competition. isoaritfirst: I would be looking for the thrill of a nice thermal or the fun of hanging onto a small one. I’m less interested in sticking my nose in the dirt. Flying gliders is an attractive and competitive game. Perhaps F3J has concentrated too much on the comp at the expense of the grace, which attracted most of us into flying gliders in the first place. Maria Freeman: If it is about “thermalling”, then reduce launch heights or increase slot times. Bob Dickenson: I guess that we all ought to just get on with enjoying our flying as much as we can, while we can. Austin: If they are serious about saving F3J, then this comes to mind… Wing span max 3.1 m Minimum weight 2100g Maximum weight 2200g Nose radius should be fat to reduce dart board landings Single man tow with pulley and 130m line Line thickness max 1.15mm Pilots must use timer/launcher from opposing teams when not flying Pilots must not receive any advice or spotting from their timer/launcher unless it is a safety matter Bring back discard after six rounds flown I am taking models back in time I know, but wasn’t it great then? Richard Swindells: Austin’s ideas are great had they been implemented 10-15 years ago. However the bird has already flown the nest for F3J. Models we are flying today launch higher, travel further and sink slower compared to what we were flying 10 years ago. Although sink rates might not have halved, overall performance has at least doubled. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? There is still a long way to go to sort out a whole host of questions. It is fortunate that these new rules will not be required until 2019, but I hope that opportunities will be used to test any new systems. We do not want to see a real championship frustrated by having to stop and debate how to proceed. I think it would also be sensible to clarify the best way to continue with Eurotour events. It would be simple to just carry on with present existing and tested rules. There is a strong and important link between FAI and Contest Eurotour, and most of the Eurotour events carry the FAI symbol and flag. No reason to run championships and Eurotour with the same rules. Sydney Lenssen View full news and information
  5. Sydney Lenssen

    Can winch approval save F3J?

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

    RIP F3J UK

    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. View full news and information
  7. Hey everyone! A question most likely for F3x competitors, what type of boxes do you use to get your models on a plane, or what have you seen in use? I've been trying to find something big enough to take a few F3K size planes, but not dramatically expensive neither. I looked at the type of transport box Hyperflight is selling, though it doesn't fill me with confidence as to the strength of one (selling a damaged box at half price now). I thought of adapting one of the Ski plastic boxes that can accommodate up to 4/5 sets of skis, but getting one big enough in UK, not to mention the price, is giving me a headache. I'm not desperate for one yet, but by next year I will. Thanks for help in advance Eryk
  8. Good luck to Kevin Beale, Mark DeVall, Neil Jones and the rest of the British Team, travelling to Slovenia for this years World Championships. Full details and results can be found here
  9. Austin

    BMFA F3J League Event

    until
    F3J League event in place of Interglide. Please see the topic below and enter via the forums or directly to Peter Allen. Email. lammacot@hotmail.com
  10. As last year the BMFA South Midlands Championships will be run over 2 days on Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May. The Saturday will be an F5J event and the Sunday F3J. Prizes for the winners each day but the overall South Midland Championship will be awarded on an results of both days. Entries here or to me by E mail to lammacot@hotmail.com
  11. Austin

    Interglide 2016 Cancelled!

    With regret we announce the cancellation of the 2016 F3J Eurotour contest Interglide. Unfortunately a number of factors have conspired against organising the competition this year and the latest is the petrol shortages in France plus the air traffic controllers strike which mean that many European competitors may not be able to attend. Rather than allow entrants to book travel and accommodation which may have to be cancelled and not refunded we have made a decision to cancel the event. Instead we will be running a one day BMFA F3J league competition on Sunday 26th June, the Sunday scheduled for Interglide. It will take place at Edgcott using the F3J rules with UK variations which permits the use of winches. The entries which have been made for Interglide from UK competitors will be carried forward to this competition unless I hear otherwise. Any money paid for Interglide entry fee. camping, meals etc will be refunded less the entry fee for the revised competition. View full news and information
  12. Ribs

    Design data needed

    Hello F3x people, I'm working on a little design project, to come up with a dedicated set-up stand for f3f and f3b and maybe also f3j models. One aspect of it may allow super easy measurement and set up of CoG, integrated with the stand. I would be really grateful if people could share with me some design data, to help with the fine tuning of my ideas. Specifically 1. Approx Range of CoG for your F3f/F3b/F3j model. Ball park figures needed - no need to give away your winning edge ;-). At the moment I am working on 95mm +/-10mm - would this cover most competition models? 2. Range of flying weight would be very useful for stiffness and strength requirements. 3. Wing chord if you know it - there are a lot of good drawings out there, so this parameter is something that is reasonably easy for me to gather. 4. Fuselage width and depth, behind the wing TE. This list is a 'nice to have' - if you can just share the CoG range , that would be great. many thanks, Chris
  13. Peter

    BMFA F3J Nationals 2015

    How often do we get a combination of high winds and gusty downpours at F3J contests? But no, for the F3J BMFA Nationals 2015, despite the horrible forecasts for the Bank Holiday weekend, Sunday was almost flat calm, wind maximum 3 mph, cloudy with rare glimpses of sun, a few drops of rain for 10 minutes which didn't bother anyone, and almost everyone enjoyed a tricky demanding competition. Almost everyone? Yes I fear that our stalwart Robin Sleight tried to fly someone else's model, convinced that he had everything under control despite several other pilots shouting warnings, ending in the inevitable vertical thump, well out of the field. We have all done it, some of us, like me, more than once. Very sad! The only other negative was the continuing reduction in the number of entries, only 15 pilots after two dropped out in the final days for perfectly genuine reasons. The Nats should be one of, if not the peak of the contest season. True the enforced switch from Cranwell to Retford's Wetlands might have dissuaded a few, but if F3J, F3B and other classes are to survive as viable contests, then successful efforts to recruit new enthusiasts are urgently required. As the penultimate competition in the series to select next year's team for the F3J World Championships in Slovenia, there were several nail biting rounds before the four man fly off was decided. Peter Allen, Colin Paddon, Mark Devall and Dave East had two rounds of struggle to try to achieve 15 minute flights as required, in conditions which earlier had allowed many pilots to fly the 10 minutes slots out. Surprise to me was that several times pilots found themselves worn out by having to coax their models ever so gently full time to utilise what little and rare lift was available. Peter Allen got closest to flying the full time out, just missing by about one minute, in the first round. This allowed him to decide on a relaunch two minutes into the second round, and he ended a comfortable and well deserved winner. By Sydney Lenssen (CD) Results Fly-Off 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: #4297C9; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } Rank Name Score Pcnt Raw Score Rnd1 Dur Rnd2 Dur Plty 1 Allen, Peter 1974.3 100 1974.3 1000 974.3 0 2 Paddon, Colin 1626.8 82.4 1626.8 626.8 1000 0 3 East, Dave 1539.7 77.99 1539.7 605.6 934.1 0 4 Devall, Mark 1173.5 59.44 1473.5 619.9 853.6 300 Preliminary Rounds 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: #4297C9; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } Rank Name Team Pilot Score Pcnt Raw Score Rnd1 Dur Rnd2 Dur Rnd3 Dur Rnd4 Dur Rnd5 Dur Plty Flyoff Total 1 Allen, Peter 1 42 4945.6 100 4945.6 1000 1000 998.8 946.8 1000 0 3 103 2 Devall, Mark 4 31 4909.7 99.27 4909.7 986.9 998.5 1000 990.3 934 0 1 100.27 3 East, Dave 2 46 4874.1 98.55 4874.1 1000 995.9 993.2 885 1000 0 1.5 100.05 4 Paddon, Colin 3 57 4872.9 98.53 4872.9 1000 1000 1000 1000 872.9 0 2 100.53 5 Osbourne, Ozzie 1 9 4698.7 95.01 4698.7 948.2 855.2 993 994.9 907.4 0 6 Jones, Neil 4 55 4671.2 94.45 4671.2 671.2 1000 1000 1000 1000 0 7 Dunster, Chas 1 8 4614.2 93.3 4614.2 983.6 666.6 984.3 996.4 983.3 0 8 Boorman, Colin 3 56 4596.4 92.94 4596.4 995.9 988.8 705.1 906.6 1000 0 9 Beale, Kevin 3 48 4572.9 92.46 4572.9 1000 1000 998.4 1000 574.5 0 10 Lipscombe, Al 2 50 4220.8 85.34 4220.8 662.9 991.4 869.1 990.6 706.8 0 11 Philcox, Cengiz 4 52 4080 82.5 4080 732.8 997.1 582.8 770.1 997.2 0 12 Raybone, Mike 2 32 4067.4 82.24 4067.4 662.8 1000 984.9 645.2 774.5 0 13 Duff, Ian 1 43 3987 80.62 3987 0 997.2 1000 1000 989.8 0 14 Shenstone, John 2 59 3789.3 76.62 3789.3 942.1 848.9 646 792.6 559.7 0 15 Sleight, Robin 4 60 1503.1 30.39 1503.1 0 0 0 678.4 824.7 0 16 Wicks, Graham 3 58 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  14. Austin

    F3J National League

    Wetlands, Retford, Notts F3J (Counts towards League) Entry: Bob Dickenson rfadickenson@yahoo.co.uk Note* F5J on Saturday to make a long weekend
  15. The 2015 F3J European Championship is underway in Dupnitsa Bulgaria. The British team of Peter Allen, Graham Wicks and Colin Paddon with helpers Kevin Dart, Ian Duff and Andre Borrossi. Have finished the first day with mixed results but the team is bonding well. Colin damaged one model on the practise day when the back of the fuselage left the rest of the model in a high wind launch, the rest of the model landed safely inverted. Although he wanted this model as one of his three a located model he did bring 4 so is still in the game. In the comp Peter had a mid air which removed his fin. He got the model down safely but has lost his light model which will make it harder in the morning light winds and light lift. the weather is very hot, 38C yesterday and will be the same all week. At lunch time the wind gets up and it gets harder to find and stay in lift. I will try to get some more information and photos when time permits, it's quite hectic being a manager.
  16. Austin

    Interglide F3J Eurotour

    until
    Interglide F3J Eurotour 2015 http://www.interglide.co.uk
  17. Radioglide 2015 report by Garry Binnie is now on the main website. https://www.barcs.co.uk/home/news-and-information/radioglide-news/radioglide-2015-report-and-results/
  18. From Mike Proctor, its a concern ! We have just been informed that it is most unlikely that we will have use of Cranwell for the SF Nats. Negotiations have been "difficult" this year and for some time this outcome has been on the cards. Indeed we have only just got final permission for the FF Nats in 5 weeks time! Frankly there seems to be no real reason behind this, other than that we are something they don't need at Cranwell. The fight goes on but prospects are low, at best. Clearly we need to make alternative provision for the SF Nats and fairly quickly. Points to consider are:- * We do not have a field anywhere, big enough to do 3 events/day. Several attempts by Chris Moynihan to find such a place were made relatively recently without success. The last time we were in this predicament we settled for a "split" Nats based on Pure gliders and E Gliders. * If we cannot have Cranwell we would probably be best advised to avoid Aug BH when quite a few people would like to go to Barkston. * If we were to spilt into F3K/B/J + 100S and F5J/F5B eSoaring Open + 2M we would have 4 events each to cram either into a weekend or possibly 3 day weekends. Each location would need camping on-field or locally *Where could these events fit into a calendar already sorted for 2015? I could offer Sept 12/13 which is scheduled as Wetlands Weekend anyway, for E Gliding but is only 2 weeks away from the Barkston Nats Could P Gliding go into early August, to be 2 or 3 weeks away from Nats but make both SF Nats a month apart. Would Edgecot be availabe? (It may well be that some CD's are not available on these dates) This is no more than a starter-for-10, written quickly after receiving the news from Dave Phipps. I look forward to your comments and realise that we need to think this through carefully but quickly, if it involves changing other events. Other then using the Wetlands, or try to find another venue and hold on a different day from main Power Nationals.
  19. Hello All, I've been flying about on and off for quite a few years, mostly slope. I live near to Whitesheet in Wiltshire, so the slope was a natural place to fly. Recently I've got more into DLG (ok, actually I have an elf, but it is just amazing!), but want to move into larger model flat-field/TD flying, with half an eye on F3j in the future. I've owned and flown an Ellipse before, so I have a little experience with larger and molded models. So... where and when is a good place to find other pilots to chat about things and to learn a bit about winch launching? Where does all this F3j business take place? Can anyone recommend a good flat field club to get in touch with? Last I heard, Lord's Hill had wound up and was mostly an Aerotow field in any case. I've done a little bungee launching (some lessons learned there, for sure) and have now bought a s/h Graupner winch, which I intend to use with an Allegro Lite I'm building. It would be nice to get some good advice (especially re winch safety) before I attempt this. Any help/advice/directions gladly received. all the best, Chris
  20. Colin Paddon triumphs as 2014 British Nationals F3J champion This year’s F3J Nationals was a real mixed bag, flying in airs which were nicely thermally for one slot, followed by widespread sink for the next. Sunday at the Nationals was a comfortable day with only moderate winds but with the prospect of heavy wind and rains for the second scheduled day. Many of the country’s leading pilots suffered miserable flights while more modest pilots walked away with 1,000 points, much to their surprise.   Looks relaxed, but the BMFA Nationals F3J contest managed to fly eight rounds on the Sunday contest, with no flyoffs, and then called it a day in view of the dire weather forecast for Bank Holiday Monday.   Congratulations to Colin Paddon, Mark Devall who had won the 100 inch contest the day before, and Graham Wicks who had also won the F5J contest on Saturday: they came first, second and third respectively in the F3J contest. Colin Paddon who had had a frustrating time at the World Championships a few weeks earlier, hit a consistency with six slots of 1,000 points each, and his dropped round was a 998.3 points flight. Team UK who had fared modestly in Martin, Slovakia a few weeks before, struggled at times but all came in the top six places at Cranwell. On a day of real challenge it was good to see Chas Dunster with a 1,000 and four rounds in the high 900s to give himself ninth place, and he spotted well for his team. Another encouraging performance was put in by Andre Borowski with three 1,000s, but he could have done with an extra throwaway score. Graham James, Barcs esteemed President, had a consistent day with scores rather higher than usual to gain 10th place in the field. All pilots deserved praise for remaining keen over a long day, 33 slots in an eight hour day kept everyone busy. The big rush was caused by the prospect of high winds and almost continuous rain forecast for Bank Holiday Monday. In the end contest director recommended that the contest should be curtailed and Monday was abandoned, and none of the pilots protested that decision. Over the past three years, the BMFA F3J league on which the British team is chosen for the next World or European championships - next year due to be held in Dupnitsa, Bulgaria - has been based on three two day events. Normally this means that the contests can have eight or more rounds and flyoff rounds where slot times go up to 15 minutes, said to be closer to the standards required at international level. Good thinking, but this year the weather has conspired to prevent flyoffs at Radioglide and the Nationals. That cannot be controlled, but good luck to next year’s UK Team! Sydney Lenssen. Results  
  21. Sydney Lenssen

    BMFA F3J Nationals 2014

    Colin Paddon triumphs as 2014 British Nationals F3J champion This year’s F3J Nationals was a real mixed bag, flying in airs which were nicely thermally for one slot, followed by widespread sink for the next. Sunday at the Nationals was a comfortable day with only moderate winds but with the prospect of heavy wind and rains for the second scheduled day. Many of the country’s leading pilots suffered miserable flights while more modest pilots walked away with 1,000 points, much to their surprise. Congratulations to Colin Paddon, Mark Devall who had won the 100 inch contest the day before, and Graham Wicks who had also won the F5J contest on Saturday: they came first, second and third respectively in the F3J contest. Colin Paddon who had had a frustrating time at the World Championships a few weeks earlier, hit a consistency with six slots of 1,000 points each, and his dropped round was a 998.3 points flight. Team UK who had fared modestly in Martin, Slovakia a few weeks before, struggled at times but all came in the top six places at Cranwell. On a day of real challenge it was good to see Chas Dunster with a 1,000 and four rounds in the high 900s to give himself ninth place, and he spotted well for his team. Another encouraging performance was put in by Andre Borowski with three 1,000s, but he could have done with an extra throwaway score. Graham James, Barcs esteemed President, had a consistent day with scores rather higher than usual to gain 10th place in the field. All pilots deserved praise for remaining keen over a long day, 33 slots in an eight hour day kept everyone busy. The big rush was caused by the prospect of high winds and almost continuous rain forecast for Bank Holiday Monday. In the end contest director recommended that the contest should be curtailed and Monday was abandoned, and none of the pilots protested that decision. Over the past three years, the BMFA F3J league on which the British team is chosen for the next World or European championships – next year due to be held in Dupnitsa, Bulgaria – has been based on three two day events. Normally this means that the contests can have eight or more rounds and flyoff rounds where slot times go up to 15 minutes, said to be closer to the standards required at international level. Good thinking, but this year the weather has conspired to prevent flyoffs at Radioglide and the Nationals. That cannot be controlled, but good luck to next year’s UK Team! Sydney Lenssen. Results 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: #4297C9; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; } Rank Name Score Pcnt Raw Score Rnd1 Dur Rnd2 Dur Rnd3 Dur Rnd4 Dur Rnd5 Dur Rnd6 Dur Rnd7 Dur Rnd8 Dur 1 Paddon, Colin 6999.1 100 7997.4 1000 1000 1000 1000 998.3 1000 999.1 1000 2 Devall, Mark 6914 98.78 7841.8 1000 997.5 1000 1000 938 1000 978.5 927.8 3 Wicks, Graham 6891.7 98.47 7494.7 991.3 969.9 603 1000 989.8 1000 946.8 993.9 4 Beale, Kevin 6871.7 98.18 7563.5 1000 691.8 892.6 993.2 1000 997.1 988.8 1000 5 Duff, Ian 6782.6 96.91 7459.6 980.8 677 837.5 983.3 994.5 1000 1000 986.5 6 Allen, Peter 6651.3 95.03 7112.1 991 865 1000 460.8 1000 795.3 1000 1000 7 Boorman, Colin 6523.9 93.21 6925.9 402 1000 570.3 986.6 993.7 987.8 985.5 1000 8 Borowski, Andre 6278.7 89.71 6771.7 880.9 1000 627.4 1000 1000 992.9 493 777.5 9 Dunster, Chas 6240.3 89.16 6240.3 995.3 976 1000 608.8 990 0 685.6 984.6 10 James, Graham 6021.7 86.04 6702.3 1000 827.6 680.6 816.2 858.7 699.8 964.6 854.8 11 Philcox, Cengiz 5924.2 84.64 6175.8 383.1 1000 616.3 251.6 1000 986 947.4 991.4 12 Osbourne, Ozzie 5923 84.63 5923 474.8 864.6 874.5 987.8 0 880.5 1000 840.8 13 Glover, Chris 5922.8 84.62 5922.8 890.4 900.6 0 693.2 601 840.1 1000 997.5 14 East, Dave 5545.1 79.23 5931.9 988.1 386.8 594.2 994.6 644.6 1000 852.2 471.4 15 Raybone, Mike 5515.5 78.8 5515.5 997.2 869.4 0 644.2 504.9 594.9 996.2 908.7 16 Binnie, Gary 4876.2 69.67 5297.8 893.6 730.6 631.4 531.6 421.6 655 491.1 942.9 17 Lipscombe, Al 4835.3 69.08 5384.7 955.6 669.4 650.7 721.4 549.4 733 552.9 552.3 18 Shenstone, John 4297 61.39 4504.2 526 399.9 207.2 509.8 912.8 531.8 817.3 599.4
  22. Sydney Lenssen

    F3J Is In Terminal Decline

    Uncle Sydney’s comment column F3J is in terminal decline Can rule changes save the sport? After one of the most exciting and well organised F3J World Championships in Martin, Slovakia earlier this month, it seems a little harsh to talk of the popularity of this thermal soaring class declining. But in most countries F3J is failing to attract new enthusiasts, especially among younger pilots. If nothing changes, the class will inevitably follow F3B and become a specialist competition, attracting only a handful of faithful and successful pilots straining to improve the technologies of exotic materials and manufacturing techniques, aerodynamics and weather skills, deterring all but the wealthy and dedicated. Today’s F3J is not the type of competition which appeals to ever larger numbers of pilots. F3J set out to be the simple thermal glider competition, easy for anyone to join in the early 1990s. Nobody wants to deny development. We cannot go back. But perhaps rule changes can boost numbers again. One evening at this year’s F3J WCs, Tomas Bartovsky, the jury president and CIAM’s soaring sub-committee chairman responsible for F3 classes of competition, called a technical meeting of team managers and pilots to discuss ideas which might improve the sport. He does this at every FAI championship. In earlier days of F3J, attendance at this opportunity was exciting with debates about whether to replace two man towing with winches, how to make landing points more discriminating by splitting the landing tape into 20cm rather than metre sections to gain or lose points, and other issues which have found their way into the rules. This year’s gathering was at the end of an exhausting very hot day and only 40 people or so came along. Most surprising to me was that there was a majority feeling that the joy of F3J competition – not the friendships – is definitely waning. Models have become expensive if you want to compete at the highest level, typically Euro 2,000 or more to get into the air, and you need three to be a serious contender. You require high quality towlines in abundance, capable of exerting very high tension before launching, so that heights of 200 metres plus can be gained with one to four seconds from launch. In Slovakia 26 senior teams entered but only seven full teams of three juniors. All countries are finding it difficult to encourage young pilots to join the sport. Overall entries in all but a few countries are dropping significantly. I can vouch for the United Kingdom. A few years ago it was normal for qualifying BMFA competitions to attract 60 or more entries; today even leading events struggle to get 20 late entries, very close to the minimum required to organise a fair matrix. The one saving and welcome blessing for soaring contests is that F5E has gained ground and attracts new recruits including those pilots who for one reason or another have given up on F3J. Even at FAI level, more delegates foresee F3B and F3J becoming extinct in the foreseeable future. Technical meeting Tomas started the technical discussion by tracing progress he has made over many years with different methods of starting the timing of the flight automatically when the towline comes away from the towhook. Getting this precise time is the most vulnerable for timekeepers because it depends on recognising the hook release. He has also worked on a device which accurately stops the clock when the glider touches the ground, which again can fool the timekeeper. Both these times are key to a fair competition where duration is measured to one tenth of a second, and margins between winning and losing are often down to one point. Tomas is not alone in exploring better methods of timing flights. Thomas Rossner in Germany has gone a long way with gadgets for the start and close of competition flights. The problems are legion, mainly due to cost and convenience and the financial rewards do not seem commensurate. Maximum wingspan and minimum wing loading The second topic was introduced by Philip Kolb, one of F3J’s handful of top world pilots, successful as Eurotour’s Contest winner numerous times, previous European champion and contest winner countless times. His suggestion for a possible rule change is to introduce a maximum wingspan for F3J models together with a minimum wing loading, at figures yet to be decided. This change would complicate the processing and registration to ensure compliance with such criteria, but similar rules apply in other competition classes. To make it work easily, pilots themselves would need to compete in a sportmanlike way, but careful scrutiny would probably be needed at international events. The effect of such changes would be twofold: in still kind air, a four metre ultra-light model weighing say 1.6 kg and launched to 200 metres can usually float out the 10 minute qualifying rounds. But at 2.2 kg or more with less than 3.5 metre wingspan, that duration at present is unlikely. If the model’s wingloading is increased to let’s say 28 or 30 gr/sqdm instead of the typical 20 gr/sqdm of today’s gliders, then fast tows in good weather would be slower due to acceleration factors. Timing accuracy would become less of an issue. These smaller models will be heavier by at least half a kilo, and that extra weight could be used to strengthen the wing and other parts far more cheaply than the current use of high tech materials and mouldings. Competitive models would be cheaper to produce. By coincidence I had heard arguments in favour of introducing minimum weight rules among teams from two countries earlier in the week when the early morning and late evening rounds in the championships had seen very calm and seemingly unlikely thermal help and yet many models flew out the time. Several pilots at the technical meeting spoke in favour of trying the effect of span maxima and wing loading minima, and at the request of Tomas, Phillip agreed to explore calculations on his various computer programs, then produce suggested weight and wing loading figures. He would then try to arrange a trial contest where volunteer pilots could test the ideas and check what effect they might have. Another distinct advantage to this idea is that it would not necessitate buying another set of suitable models because present models could be ballasted. Glider producers would not need to tool up quickly with different designs, although different models would inevitably come along in time. Taming one second rocket launches A couple of days earlier, I had been chatting with my friend Andre Borowski, one of the UK team’s towmen, about how to curb the current vogue for rocket launching, which has become an ever more common feature of F3J contests. For those not too familiar with high level contests, expert pilots can and often do take the opportunity to launch off the line at less than a second. They do not achieve the same height as a full tow, but they do reach sufficient height to fly into a patch of lift, 100-300 metres away, without too much risk for they are experts at reading air. Away they go to fly out the slot, often reaching the same height or more than their rivals in less than a minute. When they land on the 100 spot in the last second, they can record 9 minutes 58 seconds to claim their 1,000 points. It is not unusual these days for several pilots to use this approach in the flyoffs, and indeed if you don’t, you will probably never win the contest. My guess is that a rocket launch requires two mighty towmen and a launcher/pilot capable of holding a model on the towline pulling 40-50kg before kicking for the towmen to start running two seconds before the starting signal, by which time the line tension has been boosted 10-20 kg more. The line is a complete 150 metre bungee. It is spectacular, it is risky if the line breaks or if you don’t catch that low level lift. At championship level, half the senior pilots and several of the junior pilots used rocket launches safely and successfully. Some pilots claim that this technique adds to what is already part of the thrill of F3J, the mass launch of 12 or more gliders at the start of each slot. In my view it is also the feature which strikes fear and deters newcomers and especially young people from trying the sport. At the technical meeting I spoke unexpectedly and briefly about the idea which my friend had outlined a couple of days earlier. Why not have a rule which specifies that the towline must be lying on the ground at the start of working time with the model also on the ground near the end of the line? The towmen can be holding the towbar and hooked up to the pulley or direct tow if chosen. When the start signal is given, the pilot must hook his model to the line, at the pilot’s signal the towmen start to run, the launcher lets go when he decides the line tension is sufficient for his style of flying. If the pilot wants a really high tension, then he will need to wait for a second or two or three. If his glider will launch sufficiently fast and high with lower tension, then he can gain a second or two. Any reduction in line tension and speed of ascent will certainly mean that wings can be less strong/lighter, and models can be cheaper. This same method of starting slots can be employed in those countries who cannot raise sufficient numbers of towmen and need to resort to winch launching. I made the mistake in outlining this new start method as the “Monte Carlo” style launch, and many pilots at the meeting envisaged pilots racing across the safety corridor to hook up and signal the towmen. Not so. There is only a race to pick up the model and hook up. The pilot can stand by his glider and simply needs to bend down- if he is able!!! The immediate reaction at the technical meeting was that models would be flying dangerously from side to side with low tension and wind gusts, and there could be a risk of that in the early days. In the earliest days of thermal contests launching mid-airs were far more frequent, and some pilots held back to minimise destruction. I was invited to try to organise a trial of the technique in the UK, and I would be grateful if BARCS could find a way to trial the method. There are numerous ways of achieving the same objective, eliminating any advantage from rocket towing, for example, only starting the flight time five seconds after launch, and other variants. No change before 2017 Last but not least, as Tomas stressed in his meeting, CIAM only considers rule changes to the various classes in a phased two year pattern, and F3J rules can only be changed in 2016 for implementation in 2017 – unless such changes are made for safety reasons. Sydney Lenssen Read on... Joe Wurts, in his habitual bare feet, about to launch at Martin’s F3J world championships this month where in the final flyoff round of the contest he was pipped into second place by Jan Littva of Slovakia as 2014 world champion. Joe was one of the earliest protagonists of rocket launches. In this case, I heard him saying to his crew that he was going to take a safe launch. It lasted about 2 seconds. But during the week I saw him demonstrating a very high tension launch where he held the model with the tow-men running until the line broke, he fell to the ground but was still able to keep the model safe because he had had practice for this eventuality. He remains for me the world leading thermal pilot, he coaches his New Zealand team to continuing successes and willingly spreads his wisdom and skills in North Cyprus and other countries. Indeed he moved to New Zealand, some years ago now, from the USA after spending a few visits coaching and giving lectures in what became his new home country. Comments
  23. ThermalBoy

    Putting Together a Hybrid F3J Competition Model

    By Colin Paddon Over the past few years I have campaigned a Cluster for a lot of my F3J competition flying. During this time it has notched up many high level competition wins for myself and others in the UK. Its always been my “Go To” plane when the wind gets up, ie most of the time here in the UK. However it is an excellent all rounder that really deserves more recognition on the world F3J stage than it gets. I have always thought, along with others, that the moment arm on the standard Cluster fuselage was a tad short and that the rudder was a little small in area. The short moment arm has since been addressed by Heino, producer of the Cluster who has introduced a longer moment arm fuselage but only so far in V Tail form, which for me, wasn’t the way I wanted to go. We are all hoping that Heino will be producing a 3.8m Cluster wing sometime in the near future too. Whilst attending the European Championships in Turkey last year, a potential solution to both my own and Graham Wicks thoughts appeared in the form of a new beautifully made Spread Tow (ST) cross tail fuselage that was being produced by renowned TRNC flyer, Eser Kismer. The fuselage Eser produces is in fact an alternative for Nan’s own Xplorer fuselages which, of course, have a different wing section and mounting screw placement to the Cluster wing so some work to retrofit it would be necessary. Having seen the fuselage all the UK team immediately placed an order for one and then awaited delivery. After a short delay due to sorting out some logistical issues, the fuselages duly turned up in the UK courtesy of TNT. Courier costs spread between the three of us ended up being pretty reasonable all things considered. Eser’s ST fuselages are light, small in cross section, extremely strong and look great! The fuselage came supplied with a nice carbon ballast tube which can accommodate up to approximately 700g of lead ballast if required. They come with a very novel servo tray/carrier which is completely pre-assembled in high quality laser cut ply and is designed to be held in place by a large single rear positioned bolt. I modified the servo carrier slightly to provide an additional fixing at the front for extra security. See pics. We also bought matching spread tow tailplanes with the fuselages but it was obvious that it was designed/sized for 3.8/4m wings and therefore looked “wrong” with the smaller Cluster wing. Fortunately the existing Cluster tailplane was a good fit without modification to the new fuselage so it was decided to use this which looked absolutely “Right”. The pictures tell the whole story of how it was modified and ended up looking so nuff said. The new Cluster wing being mated to the fuselage was Heino’s extra strong lay-up meaning that it can take anything you throw at it. Total AUW ended up at 1840g which meant that it had the potential to not only be a great windy weather model with ballasting but that it was light enough to be a good all rounder too. With some further modifications I have in mind I hope to get this AUW down to below 1800g . A week or so later it was ready to fly. Of course, on the day, it was blowing a gale but as they were the very conditions the wing had shown itself to excel in, we went ahead. A full-on F3J Ober winch was duly set-up on the field and we were ready to go and go we did! What can I say other than that the performance has exceeded all expectations. The on board testing vario confirmed that the average launch height ranged from 205 -215 metres without any “dialing in” or ballast being used. Penetration has improved with there being less fuselage cross sectional drag too. Ease of circling/thermal turning has without doubt also improved making it extremely easy to fly at distance. Stability/behaviour on tow is exemplary whilst its landing tracking/behaviour is first class. The strength of the fuselage was fully tested out early on when for the first time in over 15 years I managed to get the towline hooked around the tailplane after a somewhat over exuberant launch dip/zoom. The plane ended up inverted despite my best efforts to untangle it whilst providing a great impression of a spinning falling leaf until it hit the ground flat pancake style from some height. Only damage was a small crack at the base of the fin where it meets the top of the fuselage which was easily fixed along with a minor cut line into one half of the tailplane’s leading edge, again easily fixed. Very annoying as it always seems to happen to brand new planes rather than old one’s. Why is that! Although I may be a little biased being a designer myself, I think this has to be one of the prettiest looking models I have ever owned. Others can make up their own minds on this of course from the pictures. I feel this plane will be a welcomed addition to my existing competition models hanger. In the coming weeks I will be fine tuning the models set-up to optimise performance. Colin Paddon.
  24. We are going to try and run this warm up weekend, where we hope to have all and any Glider practice with winch lines out and as much help as we can provide, there will be a few fun type comps on both days but most of all hopefully a good turn out and good weather. Hopefully the UK F3J team will be there, if not all of them some of them on at least one of the days, if you have any questions or want any information, they are a friendly bunch honest, (they also will be grateful to receive any donations towards the team travel fund see me and I will point you in the right direction) We also hope to have some of the top F5J/eSoaring pilots there for you to pick the brains of as well, and of course I will be there ! The weekend is free to attend and will be run as a training workshop with a few fun comps thrown in, look out for the signs from the road, we hope to be in the second field on the left up the drive passed the double cross gates through the gate in the tree line just before the house on the right, when turning into the field go right up the hill and keep close to the hedge where the ground is OK at the moment. Further details will follow; please if you are going to attend let me know via this thread on the eSoaring Forum http://www.esoaring.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=13567#p13567 or my email: Bernie@esoarer.co.uk or mobile O774O 181861 Here's hoping for a bit of that eSoaring Pillerton Hersey weather we had last weekend Bernie
  25. We are going to try and run this warm up weekend, where we hope to have all and any Glider practice with winch lines out and as much help as we can provide, there will be a few fun type comps on both days but most of all hopefully a good turn out and good weather. Hopefully the UK F3J team will be there, if not all of them some of them on at least one of the days, if you have any questions or want any information, they are a friendly bunch honest, (they also will be grateful to receive any donations towards the team travel fund see me and I will point you in the right direction) We also hope to have some of the top F5J/eSoaring pilots there for you to pick the brains of as well, and of course I will be there ! The weekend is free to attend and will be run as a training workshop with a few fun comps thrown in, look out for the signs from the road, we hope to be in the second field on the left up the drive passed the double cross gates through the gate in the tree line just before the house on the right, when turning into the field go right up the hill and keep close to the hedge where the ground is OK at the moment. Further details will follow; please if you are going to attend let me know via this thread on the eSoaring Forum http://www.esoaring.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=13567#p13567 or my email: Bernie@esoarer.co.uk or mobile O774O 181861 Here's hoping for a bit of that eSoaring Pillerton Hersey weather we had last weekend Bernie
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