With the exponential growth in the use of electrical power for both classes of UK/European carrier flying, perhaps it’s time to consider an expansion of the rules to specifically cover this welcome development.
Eric Conley’s 2015 Martin MO-1
At the moment, there’s no limit in the UK rules on the performance of the power train, either in respect of motors, or the current or amperage of battery packs. This leaves the way open to the use of truly awesome combinations like those seen in R/C 3-D aerobatic flying. Is that a bad thing? Are there safety issues arising? Should we worry?
Jan Odeyn’s 2014 Tigercat
In the meantime, here’s a copy of the rule amendments drawn up by the AMA (USA model flying governing body) for their Carrier flying classes. Could it be form a basis for us too – what do you think?
USA Rules for Control Line Electric Navy Carrier
- Applicability. All pertinent AMA regulations for Control Line Navy Carrier shall apply, except as specified below. In places where the term “engine” is used in the AMA regulations, the term “motor” shall be understood for purposes of applicability and pertinence to the electric Navy Carrier events.
- Power Systems. Models shall be propelled only by one or more electric motors which receive their power from one or more onboard battery packs. Size or type of motors and battery packs are unrestricted. Maximum battery voltage is 42 volts. Electrical signals for control may be transmitted through the control lines but electrical power to power the motors or recharge the battery packs may not be transmitted through the control lines.
- Weights and pull test. The weight of Profile Class (=BCD) and Class I (=Class 1) models shall not exceed 3.5 pounds ready for flight, including batteries. The weight of Class II models (= no equivalent in the UK) shall be greater than 3.5 pounds but shall not exceed 4.5 pounds ready for flight, including batteries.
- All models shall be pull tested to 20G.
(AMA Copyright acknowledged – for educational purposes only)
We have been flying electric carrier planes for around 5+ years now in the US. The few that are into it are quite happy with the technology and find it challenging and interesting. Using the total model “ready to fly weight” as one of the very few restrictions to performance has worked quite well (well at least for the IC fliers). Our new rule still keeps the electric planes segregated from the IC planes which I find deplorable. The excuse for not combining is being held up by just enough people that say,” We like this event the way it is, we love the smell of the Hi nitro full, love the ability to control power by the use of nitro, we love the sound of the IC engines, and that’s the way we should fly carrier, “so there”. The sad part is that with rare exception this blocking group dose not even fly carrier anymore because of advanced age and or other health problems. I hope this will not happen to you and I just have to interject this also, “Please allow the 2.4GHz systems to be used in carrier”, there is no competitive advantage it is just a great convenient system to use.
To demonstrate how the weight system can work I’ll tell you about our .15 carrier class. This is not an AMA event so it was possible to combine IC and E and fly them as one event unless it is stated at the contest “.15 IC engines only”. The weight limit for .15 E carrier is 40oz. Our nominal weight for a .15 IC plane is 26oz to 30oz depending on the wind conditions so right off the bat the E-15 planes were at an advantage. So I built an E-15 carrier plane that weighed 38oz which was pretty much to the limit for the weight in this class, well let me tell you it was decisively superior to any of the IC.15 planes that I flew against (embarrassing) except for Burt Brokaw who set out to prove me wrong and did so with a Nelson .15 powered .15 plane (course we all aren’t Burt Brokaw’s). So I then tried to build a E15 plane that would weigh less than 32oz which came out at 28+oz. It was very different and proved a hand full in trying to win at any contest. I hated that plane but it sure changed the playing field for me. It had to have a smaller motor, smaller battery, and smaller airframe and it handled like crap (flighty, like all those other IC.15 planes). So that is how changing just the weight of a plane can change everything.
Now I will tell you how this rule can fail to work as it should. I let it be known that the 40oz rule allowed to much weight and gave a decided advantage to the E15 planes and the weight limit should be decreased to allow more competition. Nothing happened? I guess as this event “.15 carrier” wasn’t an AMA event no one bothered to complain or at least to complain enough so nothing has changed other than there are now fewer .15 fliers and I’m back to using the 38oz carrier plane so I don’t get beaten so soundly by Burt who wins more times than not.
Getting back to the E AMA planes my E AMA Profile plane is turning right at and sometime over 100mph in the high speed portion of the event. Sounds great and I do like to brag or should I say discuss this feature or achievement but as there is two sides to every tale, on the flip side I don’t have enough battery capacity to allow me to do the LS portion of the event properly (endurance). My electric planes cannot compete with Burt’s IC planes in any of the AMA classes, mined you its only in seconds that he can beat me but he beats every time by 20 to 40 points. I do not mind this so much as after flying so much with Burt I have come to competing against myself instead of competing against Burt, it dosnt seem to hurt quite as much. So I wish all of you well in you endeavors at carrier flying, and I’ll watch how things go using this web site, good luck. Eric
Can you comment on the basic safety iissues with the handling of electric motor driven models .I want to know if there are rules relating to the landing and cutting out the engine by the pilot.
Is the pilot free to leave the circle , without the model being secured by a hepler ? In stunt f2b there is a strict rule about this but I cannot find this in BCD rules.
I my opinion the model should be held by a helper pitman, before the pilot lets go of his handel ?