With the new rules for Fédération Aéronautique Internationale-class Indoor model aircraft (F1D) and the adoption of Indoor micro aircraft (F1R) as an AMA event, it did not take long for the first records to be set in 2015.
The Thermal Thumbers of Metro Atlanta held Indoor Record Trials on January 3 and two AMA records were set. Joshua Finn set the Category I Open AMA F1D record with a flight of 19:22. He also set a Category I Open F1R record with a matching flight time of 19:22.
Congratulations to Josh on his record performances and a good start for the 2015 Indoor season.
With Peck Polymers out of business, some modelers may have difficulty finding stripped Tan Super Sport rubber in Indoor Free Flight sizes. Fortunately, stripped rubber is again available in 20-foot lengths.
Sizes varying from .020-inch wide up to .160-inch wide in .005-inch width increments can be purchased from DonsRC.com under the “Free Flight Supplies” section. Each 20-foot section comes marked with the nominal size, as well as the batch of rubber from which it came.
I have been making my own Teflon washers with sheet Teflon and a hole punch for some time. The necessary supplies can be bought online from McMaster-Carr and will yield enough material for a lifetime of Teflon washers.
The polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) sheet I use is part number 8569K18, which is .010-inch thick, 6 inches wide, and 12 inches long. The current cost is only $6.79. The company also sells it in .005-inch, .015-inch, and .020-inch thickness so you can buy whatever suits your need.
I use a simple hammer-driven hole punch to cut the washers. A 1/16-inch diameter punch is the one I use most often and it can also be purchased from McMaster-Carr. It is part number 3424A57. The company sells larger sizes such as 5/64 inch, 3/32-inch, and 1/8 inch if needed for aircraft such as Pennyplanes or Indoor Scale models. The punches are priced in the $6 to $7 range, depending on the size.
Cutting out the washers is simple. Place the punch on top of the Teflon sheet then hit the top of the punch with a small hammer. Put a soft board such as a pine board beneath the Teflon to allow the punch to go easily through the material.
I usually cut out 30 to 40 at a time, because it only takes a few seconds to cut one. As you cut them out, they will group into the recess of the hole punch. I use the back side of a drill or a piece of music wire to push them out.
The last thing to do is punch a center hole for the propeller shaft. Most of these washers I use are for propeller shafts with wire in the .008- to .013-inch range, so my method for piercing the center hole is simple. I use the tip of a dissecting or insect-mounting pin, which have a longer, thinner taper on the tip, to pierce the washer. This is usually enough to allow me to start the washer onto the propeller shaft.
An alternate method is to use a drill in a pin vice to make the hole. For models such as a Pennyplane, where thicker propeller shaft wire is used, I typically pierce the center hole first then enlarge the hole with a drill bit in a pin vise.
These washers may not be as clean looking as the die-cut ones, but they work just fine. If you drop one or two no big deal; just make some more.
The Indoor season traditionally has many contests in the March-to-May timeframe. Here are a few upcoming contests:
April 12: Glastonbury Modelers Spring Fling Indoor Contest in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Contact: email@example.com.
April 18: Peach State Indoor Champs in Atlanta, Georgia. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 18-19: Round Valley Dome contest in Eagar, Arizona. Contact: email@example.com.
April 25-26: Kent State Golden Flash Indoor Bash in Kent, Ohio. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 3: Spring Fling in Pontiac, Michigan. Contact: email@example.com.
I want to remind those who have a contest and would like it mentioned in this column that the deadline for the “Indoor Free Flight” column is three months before the publication of the issue. That means I need your information at least four months ahead of time for it to appear in print approximately the time of your event—or seven months before the scheduled contest if you want people to have some time to prepare for your event.
The “Indoor Free Flight” column is published January, April, July, and October of each year, so the sooner you send me the material, the sooner I can get it into the column.
Until next time, keep the weights down and the times up!