Re: Western Front Rhinebeck

Thayer Syme (
20 Sep 1995 09:24:27 -0800

Reply to: RE>>Western Front Rhinebeck
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Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think WWI planes have problems with static judging.
It's the flying portion that's a problem, especially in wind. The reasons for
I think, are numerous and not all are due to biases. I've flown 15-20lb fast flying
airplanes as well as some light birds. When you plant the heavy ones on the
runway they tend to help, not hinder your ability to produce a scale landing and
taxi. Since takeoff, landing, and taxi, are typically 3 of the maneuvers
flown, you start with a handicap if you're flying a light airplane. Judges are going
'count the bounces' and discount you for scraping a wing, etc. These are pretty
objective notions, not biases. This is not to say that the biases don't enter
the picture but they aren't the only thing.

Cheers --- Larry
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I have followed this thread pretty carefully and have a few thoughts about
Larry's comments here and other mentions of the 90 deg. cross wind and the paved
runway. Let me preface by stating that I have never entered a competition so I
have only an outsider's viewpoint. I am passionate about early birds however,
and hate to see them sidelined by the more modern heavy metal.

It seems that any given model can best recreate the performance of the original
when operated in a "scale-like" environment. I understand that the normal WWI
aerodrome was a large patch of grass and dirt relatively expansive in all
directions. It is also my impression that the mechanics would often drag the
planes to the downwind side of the field before the pilots would mount up and
take off, or at least wing walk them there during taxi. This would allow a
departure straight into the wind. I expect that this was due to the terrible
ground handling of the types and lack of sufficient techniques for low time
pilots to handle the crosswinds. Heck, I am still struggling with strong
crosswinds in a C152!! As for the judges discounting for bouncing on landing
and scraping lower wing tips, haven't they ever watched "Wings" on the Discovery
channel? Even the recent broadcast on the Ju-87 Stuka began with great footage of
some Gothas and other WWI types bouncing along the field on take off and
landing. Few of the WWI types were well mannered on the ground, beat up wing
tips and nose overs were par for the day.

The big problem seems to be judging WWI types by the the same aerodynamic and
ground handling standards to which we have become accustomed in the nearly 80
years since the end of The Great War. Despite my fanaticism, I too might have
trouble, in the heat of the moment, remembering to give the Sopwith Camel a perfect
landing score for 1 or 2 bounces. IMHO that would be a very scale landing.
Ditto the groundloop in a crosswind. Well not really 'cause they pretty much
brought them straight in as well.

Enough drivel from a "sport" flyer.

Thayer "my Proctor Jenny and D-Va will never see paved surfaces" Syme
San Francisco