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Author Topic: Andy Sephton's new proposals for UK Indoor Scale  (Read 4074 times)
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Pete Fardell
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« on: July 13, 2014, 06:28:57 PM »

I thought Andy Sephton's proposals for Indoor Scale, as laid out in today's newsletter were very interesting.  This is what he says:

"Entry levels in CO2/Electric are waning. With only 8 entries when compared to the 15 in Open Rubber and 25 in Kit Scale, clearly it’s not a very popular event. I believe we need something in-between Kit Scale and Open Rubber to encourage the beginners to progress. So here’s the first part of the proposal:

1. Combine CO2/Electric and Open Rubber into one class and call it Open Scale. This would be the top level competition and would be operated to the current rules.

2. Retain Kit Scale as the ‘Introductory’ event

3. Introduce an “interim” class with rules between Open Scale and Kit Scale to
give beginners a stepping stone from the ‘simple’ class to the ‘experts’ class.

Continuing on the same theme, Pistachio has not been very well supported over the past few years. Also, there has been few new models presented, which leads me to
the final part of the proposal:

4. Take Pistachio off the nationals agenda.

An added advantage of proposal No.4 would be to release two static judges from Pistachio which reduces the overall load on the helpers.
Don’t hold back on this one, please let me know what you think!"

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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2014, 06:31:55 PM »

I emailed him my initial thoughts as follows (with the proviso that I'll probably change my mind about everything when I hear what everyone else thinks!):

From a completely selfish point of view, I rather like things as they are. I
don't have a problem moving from Kit Scale to Open Rubber or CO2/Electric
and like the option of entering any or all. However I can see that from a
numbers point of view things at the moment are too skewed towards Kit Scale,
so perhaps I am not typical.
The thing which worries me most about your 'all in' expert class is that
Open Rubber is currently the best class to watch (in my opinion), for me the
epitome of the Indoor Scale Nats and the one which I really want to do well
in someday.  I think allowing in  electric models will somehow spoil it,
although that is just a gut feeling which I can't easily rationalise.  Also
what would people like Richard Crossley do? Would they be allowed to enter
two models, or would we see the experts having to choose a power source?
That would be a shame.
I can see that CO2/Electric entry  levels are possibly too low although,
again from a selfish point of view, that  suits me rather well in that if I
can just get a good flight out of my Telco powered Polikarpov next year I
might place fairly highly!
I don't have very strong feelings about Pistachio as am unlikely to enter
that anytime soon, but I do like seeing the models there.
On a more positive note, I do like the idea of a class between Kit and Open
Scale, particularly if it means I can enter models which I can design myself
but which do not require such high detailing or documentation. For instance,
perhaps the scale accuracy could be judged against either a plan (as in Kit
Scale) or, for self designed models, against a published 3-view even if that
3-view is not particularly accurate. I would quite happily NOT enter Kit
Scale, if such an intermediary class existed.
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2014, 06:34:20 PM »

And got the following response from Andy:

Hi Peter,

Many thanks for the response, it's much appreciated.

I'd like to get a few more responses before I declare my hand fully, but what I can say right now is:

1. I have no problem at all in this going to Hip Pocket, or any other Forum, but I will only take into account personal written responses sent to any member of the Scale Technical Committee. The reasons should be obvious.

2. If they went ahead, any changes of such a nature would only be considered for the 2016 season, or beyond.

3. My aim in suggesting such changes is to bring in newcomers to the Scale Indoor scene.

4. Rules for such competitions would have to be carefully considered.

Let the discussion begin  ;-) ;-)

All the Best,
Andy

PS: feel free to publish the above on Hip Pocket as well.
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Andy Sephton
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2014, 07:25:54 PM »

Thanks for putting all that up Pete.

I feel I must make one input to help set the scene. We currently require some 30+ volunteer helpers to run the Scale Indoor Nats. In the past three years we've had approximately the following number of entrants: 2012 - 30, 2013 - 50 and 2014 - 40. Any proposal for change must take into account that the number of helpers can't be increased - finding 30 willing volunteers is difficult enough as it is.........
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2014, 07:45:29 PM »

On holiday so this is thumped out on my small 'prod box' - I'll keep it short!

Not sure about the proposals - I still like the 'old days' with just the four classes.

Merging the open classes would do more harm than good I fear.
My reasoning being that I think numbers in co2/electric have dwindled because dominant electric models have good longevity - people just know that they will be up against it from the start. Join the classes together and you can pick a top three before you turn up. I think this will have a negative effect overall.

I would rather see kit scale 'toughened up' a bit on the static side ... with static having more influence. This could in itself be a better introduction to the open classes?

How about changing pistachio to an 'entry level' peanut class. The same more simple rules for pistachio, but with a peanut size restriction.
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2014, 02:06:11 AM »

I'm not a big nut fan, so It would be wrong of me to have an opinion on them.

The kit scale in my view is not simply a beginners event.  It works because it is for a particular style of models which just is more accessible than the open classes, a bit like how our American cousins view their Dimers.

It is without doubt that kit scale is a big success so why dabble with it too much?  The only rule I would add is to limit the entry for a particular model, my view is that the simplicity of the models  (against the time consuming to build and decorate open models) should mean that you can only enter a model once, at least if you place with it.  This should help avoid the sort of stagnation that occurs with the same old models year on year....

Andrew

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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2014, 07:41:35 AM »

 Hi all,

  I can appreciate how difficult it must be to organise such a prestigious event like the Indoor Scale Nationals, and to recruit 30 or so volunteers to help with the running of the event very challenging. If the Nats is to kept to a one day event, maybe it does need a little stream-lining. If I may suggest the following for consideration?

 1; Open Rubber and C02/ Electric to be kept as two seperate disciplines. In my humble opinion the Open Rubber discipline is the ultimate challenge in free flight aeromodelling. It isn't that easy to trim a rubber powered scale model aircraft (as I have frustratingley found out to my cost!!) to take off, cruise and land in a realistic fashion. If open rubber and C02 electric were to be combined, I fear the top three would be from the latter power source almost every time.

 2; Keep the Peanut Class and maybe do away with the Pistachio class if the numbers are dwindling. (Apologies to all Pistachio fans, but personally speaking Pistachio is not my thing.)

 3; Keep Kit Scale as it is. This has in recent years proved to be a very popular discipline, the increase in entries year by year speaks for itself.

 4; Discontinue the mass launch, we already have the air race as a fun event.

 5; Even though it is an interesting concept and has shown signs of promise do we really need an Open Indoor Glider discipline to an already busy schedule?

These suggestions, and I hasten to add that is all they are, suggestions, will at least give a little more time to get through the remaining disciplines comfortably in one day, and as Pete Fardell has already mentioned, these amendments will free up two or three static judges with the doing away with the Pistachio discipline.

Many thanks, Dave.  Smiley Wink
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2014, 08:45:46 AM »

Dave, the point about losing Pistachio meaning two more static judges are freed up is Andy S's, not mine. I just cut and pasted what he says in the Newsletter. It is a good point though. I wonder what those who actually build Pistachio think.

I'm glad you agree about Open Rubber being the main event. When it works, it's surely the most rewarding of all and the one I most aspire to. And I think you may well be right- electric models would likely start dominating the placings if all power sources were put in together.

I wonder if the glider class could be put in with the RC indoor scale nats instead, assuming that becomes a regular event in its own right. I've no great interest in indoor RC, but will still go to Shawbury etc. so long as there are a few free-flight classes to enter too.
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2014, 09:49:59 AM »

Disclaimer: I'm obviously on the outside looking in, but thought y'all might be able to use some opinions from the FAC world. I've flown FAC events since 2005, but largely dropped out after 2010 from burnout after building an entire FAC fleet in a year. Shocked

3; Keep Kit Scale as it is. This has in recent years proved to be a very popular discipline, the increase in entries year by year speaks for itself.

We have two corollaries over here. There are folks who keep insisting on the need to change the rules for P-30, the most popular outdoor FF event. Fortunately they have been resisted. Why fix something that isn't broken? Also, we have the FAC Dimescale event which has seen a ridiculous number of changes in the past 6-8 years. Confusion over whether my current model would be legal the next year led me to stop building dimescale models in 2008. Fortunately I was able to rebuild a couple models for the 2010 nats, but completely lost interest thereafter. Something to consider...

I also stopped building models for the FAC 2-Bit+1 class over the same nonsense. I didn't know from one year to the next which models would be eligible, and then the rules were re-written such that contest directors could choose between two different sets of rules, so you never knew which models would be legal! Huh Fortunately, that has been fixed by the new leadership, reverting essentially back to the original rules, and folks are back to mass producing their favorite airplanes.

If entries are declining, it might be worthwhile to consider a revamp of the static rules. I know this is heresy, but when I compare UK scale models to US ones, they're both to a high level of quality. One might consider a hybrid, maintaining the judged flight activities and ROG requirements, but relaxing the requirements on scale numbers of ribs, movable surfaces, etc, so that newcomers are better able to at least make something that flies. I've looked at the UK and FAI scale rules and honestly wouldn't be able to put forth the effort required. Sure I could build to scale dihedral and outlines and structure and all that, but it starts to take the fun out of it. Spending 6 months to a year on one airplane just isn't my idea of fun.

Again, that's my flying philosophy, and it might not reflect the mindset of the majority of participants. A worthwhile proposal would be to poll the folks who actually participate in the events already and see what they think. Making changes in hopes of pulling in new participants is extremely dangerous if there's any chance it will run off existing participants. I've seen several instances of exactly that practice and it usually ends in destruction of the class because the miffed participants quit, and the newcomers don't emerge, in large part because the attraction to the class--its prestige, has gone away with the old guard who also take the momentum of their experience and enthusiasm with them.

Again, just my $.02, from someone across the pond who would hate to see those delightful museum quality models come to an end.
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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2014, 11:20:26 AM »

Maxout, you make good points. I learned long ago that  changing rules rarely attracts newcomers.
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Andy Sephton
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« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2014, 11:51:32 AM »

You need to read the first three posts.......I don't believe I mooted changing the Kit Scale Rules.  Wink Wink
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« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2014, 12:14:27 PM »

Hi Andy,

in my suggestions for consideration, I'm in agreement with you. It was'nt my intention to suggest a change to the Kit Scale rules. Being a successful and a highly popular discipline, I was merely stating a pertinent fact. It ain't broke so it don't need fixing.

Cheers, Dave.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2014, 02:06:21 PM »

You need to read the first three posts.......I don't believe I mooted changing the Kit Scale Rules.  Wink Wink

Just to follow up, I wasn't referring to you in that remark. Someone else mentioned it.
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« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2014, 02:19:33 PM »

I think it was me - I thought we were asking for opinioms and suggestions?
I'll keep my nose out from now on!
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2014, 02:30:13 PM »

I think Andy was just clarifying what he actually said. Inevitably this kind of discussion goes into all sorts of related  areas. As far as I'm concerned though, all opinions and suggestions are worth hearing, Russ, so please don't hold back.
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« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2014, 02:33:01 PM »

I think Andy was listening Russ, I thought that he was just being a little bit tongue in cheek..... Thus the nod nod wink.  That's how I took it anyway as I also suggested a kit scale rule change....

Andrew



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« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2014, 04:56:45 PM »


Combining CO2/ electric with rubber into 'Open scale':
I'm not convinced these two disciplines should be judged in the same class, they are quite different, particularly from a flight profile point of view. I don't understand how combining them would ease the burden of the judging very much. Is 8 really too few to justify CO2/ electric as a stand alone class?

Removing Pistachio:
Rather than remove it, would it work to combine pistachio with peanut?

I understand that the Indoor nats have become tricky in that it is a bit of a squash to contain it in one day, but not enough to justify a 2 day event, but I really don't like the idea of removing a class (pistachio) as it contradicts the idea of encouraging entrants.
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2014, 11:13:21 AM »

Rich, that's a good point about Pistachio. If the perceived problem is that Kit Scale entrants are not moving on to the more 'serious' classes, then the solution is surely not to remove one of those classes.

In any case Kit Scale is so popular now, that maybe we shouldn't worry if many people just keep entering that and nothing else. Is there any reason why numbers should be roughly equal across the different classes so long as indoor scale overall is getting more popular?
 Anything over half a dozen is enough for a worthwhile competition, so perhaps any new initiatives should be about getting just a few more people to have a go at Pistachio. This probably means targeting Peanut flyers, rather than Kit Scalers doesn't it? Could the two classes combine as Rich suggests, with Pistachios just getting a bonus. Or is that too simplistic?
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« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2014, 11:50:33 AM »

Having been lurking on this one for a few days I decided to chime in with my tuppence worth  Smiley

Usually the Indoor Nats clashes with one of the outdoor area events so I've not been in a position to enter in the past. My views are therefore as someone who likes a bit of indoor scale, but hasn't been up to Nottingham for several years.

Kit Scale has always appealed and I might be inclined to enter this one.

I enjoy the 'challenge' of Pistachio and would be sad to see it sink without a trace (If lack of numbers is the only reason for dropping it then I'll enter next year to keep it alive)

Co2 /Electric/Rubber combined is tricky. I agree that using a 'motor' rather than rubber would sway the balance away from rubber which always strikes me as the ultimate test of an indoor scale model (May have been mentioned before?)

I agree that this should be the pinnacle of indoor scale flying, but the popularity of kit scale shows there is tremendous enthusiasm for this type of model.

Lack of entries I suspect is down to the amount of effort needed to research, build and then trim a model which, with the greatest of respect, is then subjectively judged (I certainly do not wish to decry the tremendous effort put in by the hard-working judges, but one of the appeals of duration flying is that it is, or should be, easy to see who wins) If we are trying simply to increase numbers participating then classes which can be built easily and which fly well might be more appealing; I believe this was the original aim of peanut? Unfortunately we are competitive creatures so simply adding 'beginners' classes may not be the way to go - that said look at the number of fliers on a windy Sunday at this years Nationals in P30 . . .

Personally I do like the idea of models that have previously won being black-flagged so they cannot dominate a class for years.

Off to the dugout Wink

Paul
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« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2014, 02:18:19 PM »

I'm not a scale flier, so please treat this accordingly..........

Quite a few years ago, our f/f friends in Scotland decided to have a contest for Power duration models as an anniversary celebration of the 1960 World Champs at Cranfield, when 5 fliers were declared joint winners. The contest was limited to those five model designs, and it was a success.

Suppose the Scale Committee come up with a (short) list of aircraft that are reasonably well kitted, and produce an outline documentation package for each to a set standard for competition. People buy the package, and the kit, then make adjustments to the kit outlines and structure as they see fit to make a better scale model. They also pick the actual aircraft they want to model (for which they may have to supplement the committee package) and away you go, established designs, no documentation kerfuddles, etc etc.

Kit Scale Plus.

It would be no small effort for the committee, of course...........

....and back to your regular programming, sportsfans.
JB
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« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2014, 03:44:26 PM »

Well, another "outsider" about to give his opinion.

This is my first try, when I formulate my ideas better I will forward them to Andy as he requested...

It may seem odd for me to express an opinion on the matter, as it mainly concerns the UK aeromodellers. I see three reasons for this:

First, I did have the good luck and opportunity to participate twice in the past, in 2007 and in 2013. (This does ny no way not mean that anyone who hasn't, isn't allowed to express his/her opinion  Wink) I could not make it again this year, because of budgetary constraints  Angry

Second, I have been following the UK indoor scale nats for as long as I can remember (nearly 30 years now, thanks to Aeromodeller and, more recently to Mike Stuarts website and various forums. Needless to say, the British "School of thought" has been a dominating factor in the European Free Flight Scale scene. Proof is that the FAI rules are pretty much based on the corresponding British rulebook.

Third, an interesting controversial subject, so why no throw in more ideas, some bound to "upset" ?  Grin


I do not expect this to be a short message, there are a lot of issues I would like to point to, so I ask in advance for forgiveness.

To begin with, while thinking about it, I thought it would help if I gathered some actual data. Thanks to Mike's (ffscale) site, I was able to put together the numbers in the first attached image, a chart of the 10 previous competitions, separate for each class.

I have opted to list both the total number of entries and the number of successfully flown models. In the open classes there is a significant deviation between the two, 30% for rubber, 15% for CO2.

I have also added a column for a what-if scenario, following one of Andy's proposals: the assumption that the two open classes were a common one, meaning that a person could enter only one model in the new combined class.

Next, I have made some graphs to illustrate some points.

The first graph is the total activity of all models entered. Rather cluttered, but if not anything else, it shows the great increase in Kit Scale (yellow line)

The second graph shows the two open classes, plus the theoretical combined one. What can be seen here, is that while in more distant years the people participating in each class did not jumb over to the other, in recent years this has become quite more common, to enter both classes. As a result, a theoretical merge would result in a very limited increase in models in the new class, but in a definite significant decrease in total number of open models. More on that later...
It also shows a steady slow increase in rubber models, and a steady slow decrease in CO2/electric. Thrue, under a number of, say 5-6 models, it makes little sense to have a contest class...

The third graph shows the peanut and pistachio classes. There is a significant variance over the years. The last year show a decrease, but i do not know if you can call it a trend.

This is the first part of my posting, the "data". Opinion, thoughts and suggestions will follow later or tomorrow. In the mean time, consider it as food for thought  Wink

George
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« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2014, 05:01:55 AM »

A vote for the status quo from me.

I think combining the open rubber and CO2/Electric would be counter-productive. It will if anything reduce the appeal of 'moving on' from Kit Scale. I don't think you can really judge rubber flying against the consistency of electric. Not saying electric is easy, just different.

I think Kit Scale will settle down eventually. As it gets more competitive I think it will push people to move on to the wider classes. I think there is some merit in the suggestion that winning models in Kit Scale should be retired.

I don't think there is any need for an intermediate class. Perhaps some kind of Kit Scale Plus would be helpful. A sub section within Kit Scale which permits painted finishes and more scale details? Judging still against the plan but with more emphasis on finish? That said I have come to the conclusion that for myself I just need to man up and build an open model, recognising that it won't be seriously competitive... yet.

Although I've never competed in it I would be sad to see Pistachio go. I've seriously considered trying it.

And sorry to disagree with Dave but the mass launch has got to stay  Smiley 'cause I'm building a model for it! The Pylon Race and Mass Launch take relatively little time from the schedule and there's room for more competitors. In terms of flying/entrants, it's good value for time IMO.


I think we need to leave things as they are if possible. I think consistency is important to newer people (like myself) as they plan a route into indoor scale. George's data shows that with some fluctuation things are healthy enough. We also need to consider the fact that many International friends were not able to make it last year but will be back in the near future to support CO2/Electric and Pistachio.

The newcomers have come, they just need time to progress. The Kit Scale bulge will, given time, produce more open modellers but patience is needed. And consistency is really important, the changes last year definitely caused uncertainty for some of us and unfortunately were a major factor in me not entering.


Jon
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« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2014, 05:21:08 AM »

Well said, Jon. Mind you I don't much like change in any part of my life! Very impressed with George's post. I wonder if there's a link between his highly organised, beautifully presented and carefully considered views (unlike my rather changeable, sometimes half-baked ones) and the comparative standard of our scale models? I fear there is! Grin

Next year I intend (at the moment) to enter Open Rubber and CO2. With these, plus glider, mass launch etc. Kit Scale as well would  be just a bit too much rushing about for me, so I may well leave it this time. If I do then it will have essentially done its job of moving me on. It's just that it will have taken 4 years to do it, with the last three involving an overlap with other classes (ie I also entered Open Rubber twice and CO2 once). If other people follow a similar pattern then, as Jon just said, things will eventually settle down. That's not to say people shouldn't be allowed to keep on entering Kit Scale for ever if that's their main thing, and if it's always the biggest class then good on it!
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« Reply #23 on: July 16, 2014, 05:22:35 AM »

A very balanced view Jon - very much agree with your comments

I think the event must remain a spectacle of the best of the best - it's the open classes that provide this.
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« Reply #24 on: July 16, 2014, 06:01:35 AM »

I've yet to compete (will hopefully soon), so this is really an outside perspective.

Keep the Open rubber and CO2/Elec separate. If they are combined, then a 20% for elec and 10% for CO2 reduction in flight scores to counter the ease of trimming for those forms of power. Then Rubber is awarded for being the more challenging.

Combine Peanut and Pistachio with Pistachio awarded a percentage flight bonus, 30 secs = 5%, 60 sec = 10% and 120 sec = 20%

Allow multi entries for the above.

Kit scale remains as it is, but with more basic judging - General fidelity to plan, quality of tissue finish and character so that judges need only spend a minute or two on each model with the main scoring coming from flying.

Then, have a Kit Scale Plus as mentioned. Allowing scaling of plans, structural mods (moving motor peg etc), painted finish and more detailing, basic documentation on the specific aircraft modelled (colour scheme). Judges look less at fidelity to plan and more at the finish, with flying making up a bit less of the total than with Kit Scale.

With this 'Plus' class, the top three from the previous year's Kit Scale automatically move up and remain there till they move to an Open class. I think that'll keep both Kit Scale and a proposed Plus class nicely competitive and help incentivise a move to an Open class.

I think the glider class can remain, but with the flying only element, if it proves consistently popular over a few years, then introduce a static element.

I also think there needs to be some sort of limitation on winning models in the Open classes to make things a bit more exciting to draw more spectators.

It's cramped now as a one day event, but there aren't enough competitors for a two day event to be viable. More people from overseas would come if it were a two day event, but the numbers need to be there first.
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