FAI power model fun.

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    Just for a bit more fun, how about sharing experiances on your first FAI power model/ F1C’s.
    My first model was AD 15 powered on a home made 7 x 2.6 fixed prop’, own sheet balsa wing design with a home made balsa kevlar tube and Collin’s engine pan. The year was 1986, i used a forward fin and a kevlar D-box mylar covered stab’ to fetch the C/G forward to 55%. Most British F1C’s were box fuz, rear fin and all sheet stab’s, 75% C/G. I did not dare try a bunt transition, At 17 years old, first test hops were made solo, i did not want any distractions. I could not get over the climb speed from my javalin launch, the high revving FAI motor nearly gave me brown pants when it would miss a beat sometimes on launch, pressure fed fuel from a tin tank. I eventually trimmed the model and it gave me alot of success and fun at comp’s, until the seelig locked up on launch and it recycled its self back into a tree!!!!!!


    My first was an early version of my ‘Applehoney’ design, with TD.15 … more or less standard, with an ounce or so of added ballast to bring it to FAI weight. Proved very good for its day but met its doom at a Barkston Nats, at dawn, when the timer failed and it eventually dropped a wing to make a very terminal impact on the runway. The death scream of the Cox brought many to their tent flaps in time to witness its demise… balsa, tissue and metal confetti..

    The Federation of Antiquated Ideas raised the minimum weight by 50% and I rejected the class completely – no interest in building lead sleds with over a further half pound of additional weight to be carried.


    My first FAI power model was a SWISS MISS in 1955 with Elfin 2.5 beam mount power. It flew well and I lost it when it failed to DT……..maybe I never lit the fuse?????
    It was found 2 weeks later by a dairy farmer 14 miles away and had been trodden on by the cattle, but ED clockwork engine timer and Elfin were okay.

    I built a second SWISS MISS and used an Oliver Tiger, and it was a fantastic flier. I won and placed in some comps and still have the trophys.

    Early ’70s I built an enlarged LASER CHASER as my 1/2A one went so well.
    It had a Rossi in it but it folded the wing on climb and the model was wrecked.
    Built a GALAXIE winged long fuselage model that was an ‘average’ flier.

    1976 the ORCA plan was published in Model Builder magazine and I built 2 of them at once, both Rossi 15 MK2 powered and Seelig timers. They were both great and very consistent fliers, so I built a third one for the third Rossi I had obtained. I flew them ‘into the ground’ for years both here and overseas until they just wore out.

    1980 I built a new model based on Thomas Koster’s he won with in in Denmark WC in ’77. It flew off the board so I built a second one mid ’80s.
    I still have those two models and still fly them in our Open Power class on 10 second engine run. Have won and placed and also ‘goofed’ with poor launches etc. over the years with them, but they are very consistent fliers.

    About 10 years ago for our Aussie Vintage class I built another SWISS MISS with K&B 15 Green Head power……it flew okay, but have since upped the power to a Green Head 19.


    I started F1C in the late 70’s, but didn’t really get into it until the mid 80’s.

    My Dad had a bad time in the 70’s struggling to find a layout that would handle the power of Rossi 15s. He wrecked a VERY fast triple fin model, one of only 2 or 3 models I ever saw him prang comprehensively. Anyway, I think it was Gerhard Heideman of West Germany who flew a very nice flying T tail model at about this time – I believe he won the Pierre Trebod with it one year (’76?). Dad built a 1/2A version which only weighed 10 ozs (!), and it flew pretty well, so he built a FAI version, using the wing from the triple fin model, which had survived fairly well. Instant success, it dialed in pretty nicely first day out – so I built one, too. It only had an old G15, but it also dialed in nicely first day out. I was 19 at the time.

    No further T tail models came out of the Buskell workshop. My model perished when the engine cut at about 2 seconds and it found a pile of rocks at Beaulieu, and Dad’s model never really got sorted out well enough for contests. It always looked good on the climb, but transition was an absolute bear, and if it stalled, it never stopped. By then he had won the ’78 Nats with a more classic layout that really seemed to work, and I rebuilt my model (the wings survived almost undamaged) into a forward fin model that wasn’t a bad flying model. I got an early Cox Conquest, which wasn’t a great experience, then a 2nd hand Rossi mk.2 which was fabulous. I comprehensively wrecked the model, engine, and Seelig on the tarmac at Barkston at the ’82 Nationals.

    I only really planted a model twice – that was the first, and the 2nd happened to model no.5 at Merryfield several years later. It went in about a foot from the tarmac in very soft earth (possibly a mole hill) and although it went in at a terrific rate, suffered only a broken needle, and propellor.

    It’s funny the effect a severe prang has at a contest. There’s a prolonged sympathetic silence as the unlucky modeller heads over to the crash site. In the case of my 2nd crash nobody saw the exact location of the crash, so there was widespread disbelief when I brought the model back to base virtually intact.



    In 1958, they had just changed the FAI power rules to 173 oz/sq ft. wing loading.

    I was 15 and designed my first FAI power model to these rules. It was similar to a Spacer in planform and was documented in the Airtrails annual from sketches from the 1958 NATS. It was built very strong but still required ballast to bring it up to the required weight. It weighed 28 ounces and was powered by an Enya 15 diesel engine. On my first flight at the NATS, with a 15 mph wind, sailed going down wind in the glide right into a fire hydrant. My backup model was a Payload 15 model loaded up to 36 ounces. I placed, but would have done better if that fire hydrant were not there!

    That fall I built a Sid Jepson designed Hustler still powered by an Enya 15 diesel. Took it brand new to the King Orange Internats and proceeded to win FAI power in the Jr/Sr class edging out my long time friend, Bob Sifleet. Continued to fly that model for the next 7 years with a SuperTiger 15 diesel until the model was totally oil soaked and could not be rebuilt.

    I have not flown FAI power since, but will probably build some Vintage FAI power models soon. I am not interested in F1C modern models.


    One of my first FAI power models was a Hans Seelig design that I drew up from a three view that Lindstrum had in his VTO section of Model Airplane News (remember that?).

    All sheet wing, of course, and one of my favorite stories on this deal was that I built 2 1/2 right hand tips! The idea was, I would build theone on theplans I drew and then flip the plans over and do the next one- Well, I didn’t do that and built a second right hand tip- Shoot…..Then, I started another! Hey, I was 14 or so, what did I know.

    This was the first model with VIT on it (and a new Seelig timer!) so I had to try it out. Crawled up on the roof with it, set the timer short, and tossed it. Hey, it worked and I didn’t fall off the roof.

    Put a ST 15 on it with an ED pipe. I flew on a small field and so had to run short engine runs. Well, I tossed it up and didn’t get too high and started to glide (this was before I did quick DTs) pretty close to the ground. I didn’t want it to DT that low so I went to catch it. It was coming right at me so I reached up and caught it by both inner wing panels. Well, the rubber bands let loose and the spinner hit me right in the forehead! Maybe that is were the brain damage started! It flew OK but never really did much with it. Built a higher aspect ratio model of my own design and that thing qualified me for a semis or two as well as allowing me to fly in the FAI Invitational at Bong- had a K&B 15 RR series 64 engine on it- I really liked those engines- they just looked fast…

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