Some Thoughts on Competitions


There are several types of Competition which are published in our competition calendar .  The dates and venues are usually finalised by the middle of February each year.

National League Competitions include all schedules and pilots gain points towards the GBR/CAA league table. (see the results here: )  These events can be organised by any member and usually take place on the members home club site.  There could be up to 18 pilots and with a start time around 9.00am it would be expected to fly three rounds.

Our League is split into divisions by the five schedules.  Pilots who fly at 'National League' and 'BMFA Open' competitions, (except those competing for a UK Team Place at Centralised competitions who have a separate league),  gain points and the best five results through the year determine a league position.  We encourage all pilots to enter their first competitions at either Clubman or Intermediate level and work their way up the leagues where experience and skills are progressively learned.  Promotion is gained by scoring 60% of the total points available for that schedule in two competitions in a twelve month period.  You may move up to fly your new schedule immediately or it may be better to wait until the start of the next season, but it is whichever you choose.   Although we would encourage the promotion system, if a pilot feels they would like to fly a different schedule they can, it is the pilots decision.  We would hope that if any pilot continually wins at the level they are flying they would progress to the next level, but there may be implications for moral if a pilot flies a schedule above their ability.  We would not want to deter anyone from competing by making hard and fast rules about the schedules they fly.

BMFA Open Competitions are the same a National League competitions but they are open to none GBRCAA members and the results are used to decide the England and the International Team Member to fly at the Triple Crown (see below).

Team Selection Competitions are those run by the GBR/CAA on behalf of the BMFA to decide who will fly in the UK Team.  Entry priority is given to those who wish to compete for a Team place flying the FAI schedules, however any member can choose to fly their own schedule for league points if there are places available. A UK Team of three pilots enter the European Championships in odd years and World Championships in even years.

The BMFA National Championships is a three day competition when all schedules are flown and as many rounds as time allows. In 2008 19 pilots flew 8 rounds over the three days.  In 2009 26 pilots flew 7 rounds with an extra round for the Clubman pilots.

The Association Championships are flown over 2 days for all Schedules, with hopefully three rounds per day to decide the Association Champions.

The Triple Crown is an invitational competition between teams of four pilots from England, Scotland, Ireland and an International Team (made up of a fifth pilot from each country, two from the host Nation). Each Country takes it in turn to host the event.

European Championship is held in even years.  A BMFA UK Team of three is selected from our Team Selection Competitions (best 3 competition scores through the previous year are taken) and team members compete for Team and Individual places.

World Championship is held in odd years and the team are selected the same way as for the European Championships.

Introduction to Aerobatics days are held at BMFA Buckminster on the first Wednesday of every month for any pilot who wishes to improve their flying.  Use any model which is under 7kgs that will do a few loops and rolls   These are run by GBRCAA pilots and full details can be found here.

NPods are 'New Pilots Open Days' organised for anyone with a model under 7Kgs to have a days tuition from experienced F3A pilots. Those attending will not have entered a competition before and are not necessarily a member of the GBR/CAA.   This would hopefully encourage them to join the Association and enter future competitions.  It would be expected to get at least three flights under supervision. There may be a small charge to cover the cost of the venue.

EPods are 'Establish Pilots Open Days' arranged by members meet and practice together.  The main advantage is that it gives time to share ideas on the schedules, judging criteria, model trim, engine set ups, and alike.  All very difficult at competitions due to time restrictions, or if you practice alone in a club environment.  These days work best if there are 4 FAI pilots and 4 pilots flying other schedules, but the organiser can make whatever arrangements they think will work best for the pilots attending.  They should be structured to get the best from the time available and more importantly to give each pilot the time to fly up to 8 practice flights.  It also gives the opportunity to fly in a competition environment by taking it in turns to have one model in the air at a time for a maximum of 8 minutes. Attendees should be willing to interact and help others if they are asked.  There may be a small charge to cover the cost of the venue.

Other activities.

Members of the Scottish Aeromodellers Association organise their own Domestic competitions and league tables.

There are several continental competitions regularly attended by GBR/CAA members.


I wish we could find a new word to replace "Competitions" in our Domestic Competition title as this word conjures up thoughts of the need to win.  In reality only those who fly FAI can win, or be 2nd or 3rd or 4th as we in the lower classes should always recognise that there is someone who can fly better than we can, they are just in a higher class.  In the lower classes we are really competing against ourselves to improve our flying, and this is what we should get across to new members.  Flying at a domestic gathering of F3A flyers is no more than a way of assessing our improvement over the last time we flew in a organised way in front of experienced judges.  Only you will know how well you have flown.  No one else but you will remember what you did last time out.

The point I am trying to make here is that it matters not what model we fly, it is our performance and our flying ability that we are trying to improve.

At one end of the scale I can remember a 19 year old modeller designing a model with blue foam wings covered in brown paper and Profilm, fixed undercarriage, balsa fuselage, fitting a twenty year old engine and winning the Intermediate class at the Nats.  The airframe cost less than 40. 

G - MACH  -  Redshift 60 XR ifm on O.D. soft mount  -  O.D pipe and header  -  11 x 11 APC prop - fixed U/C

At the other end of the scale there are those flying in Masters who have never won a competition, but they have flown well enough to gain promotion points.  Improving our flying and achieving promotion points is what it is all about, but if by chance we win a few competitions on the way it makes our journey home on those days feel pretty good.  Yes we do have league tables for each class, so if competition is what you want, then this is the way we record it, and choose our trophy winners at the end of the year. Link to Competition Results

There are several none 2M models to choose from:  Flair's Swallow, MacGregor's Explorer V90, and the Zen 120 are just four, and as time goes by many others will appear on the market. In more recent days the range of SebArt models are good value and fly well.

Darren with his Flair Leo and YS 110 using APC 13.5 X 10 prop.  Exhaust system, Hatori 725 pipe with 726 header.

 Futaba FF9 Super with R149DP PCM receiver.

All Futaba servos are used.  Ailerons S9001. Throttle S3003  Rudder S3305  Elevator 1 x S3050.

Alistair and Bill Michie share this two metre model - a home build of conventional balsa construction.

...... and this is what it is all about, your Contest Director signing your score sheet to say you have gained promotion points.

Kevin Caton at the GBR/CAA Championships, RAF Cottesmore end of September 2006, signing James Stephens score sheet.

or this

Presentation at the Association AGM

Stuart Mellor after campaigning in Masters for some time beat off all the opposition to become

Masters League Champion 2006

(Stuart's model is reviewed here)

Click here for more information - Your first competition

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