Phoenix Model Flying Club (Dorset)

Competitions

A Note From The Competition Director

Since the turn of the century I have been running thermal competitions and instead of using a tow line or bungee to achieve a satisfactory launch height, we have been using simple direct drive electric motors costing under £14 (as per the rules). Our site is a flattish one and throughout the year, during both Summer and Winter, lift has been detected and maximum flights (of 10 minutes) have been achieved.
The class is entitled 600RES and signifies the use of a 600 size brushed motor and for controls a Rudder, Elevator and if required a Spoiler. The class originally consisted of the following models: electrified Gentle Lady 2.0m, Cloud Hopper 2.0m, Astro Challenger 1.8m, Swift 1.8m and the Apollo 2.3m designed by our own Peter Kessell. This healthy mixture of built up construction from plans or kits and ARTF models has been added to by an increasing number of very competitive own design models. The Apollo design, which Peter has developed using his considerable experience from many BARCS league thermal contests in years gone by, has also been supplied by Peter as an excellent ARTF to club members (a plan has been published in the May 2006 RCM&E). It has remained competitive to this day and with its carbon fibre wing spars is extremely strong. Remember the emphasis is on low cost but high performance, always remembering that this is a “thermal competition” designed for all ages and abilities.
The battery universally adopted is the 7 cell 2200CS Nickel Metal Hydride pack. To keep things simple, and inexpensive, the maximum number of servos allowed is 3 (rudder, elevator and optional top wing mounted barn door type air brake/spoiler only – this to help on landing or to come down from that almighty boomer!). The use the Graupner 8 x 4.5 folding prop is mandatory and a 35 amp ESC (electronic speed controller) is recommended.
During 2004 I introduced a new “Round Robin” matchplay format, having run trials during 2003, where pilots launched at the same time and the last one down was the winner, each pilot flying once against each other competitor. Simple isn’t it! All subsequent contests have a motor run time of 45 seconds but only at the beginning of the flight. If pilots find good lift a maximum of 15 minutes is imposed and the contest considered a draw – they will have earned it believe me – you try it!  These motor run times enable safe launch heights, but pilots still need to find lift early in the flight (remember it is a thermal competition!) but will leave plenty of reserve in the battery to be used if necessary at the landing stage and even for subsequent launches. Timing stops at this stage either on landing or switching on the motor but it does allow the opportunity to tidy up the landing and go round again if necessary, so that you survive to fly again!
Over subsequent years our competitions continued to develop a lot of interest amongst pilots from other clubs and we now are able to fly the same models in even more competitions with the Wessex Aeromodellers League. Much camaraderie has grown amongst the competitors from all over the West Country. Results are often very close and not decided until the very last flight – gripping stuff!!!!!!!!!
As we enter a new season, I look forward to an even more competitive, even more interesting year of Electric Thermal competitions. We already have some new recruits preparing for next season (if you need help or guidance just ask me or any of the current competitors). See the club events calendar for this season’s  dates. We have achieved stability with the rules with only the minimum of change which is designed to keep the cost low and maintain safety. See the rules for full details. What are you waiting for?????????? HAPPY THERMALLING, from your Contest Director Christopher Hague (email: christopher.hague@ntlworldcom)

 

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