Re: Western Front Rhinebeck

Guy Fawcett (
Wed, 20 Sep 1995 11:30:05 -0600 (MDT)

Reply to: RE>>Western Front Rhinebeck

> Since takeoff, landing, and taxi, are typically 3 of the maneuvers
flown, you start with a handicap if you're flying a light airplane.

Taxi is not a required option and I have never taxied the Jenny I have flown in
competition, it has always been carried to the start point (I taxi my Bristol
but it handles better but I still don't declare it an option).

>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.

Generally the terrible ground handling caused the aircraft to be faced into the
wind before even starting them. Given that rotaries had no true throttle
didn't help either.

>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.

I think this is the basic problem. We have all been guilty of commenting on
the judges abilities in giving what we consider accurate scores. We really
have to remeber that the judges are just volunteers not a corps of trained
professionals paid for their expertise. Most judges at flying contests rarely
spend time studying tapes or real life aircraft in action to improve their
abilities. At most they get a rudimentry explanation of the task and helpful
advice on what to look out for, that they do as well as they do is quite
remarkable I guess.
In reality the only way to get meaningful placings is to divde aircraft into
groups of similar types performance wise ( I'll never forget listing off specs
on my Bristol F2B to a flight judge only to have him say at the end "so it
flies like a Piper Cub, AGHH) or conduct contests on a theme basis ie all WWI,
all WWII etc.
Buy doing this at least you know where you rank with your peers even if the
judge doesn't quite understand.

Just my comments based on judging and flying in competition with those funny
airplanes with wires holding them together.

tally ho