Well, the season is finally over, and the weather (I’m told) is soon to become unsuitable for flying. This will give everybody a chance
for some much needed rest I’m sure, but more importantly it will give everyone the opportunity to rebuild his (or her) GX fleet and possibly
even start putting together a fleet of FAI models for the coming season.
For those of you who aren’t so familiar with the combat events outside of GX, Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) combat (aka F2D)
is the official international standard for combat. Although in the US we have Fast combat, 1/2A combat, and various forms of speed limit
combat in all different regions, the rest of the world has pretty much only one main event – F2D. The popularity of F2D has waxed and waned
in the US over the years, but has been steadily increasing over the past 10 years or so predominantly thanks to the availability of extremely
high quality engines and ready to fly models and very reasonable prices.
In next month’s column I will go into considerably more detail about the equipment of FAI combat, so if you’re considering jumping in to this
new event you may want to wait for that before starting to amass your equipment, or to contact me directly. I really want to see everyone with
an interest succeed, and am always available to discuss equipment issues etc. Please feel free to contact me any time with questions, etc.
Here’s a brief rundown of the specs for F2D combat models:
Engine – 2.5cc (0.15 cu. in.), 8 mm maximum venturi diameter, muffler required to specifications.
Fuel – 10% nitromethane, 20% castor oil, 70% methanol. Theoretically, this is supplied by the contest organizers and all
contestants must draw their fuel from the community jug.
Lines – Thickness: 0.385 mm (0.0152”) multi-strand, NO minus tolerance. Note that this is just BIGGER than 0.015”, so ordinary 0.015”
line from the store may or may not in fact be legal.
Length: 15.92 +- 0.04 m (52 ft 1 + 3/16 in. to 52 ft 4 + 5/16”), measured from the grip face of the handle to the longitudinal centerline
of the model. Note that this is a very tight tolerance.
Right now we are in the midst of a very exciting time for F2D in the US and in particular in the New England area. As many of you know, I
recently moved to Cambridge to start graduate school at MIT. When I arrived back in late August I didn’t know what to expect, but what I found
was a great group of guys with a lot of interest, enthusiasm, and I believe a lot of potential for success in the internationally recognized form
of combat. One thing you may not know is that the last time the Control Line World Championships were held in the US (1984), they were in fact
held in Chickopee, MA. New England does have history in FAI, after all. More important for the present, though, is the fact that the upcoming
2004 Control Line World Championships will be held at the AMA Headquarters in Muncie, IN immediately preceding the Nats. The world championships
will be a great opportunity for American pilots who have never seen a large international combat competition to experience something really new
and exciting. If you have the time/ability, I highly recommend coming out for this event, both to root on our US team, and also for a truly
unique experience that just doesn’t come around that often.
To try to bring some more combat opportunities to this region and to give everyone the chance to explore some new areas of combat, I’ve been
working closely with Neil to get an FAI combat program started in New England. You may have heard that on October 26, the first FAI combat
contest in recent history was held in Columbia, CT. We had a great turn out of 8 pilots on very short notice, and despite the rain, I think
a good time was had by all. I’d like to personally thank everyone who worked so hard to put together makeshift fleets of airplanes in just about
3 weeks and then come out to try this new event. Additionally I’d especially like to thank Paul Kubek, who came all the way down just to help out
with judging, etc. For the first time trying out this new event (and in harsh conditions no less), the flying quality and pitting performances
were quite good. If you talk to any of the guys who were there flying FAI for the first time, I’m sure they’ll tell you that the event is a real
Neil and I are already making plans for several more FAI combat contests in 2004; I hope that even more of you will decide to come try it out.
This is a good time to get started, since many guys have already just begun getting into the event. We all have a lot to learn from each other,
and I think that when everyone is taking on a new challenge together the excitement and interest will really feed off of itself and benefit
everyone. Additionally, I’ll try to offer as much constructive help as I can in-person, and through this monthly column in the newsletter.
This promises to be an exciting year, and I hope to see many of you out there giving FAI a good go!