Approximately three months remain until the 2015 AMA Nats in Muncie, Indiana. The Carrier events will process on Monday, July 13. The Profile events (electric, gas, and Sportsman) will be flown on Tuesday, July 14. Wednesday will be for Class I and II (gas and electric). On Thursday, we will fly the unofficial Carrier events.
The annual awards banquet and meeting will be Wednesday evening when the Eugene Ely Award will be presented to the best all-around Carrier contestant at the Nats. Either electric- or gas-powered flights can be used for the award calculations, but the contestant must declare which type of model he or she will use before any flights are made. If no declaration is made, any contestant entered in both gas and electric events will have the gas score counted for the Eugene Ely Award.
The entry deadline is June 22. There is a $50 late fee after that and no entries will be accepted for the AMA Carrier events after 5 p.m. on Monday, July 13. This policy ensures that the officials are aware of all potential entries to be processed. They will know when all have been processed, and not have to wait in case a late entry might show up.
We would appreciate having all models, including those in unofficial events, available on the first day of processing, Monday, July 13. Our officials spend much time ensuring that we have a good competition at the Nats, and we need to appreciate their sacrifices and do what we can to reduce their workload.
What’s in a Tailhook?
The obvious answer is that it’s “an arresting line,” but that’s not the point.
Tailhooks have been a part of the Navy Carrier events since their beginning. They are traditionally retracted during takeoff and extended for landing. Much of that is based on the full-scale aircraft’s practice.
When carrier decks became more automated and required less manual intervention in recovering aircraft (after the initial period of operations on the USS Langley), tailhooks had to be retractable to allow aircraft to taxi over arresting lines and deck tiedown points without catching. Although that’s not an issue with our models, they followed that tradition.
Perhaps some early Carrier modelers who flew with ignition engines and larger models might have wanted to start their takeoff roll in the arresting lines to ensure there was enough distance for a safe takeoff. I can’t speak with authority, because not even I was flying Carrier six decades ago!
Our tailhooks were originally long enough to ensure that they could reach the arresting lines during a high-speed landing pass when extended. That allowed a better chance at an arrested landing before the aircraft’s long landing gear caused it to rebound into the air. The long gear was an effort to save propellers, although some of the earliest Carrier models included scalelike landing gear, armament, etc. Rev-Up propellers were expensive even before the currently preferred APC propellers came onto the scene.
Although the rules describe an extendable tailhook, it is not a requirement. I have used a fixed tailhook on at least one model. With the current style of landing out of a hanging, slow-flight attitude, there is little danger of the model becoming airborne again after landing, and a short tailhook should work fine as the model moves over the arresting lines.
Eric Conley’s latest electric Class I MO-1 has a fixed tailhook that serves as both tail skid and tailhook. The photo shows its configuration. [Photo 2 in this vicinity] The hook has a non-standard safety catch configuration. The rearward extension of the safety catch is designed to help prevent the arresting line from slipping out of the hook during occasional animated gyrations during an arrested landing.
By making the bend for the safety catch horizontal, the hook has a lower profile at its leading edge and can easily slip under the arresting line. It also allows a larger bend radius that is less likely to break in use or even during fabrication.
Although tailhooks are often used as a release mechanism for a moveable rudder or flaps, flaps are seldom seen on current AMA Carrier models, and moveable rudders have less utility on models using reverse-rotation engines and pusher propellers.
New e-Class I Model
Eric Conley sent some photos of his newest model, an electric MO-1 for Class I. He already has e-Profile and e-Class II models. He has installed everything (ESC, receiver, batteries, motor, wiring, switches, plugs, etc.) inside the relatively small confines of the MO-1’s fuselage. That’s no small feat!
One interesting feature of Eric’s electric MO-1 designs is the reappearance of the MO-1 radiator. There were few radiators on the first MO-1s, including Don Gerber’s little Class I model published in 1969. Eric’s radiator serves as a cooling air intake for the ESC. The motor cooling can be accomplished by the clearance allowed around the propeller shaft and motor, but that air is limited in volume and can be too warm to effectively cool the ESC.
Eric’s model is the same size as his e-Class II, but he changed a few things such as the tailhook, and he substituted balsa for light plywood, producing a structure that is 4 ounces lighter to comply with the 31/2-pound weight limit.
Good News from Denver
Denver has had a fair number of Navy Carrier modelers in past years, but there has been a decrease in recent activity. This year, for the first time in a while, there will again be Navy Carrier events at the Rocky Mountain Aeromodelers (RMA) contest Labor Day weekend.
Last summer, RMA completed a new carrier deck, and the club is using it for practice sessions and Carrier-focused flying events. New Carrier models are even being taken to show-and-tell sessions at club meetings.
Try to support the September contest if you can.