View Poll Results: Please select options below - you can select more than one.
Will you need a hotel room? 27 58.70%
Will You be camping onsite? 6 13.04%
Would you like a nearby (2 mi) RV spot with hookups? 6 13.04%
Will you have an RV onsite? 10 21.74%
Would you prefer the hotel to be in Primm again? 5 10.87%
Would you prefer the hotel to be closer to Vegas (e.g. Southpoint)? 15 32.61%
Do you want food catered at the field like last year? 37 80.43%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 46. You may not vote on this poll

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May 04, 2018, 01:35 PM
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f3bsoar's Avatar

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May 04, 2018, 02:00 PM
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whacker's Avatar
May 04, 2018, 06:53 PM
Bad command or file name
Imageek2's Avatar
Wow, even I could *probably* hit that landing circle

Good luck everyone and come home with all your planes intact!

May 04, 2018, 09:33 PM
Scale Aircraft = Scale Crators
mikejr83's Avatar
What happened to Gordon on the first three rounds? Did he sleep in?
Latest blog entry: F3J on the Back Burner
May 04, 2018, 09:38 PM
Registered User
Flight delay/cancellation. Didn't arrive till today. . .
May 04, 2018, 09:43 PM
Scale Aircraft = Scale Crators
mikejr83's Avatar
Latest blog entry: F3J on the Back Burner
May 05, 2018, 10:44 PM
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MikeC's Avatar
Congrats to Toby-Big win against the best in F3J!!!
Last edited by MikeC; May 06, 2018 at 02:04 AM.
May 07, 2018, 08:42 AM
Fly R/C writer
Hooray for Toby and the Rat Finks! Awesome job!

Mike Lee
Former Rat Fink
May 08, 2018, 04:13 PM
Registered User

F3J Contest

I’ve had a few days to relax and think about the Vegas J event. We can’t thank the organizers enough for making all the arrangements prior to the event and pulling off an excellent contest. Very well done!

Weather turned out to be excellent and similar for both days. Temperature was pleasant, not too hot. We’d start off dead calm for a couple rounds, light thermal activity from the very start, and then a moderate breeze would come up after that and much stronger lift. To give you an idea on wind speed, the max ballast I added to my 4m Xplorer was 14 ounces and that was only in one round. I was flying with just 7 ounces for most of the other afternoon flights, just enough for a little stability on landing and a bit more punch to get through the sink. And there was sink! I have never flow in reflex mode as much as I did in this contest trying to escape large expanses of it. The thermals were equally huge creating very intense and sustained wind feeds in various directions. Read it right and you were rewarded with specking out, but read it wrong and look out. Reviewing the scores I only see seven pilots made it through the prelims clean without a bad drop round. Seven pilots advanced to the fly-offs as well, though not the same seven because drop rounds gave some others a second life.

It was looking like fly-off conditions would equal the windiest points of the weekend, but then the wind died back down a bit as we ate lunch and prepared. Ready for round 1 of the fly-offs I had loaded in 7 ounces putting me at an all up of 68. I suspect most, if not everyone else, was flying dry. Jeff DuVal flew his ultra-light 4M Xplorer at just 53 ounces without ballast on the first launch with Gordon Buckland throwing max tension and one of Jeff’s ailerons fluttered free with some parts dangling and others shed. Unaware at the time, he went on to max the flight and get a decent landing but later it had to be changed to a zero per the shed part rule. Had that not occurred Jeff would have been the contest winner. Round 1 had some more excitement in my lane. Jody Miller was tensioning up the line and it broke 8 seconds before the window opened. We switched to our other winch but ended up launching well after the other planes. To add even more drama, that second line broke on the way up but fortunately I was able to catch lift and fly out the window. When my first line broke before the window opened one of my less experienced helpers yelled very loudly “STOP, broken line” trying to get us more time. Nice try. Very nice try but it did not work and clearly stopping is not how J is run. It is kind of comical thinking about it now. The lane next to us with Toby Herrera was so confused by the call to STOP that it caused them to hesitate and throw a little late too. Sorry Toby, but at least you did not end up needing those seconds to win. Everyone maxed round 1 except for Skip Miller who got 11 minutes.

Round 2 and 3 were clearly short tow conditions with easy reads so the sidelines got a real show from all of us. All of us except Skip that is. He had no reason to speed tow now. I didn’t either being 16 seconds off the pace due to my line break, but I had less self-control than the wise old man. I wanted to show some 1000s so I never launched so fast in my life. The reality for Skip and I is that our only hope was everyone else getting burned by their speed tow strategies trying to one up each other. Skip towed long for the rest of the event and was seen maxing easily, upwind much of the time. Other than Skip, it was extreme quick tows and then peel off on downwind or side vectors we had each predicted.

Round 4 is where it got interesting. Same thing, speed tow and search for the read. The only difference this time is that three people read wrong and failed to hook up; Stoil Avramov, Steve Condon, and Neal huffman. Stoil had suffered a poor landing earlier but if Steve or Neal had only realized where everyone was in points and taken a bit longer tow to max, I believe they maybe could have been champion or very close. …It was not to be. I had lingered over the launch area after tow on this flight and found gentle light lift for an eventual easy max but I think most of the others went too far away. Each time one of them landed, I thought to myself how I had just moved up one more place. I never dreamed I would climb all the way back up to second behind only the contest winner, Toby. Remember at the time we didn’t really know what scores others had logged or that Jeff had a zero. Skip’s conservative style following his round one hiccup paid off with a podium finish in third place.

Wow, such great fun and great memories with my soaring friends. Looking forward to next time!

Scores at:
Last edited by Bob McGowan; May 08, 2018 at 04:30 PM. Reason: Add score link
May 09, 2018, 03:10 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
I'm back in Colorado and almost recovered...

Here are some thoughts on both events! I'll cross post this to the F3J and F5J threads.

I echo all of Chris's post and many thanks and kudos to him for a very well run event! It takes a ton of planning and execution to get it right and in general everything went as planned. I want to especially single out John Lovins, my flying buddy and and co-organizer. Without John this event would not have happened! John is the liaison for the sod farm manager and owner and ensured that they were happy with everything we did and negotiated a bunch of things that made this better than last year: 1) Better flying area with more grass, 2) better parking to accommodate the RVs and campers, 3) a practice area on the farm for the F5J early arrivals, 4) more potties (note the original potty vendor pulled out when they saw where we were located and John tracked down a company that would go all the way out there) This location is amazing for flying, but quite expensive logistically.

My impressions were that the events both went very well. We arrived Tuesday to prepare for the event and had some rain thru mid afternoon on Wed. Thursday - Sunday morning were terrific with all variations of wind making for some challenging conditions. Unfortunately Sunday afternoon the wind came up after a good morning of flying. Chris was measuring the wind and measurd 23 MPH sustained with gusts close to 30. That is not the FAI maximum, which is 26.8 MPH but pretty close to the max. The 3 organizers collaborated and decided to call a 30 minute interruption to see if the wind would subside. After 30 minutes the forecast was consulted and the predictions were for several more hours of wind at about the same speed. While we are sure the top pilots could handle the conditions, we felt that they were to bad for the majority of the pilots and the equipment on the ground. The CD tent was pulled out of the ground and had to have many more stake put in to keep it from flying away. One plane was damaged in the pits. It was thought that the risks outweighed the rewards. It was decided to call the day - for some it was not the correct decision and I understand that, but this is not the WC or the Team Selections and we had a lot of lesser skilled pilots participating. We still stand by the call - that what we get paid the big bucks to do..

Monday was another great day with conditions from dead calm to pretty windy for the F5J flyoffs. Still nowhere near the Sunday winds though. This really mixed up the scores in the prelims and made the flyoffs quite a sight to watch. All of the pilots that made the flyoffs were amazing and deserved to be there and I was especially proud that our club (RMSA) had 5 of the 11 flyoff pilots!

All in all we had 4.5 great soaring days and .5 windy - I'm calling that a success!

As most of you know I am a pretty straight shooter - and I'll take the blame for things that are also not right. There were a few controversies and things that could have been better for both events. Here are a few of my observations and comments.

F3J[LIST][*]Frankly I'm getting burned out organizing 3J. Logistically is it a giant PITA for the organizers and the pilots with tons of equipment required. If John and I did not drive our trailer out with all the equipment for the club, I'm pretty sure most of our pilots would not have attended. Getting non Califormia folks to attend this F3J event is very difficult because of the logistics of winches and batteries. I'm not really sure if John and I are up for doing this event again next year but the other side of the coin is I LOVE flying as a team with my buds - not sure what will happen next year.
  • Officiating - this is so difficult because of the precision that is required to be competitive. Judging early launches and late landings is very difficult and prone to controversy. I won't get into this in detail here, but suffice it to say that it makes a HUGE difference where you are standing in relation to the speakers to make an accurate observation for landings and launches and most people do not pay attention to that when they "see" someone late. An exagerated example is when I was standing at the road with the food vendors and had explained the game to them and they watched the next group land and several appear quite late and I had to explain the sound delay issue that the pilots heard the sound before they did...
  • Knowing the rules: There was some controversy about not flying in your assigned group. That was totally my fault. I forgot that the J-Tour had a specific rule for that - I just spaced it out. Fly in the wrong group - you get a zero - pretty simple. Correcting the initial call to the correct ruling was required.

  • Chris has this down organizationally! The setup and teardown is much easier than 3J and make it less of a burden on organizers.
  • The strategy aspect of choosing launch height really separates the scores and that makes the judging a bit less difficult. There are no .5 second launches and landings are generally less prone to pushing the clock and risking the overfly of the window.
  • We still have some judging issues to sort out. With 12 lanes a single judge cannot possibly monitor all lanes to see if someone turned on early down on the end. After day 1 we had a discussion about pilots monitoring this and decided if pilots on both sides of an alleged offender agree that a pilot turned on or released early it would be a valid penalty. Not sure what you guys think of that as a solution. Landings are pretty easy to judge so no special heroics are necessary there.
  • After this event I am convinced allowing restarts for a zero penalty is the correct way to run an event. Many planes would have landed out and been damaged without it and I can't see that it materially affected the outcome of the event.

As organizers we would like your thoughts on the events and how we can improve them...
May 13, 2018, 11:47 PM
F5j -F3j-F3F - What to Fly?
Dale Thompson's Avatar

F3j Flyoff procedures

Jim, I really enjoyed the F3j in the Desert and plan on returning again next year.

I do think that there can be improvements in the rules used during the flyoff's.
During the preliminaries the teams are responsible for their launch gear and maintaining it.
That's part of the team working together and I think it's a good part of the competition.
Line breaks and launch equipment issues are team responsibilities.

Once the top competitors are identified for the flyoff's it's no longer a Team event. The whole competition changes to a fight among the best.
All the stops are pulled out with risk taking and strategies to go for the win. I want to see all the flyoff's pilots get into the fight.

When the flyoff's pilots are placed in the other team's lanes they don't really know what's gone on with the launch gear. Top pilots often put loads on mono, winches and batteries that the host team never did. The pilot is not part of the team but is dependent on that team for a successful flyoff's launch.

What I'm leading to is a flyoff's procedure change that recalls the flight group if one of the flyoff's pilots is not successfully launched.
It's not their team or their equipment and they all deserve a fair chance to get into the fight.

Line breaks and winch failures should not determine the overall flyoff's winner.
May 14, 2018, 08:24 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
Dale - it is a very good point. I will pass your comments on to the F3J Tour Board. They are responsible for the rules associated with toiur events.
Thanks - Jim

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