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.

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