World Championship Video Archive

Someone rcgroups just put up a link to the 2013 F3b World Championship video stream. It seems like there are many hours of footage available. I.e pretty much the complete event. LINK.

Bermuda Wetlands

Bob's Cobra has been found thankfully! Inevitably Mike found that he had been within a few metres of where it was eventually found. Why does that always happen?! Photos here (ipad etc) or slide show:


2013 Report - 2014 Team Selection

Here is a report from Clive Needham on the 2013 and thoughts on 2014.

First of all congratulations to Steve Haley (Fosa) on once again being top of the League table with a perfect of 1000 points at all four contests with three out of the four to count. Second was, still a junior, Simon Haley (Precious) 2859 points and a close third Mike Challinor 2807 (Fosa Lift) Simon also awarded the Nigel Mead Trophy as the most improved pilot of the year It is difficult to assess the 2013 season because of all the cancellations and abandonment’s due to the weather, thus resulting in fewer of you as a proportion attending all of the comps which were available The benchmark for a full season is the number who have attended at least 4 out of the usual available 6 or 7 comps, in 2012 (which was a full season) fewer pilots achieved this, therefore we are too reliant on this dedicated group which can cause difficulties if some are unable to attend. 14 Competitors attended in 2013 of those 11 listed on the final results flew in 3 or more contests.

We have been helped a little this year by the return of Dave Worrall, Norman Quirk and Mike Holtby and I hope some of you who have not flown for a year or two will also return in 2014, plus those who dip in and out of the League will make the effort to attend more. I can think of at least 6 who fall into these two categories. Thanks are due to Steve and Simon Haley for setting up the matrix and compiling the results for most of the season, a duty which was latterly taken over by Tom Satinet.


Final League Standings for 2013

Final League Standings for 2013. A good year for weather generally, but we were unlucky on the F3B contest days. Models from memory. Each pilots best three scores from four count, as per the BMFA rules.

Rank NameBest 3 Scores Round 3 Round 4 Round 6 Nationals Model(s) 
1Steve Haley30001000100010001000Fosa
2Simon Haley2859.127899.988940.598943.875974.654Precious
3Mike Challinor2807.3921.358981.177904.765459.39Fosa Lift
4Bob Dickenson2637.647905.31889.442765.78842.895Fosa Lift/Estrella
5Dave Worral2633.7510778.599918.956936.196Crossfire - elec
6Mike Holtby2580.452837.95852.483890.0190Cobra
7Tom Satinet2566.5360916.16918.637731.739Stinger/Tragi 704
8Norman Quirk2473.687808.9520780.761883.974Vampire/Strega - elec
9Clive Needham2314.033802.89688.8750822.268Dingo - Elec
10John Whittle2160.928954.499940.212266.2170Ascot
11Bill Haley1668.7610531.62455.409681.732Precious
12Brian Johnson1478.784729.232749.55200Ascot
13Simon Jackson790.44600790.4460Estrella
14Phil Goddard667.3710667.37100Ceres Lift


Oktoberfestpokal 1991

Seen on facebook - some British presence here I think! Certainly British number plate.


Photos from Chris Jubb

Chris Jubb kindly emailed me a load of pictures he has take down the years. Over 100 pics so grab a tea/coffee/beer/babycham. Click here for non flash devices. For PC users if you click the photos it will take you to larger versions you can scroll through with the arrow keys at your own pace.

Gyros in F3X

Gyros are starting to cause controversy in F3X circles. It seems some people think they are allowed in competition, but I think if you read the rules, they are not allowed.

e.g. from the FAI F3 rules: 1.3.3. Category F3 - Radio Controlled Flight This is a flight during which the model aircraft is manoeuvred by control surface(s) in attitude, direction and altitude by the flier on the ground using radio control

To my mind if a gyro moves a control surface it is against this rule. Planet soaring is worth reading, however I am still worried that previous CIAM discussions seem to allow gyros in spite of fairly clear cut rules.

I would highly recommend reading this article from Roman Vojtěch's excellent site - here Roman spends a day flying an f3b model with a gyro.

Someone has pointed out that 1.3.3 is a description rather than a definition. However:

According to paragraph (F3B Rules) Definition of a Radio Controlled Glider: Model aircraft which is not provided with a propulsion device and in which lift is generated by aerodynamic forces acting on surfaces remaining fixed in flight, except control surfaces. Model aircraft with variable geometry or area must comply with the specification when the surfaces are in maximum and minimum extended mode. The model aircraft must be controlled by the competitor on the ground using radio control. Any variation of geometry or area must be actuated at distance by radio control.

This would appear to cover gyros as well (definitely being a definition), but from a recent CIAM meeting, it seems they are in favour of gyros. Apparently a more technical, more expensive system will encourace more entrants! I think we need to get this situation clarified properly. It seems a rule change is not on the cards due to an CIAM rule freeze. It feels a bit like FIFA at the moment.


Nationals Re-Run - Report

As the scheduled day for the nationals was washed out earlier in the year, Sunday (06/10/13) was used as reserve date to re-fly the contest. The weather was nearly as good as at the last contest, with temperatures easily in to the low 20s I would guess. Definitely not bad for an English October. We will have to find something else to moan about at this rate!

First off I will have to apologize for forgetting to take any pictures for this report. I will have to sack myself from my self appointed role as UK F3B reporter if I'm not careful! The contest didn't start on a good note with Mike Holtby's model (cobra) suffering a battery failure before the contest even began. We decided it was better to redo the contest matrix as Mike didn't have a backup model. Thanks to the jedi like computer skills of yours truly this didn't cause much of a delay and the contest started in good time.

Duration flying throughout the day was enjoyable and challenging at times. Despite what some people would have you believe there isn't much slope lift at the Wetlands site to get you out of trouble if the slot air turns bad. Looking at the score sheets only 8 out of 18 attempts by all pilots were "flown out". These weren't just scores by pilots lower down the rankings - the eventual winner of the contest scored a 6:44/100 in the final duration slot, although this did score 1000 points. Indeed only one person got to 8 minutes in the final two slots, which showed that the conditions became tricky towards the end of the day. For me the highlight of duration was Bob Dickenson's excellent read of a downwind thermal which he chased bravely and rode to a good height. He was followed to the thermal by Simon Haley, who in the end was the only pilot to fly out 10 minutes in both his rounds, and he scored a perfect 10:00/100 in round one.


F3B at Home

Just a reminder to check out my friend Sergi Valls' F3B at Home site. I always enjoy Sergi's site as he keeps it updated with events from the continent and has a knack of finding information about new models!

Sergi has put up some information about new airframes to tempt us.
F3b at Home.


38th Oktoberfest Pokal

The 38th running of the Octoberfest F3B contest begins - Facebook page. Live scores here.

Club website here. This is possibly the biggest event on the F3B calendar other than the worlds.


BMFA League 2013 - Round 6 - Report

With the way the weather suddenly changed a couple of weeks ago, you could be forgiven for thinking that winter had arrived. However, the day at Wetlands on Sunday felt more like the BBQ weather of a couple of months ago! Perhaps it was the last warm day of the year, so it was a good day to fly some f3b. Winds were moderate, although launch heights generally didn't seem to be quite as high as I was expecting. There were a few good ones but generally it was pretty average I thought. Well that's my excuse anyway.

Conditions for thermal soaring were excellent, with most people flying out the 10 minutes fairly easily. Bob did struggle in one flight and showed his usual never say die attitude. Perhaps it might have been time to give up when the model was below the tree line though! Reports are not yet back from the search party.


Pictures from Clive's Archive

More pictures kindly provided from the Needham archives. Some pictures of men in shorts, so be warned! And bare naked carbon fibre.


Pictures and Gifs from Nardt

I saw these pictures on facebook, posted by Belgian pilot Steeve Hansoulle. The album includes a number of cool animated GIF files.



Pictures from Clive

Here are some pictures sent over by our erstwhile league co-ordinator, Clive Needham. It's quite interesting to see the models, fashions and indeed hairlines of yesteryear!

Pictures from May 2005:

Pictures from 2004:

Other picures:


F3B World Championship Calendar

I have just received a calendar I bought from the 2013 WC organisers. The calendar runs from now (August 2013) to July 2015. The calendar has a score list from every world championship (1977 to present) and some cool pictures. It is now adorning my office wall. Available from the 2013 WC website - contact Reinhard Dylla.

pictures link (ipad etc)


F3B Nationals - RAF Cranwell

The bank holiday weekend of the 24th, 25th and 26th of August was the weekend the BMFA nationals were held at Barkston Heath. The silent flight nationals were held a few miles away at RAF Cranwell, due space restrictions at Barkston. Unfortunately the weather was not as good as it has been this summer and I arrived to a sea of umbrellas.

The decision was that we would drive over to Barkston heath to sample the delights of the trade stalls (okay food stalls) and make a weather call at 12:30pm. As it turned out the weather actually cleared up around 10am, but at 9am it had been incredibly wet and the chances of flying an hour later looked extremely remote. By 12:30 there had been no rain for a while we headed back to Cranwell and setup the course. Unfortunately only one round of duration was completed before the rain returned. I would advise against leaving your car door and window open if there is a strong chance of rain.

Despite some parts of the day being as wet as the proverbial otter's pocket, it was a fun day out with the F3b guys and we will fly the nationals on the reserve date.


F3B Electric - Motor Log

Further to my entry on f3b electro set-ups, I had chance to fly my Extreme today with the electric set-up. Below is a graph of the power, which shows that peak power is over 1.5kw. It's a bit hard to interpret the graph as castle creation speed controllers logging is continuous. With soaring gliders the motor is only on for very short periods relative to the length of the flights. By way of example I had a 25minute+ flight with my Xplorer 2 electric off under 20 seconds motor run. Needless to say the graph of the log from the ESC is not that useful. It would be much nicer if the ESC only logged data when the throttle was actually on. The downs on the graphs are more to do with the speed controller settings which brake the motor quite slowly.

Anyway, I did a couple of short test flights to get some figures. These show the peak power is 1.5kw on a 17x13 prop, with a castle creations 100amp esc and sloperacer geared inrunner. The Hub is 28mm IIRC.

Other photos from a fun afternoon.


Photos from last season.

This is just a general picture post using my photobucket stuff from last year. The pictures are from various league rounds of the 2012 season. Non flash users please click the "view all" button. You can also see larger versions of the pictures by clicking "view all".

satinet's f3b album on Photobucket


F3B WC 1997, Golbasi, Ankara Turkey

Simon Thornton has kindly sent me these pictures from the 1997 WC. GB won a team silver that year flying Cobras. DP used the Cobra to win the next WC.

The photos largely speak for themselves! If you double click on a photo you will be taken to the album and the photos will be larger.

If your device doesn't have flash (e.g ipad/mobile device) please click here to see the photos.


Frsky Taranis For F3B

FrSky has recently released its new taranis TX into the wild. Essentially this TX is made from a plastic case that virtually the same as the JR 9x2. The software is OpenTX which has been around for a while on some modified hobby king hardware. The greater processing power of the taranis has allowed the OpenTX developers to increase the software functionality. OpenTX is an open source project.

The first obvious characteristic of the transmitter is the price, which is about £140-00, including charger, metal case, neck strap and so on. An 8 channel receiver is under 25 pounds and high sensitivity vario is about 18 pounds. Clearly low prices are not synonymous with f3b due to the programming complexity that many pilots employ and the top end transmitters they use. E.g the graupner and jeti range.

Where the Taranis might be of interest to f3b pilots is its software features. People familiar with the multipex profi 4000 will quickly get to grips with the Taranis. It employs the same principle of mixing with each servo having a number of inputs of its own. Switch assignments etc. are user choice. Unlike the 4000, the transmitter is fully integrated with modern telemetry sensors and using the vario you can flick a switch that will tell you your height (it can function as a normal vario, of course). This is a very useful feature for launch practice, obviously. Especially as you can also log the data on SD card. Compared the 4000 the Taranis also has more powerful functions in terms of logical switches and custom functions. For example, you can make the TX respond to telemetry data - You could make it switch off the motor at set height, using data from vario. The Taranis has a built in speak and headphone socket which can be used for timers, telemetry data, voice outputs and so on.

The Taranis has 9 flight modes - that is a good number for us f3b pilots who really have at least 4 different modes and usually more. However, where I feel the Taranis is still somewhat lacking is in its flight modes as unlike a lot of radios you cannot alter many settings in each flight mode. You can use 5 global variables that can be used to alter settings per flight mode. You can also switch off/on mixer inputs in each flight mode. So you would need one mixer line for camber and one mixer line for reflex and switch them off or on in the relevant flight mode. It would be simpler to change the mixer setting for each flight mode. However, I have heard that this functionality will come in later software releases.

It seems clear the OpenTX software will develop much faster than proprietary systems due to the nature of open source projects. You can actually log feature requests with the development team, which have a good chance of being implemented if they are beneficial.

With regards to the actual TX box, the ergonomics are not that great, with the switches being rather hard to operate. However, there is the prospect of an improved TX from Frsky called the Horus, which doesn't have a realease date yet.

I have programmed one of my f3b models on the Taranis and am waiting for a trimming session before I can use it an actual competition. I will post more on the Taranis in due course. Maybe with some logs of my super low launches. Not that we need a graph to see how rubbish they are!


List of F3B World Champions.

F3B World championship

Following the recent F3B World Championship, I thought it would be interesting to try to compile a list of past winners. I managed to get a list of team medals and individual medals up to 2003 from f3b.de. I got recent information from various team pages and blogs etc. The Houlberg trophy itself is nicely pictured by Gordon Buckland in the USA F3B blog.

If you look at the list it includes some well known figures and absolute soaring legends. And Dave Worall and Steve Haley!

Individual - Houlberg Trophy

Year Country/Place 1st 2nd 3rd
1977 RSA-Verwoerdburg Skip Miller (USA) Fricki Roos (RSA) Sean Bannister (GBR)
1979 BEL - Amay Anton Wackerle (AUT) Ralf Decker (GER) Roy Spavins (RSA)
1981 USA - Sacramento Dwight Holley (USA) Sean Bannister (GBR) Schaefer (GER)
1983 GBR - York Ralf Decker (GER) Helmut Quabeck (GER) David Worall (GBR)
1985 AUS - Waikerie Ralf Decker (GER) David Worall (GBR) Karl Wasner (AUT)
1987 GER - Osnabruck Reinhard Liese (GER) Peter Hoffmann (AUT) Samuele Vilani (ITA)
1989 FRA - Melun Nic Wright (GBR) Peter Hoffmann (AUT) Joris ten Holt (NED)
1991 NED - Terlet Joe Wurts (USA) Daryl Perkins (USA) Stephen Haley (GBR)
1993 ISR - Kefar Sava Denis Duchesne (BEL) Joe Wurts (USA) Klaus Kowalski (GER)
1995 ROM - Brasov Daryl Perkins (USA) Denis Duchesne (BEL) Joe Wurts (USA)
1997 TUR - Ankara Daryl Perkins (USA) Pasi Vaisanen (SWE) Joakim Stahl (SWE)
1999 RSA - Rustenberg Daryl Perkins (USA) Dieter Perlick (GER) Roland Hofmann (SUI)
2001 CZE - Chrudim Daryl Perkins (USA) Joe Wurts (USA) Stefan Knechtie (SUI)
2003 GER - Kirchheim Andreas Bohlen (SUI) Pasi Vaisanen (SWE) Reinard Liese (GER)
2005 FIN-Lappeenranta Andreas Bohlen (SUI) Andreas Herrig (GER) Reinard Liese (GER)
2007 SUI - Emmen Martin Herrig (GER) Andreas Herrig (GER) Fidel Frick (LIE)
2009 CZE - Brno Martin Herrig (GER) Peter Hubbertz (GER) Christian Müller (SUI)
2011 CHN - Laiwu Andreas Herrig (GER) Martin Herrig (GER) Andreas Kunz (GER)
2013 GER - Nardt Andreas Herrig (GER) Martin Herrig (GER) Thomas Dylla (GER)
2015 NED - Deelen Martin Herrig (GER) Andreas Herrig (GER) Andreas Bohlen (SUI)

Teams - Challenge Baron Mike Donnet

Year Country/Place 1st 2nd 3rd
1977RSA - VerwoerdburgUSAUKAUS
1979BEL - AmaySouth AfricaAustriaGermany
1981USA - SacrementoGermanyUSASouth Africa
1983UK - YorkGermanyUKAustria
1985AUS - WaikerieUKGermanyAustria
1987GER - OsnabruckAustriaUKGermany
1989FRA - MelunAustriaNetherlandsGermany
1991NED - TerletGermanyUKUSA
1993ISR - Kefar SavaGermanyAustriaUSA
1995ROM - BrasovUSAGermanyAustria
1997TUR - AnkaraSwedenUKUSA
1999RSA - RustenbergSwitzerlandGermanyFrance
2001CZE - ChrudimSwitzerlandGermanySweden
2003GER - KirchheimSwitzerlandGermanySweden
2005FIN - Lappeenranta GermanySweden USA
2007SUI - Switzerland GermanySwitzerland USA
2009CZE - Brno GermanySwitzerlandAustria
2011CHN - Laiwu GermanyUSA France
2013GER - Nardt GermanyAustria USA
2015NED - Deleen GermanySwitzerland Sweden

Here is an Olympic style medal table for the Individual results. 3 points for 1st, 2 for 2nd and 1 for 3rd. Germany includes results from FRG (West Germany). In the case of draws I separate by most gold, or most silvers if golds are even. I include the number of medals won.

South Africa01123

Medal table for teams.

South Africa10124


Andreas Herrig Wins the 2013 World Championship

It came down to the last speed flight. Flying one after the other, Martin Herrig put in a 14.91 to put the pressure on his brother. Andreas responded with a 15.11 to take the WC. All live on the stream.

No doubt there are plenty of pictures and stories to come from the people who were lucky enough to be there. The team pages from Spain and USA etc are worth a look. Germany takes first, second and third in the individual standings and first in the team standings. You can't really argue with that!

The top three pilots and teams remain as they were in the previous post. Detailed results are here. Congratulations guys. Roll on 2015!

Right back to normal f3b - 24/08/2013 - the Nationals at RAF Cranwell :-) Time to show how it's really (not) done.


F3B WC Coming to an End

Tomorrow (Friday) is the last day of the 2013 World Championship in Nardt, Germany. I have thoroughly enjoyed the live coverage with the excellent Martin Webershock commentating. Check it out if you haven't done already.

The Germans are in an incredibly strong position with their pilots filling the top 3 places at this point. It could come down to the final speed run to separate the Herrig brothers, with only about 60 points between them.

Top 3 after round 7:
Andreas Herrig / 100%
Martin Herrig / 99.66%
Thomas Dylla / 99.21%

Top Three Teams are:
Germany / 52323.63
Austria / 51489.42
USA / 51184.03


STOP WORK - Live Stream is Back Online :-)

Or solitaire anyway..... the live stream is back working again. Wahey!
Note the steam also plays from the live score site (linked above). It seems they are having a few issues with it still, but hopefully normal "service" will be resumed.

Live Stream Down :(

News from Germany - the live stream tent at the WC was damaged over night by a thunderstorm and the equipment got wet.

The video stream is down, but hopefully they will get it back up.

Picture from Team Germany facebook page (link above).


Pre World Championship Competiton - Nardt Open

Daniele Amici wins the pre world championship Nardt Open. Credit to the organisers for running a comp with 97 competitors :)

Nardt Open Results

The WC is now underway!


Silent Flight Nationals 2013 - 24th to 26th of August.

Link to download the entry form is here. This a league date also. You have to make an official entry to the BMFA and an entry to Clive as normal.

The form is for f3b,f3j,100s, f5b etc. Entry fee is higher if entry is made after the 9th of August.


Photos From Round 4

Back to UK F3b news, here are few photos from round 4. The first few photos are of "Operation Remove Pike From Tree," which was successfully concluded before the f3b contest. I don't know how many landing points were scored for landing in the lake or at what point the timer stopped counting. I think a body of water constitutes "an object in contact with the ground" as far as the soaring rules are concerned.

Thanks to Simon for the photos. Please click here to see the photos if you don't have adobe flash on your device (e.g iphone).


Nic Wright - F3B Down Under

On the theme of youtube videos - here a little seen gem - Former F3B world champ Nic Wright giving an F3B demonstration to Australian fliers. Note how he reels off some super fast speed runs with consummate ease.


Live Stream from 2013 F3B World Champs

Andreas Herrig announces a live video feed from the 2013 World championship in Nardt.

There goes work!

F3B Throwing technique

If, like me, you spend a lot of time pondering how to best throw an f3b model, here's a video you might enjoy. Or if you just like cool stuff in slow motion. Previously posted on the Barcs Forum, but worth another airing.

F3B SM 2012: einige Starts from Kurt Eichenberger on Vimeo.

Some more slow motion launches:


F3B - Electric

F3B Using Electric Motor Launch

Entry numbers in flat field soaring classes have been in decline in recent years in the UK and elsewhere. Most people feel that electric flight is the future of many aspects of flat field soaring. The benefits are many - space requirements, simplicity, ease of use etc. The concept of F3B electric is simply to replace the traditional winch launch with an electric launch to a height determined by a limiting device - several such devices are available for e-soaring and F5J. Otherwise the rules remain the same with each competitor flying duration, distance and speed tasks. Using height limiters means it is possible to fly electric F3B models against winch launched models, in a mixed competition.

The technology of brushless motors and particularly lipo batteries has improved enormously in the last few years. This has also coincided with significant advancements in composite technology for rc gliders. At the time of writing it is possible to buy a 4m glider that weighs under 1.8kg at flying weight. With the increasing popularity of F5J there are now a number of airframes for electric flight that are even lighter than their "pure" glider F3J equivalents because they don't need to be built to withstand a two man two or winch launch.

The situation is somewhat different in F3B, where the power requirements are considerably greater than F3J and F5J. Clearly an electric version of an F3B model requires a power-set that can launch the model with ballast for the speed and distance tasks. F3B launch heights are typically well over 250m, so an equivalent electric set up needs to be able to launch a ballasted model (say 3.5kg) to height in a reasonable time. The model will still also require a strong wing due to the g-forces encountered in speed. F3B models are also designed for minimum drag and therefore have very thin fuselages.

An F3B-electric power-train set up needs to 1) Provide a large amount of power 2) Fit in a small space 3) Not increase the weight of the glider to the detriment of its duration soaring abilities

To that end electric F3B pioneer, Clive Needham, has been working with Tony Fu of Sloperacer to find a suitable motor combo for for F3B electric. Clearly inrunner motors have a smaller diameter than outrunner motors, but offerings from the likes of Kontronic and Hacker typically state max power outputs of around 500 watts, which is inadequate. The motor/gearbox combination that Tony has devised is a special long Leopard inrunner coupled to a Reisenauer gearbox. Diameter is 28mm, max power is over 1kw, with high efficiency. Clive has done a considerable amount of flying with his electrified Dingo and has found that the model performs very well.

With the availability of 70C batteries, at the time of writing, and no doubt more in the future, the setups we have been experimenting with are not adding significant weight to the airframes. Nor are they spoiling the look of these graceful models.

I think it is possible that F3B airframes can be made lighter for electric launch, with fuselages specifically design for motor installation. Whether this will happen depends on the future F3B situation in the central European countries, such as Germany and the Czech Republic, which are the core areas of F3B competition and model design. If people in those countries take an interest in F3B electric, clearly specific models will start to appear, with pre-installed motor mounts and better battery access. At the time of writing very few if any of the top F3B models are available with a electro fuselages, and if they are it is a large fuselage for a hotliner set up. However, some F3B models can already be flown at 1.9kg which would probably only be about 2.1-2.2kg with an electric motor. At this stage we are mostly modifying existing fuselages to take the electric power trains. Samba Model, of Pike fame, has recently released an electro fuselage for its Pike Precision F3F/F3B model, which looks promising.

Advancements in battery and motor technology will no doubt continue apace, which will result in lighter more powerful setups. Currently we are looking at power outputs of around 1.2kw with a 4 cell lipo with the Sloperacer motor (the logging facilities of Castle Creations ESCs have been useful). These models also make great sport fliers as well, of course.

BMFA F3B League - Round 4 - Results

Steve Haley100Fosa
Mike Challinor98.12Fosa Lift
Simon Haley94.06Precious
John Whittle94.02Ascot
Tom Satinet91.62Stinger
Bob Dickenson88.94Fosa Lift
Mike Holtby85.25Cobra
Dave Worral77.86Crossfire 1 (elec)
Brian Johnson74.96Ascot
Clive Needham68.89Dingo (elec)
Phill Goddard66.74Ceres Lift
Bill Haley53.16Precious

BMFA F3B League - Round 4 - Report

Hello! I am reviving the f3b UK blog. Thanks to Chris Jubb.

The first post is a report from League 4, 2013. With the recent "heat wave" (aka summer) that we have been experiencing it was possibly a relief that the weather for Sunday was overcast and fairly mild (with even a few rains spots at times). Personally I didn't fancy lugging the gear around in 30 degree heat all day.

However, the overcast conditions and the fairly bright light made for a sky that was difficult to pick out models in, and was a challenge all day when flying at duration distance. What was generally reckoned to be a wave was fairly consistent from the east at a considerable distance beyond the winch line. With the general lack of obvious thermals, the best tactic for duration was to push out in front and carefully ride the wave in combination with the slight slope lift from the right of the field. In spite of the difficulty in seeing models, there were few low scores in duration with most people achieving good times. A good launch was very helpful, giving you the chance to range out to find the lift.

Conditions for launching were quite decent, with a moderate wind. If you could steer your model off to the left and swing back in to the wind a decent launch was definitely possible. Not too much score separation happened in Round 1 of duration. A few people dropped a minute or two or messed up the landing, but there were no real clangers. Mike Holtby's Cobra again showed it's ability to pull big tension on the line and float very well when required.

Distance conditions were reasonable but not epic, with the lift again being most consistent to the right of the course, with most people choosing to fly that direction. I think Bob had a go on the other side and did okay. In fact Bob was unlucky as he had a huge launch it to great air on his first distance round, but the round was cancelled when a parachute being wound down in a cross wind knocked down base B (sorry Bob)!

Clive put in a good stint scoring a very respectable 23 legs in round 1, which was the best score of the competition. Young Simon put in a good performance scoring 21 legs in both rounds and only dropping 45 odd points. Clive, Steve Haley, Mike Challinor and John Whittle scored the maximum 1000 points in both rounds. Distance scores were fairly close without most people dropping or gaining too much over the field.

On to speed where times were generally in the high teens for a good run, with the exception, again, of Steve Haley who took a couple of seconds out of the best of the rest following a good launch and consistent flying (15.xx seconds). This took nearly 130 points out of his nearest rival which would prove critical in the final scoring. Bill wasn't quite back to his usual self, but it was good to see him flying again. Round 2 of speed followed a similar pattern to the first round with times of about 17 seconds being competitive. I put in a new personal best of 17.31, which to my surprise, took the 1000 points for the first time, beating Mike and Steve by few tenths. Happy days! Brian dropped quite a few points in speed, which I am sure he will be looking to improve with his Ascot, which seemed to be showing good potential - it's a well proven model of course.

Round 2 of duration followed a similar pattern to the first with mostly high scores. Unfortunately Clive was not able to fly the round due to technical problems with his electric model, which was a shame as he had scored well to that point. I enjoyed a fun round against Steve were we both gently rode the wave, indicating lift and sink for each other and swapping heights and position throughout the slot. Eventually I came out just on top with a 10.00 / 100 point flight that was a nice way to end the comp for me.

So all in all another very enjoyable round. I don't think there were damaged models. Perhaps Clive's prop blades took a bit of a beating when he tried to repay the farmers kindness in helping get Steve's esoaring model out of the tree, by strimming the grass for him. Kudos to Steve, as it takes a top drawer flyer to truly park a model in a totally inaccessible place. The model only being retrieved thanks to Bob's slightly disturbing expertise with a chainsaw. Whether he just carries it round in the back of his car in case of emergency, I don't know.

Special mention must go to Phil Goddard who flew most, or all, of the competition with his transmitter set to the model memory of one or more different models, which may or may not have had something to do with f3b or even gliders. The word on the flight line seemed to be "Wot4," which we can only assume is a model that doesn't have the same trim settings as a ceres lift. The winner was Steve Haley, with his round 1 speed score proving to be decisive over 2nd placed Mike C. Simon Haley came in third having flown consistently all day. He narrowly pipped John Whittle, who lost a few crucial points in the final duration slot. I was fifth, follwed by Bob and Mike Holtby. Dave Worrall and Brian Johnson scored good points and will be looking to the nationals no doubt. Clive and Phil suffered non serious "technical" problems and Bill was still feeling his way back after recent ill health.


BMFA F3B League - Round 3 - Report


The Wetlands Sunday June 9th by Clive Needham

Following the cancellation of L1 due to a poor weather forecast and the abandonment of League of L2 when the weather closed in at midday, it was with anticipation during the week leading up to the contest at The Wetlands as the weather was set fair for a good day’s flying. Unfortunately due to the NE winds off the North Sea the forecast for the East Midlands changed on Saturday from one of glorious sunshine for most of the UK, to low cloud for Sunday which might or might not burn off by lunch time.

It did not look good when I set off from the Lancashire side of the Penines in bright sunshine but hit low cloud on top of the hills in Yorkshire all the way to The Wetlands with a cloud base of about 8ooft at Doncaster airport.

However by mid morning as we were ready to begin the contest, after a slow start setting up the course, the cloud base was gradually rising.

As you may be aware we have been experimenting for some time with models launched by fitting an electric motor instead of using a winch and towline

Apart from the expense of the cost of winches and towlines, plus the time to set up before the contest, there is a feeling that some possible newcomers are prevented from trying out F3B because of lack of confidence in the use winches. A bonus point for those who are not able to launch as high as the top pilots is the use of height limiters to cut the motor, so all start at the same height, therefore no excuses if the top pilot’s scores are not matched, it’s still their skill that counts. We are now in a position to demonstrate that electric motor launched F3B models are viable and not at a disadvantage compared with the traditional launching method.

I have been flying a Dingo electric for some time and Dave Worrall self converted a Crossfire to E earlier this year, resulting in him returning to F3B after 2 to 3 years, Bob Dickenson had his Crossfire converted by Tony Fu (Sloperacer), in addition Norman Quirk has also returned after a break with a Strega supplied by Tony, this design was used very successfully by Alan Flockhart a couple of times last year, including a speed run of 17xx secs, many other designs such as the Rotmillan, Ascot and Skorpion which I have also flown are very suitable.

Most of the models are using Leopard motors (Sloperacer) with gearboxes and lipo batteries, 4cell 1800mah in either a single block (fuz size permitting) or 2x2 cells end to end, most models are convertible as long as at the point the nose has to be removed it has a minimum inside diameter of 30mm. Some manufacturers are now beginning to offer E- fuselages, Output required to launch the models, which can now be built down to about 2.4kgs including motor, gearbox and battery pack, is approximately 1000watts, this will launch an un-ballasted model to the average height of 250m in 12 to 15seconds. Models ballasted up to 4kgs take a little longer but each launch only take about 250 to 300mah from the lipo pack. Therefore each pack is very good for 4 launches and possibly 5 if pushed.

Back to the comp, it had been hoped that all four of us with suitable electric models would be able to use them, unfortunately Dave Worrall was on holiday and Norman Quirk’s new Strega had a problem with the motor pinion not being fully secured on the shaft, Bob Dickenson decide to fly one round with his Fosa and the other with the E- Crossfire for comparison, his scores were very similar 2742 in R1 (Fosa) and R2 2633 E- Crossfire.( The lower score reflects the faster time of the top scoring pilot of 15.13 -R2 as against 17.01-R1) I elected to fly the whole contest with the E-Dingo although I had a “normal” Estrella with me.

As usual we started with duration and apart from the first slot won by Norman with 9.35s and 100 landing bonus (chat man 14 year old Simon Haley) flying his untried Vampire model with Mike Challinor and Brian Johnson well behind, all the other 5 slots were more or less flown out. That is excluding my 6.43s after a re-launch. Mike’s unexplained 6.43s probably cost him second place overall. Two rounds of distance followed with mostly good air in all, the winners being Bob Dickenson 2 one each with his two models, Mike Challinor 2, Jon Whittle, and Steve Haley one each.

The slot with the greatest number of legs was closely contested by Steve Haley, Norman Quirk and myself scoring 25, 23 and 21 legs respectively.

Back to back rounds of speed were next both won by Steve Haley, Fosa 17.01s R1, close behind Mike Challinor, Target, 17.20s and R2 Steve with 15.13s, this time second Jon Whittle, Ascot, with 16.45s

Norman lost out in R2 due to lack of familiarity with the Vampire set-up resulting two pings off the line below full launch height, meaning he had to make the best of it before running out of time.

There were some very close calls at Base B, the pilots with the best scores usually only clipping the line. They generally have an instinct regarding the 150m turning point and very often have the best callers assisting them, it also helps to have a good launch height, but of course if we all use electric motors to launch we will start even, whatever the conditions.

All in all an excellent contest enjoyed by all with good weather all day including a steady breeze to assist the winch launching, the height limiter was set at 250m but could have been altered if conditions changed sufficiently enough to warrant such a change. No Line breaks or broken models, these days it is very rare for a model to fail, one of the concerns of those who have not been prepared to try F3B. Any damage is usually due to finger trouble as is the case in all disciplines.

Models flown in order of final results:- Fosa, Ascot, Target, Fosa/E-Crossfire, Precious, Cobra, Vampire, E-Dingo and Ascot.


BMFA F3B League - Round 3 - Results

# Name Raw %
1 Steve Haley5938.3100
2 John Whittle5668.195.45
3 Mike Challinor5471.392.14
4 Bob Dickenson537690.53
5 Simon Haley5344.490
6 Mike Holtby497683.8
7 Norman Quirk4803.880.9
8Clive Needham4767.880.29
9 Brian Johnson4330.472.92