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Old Jan 19, 2011, 07:06 PM
I'm all about that bass
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FAQ
Complete Idiots Guide to F3B

OK, I can't take it anymore. For years I here from you top guns that "F3B is where it is at." Or "If you really want to get good fly F3B." In fact, I think it is even some dude's handle here...

So fine, I'm as big a fan of all things FAI as the next guy. I'm always willing to learn more, even if I can't display any of the knowledge. Tell me (and really anyone else who reads the forums) more about F3B. I'll compile information in this thread as a kind of FAQ. I have reserved a bunch of posts at the beginning of this thread to place the compiled information from you all (the experts). I'll try to populate it with some information from other threads I have seen over the years too.

Acknowledgements:

I couldn't put this info together without a lot of help from the F3B community. I'd like to thank folks who have given me content (or who I have scraped from rcgroups posts) for multiple items of the FAQ:

Mike Lachowski
Reto Fiolka
Chetosmachine
Dr. Fragnasty
Joe W
Tom Kiesling
djklein21


Ryan
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 07:07 PM
I'm all about that bass
rdwoebke's Avatar
United States, IN, Indianapolis
Joined Feb 2004
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Reserved for overview of the rules

The best way to learn about the F3B rules is to download the FAI Sporting Code, Section 4 (RC Soaring): http://www.fai.org/aeromodelling/sys...g_11_Rev_1.pdf

That said, reading rules and getting an understanding of an event is difficult for some folks so I'll try to sumarize it as best I can:

F3B is an event for winch launched RC sailplanes. The event has 3 separate tasks that are scored in each round and must be flown with the same model: Duration, Distance, and Speed. One round of duration, one of distance, one of speed constitutes one round of F3B. If you win each of these 3 events you get 3,000 points for the round.

Duration - Pilots are given a 12 minute window to make a 10 minute precision duration flight. Relaunches are allowed. The last flight made is what counts. A landing bonus is given for landing the model close to a spot. The landing task is a 15 meter tape 5 points per meter incriment. This task is scored MOM and normalized to 1,000 points per flight group.

Distance - Pilots are given a 7 minute window to make a 4 minute flight where flying many laps is the goal. The objective is to make as many legs from base A to B then back to A. The distance between A and B is 150 meters. Pilots fly in groups where each shares the same 7 minute window. The pilot with the most laps in a flight group is awarded 1,000 points and the other pilots scores are normalized from that. Pilots can make as many launches as they like during the 7 minute window but when they cross base A for the first time their 4 minute flight starts.

Speed - Pilots are given a 4 minute window. The task is to fly from base A to B, then B to A, then A to B, then B back to A as quickly as possible. Pilots do not fly at the same time as other pilots, each competitor gets his own 4 minute window. Pilots can make as many launches as they like during the 4 minute window but once they cross base A for the first time their offical timed attempt starts. Models that don't make all 4 legs during the flight attempt get a zero. After all pilots have flown the quickets time gets 1,000 points and then all other pilots are normalized from that fastest pilot.

F3B models are launched from winches supplied by the contestants that meet certian requirements. The winch line is a monofiliment fishing line.

A nice history of F3B can be found here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1315244
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 07:07 PM
I'm all about that bass
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Joined Feb 2004
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Reserved for info on upcoming F3B events

Attending an event is probably the best way to learn about something. Here is a listing of upcoming F3B events:

Europe - Current year's Eurotour schedule - http://www.contest-modellsport.de/html/f3b_termine.html
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 07:08 PM
I'm all about that bass
rdwoebke's Avatar
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Reserved for General Info on Models and F3Ber Blogs

F3B models are typically 6 servo composite (carbon, kevlar, fiberglass) RC sailplanes of a wingspan 2.8-3.3 meters in span. They typically have very strong wings. They typically have lots of room for ballast.

Any kind of plane can fly the F3B tasks. It is encouraged to everyone to try it out and join in on the fun!

Active Blogs where you can read up on the training programs, models, and practice of F3B pilots:

http://f3bathome.blogspot.com/

http://lsfaustralia.org.au/articles/...rodynamics.doc - info on the Ellipse 4 aero, flap settings for speed/thermal/distance, etc.
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 07:08 PM
I'm all about that bass
rdwoebke's Avatar
United States, IN, Indianapolis
Joined Feb 2004
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Reserved for Model Sources

USA (and maybe they also ship international) Distributers of nearly complete F3B airframes:

F3X - www.f3x.com
Hobby Club - http://www.hobbyclub.com/
Northeast Sailplanes - http://www.nesail.com/categories.php...957ed79f3845ef
Skip Miller Models - http://www.skipmillermodels.com/Default.asp
Soaring USA - http://www.soaringusa.com/cart/cart.php

Europe

www.fmt-fischer.de - Shooter - Will ship to the USA

-- Not sure if these will ship to the USA or not, Europe distributers


www.aer-o-tec.de
www.aerosportbecker.de
www.airsportproducts.de
http://www.aviogate.com/index.php?op...id=124&lang=en
www.baudismodel.com
www.bretamodel.cz
www.ccm-rc.com
www.euromodell.de
www.f3b.cz
www.f3x.cz
www.f3x.eu
www.f3x-modell.de
www.fmt-fischer.de/
www.jitom.com
www.stratair.com
www.tud-modelltechnik.de
www.webershock-development.de

F3B model plans:

http://www.spline.dk/ - not sure if this is a set of plans, but includes lots of photos and info on making an F3B model.
http://rc-sailplane.com/tragi/Tragi702.jpg
http://www.aerodesign.de/modelle/3S_F3B.htm - Bunch of 3 views, dimensions, airfoils for a bunch of designs. Mostly at least 5 years old.


F3B model short kits?
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 07:09 PM
I'm all about that bass
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Reserved for Winch Sources

General F3B winch info:

Some winches are on "stands". The reason for this is to get the winch line out of the grass and reduce the drag of the line on the ground. The turnaround pulleys can also be as much as .5M off the ground.

Winch safety is very important. There are severe penalties for turnarounds coming out of the ground or pieces flying off the winches. The winches also have to be equipped with some method to kill the power to the motor.

The power of the winch is specified by a test in the rules. The battery must be 500 CCA Cold Cranking Amps or lower. As a result of this, the stall current on a legal winch is around 550 amps. The power output of the winch is much less than a Ford Long Shaft winch.

That is why all the other things like changing winch drum sizes and keeping the line out of the grass are done to get all the available power out of the winch.


USA sources of ready to run F3B winches:

http://www.soaringusa.com/products/p...ategory_id=403

International (but ships to USA) source for ready to run F3B winches:

www.oberflugmodellbau.de. They accept Paypal payments.




Winch Plans:

http://www.f3x.no/f3j/utstyr/vinsj.htm - a whole bunch of plans
http://www.f3bfrance.com/spip.php?article73 - detailed info (in French) with photos

Winch Parts:

Most pilots use winches with Bosch 1.1 kw motors. These are identified by part numbers stamped on the motor that read 001 311 1xx where xx depends on the car. The most common ones in the US would be starter motors from BMW's. Some pilots used winches with Lucas 2M100 or 3M100 motors. These are harder to find since they are from 1970 vintage cars like MGB's and TR7's.


Mono:

The winch line is monofilament line. It looks like fishing line but has more stretch than in fishing line. The diameter is also very consistent so this would be competition grade fishing line.

Sources are in Europe and Japan.

www.emc-vega.de
www.highendware.com
www.fmt-fischer.de

Line preparation involves soaking the line in water. Used line should be soaked periodically between practice sessions to restore the stretch characteristics of the line.

Line is also wiped down with silicone lubricant. This reduces the friction on the ground and helps prevent the line from damaging itself under high tension on the winch drums. Joe W describes the process "The time constant for water absorption is a bit longer than overnight in my experience. The japanese and megaline that I used for the recent F3J WC had been soaked for a couple of weeks and I took it out of the water about 10 days prior to the event. This seemed to work well. As to the line peeling on the winch drum, I've had this happen with several line types. I've had good results using silicone spray on the line on the first launch so that the line doesn't weld together if the line isn't perfect on the drum."

Info from Joe on how the line can potentially be damaged on the drum "BTW, lines seem to last a lot longer if one aligns the winch carefully so that the line goes on evenly with no gaps. Those gaps can be expensive when the line wedges in under tension and welds on to the line on either side. I've had this happen with all brands of line that I've used (mega, speed, japanese). It is rather annoying when you are retrieving the chute after a launch and you find that the line breaks at the winch and you cannot find the loose end on the winch drum... "

Line strength ranges from about 110 lb-test up to 210 for F3b. The lines are between 0.95mm and 1.35mm in diameter.

In competition it is not normal to repair a damaged line. A knot is weaker than the line. Heavier lines over 1.15mm can be tied for practice using a double uni-knot.

New pilots should stick with the heavier lines over 1.15mm since any extra elevator inputs on launch may break the lighter lines.
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 07:10 PM
I'm all about that bass
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Reserved for info on sighting/scoring device

Reserved for info on sighting/scoring device

Pictures of sighting devices:

http://pinterest.com/pin/108790147221277351/

Pictures of pilot turn point notification devices:

http://pinterest.com/pin/108790147221278573/
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 07:10 PM
I'm all about that bass
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Reserved for info/strategy on Thermal Task

A very scientific website that discusses flp settings for Thermal:

http://lsfaustralia.org.au/articles/.../ellipse4.html
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 07:11 PM
I'm all about that bass
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Reserved for info/strategy on Distance Task

Reserved for info/strategy on Distance Task

Some great posts by expert F3B pilots specifically talking about strategy for the distance task:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...83&postcount=3 -- Aaron
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...42&postcount=7 -- Mike L.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...5&postcount=15 - David K.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...0&postcount=16 - Kyle P.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...8&postcount=34 - David K.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...3&postcount=36 - Reto

A very scientific website that discusses flp settings for Distance:

http://lsfaustralia.org.au/articles/.../ellipse4.html
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 07:11 PM
I'm all about that bass
rdwoebke's Avatar
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Joined Feb 2004
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Reserved for info/strategy on Speed Task

Thread with the fastest F3B speed runs: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1259835

A very scientific website that discusses flp settings for speed:

http://lsfaustralia.org.au/articles/.../ellipse4.html

Tips for flying speed:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...7&postcount=79 Dr Fragnasty
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...8&postcount=82 Satinet
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...3&postcount=87 Tim T.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...1&postcount=91 Mike L.
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 07:12 PM
I'm all about that bass
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Reserved for Launching tips

Reserved for Launching tips

David K has a good breakdown of the launch in this post:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...9&postcount=35

A very scientific website that discusses flp settings for F3B launches:

http://lsfaustralia.org.au/articles/...rodynamics.doc
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 07:45 PM
I'm all about that bass
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Reserved for information about Ballast

F3B planes carry a lot of ballast. Most TD guys will consider ballasting a plane heavy if they increase the wing loading by 2 ounces per square foot. For F3B that wouldn't even be hardly starting. They list ballast as a percent. The percentage is a percentage of what ballast system they have available. If they can put 80 ounces of ballast in, then 50% is putting 40 ounces in.
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 08:59 PM
I'm all about that bass
rdwoebke's Avatar
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Reserved for info about the FAI

The FAI is an international aerosports organization. http://www.fai.org/ This organization organizes competition, recognizes world records, and sets rules for all kinds of aviation (man carrying planes, hang gliders, man carrying sailplanes, baloons, etc.). For our purposes they also organize aeromodeling events.

The FAI designates events by letters and numbers. This is because it is a world organization and "RC Multi Task Soaring" is an English phrase. The designation is first a letter, then a number, then a letter.

F3B is:

F - Major class for flying models
3 - Minor class for RC flying models
B - Event designated to multi task RC Gliders.

The FAI has many competition classes, not all of which have a World Championship. F3B has a World Championship, contested on odd numbered years. The first one was held in 1977 in South Africa. A nice history of F3B can be found here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1315244 World Championships are single contests limited to 3 (or less) member teams from each participating National Aero Club. The FAI has 2 age classes, Junior (basically 18 and under) and Senior. F3B does not have a World Championship for Juniors but many other FAI events do.

FAI sub comittees may organize international rankings (World Cups). This international ranking and the events that comprise it are not limited entry contests like a World Champs. Link to World Cup contest schedule and standings?
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 09:03 PM
RIP MC
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NICE! I'm looking to really improve my game and this thread will be great info. Looking forward to it!
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwoebke View Post
USA (and maybe they also ship international) Distributers of nearly complete F3B airframes:
www.f3x.com
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