REVIEW OF SEMINAR ON FUTURE OF F2C HELD DURING LANDRES 2000
By Derek Heaton
Following a fair amount of talk through the C/L racing group on the need
to slow down F2C racing I offered to chair a discussion on the subject
during the C/L World Championships event at Landres.
After a brief introduction the meeting was thrown open for any comments:-
Comments made were:-
- some participants were strongly opposed to any change
- whilst others were seeking significant changes to make the models
slower as they felt that the event was getting beyond their capabilities
- and a third group felt that only minor changes were necessary.
It was clear from the above that there are as many differing views on
the need for future changes as the number of people at the meeting!
- The event is capable of being flown at the existing speeds providing that
- all the pilots co-operate and believe in the need to change their
- Pilots should be at the front of the circle, not behind the centre
- This should be strictly controlled by the Jury
- Pilots should be coached in this method of flying
- A video of the approved flying style should be made and circulated to
all interested parties
- We should remember that the existing rules were formulated when
models were much slower, there is no reason to believe that changing the
rules to slow the models down will detract from the enjoyment of the
contest between teams.
- Stricter jury required that concentrates on things that negatively
affect the other pilots, eliminating ( by 3 quick warnings) these pilots
would make them change their style.
- The event is becoming too fast to jury to a consistently high
standard. Competitors need to understand that it takes a finite time to
get a decision from a 3 man jury as the Jury Guide requires 2 jury
members to be in agreement and for the 3rd member not to disagree.
During this time interval other things can and do happen but the jury
can only deal with 1 thing at a time. Perhaps we should reduce to a 2
man jury to speed up the decision process.
- Changing to a system of taking the best 2 heat results from the 3
rounds as the qualification for the semi-finals would make the pilots
fly in a more controlled manner.
- More onerous noise restrictions are likely in the relatively short
term future (say less than 5 years), these could be effectively combined
with speed reductions by limiting the engine timing and having a stated
minimum propeller diameter: – lower engine revs = lower airspeeds. This
could be a more practical way than defining a canister type silencer
- Reintroduce the builder of the model rule. The reasoning here is that
it is the availability of topline models and engines that can be
purchased by relatively inexperienced teams that is causing many of the
problems, if teams had to build their own models they will gain
experience as their modelling improves instead of jumping in immediately
at the fast end. One of the practical problems with this idea is how
could it be checked accurately at processing.
- Several suggestions for directly reducing the model speeds were made:-
- A return to semi-scale models bigger more drag.
- Restrict the venturi size to 3mm
- Longer lines
- Thicker lines
- Fly over all grass circuits
- Bigger models
- Reduce engine capacity ( only in the longer term)
My own personal review of the seminar is very similar to that of Jean
Paul Perrett when he commented that a better title for the seminar would
have been F2C now - since most comments appeared to be initiated by the
thought "how can I continue to fly in the event"! together with the
noticeable absence of many of the more experienced teams. At the risk of
stepping on a few toes there was very little evidence to me of putting
the event before personal interests. This should not intended as a
criticism of the efforts everyone took to take part in the discussion I
certainly feel that the event was worth holding and I personally gained
a lot from all the comments made.
It may well be the case that when a large part of the current
competitors retire ( and there is no doubt that the average ages of the
teams is increasing) that the event fades away but surely we should not
just sit back and allow this to happen by apathy. We owe it to future
modellers to try our best to pass on a viable, vibrant contest that has
given all of us great pleasure over the years.
I believe very strongly that some changes are necessary now and that
these will improve the contest. However I also believe that it would be
totally wrong to significantly slow the event down as this will lead to
a large drop in the current level of participation and hence a lot of
the interest and competitors would disappear from future World
Championships. I saw nothing wrong during the semifinals at this years
World Champs –the racing was exciting, fast and safe, exactly as it
should be. It is only in the heats where the mix of inexperience and
fast models can cause problems –this is the issue that we need to
All of us, individually, must accept that our time in F2C is transient
and that at some stage it will be time to retire from this particular
class of competition. This need not be the end of our involvement though
there is always a shortage of experienced organisers and (dare I say
it- Jury members) plus other racing events to participate in and
newcomers/youngsters to work with and encourage.
For me F2C must remain an event that comprises 3 models racing against
each other as fast and furiously as can be safely handled and juried in
a fair manner. The current speeds of the quickest models needs to be
reduced slightly now to achieve this aim on a regular basis, we cannot
wait a further 5 years when speeds will be even higher and pilots older!
We heard at the seminar from one of our most experienced Jury members
that it is becoming very difficult to judge the event accurately and
swiftly enough to retain the necessary safety margins, having also
observed the event from the jury tower on several occasions I fully
support his view.
If the event is to progress into the future then we all need to start
now with a structured approach that can be developed in detail when
necessary to fit into the CIAM permitted rule change timetable.
Step 2 (within the next 5 years)
- Increase line diameter to 0.35mm minimum (either single or stranded)
with effect from 2001
- Carry out tests during 2001 to determine whether it is practical to
increase the line diameters to 0.4mm. At the present time I am not aware
that we have enough information to be able to say with certainty that we
could continue to fly safely with 3 models on 0.4 lines in all the range
of weather conditions we normally face. It would be counter productive
if either the upwind or downwind models had a high failure rate on
takeoff. If we proved that we could handle 0.4 thick lines then we
should introduce them in 2002.
- Change the qualification criteria for the semi-finals to best 2 from
3 heats. This will make the pilots take a more responsible attitude to
their flying styles.
- Retain a 3 person F2C panel of Judges but change the requirement in
the jury guide to read:- “as soon as 2 of the panel agree then the
warning/elimination will be given” This will speed up the ability of the
judges to issue the warnings quickly and hence keep the race under
- The detail of the Jury Guide should be taken out of the CIAM
rulebook. With it in the rulebook we are then caught by the constraints
of having to go through CIAM each time to achieve changes as we do for
rule changes. This is too slow and cumbersome. The intent of the
Juryguide is that it should always be an upto date statement of the
current standard and trend in F2C. It should be made the responsibility
of each F2C panel of Judges to carry out a review of the document at the
end of each World Championships and to write up any necessary
alterations/additions. This can then be used as a training aid for the
next jury. It should be seen as a guide to Jury work and not as a second
- Bring in a rule clarification to ensure that the final always starts
with 3 competitors. To me it is a mistake to interpret the existing
rules as “only the 3 teams that have recorded the 3 fastest times in the
semifinals may take part in the final”. The very essence of F2C is that
wherever possible racing shall be between 3 teams – in fact this is
stated in the opening rule!
- Bring in for 2001 the necessary safety changes that were highlighted
at this years W/Champs:-
- Pitmen are not permitted to lie down in the circle to retrieve their
models. The risk of serious injury from a landing or taking off model is
- Paint an inner pilots ring at 2.0m radius as an aid to pilot
orientation in the centre.
- As soon as possible establish a second International class of
teamracing that has slower airspeeds and encourage all nationalities to
adopt this as the training ground for F2C. I would see this as following
very closely the French idea of profile 2.5cc racers that has been so
successful in bringing youngsters into C/L racing.
- The engines allowed in this class should be standard F2C engines with
stated maximum venturi sizing and minimum propeller diameters to limit
the speeds. Both of these are simple changes that would not force
newcomers into F2C into large expensive engine changes.
- All races should be 3 up –( sorry Andy Sweetland this is where I
disagree with your otherwise excellent STR rules) we need to ensure that
the pilots have the ability to gain experience in close 3 up racing
before they arrive at a World Championships because they will not be
able to gain that experience during a major championship.
- Individuals then need to recognise that they have a personal
responsibility to gain sufficient experience in racing in this event
before attempting a F2C World Championships. A natural follow on could
then be that National associations require teams to have achieved a
certain standard in this class before being allowed to represent their
country at a World championships. This puts the responsibility back
where it can be practically applied, I do not believe that we can ever
accept a position where pilots are seeded by the W/Champs organisers or
Juries. If you think about it this is what happens in other sports, we
would all like to drive a Formula 1 car but we are not allowed to
because we do not have the proven ability and experience.
Step 3 ( for possible implementation in 10 years)
Through the CIAM C/L Technical committee investigate the best option for
the next speed reduction:-
- Develop a training video of good practice that will be available to
all. This should start with a demonstration of what is correct followed
by specific examples of each warnable offence. As a start we could
possibly build from the existing video we have of all the races at
Landres 2000. It is important, though, that we do not attach existing
flying styles that brought warnings to particular pilots. It has to be
"here is an example of pivotting" and not "here is pilot xxxx whipping
- Proactively accept the noise issue by introducing rules that will
limit the engine timing and state a minimum propeller size. The
secondary advantage of this is that it will again damp down the effects
of increasing engine power that will inevitably have taken place over
the previous 5 years.
At least one of these options is going to be necessary at some stage.
Unfortunately the introduction of either will inevitably result in a
percentage of the then current competitors leaving the event – they will
not be prepared to make such a step change on either financial or time
- Increase model sizes
- Decrease engine capacity