Received a call from Gusty recently asking me for an account of the events I entered in the recent Nationals, so I guess this is my chance to fly the flag for T.C.M.A.C. and blow the trumpet! I entered in 7 events (4 indoor and 3 outdoors) and the stadium got its first workout for catapult launch glider and hand launch glider on Friday 29 th December. The ceiling height is just on 9 metres so it is quite a task to throw a 6 gram model to that extent unless you have a natural throwing arm. Len Surtees has been known to all but hit the ceiling. Most of the models are reinforced with 0.004 carbon fibre both on the wing and fuselage. Len came first with a best time of 36 seconds, being 5 seconds down on the previous Albury Nats. Michael Fowell from Kelletts Hobbies came second and Ray Pike from Wangaratta 3 rd. My best time being 30 seconds being 11 seconds down on a previous Albury Nats and failing to place this time due to father time taking its effect! Catapult launch was a new event and all I did was install a hook in the nose of my hand launch glider and joined 2 No.18 elastic band to launch it, What a difference, blitzed the field with a couple of 43 second flights (best 2 out of 6 flights are taken). Len was second and Ray 3 rd. Essie and I arrived home about 10pm and I set the alarm for 4:15am to go to Sprinhurst for the Free Flight Scale. Arrived about 5:30am Saturday 30 th and found my miniature 18” Tiger Moth refused to fly as the CO 2 motor was icing up so I just had to wait for the morning to warm up before flying. Garry Sunderland from Baccus Marsh flew a large diesel powered Shorts Bi Plane (on floats) being hand launched as all the models were due to the rough ground and causing nose overs. Phil Mitchell from Sydney also flew a D.H.82a Tiger Moth 44” which flew in very magestic 10 metre circles at about 5 metres height (all models must fly for 20 seconds to qualify). Stan Hinds from ACT flew a great little Gloster Gladiator but had engine problems, but did put up some very realistic flights. Dave Hegarty from Sydney flew an unusual Farman Moto Aviette of 1920 era which also performed very sedate flight at low altitude. Fred Roberts flew his trusty AVRO 504K to great affect due to the totally calm conditions. I decided to go last as the air was gradually warming up for the CO2. I put in 3 successful flights to end the mornings flying. Our trusty scale judge then did his bit, taking over an hour to come to a decision which is taken on flying realism and model accuracy. I managed second scale points but owing to the model size it was down graded because of flying a touch fast. (All other models were diesel powered.) Gary deservedly won the day with Phil a close 2 nd and Stan 3 rd. As this was my first go at free flight Nats scale I learnt a lot. On the way home from Springhurst I had to keep my mind on the job as I did wake at 3:15am that morning for some reason. On arriving back at T.C.M.A.C. Essie and the crew were busy with the hungry hordes so I didn’t find it hard to find a job.
Another early morning Monday 1 st January and down to ringhurst for P.30 which is a rubber powered event. The model must not be any larger than 30” length and span and carry no more than 10 grams of rubber, and plastic prop especially designed for this event is used so everyone is on equal terms. 3 flights are flown with the objective being (3) 2 minute flights with those doing this going into the fly off, of which the longest flight wins. On arriving early the wind was already quite strong and increasing in strength and gusting to 9 metres per second (anything over 9 metres per second and the event is cancelled) but not holding long enough to cancel so we attempted to fly. I launched my model with 2000 turns trying to go between gusts, but didn’t Ken busy in the Kitchen Ken’s Indoor flying style get away and it virtually lobbed at Ron Bird’s feet as he walked out of the dunny. I repaired the wing but decided to keep it for a better day in the future. The eventual winner was Vin Morgan from Vic but I’m not sure of the minor places as the fly off was early the next morning. Hand launch and catapult gliders was also flown after P.30 and the wind still blew making it hard to get the models to pull out from the launch and do the 60 seconds required before being blown out of the sky. Len Surtees won the hand launch using a discus design of about 36” span and launched by holding the wing tip and launched about 35 metres high discus style, very spectacular! Again I can’t recall the minor placings in the two events as I left early to get back to T.C.M.A.C. and the food department.
Tuesday 2nd was to be indoor E.Z.B. which is an 18” lightweight (1.25 grams) duration model capable of over 10 minutes flight. As there were insufficient enteries Darryl asked me to put up a flight for those watching so we put on 1600 turns and let her go for 3 seconds short of 12 minutes after tailsliding 15 feet then climbing back to the roof, I feel that it would have done close to 15 minutes. Best time ever and no contest!
Wednesday 3rd was Peanut Scale and Indoor Rubber Scale night. Peanut Scale models are limited to 13” span or 9” maximum length. The secret in this class is a variation of light weight, prop design and rubber size. My first model came out at 12 grams but after much design change is now 5 grams and therefore requires much thinner rubber which allows nearly 3000 turns to be applied resulting in close to 3 minute flight time, a far cry from the days when 48 seconds seemed an eternity!
Results were myself first flying a FIKE MODEL E which has a huge wing area, Colin Cellier flew a LACY formally built by Tim Fullarton who is still flying indoor and outdoor at the age of nearly 90. 3rd place went to Garry Sunderland flying a Bi-Plane possibly an S.E5 from memory. The Free Flight Rubber Scale has no size restrictions and Garry was successful flying a German “Taube” which in English means “Dove” and certainly has a wing like a bird’s wing, the model is a work of art with all the bracing wires and intricate frame work resulting in about a 2 foot span. Neil McLead from Vic was second flying a foam Comper Swift putting up some well trimmed flights. I entered my FIKE to come 3rd, but it suffered in realism of flight points.
The last event on Thursday 4th was indoor Hanger Rat. This small model is a specially designed plane of 18” tissue covered type. Usually it is the most popular event of the Nationals, the previous Nats saw avourt 20 entrants but this one was down to 10. The rules state the binding of a flat plate propeller of balsa and 36” of rubber, all is shown on the plan. It is possible to build light and get over 3 minutes duration. I managed to win this final indoor event ending the indoor scene with 3 firsts and one third making up for a disappointing outdoor result.
Roll on 2008!