FAI rules– F1A towing- attempt

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    At the 2008 Tangent OR contest, Rene Limberger had the following situation: Launched his glider, the towline caught on the model and drifted down wind with Rene in hot persuit. After a minute or so the towline fell off, clearly seen by the timer and timed the flight short of the max. What would you do as the flyer? What would you do as the timer?

    This resulted in a good deal of discussion but no one had a copy of the FAI rules. At home Rene lookedup the rules and wrote me:

    I was reading the FAI rules regarding how an attempt can be established, here is the relevant wording:
    d) It is apparent to the timekeepers that the competitor has lost contact with the cable and the competitor or his team manager chose to declare an attempt.
    so for the future, we can indeed declare an attempt, if we lost the cable. good to know!


    Rene– love rules– think I’d know this– I had the team manager part of the rule part as stated. Now the rule does not specify time so there is some interpretation here. ie when can you declare the flight an attmpt?

    When the model is flying away with the towline or only after the the model lands with towline. The later does not make sense beause landing with towline is by other rules is an attempt. Therefore I conclude the competitor can declare an attempt any time when he does not have control of the line.

    In the heat of competion this could be difficult if not near the timer. This could lead to interesting interpretation, Who has to officially recognize the declared attempt– I assume it is the offical Time Keeper

    Thermals, JIM


    Another thought for the USA team selection finals– can we declare a “manager” at the finals that can make this attempt declaration to the timer? JIM


    The bit about the competitor loosing control of the model was specifically brought in to solve the issue of someone letting go of the line (attached to model) and someone else picking up the line and giving it back to the flyer. In that case the flyer wasn’t in control of the model etc etc. In Rene’s case it is clear that the short flight should have been timed. Of course the rule may not be clear.

    In Bulgaria, Per Findhal has a premature unlatch leaving to a low level bunt that he then RDT’d within the allowed 20 seconds. His reflight maxed and he won the contest as a result. Per acted perfectly within the rules but the rules, in my and most observes opinion, are wrong. I expect considerable debate on this point.

    In conculsion, there are the rules and then the spirit of the rules. If either gets muddled then we have problems.

    Bill Shailor

    CHE is right. The model should have received the flight time, whatever that was, when the line fell off the model. I’ve had this happen before and have always taken the flight time. If the errant model had gone too far for the timekeeper to see the flag, then it becomes an attempt. But in this situation, the timekeeper was right in starting the watch and timing the model to the ground. The issue regarding control is just as CHE says. To avoid the situation where another helper grabs the line and gets it to the flier. In that situation, it is an attempt.


    CHE interesting history regarding the non-flyer grabbing the towline. Corolary is the a team manager being able to stop the timing of team member towing and starting another team memeber. In this vain, a non-flyer has nothing to do with the defination of an attempt.

    This are good things to know— if I want an attempt with a towline wrapped around the tailboom for example– then I’ll have anyone grap the tow line an its an attempt.

    I disagree with CHE, Bill S and Lee H regarding the Per F’s use of RDT. As I pervious wrote in another post, the rule makers must of surely understood that RDT would be used this way– ie the whole rule change history is based on the famous Victor S controversy.

    I find it interesting that after the last big exchange on this subject in SEN and the idea to change the attempt rule to 5 sec to eliminate “saving a flight” but allowing for a very bad release form your helper went no where. Ken Bauer is selling RTDs has fast as he can get them made, programmed and sent. Perhaps the tilt point has been reached and RDT has been excepted.



    Does anyone know the position with respect to bunt bailout modes on electronic timers followed by DT ? If you can leagally DT within 20 seconds using RDT then surely the option to to it using an unlatch delay is back in with all the hassle that used to cause.

    In my view, for what its worth, we shouldn’t have a system either in the timer logic or remotly that allows an attempt rule to be taken advantage of.


    CHE– this was discussed / proposed my Aram Scholsberg in SEN several months back. That is connect your RDT to hook servo, launch the model– if it goes up, push the RDT and release the towline, if bad air, grab the towline and continue to tow.

    However the current rules are clear that RDT can ONLY be use to command a single non-reversable action to DT the model. Further clarification (I believe from Ian K) is for F1A, “flight” starts when the help releases the model– ie towing is consider flight and all applicable flight rules apply with the exception specificlly stated (ie towline tangle). An argument was the RDT rules (an other rules) do not apply while an F1A is being towed and so until the model is in Free Flight, it could be “controlled”.

    Thermals, JIM

    Peter Brocks

    Radio DT should not have been allowed in Free Flight during the timed flight from 0 sec. to maximum – then it is by definition Radio Control. But now that is in the rules it unfortunately gives an allowed tactical advantage.

    Having an ‘attempt’ of only 5 sec. would be good for F1A, F1H but is too short for other events where crashes typically take longer than 5 seconds (e.g. F1C). To be practical the time to render an ‘attempt’ must be the same for all events. In my opinion there should be no ‘attempt’ allowed if it is a landing/crash caused by the competitor. As the model leaves the hand the time to the ground should count.



    Dave : Bonkers as usual; not worth respionding to your nonsense.
    Peter : I think you’re missing the point – why was the model crashing ? Probably either poor trim or poor maintenence both of which should be sorted out by the flyier. If you remove the attempt rule all together then I think you’ll get safer competitions. By all means use RDT if you have it to ‘save’ the model or avoid third party damage but don’t give the guy a second chance – it just fosters complacency.

    Can we have a poll on this forum to see who would ditch the attempt rule ?


    Hello CHE

    Well I agree with you that the 20 second attempt should be eliminated. Attempts from line tangles and models colliding should be retained.

    Did Per Findahl really use his radio DT to end a POOR flight within 20 seconds, or was this a rumor?

    I will personally remove my RDT from my model for competition. I see no need for it unless flying under adverse conditions like in the wind flying over dense woods.


    “Did Per Findahl really use his radio DT to end a POOR flight within 20 seconds, or was this a rumor?”

    No, its true, I saw the whole thing. I was wrong and thought it was illegal and he was doing it to save the model but I now understand that DT’ing by any means in the first 20 seconds in no longer a disqualification. Per was entirely correct in what he did, it is us, the FF community collectively to decide if this should continue.

    “I will personally remove my RDT from my model for competition. I see no need for it unless flying under adverse conditions like in the wind flying over dense woods.”

    This is a different issue entirely and nothing to do with the attampt rule. You can and I have DT’d a model early to avoid obstacles in competion. This is outside of the 20 second attempt window and if you land early you don’t get a 2nd go at the max.

    RDT used in whatever way gives an advantage to someone not so equipped. I have no issue with DT’ing early to save amodel to fly less diatnce. I do have a problem with gaining the considerable advantage of a second attempt via user intervention. I no no problem with what Per did, it was within the current rules.

    Bill Shailor

    Unfortunately, the rules do allow use of RD/T at any point during an official flight regardless of reason. To me and others, that is a bad idea. I don’t know who was involved in that decision, but when RD/T was originally proposed, the idea was that the flight would be terminated the moment the modeler sent the signal to actuate the D/T. Like too many things, this has become bastardized so as to allow a clear tactical advantage over other modelers as has been illustrated here.


    Can we get agreement from contest directors here in the USA to eliminate this possibility??

    I will be writing the CDS of the upcoming contests to eliminate this loophole!

    Juan Livotto Cup October 4th and 5th
    CD: Juan Livotto

    Sierra Cup October 7th through 9th
    ‘CD: Mike McKeever

    USA Team Trials: October 10-13
    CD: Buzz Averill


    Here is the letter sent to upcoming contest directors, and also copied to SEN for hopefully a world wide discussion:

    Hello Contest Directors

    It has been pointed out that there is a hole in the new admission of Radio Controlled DT that allows a person to cheat by aborting a bad launch with RDT to force an attempt with an under 20 second flight.

    The FAI community needs to change this situation!

    I would like contest directors to avoid this situation by banning all RDT at least in the F1A event during the first 20 seconds of flight.

    Please enforce this situation with a clear understanding prior to the contest beginning!

    I will lodge a formal protest against anyone using Radio Controlled DT in F1A during the first 20 seconds of flight.

    We don’t want contestants tempted to use this loophole in the USA and hopefully it will be changed on an International level.

    Here is a link to a recent discussion where the current World Champion has won a world cup contest because he aborted a bad launch using radio controlled DT, and went on to win the contest:


    Thank you and Best regards

    Dave Edmonson

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