Re: Western Front Rhinebeck

Larry Marshall (
Tue, 19 Sep 1995 14:40:54 -0400

> I agree that in this particular case there were a larger number of WWI
> entries than I would have expected. I do not know the rankings so I am not
> sure if the WWI subjects were relegated to the lower standings.

I actually did the stats and there's no pattern whatever. My motivation for
doing so was because I wanted 'evidence' that jets were over-represented in
the top 10 (unfair advantage sort of thing). Unfortunately, it just ain't there
in spite of the fact that first and second place were won by jets.

> You point is valid. But if you take it out to its logical conclusion, then,
> all competitors will be flying P-51s. Or certainly the number of types of

Yep...that's my point exactly. A contest is not being conducted to improve
the esthetics of a runway. People at high levels of competition are looking
for advantage and if plane selection, because this or that plane gives them
higher probabilities of planting each of their landings, makes it less likely
that they'll be blown around, etc. will give it to them, then they will fly
that airplane in the same way that race car drivers go with what works.

You seem to want to view competition as something that occurs at all levels as
just a bunch of guys getting together to fly airplanes. I think you know my
views on this (similar to yours) from our private conversations but these views
are more of a 'wouldn't it be nice' rather than 'how it is'. The guys at the
top levels of scale competition are competing for 1) money, 2) prestige, 3) ego.
They want to win. Winning means flying VERY well under any conditions. This will
limit the planes that are suitable for that. This was my only real point. Given
your response I'll add an additional point that discussion of this should separate
what is from what might be nice if only to delineate how you might want to change
things to make 'nice' occur.

> aircraft entered will be small. Is this a good thing when it is a Scale
> competition? I can see that, in competitions like Pattern and 1/2A Texaco,
> this might not matter. These events, I believe, are purely a matter of
> flying skill. Scale competition encompasses much more than the pilots
> command of the sticks. And I agree flying is a large portion of your score

I think you need to go and check either the rulebook or the winner's circle Doug.
The guy who gets the top static score is generally not the guy who is winning
these events. Flying is what is winning these events simply because the variance
in static scores is very low while the flying scores vary a lot. And maybe it
shouldn't be that way but as long as it is, the guy who gets beat by 2-3 points
in static judging has a real good shot at making it up during the flying.

Another thing to keep in mind is that static judging is negative, not positive.
You lose points for not having details, you don't gain that much by having them.
So, it really pays to have a fairly simple model. A guy presenting a Fokker DVII
isn't going to lose points for rigging wires but a guy with an SE5a may lose points
by using clevises instead of turnbuckles.

> in a Scale competition. But is it the most important part. I, personally,
> don't think so. It should be balanced, otherwise we might as well be flying
> Pattern! Certainly Rhinebeck has created an event for this purpose. You must

Rhinebeck's scale events have declined considerably over the last bunch of years.
Why? I guess I would disagree that a flying scale event might as well be pattern.
They are two very different flying challenges and each has its challenges. But
I think this is a separate issue entirely.

> go through static judging but it is a small percentage of your score.
> Instead you are graded on your ability to fly. The manuevers are certainly
> things that very very few WWI aircraft could probably fly, but that's not
> the point. It isn't a Scale competition it's a WWI/Golden Age pattern
> contest. AMA Scale isn't designed to be that way. At least I don't think it is.

I guess we just disagree on this.

> Good example! These guys get a wide variety of aircraft! This is what a
> Scale competition should be about. Bringing together a wide variety of Scale
> models to demonstrate craftsmanship, sportsmanship and flying skill. But are

Maybe...but realize that while you and I might like to see the variety, there are
those who would argue a flip side of this coin. Favoring oddball aircraft generates
a large number of planes that don't have to fly all that well to win. Many would
say that, using your relating flying contests to pattern, that it turns scale
competitions into a static event. My point here is that we're talking about different
ends of a continuum here and whether the emphasis is placed on static or flight
judging will determine many things, including the variety of models to be seen
at high level contests. I keep saying "high level" because anything short of
that is most likely dominated more by building desires, kit availability, etc. than
anything else.

> we casting stones at the wrong folks? They set the rules (I include the AMA
> in the "those folks" group). They set the biases. FAI used to reward folks

It's unfortunate that people argue against 'they' so often. Doug, you ARE 'they'.
Have you, as an AMA member ever written a letter expressing your views and a
desire to change how it works? The reason the Flying Aces works the way it does
is that there is a steady stream of input from its members regarding how they
want their events run and judged. In the RC world you can't get guys to show
up for the events, let alone get them to write letters and organize events. I
think it's quite natural and democratic that those who are interested enough,
and willing to work hard at it, will be the guys who determine the rules. It
shouldn't surprise anyone that those rules will be more suitable to the planes
being flown by the organizers.

But consider this. I believe it was as late as 1989 that the Masters had bonus
points for complexity (multiple wings, tail dragger, multi-engine). At that time,
largely because this resulted in the contest being mostly won on the ground, that
the people involved decided to eliminate the bonus point idea. They wanted it
to be a flying contest.

> for selecting more "difficult" subjects both in craftsmanship and
> flyability. They no longer do, I think. Too bad as I think this helped to
> create a more "open" competition. Of course, the heavy metal guys probably
> complained that the WWI guys had an unfair advantage :-0

I suppose it's all in how you look at it. You can see sinister and devious
scenarios to get the rules favoring WWII fighter planes weighing 25lbs. Or, you
can see a desire to 'win it in the air' as Frank Tiano is so fond of saying.
While I agree with you that more variety would be better, I tend to see the
desire to have a flying event as more the reason for the way the rules are
written than anything else. An example of this is Top Gun which requires more
flying than does the Masters in that they limit the number of mechanical
options (bomb drop, retracts, etc) than can be substituted for actual maneuvers.
This isn't something favoring heavy metal as they can do all sorts of things
with opening canopies, speed brakes, etc. But it does require that the planes
be put through more maneuvers to accumulate points.

> You are probably right! I am not anywhere close to their capabilities in
> skill or in capital. Most of the books I have seen by the guys who do
> compete in these areas will tell you to stay away from subjects such as
> those that are so dear to our hearts. They have handicaps. But popularity of
> a group of aircraft IS influenced by what the mags publish. If people

True, but I thought we were talking about biases in competition, not whether
TopFlite is going to sell a lot of Corsairs or not.

> compete with them and they are covered, then mortals like us will, possibly,
> be influenced to try one. Therefore, it can be argued, that the
> manufacturers might get interested in providing kits for these types. There
> are a large number of P-51 kits out there. Why? Because people see them and
> like them. I maintain that if more people were exposed to WWI/Golden Age
> Aviation then more will be interested in trying them. Our static modeling

I doubt there are many competitors who are trying to create a market for Goldberg
and Top Flite though and this sounds to me what you're arguing above. I think
competition and generating interest in the general populace are two very
different things and you're confusing them here.

> friends, here, have been doing the same thing. Get exposure and then
> petition the manufacturers that there are folks out here who would buy the
> kits if they came available.

Frankly, I see a lot of coverage of WWI/Golden Age aircraft in the magazines.
They may not be flying in the Masters but they are there and while I don't have
any numbers to prove it, I'd bet that they are represented in the mags far more
than their actual numbers warrant if you want to talk about biases :-)

But the fact is, your average sport flyer can see himself flying a P51 because its
general shape is similar to the sport planes he flys. For the same reason, Piper
Cubs are very popular. But for those sport flyers to see themselves flying an
Albatros (let alone building one) is beyond their wildest dreams. You have told
stories of how people look at all the rigging on your Pup and their 'too complicated'
responses. But this response has nothing to do with competition rules, coverage of those events, or anything related to competition.

> could be considered for this level of competition. I agree there is a
> "renewed" interest in flying scale vs. sport. And in a large part it has

Now, I think, we get to the important stuff. There is a rising interest in
building scale aircraft rather than sport planes. How do you get these people
interested in WWI aircraft, not for competition, but as a challenge. Answers
to this question is what will put more WWI aircraft in the RC magazines.

Cheers --- Larry