[Headline: CL Navy Carrier at the 2014 Nats]
This month’s column is devoted to a summary of the models flown at the CL Navy Carrier Nats, and some additional information about Randy Snow’s biplanes.
Randy Snow’s models, featured in the October “CL Navy Carrier” column, were incorrectly identified. The Boeing F-4B-4 is not a Profile Carrier model as reported, but was built for .15 Profile Carrier. It is powered by a Super Tigre .15, and has a 255/8-inch wingspan.
The Curtiss F-6C-3 is a 363/4-inch wingspan model for AMA Profile. Power is a Thunder Tiger Pro 36.
Navy Carrier Nats
The Navy Carrier Nats included electric and internal-combustion events in each AMA class. The gas-powered models were the most numerous, but the number of electric-powered entries has continued to climb, and more than a third of this year’s entries were electric.
The number of models processed for competition was proportionally lower in the electric events, but this probably indicates that some electric models weren’t finished between the entry deadline and the actual competition. I take this as a sign of continuing increases in electric competition.
The increase in the number of electric models in numbers and their overall performances were reflected in the competition for the Eugene Ely Award. Before the competition, contestants were allowed to specify which events—electric or gas—would count as their official scores in each class for the Eugene Ely Award.
Eric Conley from Gardnerville, Nevada, won the Eugene Ely Award with gas models in Profile (F2G-1 Goodyear Corsair) and Class I (MO-1) and an electric-powered MO-1 in Class II.
Each year I try to identify trends in equipment and performance at the Nats. There are some correlations between model characteristics and individual aspects of performance, but others are more elusive.
The most direct correlation by far relates reliability to overall placing. In every event, the top places went to the modelers who flew complete flights. Those who completed their landings were the top scorers, and those who did not were ranked lower. No surprise there.
Performance advantages still reside with gas models. The highest speeds were by gas models, although some electric scores were catching up with the gas scores.
The best electric high speeds were achieved by Pete Mazur from Sugar Grove, Illinois, and Eric Conley in Class I and Class II at 102 mph, but the highest speed of the Nats was Burt Brokaw from Tucson, Arizona, at 105 mph in Class I with a gas engine. Even Eric’s great Class II electric score of 443.7 was 20 points behind his gas-powered Class I performance of 463.4.
Electric scores are still a compromise of high top-speed and low-speed endurance with significant increases in either, requiring more battery capacity. Greater capacity means greater weight, and greater weight means higher power requirements in slow flight.
Higher battery capacity also means a larger battery. MO-1 has always presented a challenge in containing a large fuel tank within the fuselage, and fitting in an even bigger battery becomes really challenging.
The electric models at the Nats all used four-cell series (4S) LiPo batteries. Most motors were rated at approximately 1,400 Kv. The largest-capacity battery was 5,000 mAh, with the next largest at 3,900 mAh. The largest ESC capacity was in Eric’s Class II at 150 amps. Pete’s 100-amp ESC cut off on one flight because of excessive current draw. Changing propellers solved that problem. Lower-capacity ESCs on other models produced lower high-speed scores. Pete and Eric both topped 100 mph with electric motors.
The Profile Carrier events were the most popular. The relative simplicity of those models probably played a role in the fact that all of the entries that were processed completed official flights in the gas Profile Carrier event.
Nelson engines retained their hold on the top speeds, and remained the most popular engines. In Profile, five out of eight engines were Nelsons, but in Class I and II, engines were evenly split between Nelson and K&B.
The gas-powered Class II event was disappointing, with many of the entries not flying because of pre-Nats damage that could not be repaired in time or failures at the Nats itself.
Paul Kegel of Fargo, North Dakota, who competed with the model he also flies in Nostalgia, took first place. His Douglas AD Skyraider, with a 30-inch wingspan and a Royal .45 engine that runs on suction, made a beautiful flight, reminding me of past decades of Carrier flying. Again, reliability and not sheer performance carried the day.
In terms of aircraft modeled, the MO-1 was the most popular subject, but only in the Class I and Class II events. There were both gas- and electric-powered MO-1s entered, with eight models in all events. Some did double duty in electric Class I and Class II.
The Profile events had only one MO-1—in fact, all of the Profile models were different. Even the two Guardians differed from one another. One was a Melton design and the other a Calkins Guardian.
More photos of Nats Navy Carrier activities can be found in the NatsNews section of the AMA website. Carrier coverage is in issues published on July 15-18.[dingbat]
Navy Carrier Society