Chapter 3

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that! After all, it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody because Nobody had wound up doing what Anybody could have done! - Anon.

Introduction - return to top
In Chapter 2 we looked at what people do when they become involved with model aviation. Now we will examine the organizational structure that has evolved to deal with this very diversified hobby/sport.

At the international level the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) is the world air sports federation. In its role of establishing control and certification of world aeronautical records it establishes regulations for air sporting events which are organized by member countries. The FAI lists National Aeromodelling Federations for many countries at:

In the case of the sport of model aviation the FAI issues a Sporting Code. In section 4c Aeromodels, rules are specified for competition in Free Flight, Control Line, Radio Control, Scale, and Radio Control Electric Powered models. Sub categories are specified for each of the above. For example, eleven subcategories are listed under the heading Free Flight. Copies of the FAI Sporting Code may be downloaded from the Internet site above or purchased from the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

Sport aviation is represented by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) at the national level in the United States. The NAA recognizes eight organizations as the governing bodies of their respective air sports One of these is the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), the official governing body for model aviation.

To view AMA's competition regulations see and click Publications and click Competition Regulations and click Table of Contents and/or desired regulation.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) have been formed to represent the needs and desires of their members. Most are recognized by AMA. Those that are not are noted with an asterisk. They assist and advise AMA. To navigate the AMA website to the SIGs recognized by AMA, proceed as follows: and click About AMA and click Special Interest Groups.

When modelers gather to engage in competition (a meet) they compete in specialized events in which the configuration of the model and the flying procedures are specified. These rules and regulations are prepared by the entity that sanctions the event within the meet. To summarize, a given meet can contain events that are flown by differing rules established by the FAI, AMA, AMA recognized SIGs, and Non-AMA recognized SIGs.

The actual membership of any of these organizations is made up of clubs. These local clubs serve to promote their element of the hobby, to serve the needs of their members and most importantly to inform, and recruit from, the public.

Many rulebooks place event descriptions in categories according to the power source to be used in the model aircraft. I will use the power source of the models to categorize the SIGs that play such an important role as part of the network that governs model aviation.

3.1 Rubber Power - return to top
Model aircraft powered by rubber "motors" have served as excellent training devices for beginners for many years. They are inexpensive to build and repair, which is an important factor as the novice develops trimming, adjusting and flying skills. These activities often result in "unplanned impacts".

Rubber models are clean and quiet in operation. This helps modelers get and keep flying sites. The Marin Aero Club Web site provides an introductory overview of model aircraft construction at: click Marin aero club info and click wonderful guideline.

A wide variety of model events and applications have been established by enthusiastic special interest groups (SIGs). The following SIGs play a significant role in defining and running rubber model events.

3.1.1 Flying Aces Club (FAC)* - return to top
Although the FAC Headquarters has a small official Web site at some chapters, called squadrons, of the organization do maintain more extensive sites as follows: features a monthly newsletter on the Internet. A file of past articles provides a treasure trove of information for the modeler. Downloadable plans are also included. and click flying aces facts is an overview of the club and click FAC squadron list provides contact information for 51 squadrons is a home page said to represent the original FAC club Some of the following comments are taken from the "Flying Aces Facts" listed above.

Many of the modelers of the 1930s are still alive and they are keeping the tradition alive by building and flying stick and tissue models. Fortunately, they are attracting some of the younger population at a rate, which will probably keep the art and technology alive for some time. This group takes its name from a popular modeling/aviation magazine of the 1930s called "Flying Aces". This magazine was a collection of modeling articles, aviation history articles, and articles of sheer fiction and fantasy.

The Flying Aces members number over 1500 and are organized in squadrons. The club headquarters publishes a rulebook and also a newsletter six times a year. The newsletter contains contest information, technical material and plans for building models.

To apply for membership write to: FAC-GHQ
3301 Cindy Lane
Erie, PA 16506
The cost is $15.00 per year in the U. S. and Canada
overseas the cost is $20.00 per year.

Current FAC membership exceeds 1,500, and no less than 194 made their way to Geneseo, NY to participate in the annual national contest for the year 2000. Many more came as spectators.

The aircraft flown consist primarily of scale stick and tissue, rubber-powered models. FAC competition is designed to encourage modelers to build good-looking aircraft that fly well. The score one receives in a FAC event is based upon fidelity to scale, workmanship, and flight duration. The flight duration score is handicapped by the type and complexity of the model. For example, a highwing monoplane receives no handicap points while a biplane receives 15 handicap points. Further details may be seen on and click 2003 FAC Rule Book. Or, a paper copy of the Rule Book can be obtained from FAC headquarters. See for details.

3.1.2 National Free Flight Society (NFFS) - return to top The NFFS states on it's web site, "To preserve, promote and enhance interest in the sport and hobby of Free Flight model aircraft in all its forms." NFFS sponsors regional and national free flight competitions, publishes a monthly magazine, and conducts an annual symposium where the best ideas and scientific developments of the sport are presented and published.

NFFS runs the AMA free flight events in the annual indoor and outdoor National Competition (NATS) for the AMA.

The NFFS also has a special rulebook that governs certain Nostalgia Events. These competitions are to be flown with specific models designed in past years. In addition NFFS has a Special Events rulebook that refers to events governed by other SIGs.

3.1.3 Society of Antique Modelers (SAM) - return to top
The spirit of the organization is best described in the SAM "Preamble": "The competition flying of free flight and R/C model aircraft of vintage design is intended to be casual, enjoyable and interesting for both competitor and spectator alike. It is neither desired to advance the state-of-the-art of aeromodeling, per se, other than to increase participation in the sport generally, nor to reprove again that which is already recorded in aeromodeling history books. The intent of these rules is to categorize the basic types of vintage models and establish an equitable and simple framework of regulations for competition purposes.

Therefore, model designs that revolutionize flight competition and necessitated the formation of two basic classifications, Antique and Old Timer are expected to compete in the Old Timer Events."

In the Antique category models must be powered with the original ignition-type gas engines from the period. As a result, SAM members are very interested in the Model Engine Collectors Association However, since the availability of old engines has dried up, modern replicas of these engines are accepted in SAM competition.

A look at the SAM Rule Book- reveals that SAM competition also includes glow plug ignition, rubber power, hand-launched gliders, towline gliders and compressed air motors. The Special Events Section includes the use of electric motor power, and there is even an event that permits "R/C assist"!! But it must be emphasized that old designs are the rule, and the best old time designs show up in large numbers at contests. SAM has over 5,000 members with chapters around the world.

3.1.4 Ornithopter Society (OS)* - return to top
The Ornithopter Society, founded in 1983, is an international group of hobbyists and researchers interested in flapping-wing flight. Many of its members build successful models that fly in the same way as birds.

Full-scale ornithopters piloted by humans have a reputation for futility, but miniature ornithopters are receiving close scrutiny for military applications.

See and click how birds fly for an explanation of how birds fly. A selection of successful model kits is found at Ornithopter models are not for beginners. Experienced modelers may enjoy their unique challenge.

3.1.5 Science Olympiad (SO)* - return to top (secondary)
The Science Olympiad is an international nonprofit organization devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers. The SO began when Dr. Gerard J. Putz, regional science consultant for Macomb County Intermediate School District in Michigan, invited John C. Cairns, State Science Supervisor for Delaware Department of Instruction, to share the SO program with Macomb County educators in 1982. A program was developed patterned after similar events in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Two events were designed and conducted with considerable success in 1984.

Science Olympiad events are tournaments consisting of rigorous academic interscholastic competitions featuring individual and team events. Currently there are 33 different events distributed among three broad goal areas of science education.

For our purposes, we will focus on the area of "Science Application and Technology" and more specifically on the event called, "The Wright Stuff." The event description states, "Students will design and build a propeller propelled aerodynamic device for the greatest time aloft." This translates to an indoor rubber-powered, stick and tissue model with a stick fuselage and built-up flying surfaces. Students are mentored by volunteer experienced modelers and teachers during the construction and flying sessions.

There are now over 13,500 k-12 schools participating in the SO in all 50 states and Ontario, Canada. Of these, it is estimated that 30,000 students are involved with the "Wright Stuff" event each year. This exposure to the basics of model aviation and aerodynamics can have a profound impact on the field of aviation if adequate follow-up is taken to assure that some of these students continue to learn more about design and technology through the hobby/sport of model aviation. Details of the SO model approach are covered in Chapter 6 at 6.2.

3.2 Gas Power/ Free Flight - return to top
For discussion purposes the term Gas Power is applied to any two or four stroke engine fueled by its own appropriate blend of fuel. Gas engines are used in most model aircraft applications. They were first used to power free flying models. As it became possible to control models by wire or radio, free flight gas model event participation has been reduced. However, the following SIGs contain dedicated modelers who enjoy diverse events and applications that have stood the test of time.

Modern model gas engines are easier to start and operate than in the past due to the use of electric starters and better engine design, plugs and fuel. However, they must be handled with respect when it comes to the safety of the modeler and spectators.

3.2.1 National Association of Scale Aeromodelers (NASA) - return to top and click nasa
NASA was formed in 1977 at the AMA National Contest held in California. It was created to encourage, promote, and advance all phases of scale aeromodeling including Free Flight, Control Line, and Radio Control.

NASA is the host of the annual AMA Scale National Championship. This event is held at the AMA National Flying Site in Muncie, Indiana. All AMA scale classes for Control Line and Radio Control are held at this event.

Scale modelers require detailed information on the full-scale aircraft that they choose to replicate. NASA has a Scale Data Source List that all new members receive upon joining. NASA publishes a newsletter called Replica that is distributed to NASA members worldwide.

NASA's Web site boasts 400,000 documentation resources. It enables one to post model related questions, and covers the status of competition related activities. Their Documentation Links list covers two pages. It includes links to Aviation Databases, Museums, Paint Scheme Data, and much more. From the Web site above click NASA, tech services, documentation resources, and Scale Aero's documentation links

3.2.2 National Free Flight Society (NFFS) See 3.1.2

3.2.3 Society of Antique Modelers (SAM) See 3.1.3

3.2.4 Ornithopter Society (OS) See 3.1.4

3.3 Gas Power/Control Line - return to top
In the past, modelers who built finely detailed scale models of full sized aircraft turned to flight control by means of wires (Control Line) to minimize flight damage. Speed flyers also needed control to tame models powered by large gas engines or pulse jet engines. As radio control systems matured, control line flying activity dropped considerably. However, new applications such as simulated combat and precision aerobatics have revived the sport somewhat. See related Web sites at:

3.3.1 National Association of Scale Aeromodelers (NASA) See 3.2.1

3.3.2 National Control Line Racing Association (NCLRA) - return to top
The NCLRA is the official AMA recognized SIG for control line racing. The purpose of the SIGs events is to fly models in direct competition in preliminary heat races leading to feature (final) races. The term direct competition means that two, or in some events three, fliers share the center of the control line circle within a circle of five-foot radius and fly their models in a counterclockwise direction.

The control line racing unified rules for six different AMA events may be seen at: and click racing rules.

3.3.3 Navy Carrier Society (NCS) - return to top
The NCS is the AMA recognized SIG for Control Line Carrier Flyers. In this group of control line events the pilots fly a timed high-speed segment for one half mile. This is followed by a timed low speed segment. The next segment of the flight is the landing. The landing is performed upon a simulated aircraft carrier flight deck. Maximum landing points are awarded for landing in a normal attitude and stopped by the arresting hook.

High speeds attained average 70 to 120 mph. Low speeds may be 4 to 8 mph. The flight score is determined by the combined performance of all three-flight segments.

3.3.4 Model Aircraft Combat Association (MACA) - return to top
MACA is the AMA recognized SIG for control line combat. It promotes the sport of control line combat by dissemination of information through their newsletter and web site.

Control line combat simulates full size air-to-air combat. Two models are flown in the same circle, during the same five-minute time period. Each aircraft is equipped with a crepe paper streamer attached using a string leader. Each pilot attempts to cut his opponent's streamer. Points are awarded for each cut, or to cut the string leader itself, called a kill.

3.3.5 Precision Aerobatics Model Pilot's Association (PAMPA) - return to top
PAMPA is the AMA recognized SIG for control line stunts. PAMPA has about 2,500 members in 35 countries. A newsletter called Stunt News is published bi-monthly.

The control line precision aerobatics pattern is a series of flight maneuvers that are scored according to geometric perfection. When the pattern calls for a repeated maneuver, the repetitions must all be in the same place. Each of the fourteen maneuvers is awarded a score, which is added to points awarded for the appearance of the model.

The PAMPA Web site is an excellent example of what a SIG web site should contain. You will find information on getting started in building models and on flying them. Links to related sites are also provided. Other related links are found at:

3.3.6 North American Speed Society (NASS) - return to top (this is not a typo)
The title of the above web site is C/L Speed Review. The stated purpose of the society is to reach out to novice modelers interested in control line speed, and to promote NASS. It consists of 37 pages of insight regarding control line racing.

3.4 Gas Power/Radio Control - return to top
As modeler's skills mature more are turning to radio control (R/C). Although the cost of sophisticated radio equipment was never lower compared to its capability, one piloting error can result in hundreds of dollars of damage to the aircraft. This is why one should approach R/C flight after accumulating experience with free flight models, or at least begin with the aid of a competent R/C instructor. The 13 SIGs listed below are evidence of the diversity and popularity of this phase of model aviation. Despite the noise reduction afforded by better muffler systems, flying sites are dwindling as suburbs replace the wide-open fields of the past. It should be noted that gas-powered models are limited to outdoor flying.

Related Web sites: radio control components, links and frequently asked questions. and click planes getting started and links extensive links and click Publications and click Model Aviation and click Click here for online features from Model Aviation. Click From Ground Up. This is an extensive series on the basics of model R/C.

3.4.1 Jet Pilot's Organization (JPO) - return to top
JPO is the AMA recognized SIG for ducted fan and turbine powered operation. The JPO was founded to promote and advance ducted fan and turbine- powered technology for the sport, recreation and fellowship of those interested in the design, construction, and flight of jet powered aircraft. The JPO will represent the interests of its members in areas of competition, safety, and technology development.

A ducted fan model is powered by a gas engine or electric motor turning a bladed fan within a duct, which is inside a fuselage or nacelle.

A turbine model is powered by a miniature turbojet engine similar in principle to one found on a full-scale jet aircraft.

The JPO Web site includes links to other jet-related sites. It also contains the text of the organization's bylaws and constitution. JPO also has a newsletter for members only, and an official publication called Contrails.

3.4.2 International Radio Controlled Helicopter Association (IRCHA) - return to top
IRCHA was founded in 1989 to promote model helicopter aviation. IRCHA is the AMA recognized group for radio controlled helicopters. The group publishes the IRCHA Bulletin on a monthly basis.

Radio controlled helicopters are powered by gas model engines, and recently also by electric motors. The Web site above features links to many helicopter-related Web sites.

A related site: and click beginners guide a brief guide for beginners contemplating helicopter modeling

3.4.3 R/C Combat Association (RCCA) - return to top
RCCA is the AMA recognized group for radio controlled combat. In the WW2 Fighter Combat event the model must be a 1/12-scale replica of a Pursuit, Fighter or Attack Aircraft produced or in service between 1935 and 1955. The model must resemble its full-scale counterpart. No more than plus or minus 5% deviation from overall scale outline is allowed.

The aircraft model will be provided with a crepe-paper streamer 30 feet long attached to the model by a cotton string extending at least 5 feet from the tail of the model.

Combat duration lasts 7 minutes, during which 4 or more aircraft are flown against each other. Points are awarded for each streamer cut accomplished by a pilot.

A complete set of rules for WW2 Fighter Combat will be found at:
RCCA rules for an Open Combat event are at:

3.4.4 National Competition Fun Fly Association (NCFFA) - return to top
The NCFFA is an AMA SIG formed to promote competitive fun fly activities. You can find the competition rules at the above link and click rules The rules feature R/C activities such as roll-loop-spin tasks and mission tasks such as spot landing and balloon burst. All selected to provide competitive fun in a low-key environment.

3.4.5 Vintage R/C Society (VR/CS) - return to top

VR/CS is an AMA recognized SIG that is dedicated to the preservation of Radio Control history, and the achievements of those electronic and airframe design pioneers that made R/C the best hobby/sport in the world.

VR/CS presents awards annually to outstanding contributors and innovators in the hobby. Such individuals are inducted into the Vintage R/C Society Radio Control Hall of Fame.

3.4.6 International Miniature Aircraft Association (IMAA) - return to top
IMAA is the AMA recognized group for the non-competitive sport of building and flying large-sized model airplanes. Recognized in 1983, it is the largest AMA SIG. The concept of large or giant scale is generally considered to apply to R/C model aircraft with minimum wingspans of 80 inches for monoplanes and 60 inches for multi-wing planes.

Quarter (1/4) scale replicas or larger which do not fit the size requirements are permitted. All this makes the miniature in the organization's name somewhat of an oxymoron.

The IMAA Web site includes a history of the organization and numerous links. IMAA publishes the High Flight magazine.

Related Web site:
Extensive links and reference to a mailing list - GiantscaleRC.

3.4.7 International Miniature Aerobatic Club (IMAC) - return to top
IMAC is the AMA recognized SIG of R/C aerobatics. IMAC is dedicated to duplicating full-scale aerobatics with R/C aircraft in a realistic manner that is challenging for the contestants as well as interesting for the spectators. Power may be gas or electric. The Web site contains applicable contest rules. Compulsory aerobatic sequences change each year and are printed in the AMA publication Model Aviation each spring. Competitions are held in Basic, Sportsman, Advanced and Unlimited categories. Membership stands at 1,000.

3.4.8 National Association of Scale Aeromodelers (NASA) See 3.2.1

3.4.9 National Miniature Pylon Racing Association (NMPRA) - return to top
NMPRA is the AMA recognized SIG for R/C pylon racing. The ability to control a model airplane in three dimensions provided the impetus of R/C pylon racing, as we know it today. The initial rules were presented to the AMA R/C Committee in 1956. AMA rules were finalized in 1959. In the mid-sixties there was a desire to race scale model aircraft simultaneously over a triangular course similar to full size Goodyear Racers flown in the late forties. R/C pylon racing has developed into three classes or events that are separated by aircraft requirements, engine specifications, fuel restrictions and course length.

The AMA recognizes five classes of R/C pylon racing for U. S. competition. All are intended for multi-channel R/C aircraft powered by conventional two-stroke glow engines. The task consists of an ROG (rise off ground) takeoff (or in the case of Π A, a hand launch) followed by left turns around a closed course marked by pylons. For more information see: and click racers reference

3.4.10 Scale Warbird Racing Association (SWRA) - return to top
The SWRA was formed for those individuals who are interested in the thrill, excitement, and nostalgia of racing radio controlled model aircraft of piston-driven warbirds and replicas of the Unlimited Reno Racers.

SWRA serves as an AMA SIG to develop and update unified rules, coordinate racing dates for events, and maintain national season point totals for member competitors in the fixed bracket-racing format.

3.4.11 Unlimited Scale Racing Association (USRA) - return to top
USRA serves as an AMA SIG as the official sanctioning and rules body for the sport of Giant Scale Air Racing. Founded in 1994, the purpose of the USRA is to provide a set of racing rules and procedures and to separate those racing rules and procedures from the promotional aspects of the racing event organizers.

The USRA serves to advance the sport of giant scale air racing in the areas of competition, safety and technology development for the benefit of those persons interested in the design, construction and flight of giant scale racing aircraft.

Giant scale air racing is patterned after the Reno National Air Races as a way to bring the excitement, sound, color and history of air racing up close to the public and the world of radio control enthusiasts. Speeds well in excess of 200 mph make giant scale air racing one of the fastest motor sports in the world.

USRA racing encompasses 6 classes. The heavyweights are the Unlimited and Experimental classes where the maximum aircraft weight (wet) is 55 pounds. USRA racing rules, race course specifications and related web site links are linked to:

3.4.12 National Society of Radio Controlled Aerobatics (NSRCA) - return to top
NSRCA is the AMA recognized SIG for aerobatic pattern flyers in the U. S. Although the stated primary direction of the NSRCA is pattern, it welcomes all aspects of aerobatics and associated information as part of the "richness of being a society." The society feels that, "Our product is contests and judges to find out how good we have become at the sport."

The NSRCA publishes a newsletter called the "K-Factor". Links to related web sites are found at:

3.4.13 Senior Pattern Association (SPA) - return to top
SPA is the AMA recognized SIG for aerobatic pattern flyers that like to fly pattern as it was done in the 1960s and 1970s. SPA events are divided into groups according to the pilot's age:
Pre Senior - Up to 45
Senior - 45 to 65
Super Senior - 65 and Up

Events are further divided into Patterns and Antique. Pattern model designs must have been designed and flown before January 1, 1976. Antique model designs must have been designed prior to January 1, 1965. Patterns are divided into Expert, Sportsman and Novice. Antique is divided into Expert and Sportsman.

3.5 Jet Power - return to top
Jet powered models must be controlled in flight because of the high speeds involved. Once only possible by control line, the use of radio control has become increasingly popular. Most modelers use gas engines turning a ducted fan for propulsion. A slowly growing number fly turbine-powered aircraft. The cost of turbine engines plus the necessary ground support equipment limits this complex sport to technically proficient modelers.

3.5.1 United States Radio Controlled Jet Command (USRCJC)* - return to top
USRCJCs sole interest is expressed in its name. It is the flying of radio controlled models of jet aircraft including those that are turbine powered or gas or electric ducted fans. (See JPO for definitions). The goal of USRCJC is to support all R/C jet modelers worldwide with the most current news and technology to further the sport of r/c jets. Membership is international.

For ducted fan information on techniques, plans and forums see:

For turbine information on techniques and forums see:

For tech support and how-to information see:
or related Web links see:

3.5.2 Gas Turbine Builder's Association (GTBA)* - return to top
GTBA was formed in 1995 to encourage the exchange of information relating to the construction and operation of model gas turbines. Members are encouraged to contribute their ideas, experiences and developments to the bi-monthly newsletter. Information is regularly updated on sources of material and services available from individual members.

Reports from qualified engineers within GTBA have been commissioned on turbine wheel structural safety and on the burst shielding of turbine wheels.

The GTBA is an advisory body, which provides technical assistance to its members and to other organizations. The British Model Flying Association has appointed the GTBA as a specialist body with representation through the BFMA R/C Power Technical Committee to the BFMA Technical Council.

The Web site features pictures of member's turbines. The reader is cautioned that this activity is for qualified technical personnel and is not intended for the novice without expert supervision.

3.5.3 Jet Pilot's Organization (JPO) See 3.4.1

3.5.4 National Control Line Racing Association (NCLRA) See 3.3.2

3.5.5 North American Speed Society (NASS) See 3.3.6

3.6 Electric Power/Indoor - return to top
The use of electricity to power model aircraft is growing rapidly. This is due to advances in battery technology and miniaturization of electronic equipment used to control the aircraft. This has made electric-power indoor flying practical. The clean, quiet operation is compatible with relatively small indoor sites such as gymnasiums.

Modelers have learned from the growing pains of the past and have organized to ensure that this element of the hobby is off to a good start. This is evidenced by the two council SIGs listed below.

3.6.1 National Electric Aircraft Council (NEAC) - return to top
NEAC is the AMA SIG for electric flight. NEACs objectives include: Offering advice, service and assistance concerning the building and flying of electric-powered aircraft such as:

  • Offering advice to AMAs Executive Council about competition rules and conduct of such competitions.
  • Providing volunteer staff to support the AMA National competition for electric-powered flight.
  • Encouraging and assisting in new technology development, education and training modelers in the techniques of this power source.

3.6.2 National Indoor Remote Controlled Aircraft Council (NIRAC) - return to top
NIRAC is the AMA recognized SIG for indoor R/C flying. Control is accomplished by means of equipment operating on AMA/FCC approved radio frequencies and by equipment operating on infra red frequency. Power for these models usually includes electric motors, CO2 motors and twisted rubber.

NIRACs mission is to provide order to this fast-growing sport by offering advice about rules and regulations guiding the sport.

Related Web links will be found at: and click industry links

3.6.3 National Free Flight Society (NFFS) See 3.1.2

3.7 Electric Power/Outdoor - return to top
As with indoor electric power above, the quiet operation of this power source helps to retain flying sites. It has been found possible to use electric power for helicopters and ducted fan jets. This, when a few years ago modelers struggled to get free flight electric models to gain altitude.

Very light R/C electric-powered models have been introduced recently. These "slow flyers" and "park flyers' may well be the needed gradual transition from free flight to R/C, providing an introduction to R/C modeling.

Related Web sites: an introduction to electric flight electric motors and related products. extensive links Dick Miller's list of the combinations of electrical components that work together for specific model aircraft - Ampeer newsletter - From Ground Up See 3.4 for details. micro electric components and know-how. frequently asked questions about Nickel Cadmium batteries. primer on hand soldering. soldering noise suppression capacitors.

3.7.1 National Electric Aircraft Council (NEAC) See 3.6.1

3.7.2 International Radio Control Helicopter Association (IRCHA) See 3.4.2

3.7.3 National Free Flight Society (NFFS) See 3.1.2

3.7.4 Society of Antique Modelers (SAM) See 3.1.3

3.7.5 National Competition Fun Fly Association (NCFFA) See 3.4.4

3.7.6 United States Radio Controlled Jet Command (USRCJC) See 3.5.1

3.8 Unpowered/Indoor - return to top
Unpowered indoor flight consists primarily of hand-launched or catapult launched gliders. A catapult consists of a length of rubber attached to a hand-held dowel at one end and a model hook at the other. This has enabled many seniors to compete on a level playing field with younger, more athletic, flyers.

A free flight hand launched (or catapult) glider site with plans will be found at:

3.8.1 National Free Flight Society (NFFS) See 3.1.2

3.8.2 International Plastic Modeler's Society (IPMS/USA)* - return to top
This is a valuable resource for scale model aircraft builders of all types. A well-engineered plastic model kit can supplement the information regarding the shape and surface detail normally found on a 3-view drawing. Another area of interest is the wealth of information on color and markings that this site provides or can lead to.
Another related Web site: aircraft reference pages.

3.9 Unpowered/Outdoor - return to top
As with unpowered indoor models, this category is involved with gliders. Small hand-launched gliders and large R/C hand-launched gliders. Also, gliders towed aloft by line, by high start (rubber surgical tubing tied to a line), by winch and by gas-powered model aircraft. Gliders are flown for hours on the updraft associated with sloped terrain. The most sophisticated flight consists of seeking out updrafts (thermals) to sustain extended cross-country glider flights.

3.9.1 National Free Flight Society (NFFS) See 3.1.2

3.9.2 Society of Antique Modelers (SAM) See 3.1.3

3.9.3 League of Silent Flight (LSF) - return to top
LSF is the AMA SIG for r/c soaring. Established in 1969, it provides collective identification for r/c sailplane enthusiasts. It's an international organization of over 7,500 modelers located in 31 countries.

LSF has a soaring accomplishment program that consists of a set of successively harder tasks that measure the pilot's skill and knowledge. The program is organized into five levels of achievement featuring duration, precision and success in competition. For example, Level 1 requires the pilot to keep the glider aloft for 5 minutes. By level 5 the requirement is extended to 2 hours. Details of the tasks required at all 5 levels may be seen at:

Related Web sites: getting started in R/C sailplanes soaring frequently asked questions how slope soaring works R/C soaring links R/C soaring tips and links manufacturer/vendor listing

3.9.4 International Scale Soaring Association (ISSA)* - return to top
ISSA is however, an AMA chartered club specializing in R/C scale model gliders. ISSA sponsors scale events, helps locate documentation for full-scale prototypes and provides information on building and flying scale gliders. Three pages of related web links can be seen at: and click links

3.10 Collector Organizations - return to top

3.10.1 Model Engine Collectors Association (MECA)
MECA is the AMA recognized SIG for model engine collectors. The purpose of MECA is to promote the interests of model engine collecting as a recreational, educational and historical recording activity.

MECA exists to supply information, assistance and services to the association's members. It issues publications including a periodical listing of wanted and available items associated with the hobby and within the membership.

MECA provides governing rules as a basic code of ethics for all sales, trades and transactions of items related to the hobby involving the association's members.

For the definitions of engine condition classifications see:

3.10.2 Kits and Plans Antiquitous (KAPA)* - return to top
See the listing for KAPA on the Cottage Wings Web site at:
Kits and Plans Antiquitous is for those who want to preserve and exchange old wood model plans and kits, and to save the history of individuals and companies that created them. Members can advertise "wanted, "for sale", or "trade" at no cost.

Return to Chapter 2

Proceed to Chapter 4

Copyright 2002, Robert S. Munson. All Rights Reserved