04 Jul 2011

A Reminder and the Guidelines for the FAI Sporting Code, Section 4, Volume Space Models General Revision

An idea of the FAI Sporting Code, Section 4, Volume SPACE MODELS general revision was thoroughly discussed at the 16th World Spacemodelling Championships (WSMCh) in Baikonur in 2006 based on a project of Vladimir Minakov (Russia). There were two official changes of the rules since than, but a complete revision should be prepared for 2012. 

At the 18th WSMCh 2010 held in Irig (Serbia) were given proposals to make the rules shorter, easier to understand and supported by more drawings that are more illustrative than verbal descriptions. 

Numerous proposals were received by spacemodellers from different countries from January to March 2011, but because of the intensive competition season further work was little impeded and now we restart initiative to complete this work in four phases:

Phase 1 – What should be deleted from the present rule book?
Phase 2 - What should be changed in the present rule book?
Phase 3 – What should be added in the present rule book?

After a detailed discussion that should be completed till mid-August 2011 shall come the final phase:

Phase 4 – How to group spacemodelling classes and to designate them?

A document finalized in this way shall be discussed at the CIAM Space Models Subcommitte meeting to be held in Buzau (Romania) during the European SM Championships to be held from 20th to 27th August, 2011.

We shall give a detailed explination with examples to clarify the term “general revision”. This revision must be ESSENCIAL – not only correction of certain paragraphs. Here is why we should do so:

a)The essence of the rule book makes Harry Stine’s rules from 1962, which is OK, but there were only three classes in these rules and new classes are only added after that. So, there are ten official and three provisional classes S6A/P, S11/P, S12/P that are practically not flown at all (except occasionally S12/P in BLR, RUS and UKR). If we look at the FAI SC 4 Volume SM Table 1 – Space Models “S” Classification of Records we shall notice more than 40 records, but in WChs/CChs we fly only 8 classes and in World Cup – 5 classes. The rest of more than 30 subclasses nobody either flies or models for these classes even exist. It is necessary first of all to reduce number of subclasses that are not flown at all and then to group rest of the classes, like it is the case with aeromodels. That is also the FAI/CIAM request for all aero/spacemodelling branches.

b) When we speak about grouping of the classes a basic example was aeromodelling. These classes are grouped into categories: F1 – Free Flight, F2 – Control Line, F3 – RC models, F4 – Scale F5 –Electric, F6 – Promotional Classes, F7 – Aerostats. There are many classes in each category. We can group SM classes in a similar way: a) Free-flight duration (S3, S6, S9), b) Free-flight gliders (S4 and S10), c) Altitude (S1 and S2) d) RC (S8, S8E/P and S11/P) e) Scale Models (S5 and S7). V. Minakov’s proposal is little different: a) S1 – Free flight duration models, b) S2 – Altitude models c)S3 - RC models d) S4 - Scale models e)S5 - Free flight duration and precision launch models. More details shall be given in the next email.

c)There were discussions about technical characteristics of SM models in last 15 years. The Sapphire (SM Development program launched in 1997) established some guidelines for further development of our models. They had to be: a) Safe, b) Attractive, c) Public Promotional d)…and to apply High-Tech and Inventions e) …because of the Spacemodelling (Model Rocketry) enhancement. All this required us to build bigger, good looking models with excellent flyability so to be safe, flyable many times and attractive to the spectators and media. These tasks are only partly fulfilled.

d)All this can be realized with good development and technical support. They were present in early days of SM, but recently competitions are of the greatest importance and development went into “backstage” with some exceptions. What must be reconsidered soon is: a) dimensions of all models per classes and their minimum and maximum weights; b) wing span of RC and Ff gliders and changeable configuration; c) payloads and electronic equipment for retrieval of the models; d) software for different measurements (engine testing, altitude measurements etc) and for organization of the events and elaboration of results. Telling of weights – in Table 1 of the SC4 Volume SM maximum weight for S1A is 30 grams and for S3A is 100 grams! What an absurd – and not the only one. All similar things must be corrected.

e)Class S2 was flown only ONCE in WSMCh 1980 in Lakehurst (USA) and was flown never again in the FAI international events. Problem was with the unsafe lead payloads that were supposed to become “smart” and/or “operational” – but they did not.

f)Electronic altitude measurement was introduced, but conditions for it given for the CIAM Plenary Meeting 2008 that are published in the FAI SC4 Volume SM (Edition Jan 1, 2010) were already outdated when published because of fast progress of electronic technology and had to be improved by the Local Rules approved by the CIAM Bureau for the WSMCh 2010 in Serbia. These Local Rules shall be used for EuSMCh 2011 in Romania, again. It is very important to obtain the official rules for electronic altitude measurements.

g)There is in the FAI SC 4 Volume SM par. 4.9.3 Minimum Horizontal Distance Method (S1X Method) that is theoretically developed and practically tested in the USA and Germany, but which was never applied in the FAI international events. It requires at least three tracking stations and is expensive and slow in relation to electronic altitude measurements. Therefore it should be deleted from the rule book as obsolete.

h)There are also some contradictions in static judging of scale models that scale judges try to remove in practice, but the rules still stay unchanged. Namely, there is a great number of non-carrier rockets with excellent “flyability”, but because a “static judging fashion” carrier rockets are awarded with enormously high points. So, total static points for “carriers” (Saturn 1B, Soyuz, Arianne) go over 700 points, while sounding rockets with perfect workmanship and flyability hardly achieve 600 points. Since building of a carrier is very demanding and expensive number of participants in S7 (Scale models), the most attractive class for public and media rapidly decreases.

i)Special attention must be paid to the FAI SC 4 Volume SM par 4.4.3 – “Builder of the model” when we speak about scale models. 1) Because of high technological demands for building carriers only limited number of persons is able to produce such scale models. So, either only several persons are “qualified” for top placings or in case of ambitious newcomers a new kind of “business” is being developed. Judges do not have an appropriate answer how to stop this. 2) Problem in (1) continues with the junior scale models competitors. It is evident that a 10 to 12 years old boy/girl cannot be a “builder of the model” if this model is very complex and technically sophisticated Saturn 1B or Arianne. We must change the rules so to encourage youngsters to enter contests with the models they can build, prepare for flight, launch and retrieve.

j)It is clear that A and B engines are too small for altitude competition models. Because of small velocity at the end of launcher when a model becomes airborne aerodynamics is still not-efficient and number of DQs for unstabile flights goes up to 30%. Some predictions were that electronic altitude measurements shall improve this figure, but conclusion was – electronics can not improve bad flyability! Solution may be in bigger models with more powerful engines and improved flyability.

k)Annex 2 – Guide for judges and organizers certainly should be divided into two guides – one for judges and the second for the organizers. Guide for organizers should be completed with many new items relating electronic altitude measurements. Also, Annex 5 – General Organization of a World Championships should be more spacemodelling oriendted.

l)Someone’s pleasure might be to get up at 5.30 AM and to come back from the flying field at 9.00 PM. It looks really unusual ordinary people to award cups and diplomas in light of car headlights. If we wish to be treated as a real sport we must attract spectators and media to our events. Do you know any other sport with similar practice? Do we need it really or we should change our practice and habits. 

m)Spacemodelling was a part of the first World Air Games in Turkey 1997, the greatest and the most ambitious FAI project. Than in 2003 we were deleted from the WAG program for 2nd WAG in Spain because the organizer evaluated our activity as “boring to tears”. We tried since than to rejoin WAG and now it seems possible for 2013. Guy Revel, CIAM WAG coordinator, suggested us a new class acceptable for WAG: space race – with two teams of two members competing simultaneously. It should be a very dynamic event. We shall give you details in the next email.

n)Our present rule book requires at first a very careful proof reading. It was “uniform” and “smooth” in early days of SM, but many changes caused it to look like an old coat full of patches, because some changes were made without seeing contradictions in other parts of the rules. These relates at first quotations of some paragraphs from the ABR volume which are not correct because of changes in this part of the rules too. Therefore some of the rules are not practically applicable or require clarifications.

The draft of the new rule book, after a discussion, should be completed before August 15, 2011 and shall be discussed at the CIAM Space Models S/C meeting in Buzau (Romania) within EuSMCh 2011. All proposals shall be reconsidered during September and October 2011 and after being approved by the CIAM Space Models S/C (after voting) shall be forwarded to the FAI Office before November 15, 2011 for consideration and approval by the CIAM Plenary Meeting in April 2012. If and when approved the new rules shall become effective from January 1, 2013.