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Oct 12, 2010, 03:20 PM
Daryl Perkins's Avatar
That's a cool video... I didn't get to see the run live... I was busy being interviewed on Israeli TV for just having broken the speed record myself... 15.8 ish I think... don't really remember. The funny thing was, when they aired my interview, Nic's run was blasting in the background... 15's were fast in '93...
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Oct 14, 2010, 09:35 AM
Team WC2013 F3K
oakman7004's Avatar
Originally Posted by nic wright
1991 16.3 Joakim Stahl <?> Holland
I assume Joakims Stahls glider at that time was his own model GROVER . He actually has one Grover left in "mint" condition...

Later (1994-95) came the T-tail Spacewolf succeeded by the V tail Spacewolf (one piece wing with for that time a small fuse) which flew great and made results, 96-98, before the Racemachine era!

/Jonas Ekman
Oct 14, 2010, 02:53 PM
Registered User


Originally Posted by nic wright;hl=en_GB

Steve, The quality isn't great but it was 17 years ago ( what a good memory you have ! ). Chatter, blasphemy and expletives are courtesy of Steve Macken. Nice to hear from you and thanks for the kind comments, Nic
I was there, it was great. I would like to see also a video of one of the special speed lauches with turns during the launch.

Oct 19, 2010, 09:20 AM
Registered User
Originally Posted by hhb

I was there, it was great. I would like to see also a video of one of the special speed lauches with turns during the launch.

1993 r5 sp fullscreen (1 min 58 sec)


The only video I have showing the ‘circle-tow’ is also from the 1993 WC ( round 5 ). As you no doubt recall the air was very mixed throughout the week but the wind speed was good for circle towing. I remember attempting it in most speed rounds. The air in this flight was very poor, barely good enough to do a 180 at the end of the flight and land back into wind. Without the circle tow this would have been a ‘21’.

The model is released by the launcher with the minimum tension to get the model away safely. Strictly ‘flat’ launch only. The winch is given a single pulse by the pilot at the point of release in case launch tension is not enough in which case the pulse is prolonged. A downwind weave to left or right, depending on crosswind, if any, would then be started and the winch is stopped at the same time. The wind is then used to kite the model to about 100m. altitude. Weaving continues until there are signs of improving conditions. Monofilament can also be used to fish for thermals ! When lift is sensed or when time ( or nerve ) is running out the model would be rotated towards the ground to convert the potential energy ( height gained by kiting action ) into model speed and line tension. Usually the rotation would be completed to make a circle with the model pointing into wind when the model reaches the vertical. The winch would be started near to the bottom of the circle which should be a safe distance from the ground and well above the slower wind at ground level. The tow is then completed in the normal manner, albeit with a much greater starting tension.

In good conditions this would increase launch height by 20-30 metres which is due to the combination of less line being pulled onto the winch drum and a more efficient winching phase due to increased model speed during the start of the launch ( some of which will build and carry through to the end ). Selecting the moment when the air is good based on feedback from the plane in flight, rather than visual survey from the ground, also provides a distinct advantage.

As the additional height gained is approximately 10% of the total launch altitude, which is comparable to the normal differences between successive launches in windy conditions, the overall advantage is not obvious to on-lookers. There are no other models in the air ( Speed task ) to compare with either. Consequently many folk did not see the advantage. Hence the comments by the video operator “ Nic doing his usual trick…”, “ What a plonker *….”, “for the birds…..”.

Control is by rudder with ailerons only used to keep the wings perpendicular to the towline. Elevator should be left alone if the model is trimmed correctly for the launch.

Cheers, Nic

Apologies for going off topic. Maybe best not to clutter up this thread with replies ? Thanks. * Plonker - British expression meaning ‘stupid person’.
Oct 19, 2010, 09:53 AM
F3B and F3K
RetoF3X's Avatar
Hello Nic

As this is "my" thread, I dare to clutter it up with a reply:

Awesome, thanks for the video and your thoughts on circle tow! It was a nice read.
When you feel the air is not good when you have your go in speed, you can either wait for a minute or so ( and risk misjudging the conditions) or make a test launch to feel the air (with the hassles of a relaunch, expiring working time). But having the plane on tow for some time to fish for a thermal/good air is an intriguing idea!

Further weaving left to right several times on launch is also an efficient way to keep others away from launching (duration, distance).


Last edited by RetoF3X; Oct 19, 2010 at 11:58 AM. Reason: more appreciation for Nic Wright's post
Oct 19, 2010, 10:30 AM
Registered User
Originally Posted by RetoF3X
Further weaving left to right several times on launch is also an efficient way to keep others away from launching (duration, distance).

True, but that was never the intention. I only ever used this technique for speed and occasionally in distance when I was lucky enough to be at the end of the winch line with a cross-wind which would allow the model to be weaved and circled outside of the winch lines. This was more difficult but when the launch was eventually commenced it would be like starting from say 200 m. away directly into wind with nearly all the line still on the drum with the added benefit of being able to watch the launch 'side-on' and therefore better judge the release point.

Also there were murmurs about banning circle towing on safety grounds. I didn't want to do anything that might antagonise the murmurers !


Last edited by nic wright; Oct 19, 2010 at 03:57 PM. Reason: typo.
Oct 28, 2010, 10:18 AM
Registered User
Hi Nic,

Nice to have some input from one of the most gifted and natural pilots I have had the pleasure to witness and fly with.

Have witnessed the circle tow, got to admit, really does build that energy.
Oct 28, 2010, 11:44 AM
Registered User
Circle towing sounds very similar to what I posted earlier about the 1981 trials and circle towing with bungees. Launch heights were awesome. They used captured tow hooks in those days, which allowed them to fly downwind on launch. I don't know if they are legal today? Conceivably a modern day plane with a captured hook could fly down wind on tow and pull line off the winch before heading upwind for the launch. Don't know much about F3B winches. If they have one-way rachets this wouldn't be possible. Might be an interesting strategy for TD, however.

Oct 28, 2010, 12:04 PM
F3B and F3K
RetoF3X's Avatar
Hi George

We do downwind launches today in F3B, but not with captured hooks (but we slightly bend the hook upwards).
You built up line tension, turn the plane on knife edge after release and go downwind. In this part you only tack the winch to not use up to much line. Some stop completely pulling line for a short time. When you are beyond the pulley, the helper starts the winch again and you very gently start the climb upwind using rudder.

You can also circle tow with a non captured hook, you just need to make sure that you don't run out of line tension.

Todays winches have a ratchet/reverse stop (you can stop pulling in line and the drum is blocked). But what you have spooled on the drum you don't get back. The turnaround pulleys need another rotational degree of freedom to do crosswind/downwind launches.

Oct 28, 2010, 04:44 PM
Registered User
I also remember seeing that run. I was a member of the South African F3B team who shared a tent with Nic and the UK team. We had just been allowed back after a ten year gap due to the international sports boycott. Our best time was about 18 seconds at that stage :-)

I'll have a look for similar footage I have in some videos of the 1993 WC - some taken by Craig Goodrum who came to watch ... and hasn't missed a WC since.

As regards the circle towing techique, If I remember correctly Daryl and Nic put on a syncronised circle tow demonstratio much to the crowds amusement.

Good memories, thanks Nic, Reto
Nov 03, 2010, 01:23 AM
R/C Soaring "Lifer."
stevecondon's Avatar
As regards the circle towing techique, If I remember correctly Daryl and Nic put on a syncronised circle tow demonstratio much to the crowds amusement.

Hi John,

You may remember me as a crew member with the US Team back in '93. The Circle tow was a big deal back then (thanks to Nic). The demo you mention was actually put on by Daryl and Joe Wurts. Daryl had just repaired the F3B Eagle that he landed safely with only half a wing (remember THAT?!) after a mid-air with--I think--one of the Dutch pillots. I recall he was really upset at that time because only an hour or so prior, he had just (essentially) lost the WC in which he was dominating the competition because the crystal dislodged from the receiver during the "bucket" part of his launch causing his only remaining airplane to do outside loops until it died quite a distance downwind. This was back in the days when you had to throw out a whole round--not your three lowest tasks. The circle tow "demo" was largely Daryl taking out his aggression on a freshly repaired model and not really caring if it 'blew up' since in his mind, the contest was over for him anyway.

This was just my perspective as his friend and teammate but it made for one heck of a circle towing demo! He and Joe use to do the 'tandem tow' at the SULA field where we practiced quite a bit and it was really cool to watch two models on tow like well-controlled stunt kites that made a neat noise when they ran downhill. Ah, the memories...
Last edited by stevecondon; Nov 03, 2010 at 01:30 AM.
Nov 03, 2010, 12:32 PM
Daryl Perkins's Avatar
Well, after my model went in in Speed, I was maybe a bit distraught. I've NEVER flown better than I flew in 93. The model that went in in Speed was my backup, and was toast. The primary model was the one I midaired the day before, and was pretty trashed too, but the team had stayed up all night fixing it. I wasn't going to bother... why would i need it? Duh!!! So I did do a little stress relief towing... ummmm... I mean model testing ... you could build sooooooo much tension circle towing. Joe and I used to tandem tow quite a bit, and it was so cool.. it was so elegant, we were quite in tune... almost like a side by side ballet.

After the comp, they did ask Nic and I to do a tandem tow, and we did, but my model was set up a bit aggressive for the lighter winds on that day, and it didn't come off as well as it could have. But it was fun.

On a side note, I believe my losing in Israel was a blessing in disguise. You have to learn how to lose, before you learn what it takes to win. I've never flown again as well as I flew in Israel... but I have flown smarter since...
Nov 09, 2010, 06:01 PM
F3B and F3K
RetoF3X's Avatar

Fast, faster, Cal Valley

Hi Guys

I had to update the list, 7 speed runs below 14s in Cal Valley at the US TS!

Daryl was so close to the world record...

Nov 13, 2010, 02:07 PM
Daryl Perkins's Avatar
Reto - I was looking at the list. I'm 99.99999% sure Denis was flying an Ellipse 2V in Romania in 95.

Thanks for putting this list together. It's fun to see. Nice flying in CV last weekend. Nice to meet you...

Nov 14, 2010, 05:11 PM
F3B and F3K
RetoF3X's Avatar
Hi Daryl

It was nice to meet you too! It was great to hear some of your stories and to see what you could do in speed with one of todays plane.


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