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Flying only scale competition

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Geoff Sleath25/06/2018 23:52:18
3272 forum posts
251 photos

I'm ageing by the second - I know we all are but my seconds are getting to be minutes or even hours I've competed in all my previous hobbies/sports (motor cycles, sailing, cycling even Bridge!) and I thought before I get totally gaga (if I'm not already) I should try competing at least once in an aeromodelling sense. To that end I'm seriously considering having a go at the scale flying only event at Buckminster next month.

I intend to fly this:


ie the Gypsy Moth I built over winter from the DB S&S 58" ws Cirrus Moth kit with a few mods/adaptations to Gypsy spec. It's electric (4S 4AH LiPo) turning a 13x6.6 prop and has an endurance of up to 10 minutes.

I've downloaded the descriptions of the schedules and been flying the model almost exclusively for the past 2 weeks. I have no idea how well I'm flying the manoeuvres or even if I'm doing them correctlybut I know far from perfectly. All I'm aiming for is not to make a total fool of myself. Still trying to fly them certainly makes my flying more interesting and the time flies (hahah) as my 9 minute deadline looms before I've finished.

I think 8 flights today and then I realised I was losing concentration by the end and resorted just to fooling around. I even attempted a spin for the first time with this model but chickened out after one turn - I was pleasantly surprised that it came out immediately I centred the sticks - as it should.

Wish me luck and any advice gratefully accepted.


PatMc26/06/2018 00:19:36
4170 forum posts
520 photos

Geoff, I think the best advice is simply to keep practicing the schedule as much as possible with "relief" breaks when you realise concentration is waning. But if you have another model that performs not too differently from the Gypsy Moth - use that. Otherwise one mistake could potentialy leave you with an unflyable competition model on the big day.

Good luck thumbs up


Chris Walby26/06/2018 06:31:26
944 forum posts
227 photos

All the best for the event Geoff and my advice is practice little and often, but most of all enjoy the event and take it easy!

PS Let us all know how you get on, watching with interest.

(luck has nothing to do with it, its preparation, more preparation and experience that gets results!)

Levanter26/06/2018 06:48:20
878 forum posts
436 photos


Excellent idea, go for it. Have you got someone at your club who could act as a check pilot and give you some feedback on how you are doing. At least he or she could position themselves so they would be getting the same perspective as the judges.
Have fun all the way and remember the golfer (I think) who said the more he practiced the luckier he got!


Denis Watkins26/06/2018 06:49:47
3746 forum posts
179 photos

In the comp Geoff, fly at your own pace, in the way that you know your model fly's.

Don't think of any one else behind you

Its just you and your model, and no one else could fly it like you do.

Trevor Crook26/06/2018 07:05:23
826 forum posts
63 photos

Good luck Geoff. In most respects you've got the right sort of model, no extra points to be gained from complexity such as retracts, flaps, multiple engines etc. A couple of our club members have been having a go at this class, and I had an interesting chat with them the other week. Apparently difficult maneuvers don't score any more than simple ones, so your Moth performing a slow pass will do as well as a warbird performing, say, a Derry turn. Chipmunks and Moths are popular models to score well with.

One aspect of your model that will let you down is the power system. The scoring system awards points for noise. I find this amazing, since the BMFA are supposed to be encouraging us to reduce our noise footprint, and our models sound nothing like their full-size counterparts anyway. It's supposed to be a flying only competition.

I'm sure you will enjoy competing, it's a great way to sharpen your skill and discipline.

David Davis26/06/2018 08:46:11
3349 forum posts
580 photos

Best of Luck Geoff!

I was seventy years old when I flew in my first model aircraft competition, La Coupe Des Barons, earlier in the month. I finished 53rd out of 68 and I wouldn't have missed it for the world! Roll on next year!

Martyn K26/06/2018 10:19:30
4857 forum posts
3538 photos


Next year there will be a new 'Light Scale' class being run by the BMFA Scale Committee with a max AUW of 5kg. This is something I have campaigned for (that sounds a little grand, it was actually a couple of emails). Flown to Stand off Scale rules but with a weight limit.

If you are interested, contact Andy Sephton (he lurks around here - you can PM him)


Geoff Sleath26/06/2018 11:05:38
3272 forum posts
251 photos

Thanks for the encouragement, gents. I just know I'll need to take a pair of bike clips when I fly. Funnily enough it never used to bother me performing before a crowd when I rode events like the Land's End Trial on my motor cycle but I'm a model flying wimp when there's anyone around.

lands end trial 1973 (bluehills mine).jpg

The idea of a lightweight scale competition is interesting, Martyn. Models at shows are just getting bigger and bigger (and hence more expensive) there are very few normal club models flown. My Gypsy Moth weighs in at exactly 3kg ready to fly so would qualify easily. My electric quarter scale Mew Gull is about on the 5kg limit.

I very briefly met Andy Sephton back in 1997 when he flew the Rolls-Royce Spitfire into the Hucknall airfield for the the company open day which coincided with the model club's 25th anniversary scale fly-in cum show.  I was one of the crew who helped to manoeuvre the Spit through the gate off the airfield into the factory yard where it could be safely locked away for the night.

He arrived on the Friday and, before landing, entertained us with a wonderful aerobatic display I'll never forget.  It made me realise just how unrealisticly fast we fly our models.  When Andy started a roll, it seemed his airspeed was far to low to complete it!  I was convinced he was going to fall out of the sky!



Edited By Geoff Sleath on 26/06/2018 11:14:52

stu knowles26/06/2018 12:03:34
561 forum posts
44 photos

Maybe it's an age thing Geoff, I'm haven't quite reached your numbers yet but for most of my modelling life the thought of a flying comp held not the slightest interest. In recent years I have come to fly little else but scale types and have found the thought of pitting my skills against others in a comp quite attractive.

I haven't done anything about it yet but I do find myself flying the B schedule manoeuvres in most flights and trying to be quite critical about how they are performed. As you say, I have no idea if they are any good but I enjoy trying.

Good luck with your first event and do let us know how you get on. I'm going to find the Scale Schedule docs now.



Edited By stu knowles on 26/06/2018 12:05:40

john stones 126/06/2018 23:00:40
10432 forum posts
1475 photos

Yep, good luck Geoff and enjoy it. yes

David Davis27/06/2018 05:51:15
3349 forum posts
580 photos

If it's any consolation Geoff my hands were shaking as I inserted the LiPo into my Baron just before the first round of La Coupe. By the second round, a pylon race, I was really excited to be involved!

boris in flight.jpg

Incidentally the white model in the picture was flown by a fourteen year-old girl.

Edited By David Davis on 27/06/2018 06:04:35

Geoff Sleath27/06/2018 10:49:26
3272 forum posts
251 photos

David, I long ago realised that in any sporting endeavour I was always going to be eclipsed by some wunderkind many years, even decades, younger than I. I have been known occasionally to demand when confronted by such in the aeromodelling sense that their hands should be removed to give me a chance to shine but, inexplicably, I have so far always been over-ruled.surprise Your 14 year-old girl is a case in point - even worse she's presumably French!

Joking aside for this very non-misogynistic Francophile, it's great that there are youngsters of both sexes interested in aeromodelling as well as, hopefully, other practical activities.


PS I meant to add what a stunning background to the flying site.

Edited By Geoff Sleath on 27/06/2018 10:51:08

Denis Watkins27/06/2018 11:12:07
3746 forum posts
179 photos

Youth always impresses, with their vitality.

I fly with an F3A guy, half my age and more, who makes me smile, as he talks me into maneuvers that I fall out from quite easily, but we laugh so loud that it makes .my day.

Just fly what's in front of you Geoff and the very best of luck

Danny Fenton27/06/2018 17:17:25
9082 forum posts
3928 photos

Good luck Geoff, let us know how you get on I have done flying only and scale RC indoor and it is a great deal harder than people think, but still great fun and the camaraderie excellent.

I must confess I was hoping the new lightweight class Martyn alludes to may have emphasised the detail rather than the flying, but hey ho that seems to be what everybody wants.



Geoff Sleath27/06/2018 17:26:33
3272 forum posts
251 photos

Thanks, Danny. I suppose having started this thread I'm more or less committed to put myself on the line. Perhaps that's why I did it

As for detail for a new lightweight class, that would count me out. I like building models but sport scale rather than full scale. I'm no rivet counter, I'm afraid but I admire the results of those who are. Of course I'd be in favour of a builder of the model bonus which wouldn't exclude ARTFs but encourage balsa bashers a bit. However it must be very difficult these days to frame a set of rules. I've seen a few ARTF models that have been very expertly enhanced to dirty them up and/or add extra scale features and that would be difficult to judge.

Perhaps sticking to the rule that the model should reasonably represent a scale subject is enough.


David Davis27/06/2018 20:48:46
3349 forum posts
580 photos
Posted by Geoff Sleath on 27/06/2018 10:49:26:

... Your 14 year-old girl is a case in point - even worse she's presumably French!

Joking aside for this very non-misogynistic Francophile, it's great that there are youngsters of both sexes interested in aeromodelling as well as, hopefully, other practical activities.


PS I meant to add what a stunning background to the flying site.

Edited By Geoff Sleath on 27/06/2018 10:51:08

Actually I was too quick for Iris in the pylon race but she beat me in the overall results. However, I still beat her twin sister Clara! wink

Steve jackson 214/10/2018 10:05:16
1 forum posts

I was sorry that you didn't get to Buckminster scale event Geoff, hope it wasn't a health issue? As regular competitor I would like to assure you that these events really are good fun days out, everybody is friendly and any help you need is freely available. As for making a fool of yourself, it is not an issue, nobody would consider you a fool for getting it wrong, I have seen many of the experience fliers ( myself included) make horrendous gaffs at times, it is all part of scale flying. No body is exempt from getting it wrong.

I did see someone's comments on 'rivet counters', whilst something like that may apply to F4c, the top class, it certainly does not apply to flying only where you are more than welcome to bring along an ARTF as long as it is a reasonable scale model. (Many do) Or even Stand off Scale, you can't see riviet detail at 5 meters!

Whilst, I fully support Andy Sephton's attempt to induce light scale and really hope it brings in more competitors. I am not sure it is needed? If my memory serves me well, three of the last four flying only National Championships have been won by models of around sixty inch span.

We always welcome new pilots at scale events, why not come and have go next year? I am sure you'll find yourself hooked.

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