A return to model building and flying. Part 40

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June 2007

ff nats program

At the end of May thanks to a favourable weather forecast for the first day and wanting to try to push my physical limits, on the spur of the moment I decided to drive to the FF Nat's. It turned out that the forecast was spot on, I think I caught the best few hours of the weekend, the rest according to eye witnesses was rain and more rain.

It's a long time since I have been to any sort of FF event, and I miss the days when all branches of the hobby were represented on the same site at one single National Championships. FF is a quit physical activity and involves a lot of walking or cycling to retrieve models especially for competition class models which have the ability to latch onto the slightest lift and travel long distances; even after the dethermaliser has deployed. I was even getting tired just walking about looking for something to photograph, but I can think of a lot worse ways to get tired.

One thing I found puzzling was the inclusion of a radio assist class in the Space Modelling event. The said class consisted of a rocket powered take off, a timed limited descent/glide, followed by a spot landing. This can only be regarded as an anomaly at a Free Flight Nationals. I have mixed feelings about it, and can't help feeling it might be the thin end of the wedge; what next, a radio assist Bowden Competition, radio assist Wakefield rubber. Whist I can quite see the reason for a single RC control to help guide a model back to ever shrinking areas of flying sites, the FF definition then becomes very diluted indeed. Maybe all FF class should be redefined and restricted to one remote control element, to at least try to keep the spirit of FF alive.

As FF competition is such an ad hoc affair, I tended to always be facing in the wrong direction when something was happening, so I have compiled all I manage to capture into this short video which I hope at least gives a flavour of the three or four hours I was there. Fortunately it as the next day the clutch on my car failed.

vidcam  Free Flight Nat's video (6.9MB .wmv)
Should display at 320x240 any bigger, just more fuzzy.

The FF Nat's are a very laid back affair and quite relaxing to visit with none of the roped off no go areas for the visitor or the rampant commercialism prevalent at the RC/CL Nat's. So if you ever get the opportunity take the time and give it visit.


At last I managed to get to a CL carrier event and compete for the first time. Write up, pictures and video clips of the event here.

I cant help noticing at the few carrier events I have observed, that some of the models manage to look a bit agricultural. By this I mean look very rough and ready, The look a model takes on when it has been glued together for the umpteenth time and the exhaust effluvia has become an integral part of the molecular structure of covering material and the wood. This has nothing to do with their capabilities, and probably an inevitable result of being hurtled repeatedly at a hard wooden deck over the course of their lives, it's just an observation; but it did start me thinking about the fact that it's a look I have observed since I started modelling in every branch of the hobby that has an engine perched on the model somewhere.

In these days of ARTF, and plastic and fibre composits, it is not quiet as prevalent as it was, but it does seem to be a peculiar British phenomenon. Continental Europeans and the Americans on the whole, seem to produce and keep models in good condition through their lives. Only the Brit's have the wherewithall to throw a model in a corner after a flying session and forget about it until it's needed; whereupon copious amounts of, in the past epoxy, these days cyano, are applied to crucial parts just before a competition flight. I should qualify that by saying, "Hi," to JanO. who I know will be smiling at what I have just written whilst settled down with a good beer in Belgium. I wonder if the change to electric power is to avoid the process of cleaning his IC powered models. Only joking Jan.

Maybe its the result of a certain generation growing up having to make as little as possible go as far as possible in the post war years, and that frugalness being instilled into at least one following generation. The principal certainly doesn't seen to apply to modern youth, or adults for that matter, who seen to only want to, buy, use, break, throw away, buy another one if they can be bothered. I know I am beginning to sound like a moaning old cow, but I can't help thinking that if you have very little and things are always just out of reach, it can only instill a sense of worth when you finally obtain it, and a desire to hang onto and maintain it. Ready accessability and cheapness seems to bring it's own problems in that respect.

One of my club racers has begun to take on that farmyard look, but in this case it is through use and constant modification. Being covered in Oracover/Profilm and grafting on a new nose section is not one of the easiest things to do, but if it lasts the season I can at least use it to run in another new KMD 2.5 diesel, I think my existing one is getting a little tired. It is one of the first models I attempted to cover in Oracover/Profilm then have an engine squirt hot diesel exhaust over it for a couple of years, It has lasted remarkably well and is only just beginning to show signs of the film lifting at joins because of adhesive failure , most of which could be more readily avoided by more carefull placing of the overlaps in the first place. The first time I re-covered the wing I was surprised at how there was almost no fuel seepage at all under the covering.

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