BOM Proposals

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    Peter Brocks

    Presently there are 2 AMA Rule Proposals before the Contest Board to change the present Builder of the Model rule. These proposals can be read on the AMA webs site Proposal OFF-07-1 is by Bob Mattes, and Proposal OFF-07-2 by James Juhl.

    My personal feeling is that the present BOM rule is an anachronism that has outlived the present.



    So what is being said here is that a person like me who builds and flys on a shoestring budet has not much of a chance against someone who may or may not know how to build, but has the available resources to assemble most any model they choose…

    George Reinhart

    OFF-07-02 should be deleted in it’s entirity.
    “Gotta pay for it before you can fly it”, what a joke!

    Section 14.4 of OFF-07-01 should be deleted also. 1/2 A’s and P-30’s are good places for beginners (and returnees) to start with minimum investment and high involvement in the traditonal buliding process.
    Bob Dunham had an excellent letter in a recent NFFS digest regarding this issue. For those who want to buy their models there are the FAI classes.
    Write a big check and play with the big boys. Instant gratification, and if you write a big enough check you can probably get the guy who built it for you to get it adjusted and show up at the contest to make sure
    you do well. That system works pretty well in the sailboat racing business.
    The owner and maybe a few of his friends get to ride along with the sailmakers who are racing the boat for him, and if he’s not a total klutz they might let him helm the boat for a few minutes at the finish.
    I’ll buy what I can’t make for myself but I’m not interested at all in becoming a proxy flier for some eastern european factory (Bob D’s point).
    Cheers! Pete Reihart (hardened, opinionated,curmudgeon and BMOM).

    George Reinhart

    Got so worked up I can’t even spell my own name.
    It’s Pete Reinhart.


    I’ll always be a Builder/Flyer rather than a Buyer-Borrower/Flyer. I’m not pretentious enough to refer to myself as a ‘Sportsman’ either; rather just be a competition-oriented aeromodeller.


    So if you guys want a so called BOM rule, then what does it really mean??

    Does it mean that you need to carve the prop for your rubber event models? If so does it mean you need to layout the blank also??

    If you need to carve your prop for rubber, then do you need to carve it for power??

    Does it mean you need to cover your model with tissue and dope??

    Does it mean you need to build your wings from balsa sheet? If you are doing a kit model, you are not really building it. Because then you should be cutting the ribs from a pattern?

    Can you use materials like carbon? Do you need to make your own spars and taco shells?

    Does it mean Billy Hunter needs to return the Junior National Champion trophies from 1958, 59 and 60, or can a 9 year old really build and fly C gas models?

    How many hours do you want to specify one should spend building each model? And what are the detailed rules of being a “Builder of the Model”??

    It is a ridiculous rule that never has been defined or followed, so get rid of it. I build enough models and parts, and chew aluminum with a bandsaw and Dremel to make me want to purchase good looking stuff.

    How about engine mounts? Why do you purchase engine mounts? You should build them out of raw materials?

    For new modelers, they cannot fathom the skills required to build a model, and it probably keeps them from even starting.

    The older modelers will continue to build their models, and who is going to supply models for the gizillion events we have??

    Let’s stop talking about it, and just eliminate it like the FAI did. I appears that the FAI events are the only ones that will survive and are resistant to constant rule changes.

    This is just a start. More later. See you at the NATS where I will be flying models I built myself, and every FAI event but F1C.


    Now that the issue has been brought up for review, the rule either needs to be dropped or defined so it means something.

    As it currently stands, it is about how gray is a lie? Is it just a little lie, a total lie, or just a little off base? Or was there nothing here to lie about in the first place?

    I have not been able to read what the proposals say yet, because the link did not work, but I hope the proposals are clear, and don’t just need alot of further interpretation for CDs?


    It would seem to me that many of us are missing the mark. Some of us are looking at it from the compition angle. Can I compete against someone who has the money to buy all the top end stuff or compete against someone with years of experiance. Others are looking at it from the angle of how does a CD make sure that the contestant did in fact build the model. These are only two of many angles. To say that the builder should carve the prop, and cut out each rib is not the answer either. Was the rule not put in place to level the compition field ? In my years of experience, like many other sports and phases in life, one must learn the skills to become better at what he or she does. The issue is now how does the CD determine how much of the model did the contestant “assemble”. There are few real kits available for free flight. As the technolgy has increased, many pre-assembled and fabricated parts are now available. So to make it all easier one should just drop the BOM rule. In my opinion, many older modelers as well as those who can not easily afford the pre-assembled materials will more than likely turn to other types of aircraft modeling, or other activities all together. As for me, I enjoy building the models that I fly mostly from plans. I do cut out all of the ribs, but as any builder will tell you, in most cases I do buy motor mounts and use carbon-fiber. Some models are tissue covered but most use mylar. So where does this all lead. Which direction is the best for the good of the sport. I wish I knew…

    George Reinhart

    Both Dave and George together make arguents for leaving things exactly as they are, it seems to me.
    If you want to buy your model, fly the FAI events.
    If you get satisfaction from building your own then concentrate on the events that palce a premium on buliding skills as well as flying.
    The money is not really the issue as I see it.
    If you buy a model ready to go, and win with it, what did you win?
    The designer/builder/trimmer got paid for his effort. The flyer bought the win with his checkbook. Some will say that’s what competition is all about
    Part of the attraction for Free Flight for me is the designing,building/modifying part of it and it is now and always was.
    The way it is now makes a place for both tracks.


    I think the point is that the rule is totally unclear.

    I will be flying a Classic Glider at the NATS. I designed this model with the exception of a modified wing. I purchased a carbon D box kit, assembled the wing, covered it, worked out all of the details on the fuselage, but started with a kevlar tube and a carbon tail boom.

    This model does not look like anything else before it, but it has a wing that comes from a Lee Hines drawing and is similar to a Buntero.

    It weights 10.25 ounces, and is F1A size. So did I build this model, or does it not qualify to someone’s interpretation of a modeler built model??

    Who is going to interpret that?

    I will fly this model in both Dawn Classic glider on Wednesday morning, 6:15 AM and also on Friday in the Classic Towline glider event. With absolutely dead air, it does 3:35, with no bunt or zoom from a 50 meter line.

    So am I to feel guilty that there are parts of my model that I did not build, or should I feel great satisfaction in designing and configuring a great flying model??

    That is the dumb question??


    As I see it, you have designed/constructed the majority of the model. There is where some of the disagreement has been. Should there be an estimated percentage of construction. Yes you purchased the main fuselage and tail boom, but you constructed more around them. It doesn’t sound to me that all you did was “assemble” the pieces. You should not feel guilty about what you have done. As for comments by Pete, the person who “bought” their win takes the win away from those who worked hard through the design/build/modify and over came the chalenges. Still there are those who will argue. Best of luck with your classic glider…



    I have several points I want to make on the BOM discussion. I have a vested interest in keeping the BOM since I manufacture all-balsa free flight kits, but I am opposed to the BOM since it is keeping our sport from brining in new participants.

    The first point I want to make is on this idea that there is some “advantage” to buying a Ukrainian/Russian ship over scratch-building one, or that “pour in money” somehow gives one flyer an advantage (heck, I’ve poured in money and I’m no threat to anyone on the flight line – yet 😉 ). If you have that idea as a concept in you mind, you have already lost before you go to the flight line and might as well stay home!

    This idea that you can “buy” a plane from someone “built/trimmed/and ready-to-go” is absolutely foolish. First off, I have yet to have a plane that I did not have to change trim from round-to-round as the temperature changed during the day. And secondly, the first thing one has to do with any free flight plane is trim it out before a contest. These “pre-built” planes from the Russian/Ukrainian suppliers are far from RTF and require a lot of handwork to bring them to competitive condition, and even more work trimming them to contest standards. It is far easier to build and trim an all balsa design and unless you have been through the loop you really cannot appreciate the difference. These ships are RTF but are by no means RTC (Ready To Compete).

    Also, keep in mind that the Russian/Ukrainian ships are all F1 (F1A/B/C/J/H) not AMA class ships. When one competes in these world-class level events, it is not done with only one plane, but with usually five models unlike AMA events where fliers enter only one model per event. This is where the serious financial investment comes into play and why we are also unlikely to see these same manufactures designing or building for the AMA events – not enough of a market to justify the investment in tooling. So, the fears that people have expressed

    George_G noted that builder on a budget would not have a chance against fliers with “available resources to assemble most any model they choose” – Well, that’s always been a fact of life – you spend your wad and think you just bought this week’s hot engine for your C/D ship and someone show up on the flight line, with something that turns 1,000 RPM more and cost $200 more than you just spent. Or, they have a CF sandwich pylon or whatever . . .

    The other side of that coin is that the National Champion Gas was won twice in the last few years by an all balsa design that will be fifty years old this year.

    The real bottom line is that it is NOT THE HARDWARE THAT WINS CONTEST, IT IS THE FLIER! If you look at contest results over several years, you will notice one thing – the same names are always at the top of the heap, contest-after-contest, year-after-year. This is regardless of whether they were flying all-balsa or F1 high-tech “pre-built” ships. The simple reason is that they are better fliers than the rest of us – they know how to trim their ships for the changing day – they don’t make mistakes – and they know how to pick air.

    The BOM is driving the two biggest hindrances to the future of our sport. The first and foremost is the loss of flying sites and the second is the ongoing decline of new participants. Without new and young people joining, we loose the clout with the AMA and any local organizations we might approach for support in soliciting new flying sites. The injection of new and young members is the lifeblood of ANY marketing program, and frankly, we have been singular very poor at bringing in new participants.

    I do not mean to diminish the hard work or all the people who have organized youth programs – quite the contrary, they have been the only shining light, and if anything, it is their activities that argue even more for the elimination of the BOM.

    We can look at any number of other activities as examples, but the motorcycle business will serve well. The industry rode a wave of great economic success in the 1960s, 1970s and into the 1980s, only to see the market collapse by 45% in the 1990s. What happened was that the manufacturers made no effort to invest in a new generation of buyers during their era of success and when the children of the 1960s/70scame of motorcycle buying age, their interest was in other sport activities that they grew up with as children. The motorcycle manufactures finally figured this out in the 1990s and invested in a then complete dead bicycle industry, promoting BMX and mountain bicycles and racing, and have rebuild a new market for off-road motorcycles and the industry is back in a boom cycle as the children that grew up riding BMX and mountain bicycles moved to off-road motorcycles.

    Most of us free fliers grew up when airplanes were an exciting thing and modeling was a major “hobby” activity. Now, children have so many other distractions and flight is given part of life, carrying no great importance to today’s youth.

    Without the BOM, we have a very simple way to take a person that expresses a mild interest in free flight and hand them a “last-year’s” ship and say, “Let me introduce you to the thrill of flying vertical dragsters!” After they are hooked THEN we can introduce them to the joy of building, but to take someone who express an interest, hand them a kit, tell them they have to build it, cover it, figure out how to mount the engine and timer, fuel and start it, trim it – well – FORGET IT is the answer you will most likely get.

    The bottom line is that we need to get more people involved in our activities. Setting up an unenforceable BOM barrier for that some can wear their “I-built-it-myself” badge of honor when in reality, the real skill is in trimming and flying (after all, we do call this activity free FLIGHT, not free BUILDING). Eliminating the BOM will also give modelers a path to not only introduce new fliers, but a easy way to fly old ships from late friends in homage, sell “last-week’s” great design so they can build “this week’s” killer new ship.

    Ron Bennett
    Team Satellite


    Many good, valid points are made for both sides of this discussion and it’s probably a subject that will continue a war or words no matter whether the BOM rule is dropped, or not. I do not think that abolition of the rule will bring the influx of new blood that some maintain, and some of the ‘old blood’ may move to other things in disgust rather than fly against ‘bought’ models. However, I feel there is much truth in that only a very few classes of models would be so involved as the demand for such airframes isn’t likely to be sufficient in the majority of events.


    >Does it mean that you need to carve the prop for your rubber event models? If so does it mean you need to layout the blank also??

    I do these things as a matter of course. No problem

    >If you need to carve your prop for rubber, then do you need to carve it for power??

    I have done that in the past, and moulded props too. I must admit I now usually use APC’s, though I still do have my own on one old 1/2A, mainly because it was first trimmed on them.

    >Does it mean you need to cover your model with tissue and dope??

    I do that every time – silk, also. Plastic wrap is for sandwiches … 🙂

    >Does it mean you need to build your wings from balsa sheet? If you are doing a kit model, you are not really building it. Because then you should be cutting the ribs from a pattern?

    I never build from kits so, yes, I use sheet, cut ribs, strip wood as required… Kits are merely an expensive source for a plan and a wood selection that you’d be unlikely to make for yourself…

    >Can you use materials like carbon? Do you need to make your own spars and taco shells?

    I find no need – and my airplanes are light, rigid and strong enough without them. I have used carbon spar reinforcement in the dim past, found I could do just as well without it.

    >How many hours do you want to specify one should spend building each model?

    Who specifies hours? It takes as long as it takes.. no matter how long it takes .. if you have pride, interest and pleasure in your work. It can’t be quantified as a parameter.

    >How about engine mounts? Why do you purchase engine mounts? You should build them out of raw materials?

    I have turned and milled ’em in the past ….

    >For new modelers, they cannot fathom the skills required to build a model, and it probably keeps them from even starting.

    All of us were once new modellers and we fathomed the skills – and the types of models we learned on are still available in many classes. The point is ‘back then’ aviation of all types was generally of interest to all, and challenging to many – which spurred so many into building models. Nowadays aviation is generally so commonplace nobody notices it, least of all the young people who prefer instant electronic gratification for most pursuits. How many youngsters now look up at a passing airplane, marvel and wonder ….

    I’ve just completed my new glider – an 80% reprise of my 1955 airplane just for my own satisfaction – reduced to Classic maximum total area only in case one of the two clubs flying Open Towline here ever bother to switch to Classic rules. 72″ span, 575 sq. wing area, solidly built, tissued and doped and weighs slightly less than 11 ounces including almost 3 ozs. lead in the nose…. (though a small amount of ballast will yet be needed when trimming). I’d rather have built the original fullsize one again, though.


    When the BOM is eliminated we will have traveled a path that we will not be able to return upon. There is every possibility of a given event being reduced to a one design event. That woukd truly be a shame.
    Regarding the issue of increasing participation—
    Flying sites are few and way out in nowhere. This situation will only get worse. Our planes now outfly the fields available 30 years ago.
    Youngsters are not fascinated with the idea of flight. They have a phone that will let them talk about a skateboard to someone on the other side of the world. They have never seen ‘live via satellite’ (no pun intended, Mr Bennett) on their TV screen.
    Attending a meet, sorry, contest is a far bigger expense than the cost of any plane I have. The individual cost of a plane isn’t really an issue. Simple planes will max in lift.
    Here is some reality. When the current crop of youngsters gets clear of college, gets married, has a couple of booger munchers, finds time to pursue the hobby, finds the spare cash to do same, then convinces said kids that we truly are having fun at the field

    guess what? The field will be gone. Now its houses.
    I was recently testing a plane at the sod farm. 2 guys were at theadjacent field using a laser transit and GPS to lay out a crop field. They stopped by as I put up a flight and were amazed that I didn’t have r/c in it ‘hat’s more fun than being able to control it?’A direct quote. How to reply? I said ‘for me,sure’.
    Attracting new blood has been an issue for FreeFlight since Dick Black wrote VTO in M.A.N. Yeah, I’ve got some old mags. Eliminating BOM isn’t gonna revive FreeFlight as a facet of the hobby that will be acknowledged by Model Aviation.
    See ya at the Nats, where no one will have more fun than me.
    Dan Berry



    Ron and Jim have both thought this all out well. Ron, if you would have stated your thoughts the way you have presented them here, I would have easily aggreed with you when we last had this conversation in the WMC. I do really like the way you present it here. As for Jim I would tend to aggree that even without the BOM rules, there probably won’t be that much of an increase within the AMA free flight modeling classes. I can however imagine that some modelers would branch out into other areas that might have interested them in the past but due to the time required to construct models for those areas, they have not applied the time. It is a shame that our society has created the need to have everything right now, and in it’s smallest form possible. There are so many wonderful things that have been done that out kids just don’t understand, nor do they want too…


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