P-30 five Offical flights?

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    Following my March ’09 Digest article about AMA contests being too short, I am considering a rule change proposal that would increase the number of P-30 Official flights to five. One possibility is to retain the max (2:00 minutes), the other is the increase the max on the last two flights to 2:30. My sense is that five 2:00 flights might be a bit boring, while two 2:30 might be risky on smallish fields. (The flyoffs increase the max by 30 seconds each flight.)

    My main concern is that P-30 contests are too short. You can be done with three flights in about an hour under moderate weather conditions. I’ve floated this idea to a number of P 30 fliers. Some like it, others are neutral but most strongly objects to any change – on the grounds that flying five Official flights in any event will consume too much time, reducing the number of event a flier can participate in.
    The very powerful impact of AMA’s three Official flights format (under category III) is to turn (model) flying into eventing.

    If P-30 was invented today, it is not obvious that a three 2:00 format would have been adopted. A nice “beginners” event would probably have five Official flights. Personally I think that having a selected number of AMA events with five Official flights might start refocusing our sport back to flying models.

    George Reinhart

    Like Dan Berry sayas “nah, let’s kill it”
    Since it’s inception, P-30 has been one of the most successful Free Flight events ever. And with the same rules almost from the start.
    Where is the groundswell of discontent that is crying out for change?
    Or, is this merely change for the sake of change?
    Or is this some dark plot to slowly bring the class more into line with FAI eurocentrist elitist style flying?
    Are “rounds” the next step on the agenda?
    Then “head to head” fly-offs?
    Buried in the second paragraph above is the note that most people polled strongly object to any change.
    Most of the people I know who fly P-30 fly it as an additional event to F1B and or F1G if they fly rubber and as an extra event for a number of gas and glider flyers. If they fly FAI, it’s ususally done at the end of rounds flying at the end of the day, and usually only during the day if a retrieve was short.
    Senior Hanford always waited until Bob Hanford junior had won everything he entered before he broke out his P-30 and started his 3 flights (and he usually won). More honor to him.
    More thoughts on P-30.
    “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
    It ain’t broke!
    Forget trying to fix it!
    Adding 30 seconds to the max time will put the model off field or in the trees in many small fields and it’s not a needed change. Looking at contest results, not many contests are decided with extra flights beyond three.
    Most of the people who fly the AMA classes seeem to be happy with the format and if they aren’t, then they concentrate on flying FAI. Besides, the three flight contest goes back a very long ways, so it’s something that’s been working for a lot of people for a long, long time.
    P-30 is a fun class and it works extremely well for a lot of people on a lot of different levels, and again, “it ain’t broke so don’t go tryin’ ta fix it”.


    You have just illustrated that winning AMA contests (Category III) is all about tactics: wail till everyone else has flown and quickly make 3 flights in events that were not maxed out. I call this eventing and consider it the flaw in AMA flying. I’ve even heard a well known AMA flier complain that the weekend is too short to fly all his events.

    I happen to think that flying models to their full potential, given field constraints, is what fliers should be doing. That flights or rounds are just different convenient formats. And yes, I would fly AMA events, but my minimal requirement is five Official flights.

    George Reinhart

    It seems then that since your minimum requirement is 5 flights , that means you don’t fly P-30 (or Mulvihill?, or Moffett?) so, you have no vesting in this event. To me that means you have no standing to initiate rules changes. You only want to play if every one else will agree to play by your rules.
    Is that it?


    The 3 flight format came from Category I: three flights of five minutes followed by an unlimited flyoff. Then it became a drop dead repeated flyoff. Having to make three 5 minute flights probably got you off the field at least once and a contest took most of the day. In this context, a 40 second grace period made sense.

    Fast forwards. Fields are small and all Category I records are held by western fliers – who had access to larger flying sites. So Category II (3:00 max) and eventually Category III (2:00 max) were introduced in the late 60s’. The problem is that the number of flights and the grace period were not readjusted. Furthermore, the small field argument was used to push everything into Category III. Now, after flying 6 minute you are in the flyoffs. A miracle! as well as a miserable contest format.

    Most fliers never flew Category I and II and tell me that 2:00 maxes have been there for ever. Well, that’s almost true.

    As to my interest in other events. I’ve been flying for 55 years (mostly FAI, Israel and the USA) and I’m always puzzled why AMA events are so short and curtailed (Category III). Although CDs have much vested power, it is vitrually impossible to get them do any experimentations.

    Even though, as you point out, everyone seems to be content, some changes may make AMA events attractive to new comers. (Changes are not automatically bad.) For example, see what mass launches have done for the Flying Aces!

    George Reinhart

    I started going to contests in the mid fifties and there were three 6 minute maxes with a fourth unlimited flight that was not a “fly off”. You flew for the win and the record.
    FAI wasn’t in rounds then either, as I recall.(3 x5min.?)
    Lots of others have been going at it longer than that.
    As I said earlier, if there had been a groundswell of discontent, there might be something already done.
    And, I repeat, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.


    P30 is a perfect event. Perfect. I’ve been a big fan of leaving alone things that are perfect.
    P30 at this NATS took most of the day for at least 2 guys.
    Aram, your ideas have the possibly unintended consequence of telling guys that they MUST be ready at 8;00 AM. This shoots down any guy who doesn’t have a plane trimmed and ready for the AM flying. There are lots of stories about guys having various misadventures during a day and coming from behind to win an event. That is one of the reasons they fly AMA events and eschew the FAI events. Flying a 7 round FAI event and taking anything else seriously is almost impossible. I know this because I have done it. I have no plans to do it again. All it takes to squash you is one long retrieve. I’m not the only member of the club of guys that aren’t going to travel 450 miles to fly one event.

    If you think AMA events are short and curtailed, then you need to check with Sowder and Davidson and ask them about their short events this year. 7 maxes in 1/2A gas was good enough for 3rd place. AMA events are written to a different flying philosophy. There is actually very little serious crossover between the 2 disciplines. Its not accidental.

    Back to P30. I was amazed at how many guys didn’t know how many attempts are allowed to get the first 3 flights in.
    Unlimited attempts, by the way.

    P30 cannot be improved nor enhanced. Please, let’s leave it alone.


    >My main concern is that P-30 contests are too short. You can be done with three flights in about an hour under moderate weather conditions

    Good, releases me to then fly another event if I haven’t maxed out (likely).As others have said, P30 isn’t broke and it does not need fixing. Just let it be ….

    >wail till everyone else has flown and quickly make 3 flights in events that were not maxed out.

    Pete did not say that at all. He commented that some fly P30 later in the day after concluding another event… no mention that the class had no participants that had maxed out and that it was then to be considered an easy win – in your freshly coined word ‘eventing’.

    Turn and face downwind Aram …

    Dean McGinnes


    If you don’t like AMA events, don’t fly them. Please tend to your FAI events with their tedious rules and all-day-flying-one-event approach.

    Besides, on a good day, it takes far more than three flights to determine a winner.

    P-30, of all events, ain’t broke!!! Leave it alone.

    In fact, leave ALL the AMA events alone.


    Any rule changes have to be accepted by a majority of the free flight contest board (FFCB). Each proposal is voted on initially, made public and then a second time after ample time for members’ inputs and counter lobbying. Some of the FFCB eleven members consider AMA events as perfect, so the chances of any structural rule proposals being accepted are almost negligible.

    That does not mean that trying to free some AMA events from the 3-Official-flights/Category-III dogma is invalid. There is plenty of space between eventing and the rigid FAI format (seven rounds + flyoffs). I happen to think many AMA events are beautiful, but that their participants are always distracted by all the other events that have not yet flown (that day). Strange!

    The proposal is to add two more Official flights to P-30. Agree that it would make P-30 a bit different than other AMA events, and that it might even lead to intersting structural and aerodynamic developmnts. (Is that bad?) P-30 has been copied worldwide to places that fly few other events, so a five Official flight format would definitely be welcomed.


    Naw…it would not be welcomed by me…that’s for sure!
    P-30 at the present is the only event that I fly…and nothing about it should be changed nor even thought of changing anything about the event.
    Like everyone has said..leave AMA events as they are. Find another group to fly with and make up your own rules as you fly….to your liking.


    Everyone seems content with three Official flights in P-30, even Craig, who flies P-30 exclusively.
    Other fliers have e-mailed me directly expressing the same sentiment.

    The longer contest /fewer events argument does not seem to sway any of the participants.
    So I won’t submit a P-30 rule change proposal so not to disturb perfection.


    I think that’ll make 3 cycles in a row without a P30 change attempt. Maybe a record.


    >I think that’ll make 3 cycles in a row without a P30 change attempt. Maybe a record.

    Speaks for itself …. nobody who actually flys the class wants to change it.


    Please remove.

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