Archive for November, 2017


F1D Junior Plane

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2017 by nicholasandrewray

f1djr copyClick the links below to download a copies of the build files:

F1D Junior Notes

F1D Junior Wing

F1D Junior Stab

F1D Junior Fuse

F1D Junior Prop

F1D Junior Kit




Call for Timekeepers for the 2018 Indoor World Championships at West Baden

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2017 by nicholasandrewray

call_for_timekeepers copy

Click here to download a PDF of the flyer.


The Jim Richmond Open

In Uncategorized on November 23, 2017 by nicholasandrewray

The Jim Richmond Open

Jim Richmond Open flyer_regs_rs copyJim Richmond Open flyer_regs_rs 2

Click here to download a PDF of the flyer.

This year the annual indoor contest at West Baden will an F1D only contest.  The contest is named the Jim Richmond Open in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Jim’s First Indoor World Championship.  The contest will be held the weekend before the 2018 Indoor World Champions, Saturday andSunday, March 17-18, 2018.  As well as being a fun contest for all to honor Jim, the event will allow two extra practice days for the WC entrants

Registration and entry fee payment will be done at the contest, however, we would like to have entrants notify the organizers of their intent to compete.  Please send an email (or private message) to Leo Pilachowski (leop at lyradev dot com).

Room reservations this year will be handled a bit differently because of the WC and the many international competitors.  The Hotel has asked that the organizers and the AMA handle the room reservations.  So, reservation requests with nights desired and a choice of one bed or two must be emailed to the above email address.  The rooms are limited at the Hotel and to make sure of availability, requests should be received by 1/1/2018. Rooms will cost $159 plus 13% tax per night.

The contest is limited to F1D class models so as to lessen the risk of damage to the F1D’s that will fly in the WC.  However, smaller, easier to build, and less fragile models built and flown to the F1D rules will be allowed as long as the models meet minimum wing, stab and prop size dimensions and maximum weight limits.  The Supplemental Regulations have more details.

Plans and build notes for such a F1D junior model will be posted.  The model is quick and easy to build from craft store balsa (my Science Olympiad students built theirs in three sessions of  two and a half hours each).  Anyone with the skills to build an LPP, A6, or P18 should easily be able to build one.



Substituting Carbon Tow for Boron

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2017 by nicholasandrewray

Substituting Carbon Tow for Boron

In the summer of 2012 Bill Gowen introduced me using single threads from Mike Woodhouse’s 0.08mm thick Russian Unidirectional Carbon Cloth. The tow is easier to work with than boron and provides sufficient structural reinforcement for most F1D applications. The carbon tends to have better adhesion characteristics than boron due to its rougher texture and ability to be flattened against the balsa. I have since equipped my current F1D program with this material including, my 2014 AMA Cat I record model.

The Russian Unidirectional Cloth is different from other unidirectional products I have worked in that it is more like a knitted blank. The cloth is made up of 0.08mm threads running in the longer direction with 0.08mm interwoven orthogonally every few centimeters. Thus, making it easy to separate the individual threads. I start at one corner of the cloth and pull outermost thread away from the cloth. Take care to pull gently because the product has exceptionally short fibers and it is easy to fray the threads.

Carbon Tow 1

Separating carbon tow

Once a thread has been separated from the cloth, it will need to be pretreated with 1:10 Ambroid or Duco diluted with acetone. I hold the thread up with one hand and gently run a paintbrush loaded with diluted glue along the length of the thread. The thread will not necessarily be straight when it is dry. The thread is now ready to be attached to any structure boron would have traditionally been used to reinforce.

Carbon Tow 2

Carbon tow being pretreated with Ambroid solution

I recommend experimenting with different glue dilutions, using your experience with gluing boron as a guide, to determine how much glue to use for proper adhesion. Start by gluing a small segment of thread down and then pull enough tension into the thread to hold it straight. Glue the thread to the structure a few centimeters at a time pressing it flat before the glue dries. When finished gluing, cut the thread off with a razor blade or scissors and tack down the loose ends with glue.

Carbon Tow 3

Carbon thread being applied to the underside of an elliptical F1D stabilizer spar

Carbon Tow 4

The bottom thread has been trimmed and the top has not

Carbon Tow 5

Elliptical F1D stabilizer spars after carbon reinforcement has been added

I have found the carbon tow to be a feasible alternative to boron and I am looking forward to seeing future work expanding its applications.

~Nick Ray


Kurt Krempetz Cat II AMA National Record Catapult Launch Glider

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2017 by nicholasandrewray

Kurt Krempetz Cat II AMA National Record Catapult Launch Glider

Rantoul SlowCat_Plot copy

Click here to download a PDF of the plan.


Lakehurst Labor Day Report 2017 – Brett Sanborn

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2017 by nicholasandrewray

Lakehurst Labor Day Report 2017 – Brett Sanborn

The Labor Day 2017 contest at Lakehurst ended up drawing in several competitors from across the country. The full 2018 F1D team, John Kagan, Jake Palmer, and I were there along with defending world champion Kang Lee. Our team manager Tom Sova also attended, flying several events as usual. Junior F1D team members Joseph Szczur and Ross Clements flew for a couple of days along with Joseph’s dad, Don. Joseph set the F1D senior record with a time of 18:07. Steve Brown also made the trip to test a few models. Leo Pilachowski was there to keep us all on our toes. Steve Fujikawa made the drive to test out his F1Ds. Jerry Gross also made the trip from PA and flew a variety of models. Our club president, Horace Hagen, was able to work with the Air Force months in advance to provide access to Canadians Bill Silin and John Merett who flew several classes and set a number of Canadian Cat IV records.

Several months prior to the Lakehurst contest, we decided that it would be prudent to organize a club world record trial in case someone was able to fly the world record, the primary reasoning being that Kang, John, and I had all flown longer than 30 minutes under the 1.4 g F1D rules at Lakehurst in previous years, and it was well within Jake’s reach to do the same. The Cat IV world record was set by Ivan Treger in the Unirea Salt Mine in the spring of 2017 at the European Championships with a time of 29:43, which is an excellent time in the Salt Mine. Kang was especially well-positioned to increase the record as he held the national record at 31:36.

The week of the contest, the weather outlook for Lakehurst was pretty poor. Nick Ray e-mailed everyone a few days ahead of the contest to highlight how poor the weather outlook was, and encouraged us to reconsider making the trip. Nonetheless, everyone except Don Slusarczyk ended up making the trip to Lakehurst. On Friday, it appeared that the weather would be bad for the first two days and improve to 80 degree temperatures on Monday. We did indeed suffer poor weather conditions in Hangar 1 on Saturday. The temperature was a lowly 66 F with relatively high humidity of 67%. Despite the chilly temperatures, the air was fairly stable and allowed for decent test flights to assess how the models were climbing in the high ceiling. It rained throughout the morning on Sunday with slightly warmer temperatures (71 F) but with high humidity (80%) due to the rain, which also left several large puddles on the floor of the hangar and carrier deck. I noted on a few test flights that upon landing, I had water droplets on my wing and stab.

Despite the high humidity, the air was relatively stable and several people flew good half motor times. I was struggling to get the VP and max height tuned as well and to find the right motor. I was hopeful after a few half motors near 14 minutes and one 14:26; however, I wasn’t able to increase my half motor time beyond that and considered packing up around 5:50 PM knowing that it would likely be dark in an hour. I ended up putting up one more half motor at 6 PM that flew lower than the 14:26 and did 15:16, which indicated that the air was pretty good. Immediately after that flight, I moved model box and setup down to the floor of the hangar to launch a full motor, figuring that this would be my only shot for the day to do a decent full motor. At 6:40 PM, it was already starting to get dark. The temperature was 71 F and the humidity was still high at 75%, much less ideal than the 95 F and 56% humidity when I previously flew my best 1.2 g F1D flight of 42:03 in 2012. Despite launching in my normal spot in the hangar which usually gives a nice centered ascent, the model began to drift toward the wall during the climb. I waited as long as possible to steer, and ended up having to steer several times to reposition the model away from the wall and to be able to land on a clear patch of the floor. The model reached a maximum height of approximately 165 feet, which was much lower than I have flown for previous good flights at Lakehurst. I commented to Jake Palmer several times throughout the flight that I didn’t think it was going to do well. In the end, the model landed at 33:22 on the watch, including a total of 1 minute, 13 seconds of steering for a total flight time of 32:09—a new national and world record.* While I was happy with the time, I wasn’t sure I would be able to hold on to the record beyond that weekend since Jake and Kang’s models were flying very well and the weather on Sunday was forecasted to be better than Saturday.

The weather on Sunday was indeed better with temperatures near 80 F and lower humidity. While I flew many more good half motors compared to Sunday, including one over 15 minutes, I was not able to increase my record from the previous day. I had trouble getting my model to climb in the early stages of the flight which resulted in several stalled full motors. I am still not sure if this was due to some weak wing post issues or was caused by bumpy air. On my final attempt, I was roughly two-thirds of the way to the ceiling and the model seemed to be forced down in a rapid descent. My tail boom was damaged trying to prevent my model from landing on the tent drying rack. Kang was able to get a full flight launched at the end of the day around the same time as my record time from the previous day and was in a great spot, decently high up. His flight looked excellent and descended beautifully. I was constantly checking the time throughout his descent to see if I would be able to hold on to the record. His flight ended up landing after dark at roughly 31 minutes—meaning that I would most likely hold on to the record until we all were back in Lakehurst next year. From this experience I learned that it’s best to seize an opportunity to fly a full motor when the air seems good, and that magical days can happen at Lakehurst even when the weather outlook is poor—the trip was definitely worth it.

Thanks to Steve Brown for being the directing official, Jake Palmer and John Kagan for timekeeping, and Kang Lee for sending me his previous world record dossier to work from.



*Note: As of this writing, the AMA record has been approved. The FAI world record dossier has been submitted but has not been ratified.


Brett Sanborn’s Cat IV F1D World Record

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2017 by nicholasandrewray

Brett Sanborn’s Cat IV F1D World Record

Quetzalcoatl - National Record 1Quetzalcoatl - National Record 2

Click here to download a PDF of the plan.