Baby Bee 40 – a proposed beginner’s event for Cox Baby Bee .049 engines
Early emails leading to the development of the model type are summarized below.
Pictures of Baby Bee 40 prototype models that have been built:
Plans for Baby Bee 40 Models
This event was conceived by Ross Jahnke who tried somewhat
unsuccessfully to get his kids flying a Pee Wee 30. He reasoned
that the readily available good running Cox Babe .049 engines
would make a much better beginners motor to get started in free
From Ross’s initial ideas came a flurry of email on the SCAT
Electronic News mailing list and between individuals, the
interest in this kind of event was high.
The rules have evolved into the following (note: they are not
yet 100% finished! We need to discuss the options further and
build a few to a set of rules to try them out!)
Proposed set of rules: (these rules are still evolving and
1. Cox Baby Bee .049 * must be used, any glow head allowed.
2. An unmodified Cox 6-3 prop must be used (either the hard gray
or the flexible black nylon one) (recent
emails are mixed on this issue, some favor leaving the prop an
3. No dimension over 40 inches.
4. Minimum weight 250 grams (a tad bit over 8.8 ounces) (recent emails suggest that 200 grams (about 7
ounces) is a better weight as originally proposed)
5. No auto surfaces, except for DT.
6. No mechanical engine timers allowed, only fuel metering
devices such as an eye dropper permitted. (recent
emails are split on this, some favor allowing timers, even a
suggestion from Lee Campbell who suggests having shorter engine
runs for the more accurate timer equiped models, with no
allowances for overruns with either eyedroppers or timers)
7. 15 second engine runs with 2 minute maxes, under 40 sec can be
declared an attempt. 6 attempts to make 3 official flights.Deduct
20 seconds for each second (or partial second) over 15 sec.
8. Flyoffs if necessary will reduce the engine run to 10 sec,
same 2 minute max and over run penalties (over 10 sec in this
case), no attempts in flyoffs.
* the intent here is to use a readily available Baby Bee .049
(with metal tank) or one of the product .049’s (with a plastic
firewall). These engines can be found used in many places as they
powered many Cox Ready to Fly plastic airplanes. Both use a
single port cylinder that can be visually identified externally
by the stamp on the cylinder (numbers xxxx, yyyy and zzzz are
legal. xxxx, yyyy, and zzzz will be filled
in with numbers when these rules mature). Hopefully this
event will not become a horsepower race, rather an enjoyable one
using fairly stock engines.
The following discussions contributed to these proposed set of
rules: Please send in you comments as they are still evolving! As
the comments grow and the rules mature, I will put these comments
in an archive page rather than here on the main page.
initial idea and foundational set of rules (Ross
My son age 3, shows much interest and promise in free flight.
Right now he flies small rubber models and hand launch gliders.
He is also curious about engines. I tried to run the Cox .020 on
my pee wee 30 for him but the engine wasn’t cooperating that day.
I then pulled out an old baby bee, dormant since my u-control
days 20 years ago, and it fired right up. Is there a pee wee
30-like event for the baby bee? Is there support for such an
event? Since these engines are so abundant, so forgiving, and in
the hands of so many non-free flighters, they might be an
excellent choice for an introductory event.
If an event does not exist how does this proposal sound?
a.) 40″ max dimensions in any direction ( or 36″ or 200
square inch wing).
b.) 200 gram minimum weight.
c.) 15 sec. engine run / eye dropper tank (same as pee wee 30).
d.) No auto surfaces except DT (same as pee wee 30).
e.) Power is a stock Baby Bee .049, with single intake port
standard glow head. No mods except a hole in the tank for the
fuel line. A
stock plastic tankless backplate / reed valve assembly is
f.) No ROG requirement.
Ross Jahnke (8 July 1999)
any glow plugs allowed (Doug Galbreath):
Ross Jahnke’s idea for the pee wee event sounds like a winner
if we publicize it in the right places. We seem to preach to the
choir a lot in this hobby, and never reach out and touch the vast
unwashed out there. Or even the half vast ones for that matter.
One thing about the rules Ross proposed: The price of stock glow
heads for the babe bee is twice what the whole engine used to
sell for and are damn near unobtanium anyway. Better just leave
the glow plug issue alone and allow anything that lights up the
fire as the performance ain’t all that good any way you run them.
That eliminates an easy way to cheat.
Down air really sucks
Doug Galbreath (10 July, 1999)
some initial discussions (Rex Hinson, Roger Morrell,
Joe Mekina and Ross Jahnke):
I also would like to throw in my support for Ross Jahnke’s
proposed baby bee event. I don’t see how we could screw it up.
Might even get some new fliers into freeflight. Engines out of
the plastic u/c models might also be a possibility.
Thanks Ross, its nice to see someone thinking instead of
Rex Hinson (7-12-99)
It sounds to me that this is something the NNFS would be
interested in .. maybe Joe Mekina should promote it on the new
NFFS web site ?
Roger Morrell (7-12-99)
I have been watching the SCAT electronic news and your
proposal for a Baby Bee event that has seemed to catch hold. I
agree, there needs to be something like it as the Pee Wee .020’s
are finicky, and to compete (or even fly successfully in the case
of a youngster) you have to have a “good” one. Your
idea is a good one!
I propose to promote the event on the NFFS website (as Roger
Morrel also suggested the SCAT electronic news). I also agree
with Doug Galbreath’s follow on suggestion making any head legal.
Cox heads are now very expensive! I believe they are around $10
now! This is also parallel to the way Nostalgia has evolved as
heads are either expensive or non-existent and should not be the
hardest (or most expensive) thing on the model, after all they
I have a bit of research to do (namely look up the current Pee
Wee 30 rules and see how they read), but then plan on setting up
a Baby Bee-40 event forum on the NFFS website. Its purpose will
be to toss out ideas, entertain comments, and to formulate as set
But off the cuff, from my memory, I recall the PeeWee 30 event
as having a funky max/engine point system, with no over runs but
a penalty in points. The rules as I recall them say take the max
time (120 sec) and multiply them by 100 then divide them by the
engine run (15 for runs of 15 sec or less, the actual run times
for runs over 15 sec). So for max scoring it is in the
contestants best interest to not run a run longer than 15.
I personally believe that Babe Bee powered airplanes (at 200
grams and max dimensions of 40 “) are robust enough to carry
a timer. To me it is simpler to carry a timer than not, thought I
may be in the minority here. I would therefore propose to just
run simple 15 sec engine run -120 sec max rules. Going down to 10
sec for flyoffs.
I also need to talk to a few people about how to specify the
engine, probably a mix of “can have’s” and “can
not have’s”. Baby Bee and Product .049’s are OK… Tee Dee,
Medallions, etc not OK. Lee Campbell is very familiar with the
Cox line and I will get with him on this.
But for the most part, good idea, I believe you got the span
right at 40 inches, and the weight of 200 grams seems about right
While I have not in the past been in favor of yet
“another” event, I truly believe we need one like this
to attract people, young and old. And Cox .049’s are a great way
So, in light of the above, how does this sound?
Baby Bee-40 (proposed rules)
a.) 40″ max dimensions in any direction.
b.) 200 gram minimum weight (a tad bit over 7 ounces).
c.) No auto surfaces except DT.
d.) Power is a stock Baby Bee .049 (or product .049), with single
intake port cylinder, any glow head allowed.
e.) 15 sec max engine run, 120 sec max, flyoffs 10 sec engine
run, same 120 sec max. 6 attempts to make 3 official flights, 40
sec or less can be declared an attempt. No attempts on flyoffs.
Again, I am not hard over on not using the funky rules, which
pretty much go hand and hand with eyedroppers. But to me it is
far easier to just put a timer on it than to fool with filling
the eyedropper and adding to it while running, needling etc.. If
it appears that the majority of people want to go with
eyedroppers and ban timers and use the funky rules, great.
Perhaps this should be one of the first things that get ironed
out in a forum? I could structure the page to facilitate this
Anyways, thought I’d toss this back to you for your comment
before I set up the web page. I will not post the page till I
hear your thoughts.
Joe Mekina (7-12-99)
thank you for pursuing the Baby Bee event! I to don’t like to
add new events willy-nilly but this one has real potential to
offer access to newcomers.
I agree with the glow head suggestion, now that I’m aware of
the cost issue.
I think the Pee Wee 30 eye dropper / flight time rules are a
bit convoluted as well. The reason I want the dropper is because
timers are expensive (as costly as the engine) and hard for
non-free flighters to obtain. Also this adds the need for a real
gas tank of some sort which is hard to mount and use. (I have
never successfully used a bladder tank for instance).
How about eyedroppers with a 5 or 10 second penalty for every
second of over run past 15 seconds? That way you can’t max if you
over run but the math is simple. Then an over run doesn’t totally
spoil a flight either. Or both could be offered with no over run
allowed if a timer is used. I like the rest of your flight time
suggestions however. I would like you to open the debate, and I
will go with what the people prefer.
I also agree that the Pee Wee 30 points system is weird. I
suggest the dropper tank because timers are also expensive (at
least as much as the engine), harder to obtain and create a need
for a real tank, which adds to the complexity of building and
operating the model. How about a 5 -10 second penalty for every
second of over run? We could even have dual rules where timers
are allowed, but over runs are not if a timer is used.
In general, I would like someone to be able to see a plan in a
model mag, buy the wood and engine at a hobby shop, and show up
at a local contest. There might of course be no one who ever does
this, but it shoud be possible. I have a photo of Jason Poti with
an ultra simple 1/2 A model that was partial insperation for this
event. Even though Norm is his father, any father and son could
cobble that model together with a baby bee and eye dropper on the
Sorry, I don’t know the Pee Wee fly-off rules. I flew the
event once maybe 5 years ago. I have a nifty Pee Wee model with
180 sq. wing thats never been flown, unfortunately too busy with
I see your point about strategy but Pee Wee fliers can do the
same re over runs. Besides if someone can do a calculated over
run then it could only be the last flight and no one else could
be maxed out. Incrimental increases will make the math more
difficult, how about 20 seconds per second of over run? Two extra
seconds would really hurt a score, four seconds could make any
flight an attempt.
It is the NFFS photo of Poti that I have. I did not know that
the model was without a timer though. He used an eye dropper?
Seven seconds is very tough without a timer.
I am enjoying this debate toward the formation of this new
event. Of course the event needs a name too. The name Baby Bee 40
is good because it links it to the pee wee 30 event which is its
little brother. Others may want a different name though. Any name
is better than Slop!
more discussions (Murphy, Jahnke):
FFBC Member Dist IX
The discussion of yet another beginner event makes me wonder
why we need another event in the days of slow open power, AMA
gas, and nostalgia. I believe the answer is none of these are
simple enough for a raw beginner. There is nothing like P-30 for
the gas minded flier.
With this out of the way let me say that simply adding an
event to the rule book and then letting the rule change process
make it work is a bad idea. The world is a better place if a club
adopts the event and flys it for several years. This will give
the event time to age and the problems can be found. Issues such
as the glow plugs that Doug has identified can be worked out.