FF models are under no control from the builder/flier after they are released for flight. Controlled flight is achieved through preset adjustments and onboard timers and or fuses that control various functions such as engine cutoff, transition from climb to glide, and recovery. Most Outdoor FF events are duration contests; the longest total flight time wins. Restrictions on fuel, engine size, rubber motor, or towline length are among the ways performance can be limited, thus making long flight times difficult to achieve. To lessen the chance of a single lucky flight winning an event, and to reduce the risk of lost models, flight times are limited to a maximum per flight that will keep the models within the boundaries of the field. Should a contestant achieve three maxes in six flight attempts, a sudden-death flyoff is held until tie scores are broken or a winner is determined. Recovery of FF models is generally achieved with some sort of dethermalizer, which is a device designed to prevent the aircraft from being carried great distances by updrafts of warm air called thermals. The device deflects major control surfaces, which stops forward flight and brings the model floating back to Earth.
By Rick Pangell
Being the first Outdoor Free Flight Nats in two years, there was a wonderful anticipation in the air. Being there on Saturday, July 24, bode ominous for the prospect. Saturday was our practice day but we could not have any open flying until 1 p.m., and eventually 2 p.m. Plus, it was windy.
Attending the planning meeting on that Saturday, our CD, Ed Carroll, went down the open item list and all the blanks were filled. We were ready to go.
AMA looks forward to hosting a fun and safe Nats this year at the International Aeromodeling Center (IAC)! Today, we have new developments to announce for Nats 2020.
The following message is from Dave Lindley, president of the National Free Flight Society (NFFS):
It is with great regret, that AMA and NFFS today announce that the current COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of the Outdoor Free Flight Nats scheduled for July 27-31, 2020, in Muncie, Indiana. We do not anticipate that there will be a rescheduling of this event in 2020. Anyone that had already registered WILL be refunded 100% by AMA automatically.
After careful deliberation, the AMA Executive Council has agreed to not cancel the 2020 Outdoor Nats. This decision is aligned with state and federal guidelines for events concerning COVID-19.
The 2020 AMA Nats will take place to the extent that individual Nats organizers plan and conduct their respective events. Additional safety measures will be in place to protect our members, staff, and community. Nats participants and visitors to the International Aeromdeling Center will have limited access to AMA facilities and should anticipate a scaled-back Nats experience.
In our final episode of Nats Demystified, Matt Ruddick talks to Wally Adasczik and Bob Sifleet about hunting thermals in Soaring and Free Flight events.