is the event designation given to the officially sanctioned form of control line combat by the
Federation Aeronautique Internationale
(FAI). The FAI is the same international body that governs
the flight of full-size aircraft, and aerosports of all kinds large and small. The category "F2" stands
for control line aeromodelling, while the "D" designates the specific event -- combat. The other official
control line events are F2A - speed, F2B - aerobatics, and F2C - team race.
Aside from being the internationally recognized form of control line combat, F2D has several key features
that distinguish it from other events commonly flown in the U.S. A link to the official FAI Sporting Code
with the complete F2D rules is available in the
section of this website. In this section, I will focus on
a few of the major qualitative differences between F2D and other forms of combat. However, my first few
were devoted to this topic so I will be brief here and invite you to read those articles for more background.
Although the most obvious differences between F2D and other combat events may be the types and sizes of engines/models
used in each event, in my opinion the two most important differences between F2D and other events are the
scoring method and the use of two models per pilot per match. In terms of scoring, the key point is that while the
objective of Fast combat and some other events it to score a "kill," i.e. to cut off the entire streamer and thereby
score an "instant-win," no such rule exists in F2D. Rather, pilots must exercise restraint and finesse while trying
to score as many small cuts of the streamer as possible. Because there is no "instant-win" possibility in F2D, it is
much more difficult to win an F2D match by a single lucky maneuver. Additionally, scoring by cuts rather than kills
tends to increase the amount of actual combat flying in a typical match. Whereas a typical Fast combat style match
may end in a kill within the first 30 seconds to one minute of the match, a typical F2D match probably averages
somewhere closer to two and half to three minutes of combat.
Another way that the amount of flying time is increased in F2D is that each pilot is allowed two complete models
per match. If a pilot hits the ground, or if there is a midair collision, it is the job of the mechanic(s) to start the
spare model(s) and get the pilot(s) back in the air as quickly as possible to continue the match. In a one airplane per
pilot event, an unlucky turn or gust of wind could cause an early collision and bring the match to an end with very little
combat being flown. In the two airplane per pilot format of F2D, the match always goes on and as a result you will on
average get to spend more time flying combat per match than in other events -- and afterall, flying combat is the reason why we
all show up to a competition in the first place.
F2D models have gone through a process of significant convergent evolution over the past
In the early days there was a lot of variation between models and
engines -- glow engines versus diesel engines, balsa wood models versus foam models. Today,
virtually all competitive engines are glow engines, with only slight variations between them.
Furthermore, nearly all models use the originally eastern-European construction technique
consisting of a very tough bat-like leading edge, with balsa ribs and a tough mylar covering.
That having been said, there are many engine options available, and many sources for models and other supplies.
As far as engines are concerned, five of the top eight pilots at the 2004 World Championships used AKM
engines while the remaining three (Mark Rudner, Mike Willcox, and Mervyn Jones) used Zorro engines. While
the AKM engine has always performed very strongly, they have proved difficult to obtain and maintain. Zorro
engines are available from Jari Valo in Finland. Another competitive engine is the Fora engine produced
in Ukraine, and available through GRS models in Louisiana or direct from Ukraine. On the more economical side is
the Cyclon PC6 produced in Novosibirsk, Russia. These engines are consistent and well behaved, and are a great
choice for someone who is trying to make his or her way into this sport. A list of links and contact information
for suppliers of F2D equipment is compiled in the
section of this website.
Women in F2D
This may seem like a strange section to have
on this website, but I wanted to take this space to dispel
any myths that combat is a guys-only sport and to encourage women of any age who are interested in combat
to give it a try. It is true that the vast majority of combat pilots are male, but there is no reason,
physical or otherwise, why women cannot participate in and be successful at this sport. Although a woman
is yet to claim the title of World Champion, Monique Wakkermann of the Netherlands has won the World Cup
two times and remains one of the world's top combat pilots. Laura Leino of Finland has also competed in the last several
World Championships and performed well there.
It is an encouraging sign that the number of women participating in the World Championships appears to be
(slowly) increasing. Getting youths
of any gender interested in flying models is a problem common to all areas of aeromodeling these days. In the
2002 World Championships in Sebnitz, Germany, two of the Junior pilots in F2D were women -- Anja Mobius of Germany and
Olga Soshnina of Ukraine. In 2004, Olga Soshnina was again the junior representative for Ukraine, but the German team did not attend the
World Championships so Anja was not in attendance. Natasha Dementieva, daughter of Igor Dementiev from Moldova,
did not compete in the World Championships, but did compete in the F2D with Fast Combat rules event held at the beginning
of the U.S. Nats. She has only been flying for less than a year, but is already becoming a force to be reckoned with. I
think everyone who saw her fly was very impressed, and I hope she, Olga, and Anja will all be an inspiration for any other young
women who are interested in flying combat.