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F2D News – 12 May 2005
Mark Rudner

I’m baaaaaaaack. Sorry for the one month hiatus, but other duties called and I couldn’t get a column together in time for last month’s newsletter. In the intervening time, the weather has slowly begun to make its way toward the “acceptable” threshold. Although it might not be all the way there yet, it’s close enough that the combat season is already running on all cylinders.

Two weeks ago, our first single-plane F2D contest of the year was held at the Wingbusters’ field in Middleboro, MA. The forecast called for sunshine with a brisk wind, so of course in true New England fashion the day started off calm and raining. It had been raining for the past 24 hours or more, so the ground had already reached the limit of its water-holding capacity. There was a large region of standing water about 15 feet in diameter at one end of the field, but fortunately the pit area wasn’t so bad.

Optimistic as always, we decided to wait for 30 minutes to an hour to see if the rain would die down. For once, Mother Nature was kind and turned off the faucet for us, but unfortunately this wasn’t enough to cure the problem of water-logged soil. Under usual circumstances, the Wingbusters’ field is one of the nicest patches of turf I’ve ever flown on. We’re talking putting green condition here. Let a bunch of combat flyers get hold of a water-logged field for a day, however, and even the most pristine field will be left looking like a pre-digested mess of… something.

The mud in the pilot’s circle did cause a few more problems than making 5 pairs of muddy tennis shoes. There is a cement pad in the middle of the pilot’s circle, but at only about 5ft in diameter it is much smaller than the full F2D pilot’s circle. A deep trench quickly formed around the edge of this cement pad, and grew deeper with every match. I have to give credit to everyone who was flying out there, as nobody fell down in the mud. As the circle marshal for most of the matches, though, I can tell you that there were many near misses for the blooper reel.

The mud really magnifies the effect of any unnatural movements, and brought to light some problems that I found to be common among many of the pilots. Specifically, the problem that caught my attention was that several pilots seemed to have trouble getting into the pilot’s circle after the launch.

I thought that there was a rule stating that the pilot must enter the pilot’s circle within one lap of take-off, but the closest clause I could find was 4.4.13 a) of the 2004 F2D Sporting Code. This rule states that the pilot must be inside the pilot’s circle at all times while his model is flying except for the “the moment of release of his model aircraft by the pitman.” As far as I know, this rule is interpreted as allowing at most one lap to enter the circle without penalty.

There’s really no reason not to get in the pilot’s circle within one lap, but I saw it happen several times. From what I could tell, the root of the problem was that rather than stepping radially inward toward the pilot’s circle at the moment of the launch, many guys were stepping tangentially (around the circumference). If you’ve noticed yourself having trouble getting settled in the pilot’s circle at take off, try to concentrate on stepping more directly in to the circle. The launch shouldn’t be a big deal, but in a few cases I saw pilots nearly get tangled up while trying to get in the mud-bath, errrr circle, and to get separated, etc.

Other than that though, the quality of flying was great. As the first contest after a long winter you never know how things will go, but I think the flying was just as good as it was last October when we closed the season. This is going to be a great year for F2D in New England. I hope even more of you will decide to give it a try!

Oh yeah, and as promised, here’s Kalmykov’s drawing of how to use the new series of angled mounts for the PC6. It’s an unconventional design that uses identical beams for the top and bottom. The way it works is that the top mount attaches to the “other” side of the flange on the engine. The diagram says it all:

If you have any questions or comments, please email Mark at rudner@mit.edu