NWM Series Announcement

Hi everyone,

It gives me great pleasure to announce the NWM Series of free flight events for 2020, to be held at the National Wartime Museum airfield in Geneseo, NY.  This is a long message and there are some changes to schedules and dates, and some new items, so please pay attention!

Let me start by providing the dates for all of the events:-

May 8-10 - Spring Opener.  Bring out all those creations from the current building season (aka hibernation) and get them trimmed for the season ahead.  If you're one of those people who always has everything ready and trimmed all the time, bring them out anyway and have fun flying them in front of the lesser mortals like me.

June 5-7 - The Empire State Free Flight Championships (ESFFC).  A full slate of SAM, FAC, NFFS, and AMA events (see flyer attached)

August 21-23 - The Pirates' Challenge.  An FAC smorgasbord (see flyer attached)

September 4-6 - The Great Grape Gathering (GGG) 50th Anniversary.  A full slate of SAM, FAC, NFFS, and AMA events (see flyer attached)

Don't forget that in mid-July the Museum has its annual air show (The Greatest Show on Turf) and the weekend after that FAC hold their big meet (NATS or Non-NATS) - not hosted by WNYFFS, but a very enjoyable event for FAC fliers even so.

Now for some details.

ESFFC.  This is planned for earlier in the year than we used to have it - as it was last year.  Last year's experiment didn't work out too well because the extremely wet Spring meant that we had to postpone into the July 4th weekend.  We are hoping that this year will not see a repeat.  Events for the ESFFC remain as before, with the addition of an Ebenezer fun event.  We have run the Ebenezer event at each of the last three GGGs (well, to be more truthful, we have hosted them and Jim Smith/Jerry Litschi has run them).  This event seems to have generated a lot of fun for the participants - and a deal of amusement for the spectators - so the WNYFFS have agreed to include it in this year's ESFFC festivities as well.

Ebenezer.  What is an Ebenezer some of you may be asking.  The definition has broadened in the 60+ years that the concept has been in existence.  I attach a copy of the Aeromodeller article from 1958 that introduced the Ebenezer.  At that time there were two varieties of a biplane that could be made to look somewhat like a British or a German WW1 fighter aircraft.  These were not by any means scale models, one even sported a tricycle undercarriage, but they looked 'sorta' scale.  They were intended as a sport model to have some fun with.  Many such models began to show up at contests, so an event was born.  Since then the following has grown (in Britain) and the definition has broadened.  Quite quickly the genre expanded to include not only models that looked something like a full-sized aircraft but also flying 'things' that looked like just about anything else.  Robert Blair won last year's event at the GGG with a flying saucer.  I have seen jet airliners, a thing that looked like an open issue of Aeromodeller (perhaps the April 1958 issue), a donut, the only limit seems to be the creator's imagination (and daring).  The only rules are that these machines are powered by an engine (maximum 1/2A) and must be made of sheet - no built up structures (with the exception of the motor mount).  Typically many of the models in this event ( including those from the 1958 article) are rather more 'airworthy' than the Dakota, which is another all-sheet semi-scale power model that some may be familiar with.  Rules for the operation of the event at the ESFFC and the GGG are not fully established yet, but will be communicated in advance of the dates.  In the meantime, please get busy building.

This from Mark Rzadca:- If traditional stick and tissue scale models are thought of as a water color take on full scale aircraft, RC scale are probably the oil painting version.  That opens up a space for the Ebenezer as the caricature of scale aircraft.  Does that place pure duration models in the abstract class?

FAC Simplified Power Scale.  Some of you may recall that we had an event called the Faux FAC Power Simple Scale at last year's ESFFC and GGG.  Since then the FAC has developed a new class that they call FAC Simplified Power Scale, this is a provisional event, but it will qualify for Kanones (I'm told that the cognoscenti will know what those are).  We are including this event in both the ESFFC and the GGG.  I am told that the rules will be published by FAC shortly so - like the Ebenezer - when I have them I will forward the information.  In the meantime........

The Pirates' Challenge.  Here are more of Mark Rzadca's words, from the latest Thermal Journal of the WNYFFS.  "Regarding the Pirate Challenge, we are adjusting the event lineup to appeal to the ever elusive junior contingent. The Sky Bunny event for juniors will be replaced with an event allowing more flexibility. A couple of years back we had enough young fliers to run a number of junior events. Regrettably, our young contestants ran out of models before they ran out of steam. To keep the party going, a few mass launch events were cobbled together which allowed the contestants to fly borrowed models. Our new event, the Fly What You Built event, will likewise be a mass launch event; however, the Builder of the Model (BOM) rule will be in effect. Of course much leeway will be given for interpretation of BOM for very young modelers. If you already have a Sky Bunny, that would be a fine choice for this event. We will also include a junior event for the Blue Ridge Special so building one of those will service for both events at the Challenge. Of course they can easily fly away so you may want to build two!"
I should add that anyone thinking of a Blue Ridge Special should pay attention to an item below.

GGG.  Firstly, I must apologize - I didn't get my request for the field in to the NWM soon enough and, by the time I did, the rocket people had commandeered our usual date of the weekend after Labour Day.  I thought that Donna understood our long-standing preference for that date, so as to avoid interfering with other activities but unfortunately Donna wasn't there on the day that the rocket club asked for the date, and a member of the club who volunteers at NWM was there, so we lost our date.  Mea Culpa.  Ruth Ann has tried extremely hard to get the date reinstated, but to no avail, the rocket people won't budge.  We do have the usual date set for 2021, however, so this won't happen next year.  On the bright side (if there is one) I have just learned from Simon that the SAM Champs will be held at Muncie on September 14-18, with a registration day on the 13th, so we will be a little further away from their date than we would otherwise have been.  The schedule of events is contained in the flyer attached.  At this point there is no change from previous years, we still have the OT ABC Ignition event; the suggestion that we drop it met with some cries of dismay so it remains in place.  I hope one year I will build the Comet Sailplane, a very large short kit for which languishes in my workshop (as well as a complete original Comet kit), so that I can fly this event.  So many dreams, so little time!  There are a couple of changes of note in our schedule, The Ladies Cloud Tramp event has been removed, as has the mass launch for the Dave Andrews Trophy; neither of these events has generated any interest in recent years.

An additional feature for this year will be a mass launch of Blue Ridge Specials, which might become an annual event.  See the note below re: Bob Langelius for details.

This year's GGG is a milestone one.  This will be our Quinquagenary Edition - 50th Anniversary for those of a less grandiloquent turn of phrase.  We have a number of features planned, in an effort to make this year's contest one to remember.  Firstly, we have been very fortunate to obtain some mementos for the event.  Swann-Morton, a company in the UK that manufactures a range of surgical instruments, makes a number of craft-related tools as well, among which is a very nice craft knife.  I have a couple of the older ones that I have used for years - and that I lusted after for years before actually obtaining them.  Do not judge the lack of workmanship in my creations as being the fault of the knives, they are eminently practical as well as beautiful, but they don't compensate for my lack of skill.  For as long as I can remember these knives have been made of brass and have held the Sheffield-steel blades firmly.  They are flat in cross-section, so their orientation in the hand is almost foolproof, and they will not roll off your bench and stab you in the foot.  (Sweeping them off the bench, or simply dropping them, onto one's appendages is not prevented however.)  I approached Swann-Morton to see if I could purchase a number of the handles at a discount price, to distribute to entrants in our contest.  I am pleased to report that the company responded by donating 30 handles for the purpose - now that's the kind of discount I can really appreciate.  This was an extremely generous and welcome surprise.  The handles are currently being engraved, but I attach a picture of one of my old ones (DSC_008b.jpg).  When I made my enquiry I was disappointed to learn that the brass handle is no longer in production - they cannot obtain the raw materials to make it!  My disappointment was quickly assuaged, however, when I found that the modern ones are made of forged stainless steel and have very nice grooved grips impressed into them.  The first 30 entrants at the GGG will each receive one of these commemorative handles, complete with a wrapped blade.  These handles will accept X-Acto #11 blades, with a bit of a struggle, but I don't recommend forcing it, I think the Swann-Morton blades are of better quality and fit, they are just a little thinner than the X-Acto (0.016" vs 0.020") which makes them slightly better for cutting fine shapes without splitting out the balsa, but still sturdy enough for some denser materials.  The blades are about $15 for a box of 50, and they come in three different shapes (straight, concave, and convex).

The next feature for this year will be the raffle of a commemorative quilt.  At least, it is my sincere hope at this point that it will be so.  I attach a pdf showing the design for the quilt (GGGQuilt.pdf) - the centre panel is printed fabric of a light blue with puffy white clouds and will carry the message as shown (I might also manage to get some small pictures of models printed on there).  The panels surrounding the centre, at the top and sides, will be fabric having a design of wine bottles and wine glasses, and the panels at the corners of the centre panel I hope will be a fabric having outline drawings of aircraft.  (The latter is in some doubt at the moment because, when that fabric arrived, I found that it had a pronounced fleecy nap.  I have to give some thought and experiment as to whether this will work with the other, cotton, fabric).  Outside all that there will be a border containing a patchwork of fabric pieces with US and Canadian flags and possibly other relatable designs.  I haven't got the material for the reverse side yet, but I will find something suitable I'm sure.  Assuming that I can succeed in making this item in time, my intent is to offer raffle tickets to a wide spectrum of potential buyers, not just the attendees at the ESFFC and the GGG.  I currently propose to distribute an email offering raffle tickets and probably to take the quilt to the NATS in Muncie to offer tickets there (as well as flyers for the GGG) - as an effort at promoting the GGG.   I have yet to work out the logistics of recording ticket numbers against names and addresses for absentee purchasers, which might be an issue.  The intent, of course, is to bolster GGG funds as well as to promote the GGG.  At about 6' x 4' the quilt will be big enough to keep you, the winner, warm during the next building season.

Bob Langelius Tribute.  As you have probably all heard by now, our good friend Bob Langelius died early this year.  We have been considering what we might do as a tribute to Bob and we have come up with the following.  Back in the mid 70's a small rubber-powered free flight model was designed by Phillip Hartman and sold by Blue Ridge Models in Asheville, NC, it was called the Blue Ridge Special.  Bob and Dave Acton were partners, for a while, in the venture that marketed this and other models.  It is our intent to hold a mass launch for Blue Ridge Specials at the GGG on Saturday, September 5th at around noon.  This will not be a competitive event, there will be no winner, just a whole host (we hope) of Blue Ridge Specials all in the air at once.  I think Bob would have liked that.  The model is extremely simple and inexpensive to build.  I attach plans and building/flying instructions as pdf files (Blue ridge.pdf and B R Special.pdf) and also a photo of one built by Jim Moseley (Blue Ridge 001b.jpg).  Your local print shop should be able to print a full-size plan from the file, if not it wouldn't be that much of a chore to redraw it from a smaller print done at home.  For reference, the wing is 14" x 3" and the fuselage is 15-1/8" long.  The prop is a commercially available plastic one that comes with a mount that presses onto a 1/8" x 3/8" stick (many will have one or two of these props in their workshops already).  A short kit is available, with enough parts for two models (including props), for $11 from Volare Products, or the props (5.5" red plastic) are available separately for $1 each.  Retro R/C also has the props at $1 each.  Besides being a nice tribute to Bob, I think this will be an activity that most of us can relate to.

Sponsorships.  As you can see from the GGG contest schedule, at the moment our sponsorship list is completely open.  Now would be a very good time to let me know your intentions with regard to sponsoring events for this year's GGG.

May all of your flights be in boomers, and may your DT always work (or, failing that, your tracker).


PS.  (For those who haven't already grown weary of my prattling on, and those who haven't already heard this story!)  Some of you may recall that I lost my diesel-powered Dixie at last year's GGG and spent long hours, aided by Joe on one afternoon and by Brad and Ruth Ann on another, searching for it.  I had a good signal from it while in the air, but it went OOS upwards.  The signal continued for a while after the model went OOS but abruptly stopped, I presumed when it came to earth too far away to get a line-of-sight signal.  I had a good compass bearing on it and searched diligently, to no avail.  To her very great credit, Ruth Ann was able to detect a very faint signal at one point where we stopped, pointing us in the direction that we were fairly sure the plane must have traveled but, no matter where we went from there, no further signal could be found.  The signal was detected at a fairly high point on the road, but wasn't detectable at a quite small distance either side of that point.  It also eventually disappeared if we went off the road in either direction for a great enough distance - up the hill or down.  I stayed on for an extra day after the contest in order to search again, but without any luck, although I could still pick up the faint tracker signal at the place where Ruth Ann had found it.  I gave up the search and dismally wrote off the aeroplane, engine, timer, and tracker transmitter as lost.  Imagine my surprise and delight a couple of months later when the plane turned up in the mail, packed in a huge cardboard box.  The wings and tail had been carefully removed but it had all been put in the box without any packing material.  Despite the fact that it had all been rattling around in there for the whole journey North, it suffered only minor bruising.  I could have assembled it and flown it right then (but I didn't).  There was no 'weathering' whatsoever so, as I suspected at the time, it seems likely that it was taken indoors - perhaps into a garage or basement - almost immediately upon landing.  The DT had clearly released, the timer had run out to the end and the DT wire was released.  The hold-down bands for the tail were still hooked over the peg so it seems likely that, in order to remove the tail, the finder threaded the DT stop through the hole in the tailplane TE without releasing the bands at the LE and the tailplane then just 'flipped' off the bands, leaving them in place.  The one thing that was missing was the tracker transmitter.  I wrote to the sender of the model, thanking them for their kindness and reimbursing them the significant cost of mailing such a large parcel, and enquired as to whether the tracker had perhaps fallen out of its home in the wing when the wing was removed.  I described it but I didn't have much hope that it would be found.  Lo and behold, about a week later an envelope arrived with my tracker in it.  The finder explained that the plane had "frightened the life" out of her when it descended right in front of her windshield.  She also said that she had seen a car with Canadian plates a little later that day, in the same neighbourhood, but hadn't put two and two together.  She didn't tell me where the tracker was found.  That aeroplane must have been in a heck of a boomer because it was still gaining height the last we saw of it, about 8 minutes into the flight after a 2 minute DT.  All's well that ends well - I have my diesel Dixie back.  I'll need to do some minor cosmetic surgery but it lives to fly another day.  Now - what to build for the MVVS 2.5 FISE 'Schnuerlie' that I bought to replace the ST G20/15D in the Dixie?  (NB. I couldn't believe the price that ST diesels have risen to since I bought the one that I now have back, many moons ago, and many voyages around the sun, so I had to forgo replacing it with another ST.  The MVVS is very nice though, so no actual regrets there.)


B R Special.pdf

Blue ridge.pdf


ESFFC2020 REL01.pdf



Pirate Challenge Announcement 2020 REL01