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REVIEW OF SEMINAR ON FUTURE OF F2C HELD DURING LANDRES 2000

From: Derek Heaton July, 2000

Following a fair amount of talk through the C/L racing group on the need to slow down F2C racing I offered to chair a discussion on the subject during the C/L World Championships event at Landres.

After a brief introduction the meeting was thrown open for any comments:-

Some participants were strongly opposed to any change whilst others were seeking significant changes to make the models slower as they felt that the event was getting beyond their capabilities * and a third group felt that only minor changes were necessary.

Comments made were:

  • The event is capable of being flown at the existing speeds providing that all the pilots co-operate and believe in the need to change their flying style
  • Pilots should be at the front of the circle, not behind the center
  • This should be strictly controlled by the Jury
  • Pilots should be coached in this method of flying
  • A video of the approved flying style should be made and circulated to all interested parties

We should remember that the existing rules were formulated when models were much slower, there is no reason to believe that changing the rules to slow the models down will detract from the enjoyment of the contest between teams.

Stricter jury required that concentrates on things that negatively affect the other pilots, eliminating ( by 3 quick warnings) these pilots would make them change their style.

The event is becoming too fast to jury to a consistently high standard. Competitors need to understand that it takes a finite time to get a decision from a 3 man jury as the Jury Guide requires 2 jury members to be in agreement and for the 3rd member not to disagree. During this time interval other things can and do happen but the jury can only deal with 1 thing at a time. Perhaps we should reduce to a 2 man jury to speed up the decision process.

Changing to a system of taking the best 2 heat results from the 3 rounds as the qualification for the semi-finals would make the pilots fly in a more controlled manner.

More onerous noise restrictions are likely in the relatively short term future (say less than 5 years), these could be effectively combined with speed reductions by limiting the engine timing and having a stated minimum propeller diameter: – lower engine revs = lower airspeeds. This could be a more practical way than defining a canister type silencer requirement.

Reintroduce the builder of the model rule. The reasoning here is that it is the availability of topline models and engines that can be purchased by relatively inexperienced teams that is causing many of the problems, if teams had to build their own models they will gain experience as their modelling improves instead of jumping in immediately at the fast end. One of the practical problems with this idea is how could it be checked accurately at processing.

Several suggestions for directly reducing the model speeds were made:

  • A return to semi-scale models bigger more drag.
  • Restrict the venturi size to 3mm
  • Longer lines
  • Thicker lines
  • Fly over all grass circuits
  • Bigger models
  • Reduce engine capacity ( only in the longer term)

It was clear from the above that there are s many differing views on the need for future changes as the number of people at the meeting!

My own personal review of the seminar is very similar to that of Jean Paul Perrett when he commented that a better title for the seminar would have been F2C now - since most comments appeared to be initiated by the thought “how can I continue to fly in the event”! together with the noticeable absence of many of the more experienced teams. At the risk of stepping on a few toes there was very little evidence to me of putting the event before personal interests. This should not intended as a criticism of the efforts everyone took to take part in the discussion I certainly feel that the event was worth holding and I personally gained a lot from all the comments made. It may well be the case that when a large part of the current competitors retire ( and there is no doubt that the average ages of the teams is increasing) that the event fades away but surely we should not just sit back and allow this to happen by apathy. We owe it to future modellers to try our best to pass on a viable, vibrant contest that has given all of us great pleasure over the years.

I believe very strongly that some changes are necessary now and that these will improve the contest. However I also believe that it would be totally wrong to significantly slow the event down as this will lead to a large drop in the current level of participation and hence a lot of the interest and competitors would disappear from future World Championships. I saw nothing wrong during the semifinals at this years World Champs –the racing was exciting, fast and safe, exactly as it should be. It is only in the heats where the mix of inexperience and fast models can cause problems –this is the issue that we need to address. All of us, individually, must accept that our time in F2C is transient and that at some stage it will be time to retire from this particular class of competition. This need not be the end of our involvement though – there is always a shortage of experienced organisers and (dare I say it- Jury members) plus other racing events to participate in and newcomers/youngsters to work with and encourage.

For me F2C must remain an event that comprises 3 models racing against each other as fast and furiously as can be safely handled and juried in a fair manner. The current speeds of the quickest models needs to be reduced slightly now to achieve this aim on a regular basis, we cannot wait a further 5 years when speeds will be even higher and pilots older! We heard at the seminar from one of our most experienced Jury members that it is becoming very difficult to judge the event accurately and swiftly enough to retain the necessary safety margins, having also observed the event from the jury tower on several occasions I fully support his view.

If the event is to progress into the future then we all need to start now with a structured approach that can be developed in detail when necessary to fit into the CIAM permitted rule change timetable.

Step 1

  • 1. Increase line diameter to 0.35mm minimum (either single or stranded) with effect from 2001

  • 2. Carry out tests during 2001 to determine whether it is practical to increase the line diameters to 0.4mm. At the present time I am not aware that we have enough information to be able to say with certainty that we could continue to fly safely with 3 models on 0.4 lines in all the range of weather conditions we normally face. It would be counter productive if either the upwind or downwind models had a high failure rate on takeoff. If we proved that we could handle 0.4 thick lines then we should introduce them in 2002.

  • 3. Change the qualification criteria for the semi-finals to best 2 from 3 heats. This will make the pilots take a more responsible attitude to their flying styles.

  • 4. Retain a 3 person F2C panel of Judges but change the requirement in the jury guide to read:- “as soon as 2 of the panel agree then the warning/elimination will be given” This will speed up the ability of the judges to issue the warnings quickly and hence keep the race under control.

  • 5. The detail of the Jury Guide should be taken out of the CIAM rulebook. With it in the rulebook we are then caught by the constraints of having to go through CIAM each time to achieve changes as we do for rule changes. This is too slow and cumbersome. The intent of the Juryguide is that it should always be an upto date statement of the current standard and trend in F2C. It should be made the responsibility of each F2C panel of Judges to carry out a review of the document at the end of each World Championships and to write up any necessary alterations/additions. This can then be used as a training aid for the next jury. It should be seen as a guide to Jury work and not as a second rulebook!

  • 6. Bring in a rule clarification to ensure that the final always starts with 3 competitors. To me it is a mistake to interpret the existing rules as “only the 3 teams that have recorded the 3 fastest times in the semifinals may take part in the final”. The very essence of F2C is that wherever possible racing shall be between 3 teams – in fact this is stated in the opening rule!

  • 7. Bring in for 2001 the necessary safety changes that were highlighted at this years W/Champs:-

    Pitmen are not permitted to lie down in the circle to retrieve their models. The risk of serious injury from a landing or taking off model is not acceptable. * Paint an inner pilots ring at 2.0m radius as an aid to pilot orientation in the centre.

  • 8. As soon as possible establish a second International class of teamracing that has slower airspeeds and encourage all nationalities to adopt this as the training ground for F2C. I would see this as following very closely the French idea of profile 2.5cc racers that has been so successful in bringing youngsters into C/L racing.

    The engines allowed in this class should be standard F2C engines with stated maximum venturi sizing and minimum propeller diameters to limit the speeds. Both of these are simple changes that would not force newcomers into F2C into large expensive engine changes. * All races should be 3 up –( sorry Andy Sweetland this is where I disagree with your otherwise excellent STR rules) we need to ensure that the pilots have the ability to gain experience in close 3 up racing before they arrive at a World Championships because they will not be able to gain that experience during a major championship. * Individuals then need to recognise that they have a personal responsibility to gain sufficient experience in racing in this event before attempting a F2C World Championships. A natural follow on could then be that National associations require teams to have achieved a certain standard in this class before being allowed to represent their country at a World championships. This puts the responsibility back where it can be practically applied, I do not believe that we can ever accept a position where pilots are seeded by the W/Champs organisers or Juries. If you think about it this is what happens in other sports, we would all like to drive a Formula 1 car but we are not allowed to because we do not have the proven ability and experience.

    Step 2 (within the next 5 years)

    • 1. Develop a training video of good practice that will be available to all. This should start with a demonstration of what is correct followed by specific examples of each warnable offence. As a start we could possibly build from the existing video we have of all the races at Landres 2000. It is important, though, that we do not attach existing flying styles that brought warnings to particular pilots. It has to be "here is an example of pivotting" and not "here is pilot xxxx whipping again".
    • 2. Proactively accept the noise issue by introducing rules that will limit the engine timing and state a minimum propeller size. The secondary advantage of this is that it will again damp down the effects of increasing engine power that will inevitably have taken place over the previous 5 years.
    • Step 3 ( for possible implementation in 10 years)
    • Through the CIAM C/L Technical committee investigate the best option for the next speed reduction:-
    • Increase model sizes Decrease engine capacity

    At least one of these options is going to be necessary at some stage. Unfortunately the introduction of either will inevitably result in a percentage of the then current competitors leaving the event – they will not be prepared to make such a step change on either financial or time restraint reasons.