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Old Jul 03, 2005, 02:20 PM
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soholingo's Avatar
Laurel, MD
Joined May 2001
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North American F5B: A personal retrospective...

No question I have been bitten by the competitive bug. I drove over 1200 miles this weekend to fly for only 20 seconds (crashed my only competition plane on a practice run)and yet... when it was all said, I still had fun. The older guys joking me about the crash, wasn't too fun at first, but then I HAD to laugh. I would have perferred laughing with a winner's trophey. However at this competition something changed. I made a few realizations that I should have made a while ago...

1. The winners are always prepared. This means they have practiced, they know their ships, and they have spares planes should anything go wrong. And things even went wrong for the winner (motor mount slipped on his second run), but he was prepared and hence stayed in the contest and went on to win.

2. Once you arrive at the competition you want to win. Before I was happy with just participating. "20 laps and bring my plane home." was a satisfactory outcome. Well I didn't do either, nor did I have a chance to win. May as well come to the competition to win...

3. F5B IS FUN!!! After getting over the initial nervousness of flying, you can settle in and enjoy the event. We had a new competitor come out, Dan (meneer) and he smoked it. He did a GREAT job of flying and came from nowhere to take 2nd place.

4. Timing and helping others perform well can be almost as enjoyable as flying. Talking Dan through the tasks, helping Graham trim his plane and fly was a good way for me to salvage the enjoyment of my trip.

5. Without doubt, the comeraderie, good food and drink, are the best part about the competition. I spent time with fellow competitors, got to put faces with names, and had a generally good time.

6. The winning setups were not cutting edge setups. The newest competitor, had the least competent set up, yet he could fly HIS plane better than the other competitors could fly their planes on that day.

Right now F5B in North America is in a fairly infintile stage. I would say most other competitions have a better network of fliers and competitions. Not because they are less expensive but because this type of flying is not very well known. F5B is great. You can get started for less than $1000 and then when the bug bites understand that you are competing and the expenses are going to go up exponentially. Currently I have NO F5B planes. And it is NOT a good thing. The market here is clamoring for a good affordable North American made F5B model. Even the rights to an older model would be good for the hobby.

I hope the hobby continues. I hope when people new to F5B start in they buy appropriate machines $500 hotliners or RTF used F5B ships. Thre is NO need to buy a new competition plane initially. When one decides to buy ONE competition plane they should really buy TWO or FIVE. The main thing is just get out and compete...

Jay
(with no f5b? What am I going to do now?)
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Old Jul 03, 2005, 02:26 PM
I don't want to "Switch Now"
pmackenzie's Avatar
Toronto (Don Mills), Canada
Joined Dec 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soholingo
Right now F5B in North America is in a fairly infintile stage.
Not sure the west coast fliers would agree.
Pat MacKenzie
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Old Jul 03, 2005, 02:31 PM
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Laurel, MD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmackenzie
Not sure the west coast fliers would agree.
Pat MacKenzie
Just the fact that you have to specify a clique of "west coast fliers" says that North American F5B is in its infancy. Are there even 50 competitive west coast fliers?
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Old Jul 03, 2005, 11:43 PM
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San Diego, CA, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soholingo
Just the fact that you have to specify a clique of "west coast fliers" says that North American F5B is in its infancy. Are there even 50 competitive west coast fliers?
No there are not 50 competitive F5B fliers on the west coast but Southern California has produced two F5B World Champions. I would not call that being anywhere near infancy.

If you look at any European country you not find 50 competitive fliers in any of them either. F5B is just not as popular as baseball or soccer anywhere.

I also resent being called a "clique". We invite anyone to come and fly with us. Heck, we even invited you to come fly with us Jay. :-)

Chuck
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Old Jul 04, 2005, 12:03 AM
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Laurel, MD
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Chuck,

Point taken (wish I could have stayed to see you guys fly)

But my point is this stuff is soo much fun, that you want others to Join in... We only had 6 people participate in the Ottawa contest, and it was great fun... Some how I keep thinking the more that fly the better it will be... I know that since this little clique on the east coast started flying I have enjoyed F5B much more, even though I seem to crash more...

Here is a question?

Why can't we get sponsers like Wolf F, and crew have? I know no one would sponser me, but we have guys on the east coast that will probably get 40+ laps this year, and that's world class flying. There must be enough interest to get someone to sponser the team in some fashion.

Jay
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Old Jul 04, 2005, 01:10 AM
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Jay,

I don't think Wolf F had any substantial sponsorship. The German F5B and F5D Team do well because they are very well prepaired.

The US F5B Team has had sponsorships in the past. You have to be carefull though, some sponsorships come with unacceptable strings attached. like having to use the sponsors equipment even when something newer and better comes out that might give you the necessary edge to become World Champion.

Chuck
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Old Jul 04, 2005, 01:14 AM
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Laurel, MD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcelectfly
Jay,

I don't think Wolf F had any substantial sponsorship. The German F5B and F5D Team do well because they are very well prepaired.

The US F5B Team has had sponsorships in the past. You have to be carefull though, some sponsorships come with unacceptable strings attached. like having to use the sponsors equipment even when something newer and better comes out that might give you the necessary edge to become World Champion.

Chuck

Good point... once again I have been enlightened...
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Old Jul 04, 2005, 09:29 AM
slope'n the Colombian Andes
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Colombia, Antioquia, Girardota
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Well, you called it "personal" in the title. And you certainly are entitled to your personal opinion.

Dieter Mahlein, ShredAir
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Old Jul 04, 2005, 10:02 AM
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soholingo's Avatar
Laurel, MD
Joined May 2001
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It is hard for us to see a situation from any position other than the one we are currently in, but I honestly try to do that. That said, it will be difficult for the West Coast to get this sense of F5B being in an infantile stage. Maybe I should say that F5B is ready to catch on. But if you look at the submitted competition schedule in this forum, there are only 6/7 competition, all but three of the competitions this year are in Denver (not includeing the F5B trials). Take away the VA contests and you only have one other 'official' contest.

One of the things I think that hurt F5B a lot was that San Diego meet a few years ago. I heard a lot of people crashed, and some weren't prepared for the cost shock of flying F5B. Part of the reason I posted this thread is because I had that realization during this contest. F5B is expensive, and it doesn't need to be. And the mindset was or is that you can only play if you have a high end setup. So the point of this point is this:

1. Come to F5B with whatever you have.
2. Bring TWO planes.
3. Prepare for the contest.
4. have fun

Hard to do all of that with one plane, and so few contests that are so geographically distant. Anyway, post some suggestions on how we can get more into the hobby... It makes it better for all of us...

Jay
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Old Jul 04, 2005, 12:02 PM
Gone Flyin'
Embrun near Ottawa Canada
Joined Oct 2003
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Good Day Jay,

It was a real pleasure having yourself and some other F5B fliers at JC's little event. I had a great time even though I didn't get as much flying in as the others.

I have to agree you with on most points.

Equipment is important, the latest greatest airframe is nice but reliablity is much more important and a spare is nearly as important if you are really serious about competing. Practice, practice, practice and practice some more and that includes running through your preparations not only for the contest but for each and every flight. Practice your flight and think through tactics and options before you actually fly. From flying thermal duration I know how important it is to have a good timer/spotter/caller. JC and Keving work well together, they have had lots of practice and keep at it. The pilot does the flying but don't discount the timer/spotter/caller adn figures strongly in your options and tactics for the flight.

Above all, do have fun regardless of how things turn out.

Thanks for timing for me, you did a very good job.

I had a great time flying my old lead sled 2 meter astro cobalt fai brushed 10 old Sanyo 1250 cell powered fly-what-I-brung plane that was much out of trim and which I hadn't flown yet this year. Even still I did manage to complete 2 full rounds and a partial.

I am already planning on putting something more competitive together for next year leaner, sleaker and even brushless powered and with new batteries. And, with more practice practice practice.

As for getting more flyers involved; that's a tough one. Either you have the interest or you don't. Different flyers are attracted for different reasons. I see F5B as an extension to my Thermal Duration flying, they are a form of electric sailplanes after all. Dan or Trever or yourself may see it more as an extension of some form of racing and it certainly has that element as well. Cost certainly turns most away but it needn't, perhaps they are just turned off on the competitive nature of such an activity.

Oh, did I say it was great fun!

cheers, Graham in Embrun near Ottawa Canada
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Old Jul 04, 2005, 04:07 PM
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Florida
Joined Mar 2005
806 Posts
Jay,
I began building my own F5B ships 10 years ago because I thought racing gliders was the way too go. Especially electric powered. I got an Aveox F27 motor and molded my own model. Nobody in the US had any good airframes. Except the west coast group. I followed there designs as well as the europeans. After spending a year and hundreds of hours on my models, which flew like crazy, nobody cared. The local clubs were and still are mostly gas and fuel folks. Electrics are a novelty to alot of modelers. My years of slope soaring proved to me its tough to get guys interested in something that seems pretty benign. Even after they saw the speed they just could not get the thrill I felt. Today at my club field the majority still think 40% aerobatic is the ultmate goal, and electrics are for foamies. I feel pretty alone in my love for F5B.
I am finishing my Carden cap 232 so I can feel more at home at the Club I belong to. But I love to bring out my hot Electrics just to let them see what can be done.
It can be a lonely sport.

Vern
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Old Jul 04, 2005, 04:13 PM
Real Men Fly Pink Planes...
kepople's Avatar
United States, TX, Rockwall
Joined Jun 2001
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Soho;
I agree with you. There are not too many competitions for this compared to other types of flying. i personally would like to see more in the southcentral US. That said, there are cliques of flyers everywhere who like this, and its just a matter of finding them. You dont have to look far to find a pilot interested in pattern, or 3d, but F5B is another matter.
Everyone oos and awes at the field, but not many want to pony up for the expierience. So yes, I think its still in its infancy.

Kirby
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Old Jul 04, 2005, 04:33 PM
slope'n the Colombian Andes
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Colombia, Antioquia, Girardota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soholingo
One of the things I think that hurt F5B a lot was that San Diego meet a few years ago. I heard a lot of people crashed, and some weren't prepared for the cost shock of flying F5B.
I assume you mean the one in Denver two years ago? Most crashes there were due to inexperience, and this did make me wonder if I was performing a service making such airframes and drive trains accessible to the general public...

True, F5B is expensive within the RC-flying hobby; less so when viewed with hobbies in general. Also, it is cutting edge, and cutting edge performance never is cheap.

Dieter Mahlein, ShredAir
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Old Jul 04, 2005, 06:40 PM
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soholingo's Avatar
Laurel, MD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShredAir
I assume you mean the one in Denver two years ago? Most crashes there were due to inexperience, and this did make me wonder if I was performing a service making such airframes and drive trains accessible to the general public...

Dieter Mahlein, ShredAir
You know Dieter that is a very good point. As much as we have debated, I can say WITHOUT hesitation, were it not for your early efforts, North American F5B would not be where it is today. For that you are owed much gratitude and respect. (Did I say that in public? )

I can only tell you as a person with limited funds and no real drive to compete on the world stage that, there is a NEED for an affordable airframe that can be flown as aggresively as the state of the art planes. The hoot is was the perfect answer. You know the TRAINER F5B should be intentionally heavy and bullet proof. The wing should flex as little as possible. It should have good energy retention, and it should be able to take a great assortment of cells. Sounds like I described the hoot... I can think of nothing else that's as appropriate to fly in f5b for the price. (Well Maybe the Zoom and Caleb and one or two other moldies). But at $400-$500 they may even be too pricey.

The answer is out there...

Jay
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Old Jul 04, 2005, 06:58 PM
Upside down Miss Jane....
Stuntman's Avatar
Georgetown, Newcastle, Australia
Joined Aug 2002
2,153 Posts
Just be glad you have some competition. Here in Aus there'd be a handful of flyers across the country and competitions are sparse. Equipment whilst not difficult to obtain has to be sourced nearly 100% from O/S (which is a pain/expensive with one-piece wings).

Whilst I aspire to, I haven't managed yet to fly in an F5B comp due to having either broken the model before the event (like last time) or not being able to get to an event (the tyrany of distance). I make no illusions I am only tampering around the edge with my flash/monny and 10cells, but one of these days I will acquire a "proper" F5B airframe and have a real go (just need to stop flying all the other disciplines I am involved with )

Competition (whether it be F5B, 7cell glider, pylon, thermal duration, etc) adds the element of flying for a reason, a task to accomplish if you will, and that, for me, only adds to the enjoyment.

It is expensive, it is cutting edge, and after flying one of these types of models I always have a smile on my dial. And for me that matters.

Shawn
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