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Author Topic: Dump the wheel rule for Nostalgia Gas/Electric models  (Read 120 times)
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« on: June 27, 2020, 06:05:35 PM »

This applies to USA/Canadian fliers primarily.  NFFS Nostalgia Gas/Electric rules, specifically, the wheel requirement.  Copied from NFFS Digest by permission.  Send comments to:  Bob Stalick; [email protected]

Nostalgia Gas sprung from the Old Timer movement. The landing gear requirement is nearly word-for-word the same as SAM requirements. “What’s wrong with it?” you might say.  After all, it’s shown on the plans and it’s “part of the design.”  Well, for me, I have lost two really good 1/2A Zeeks to that stupid wheel acting as a rudder, either spiraling in, or straightening out, causing a loop, and going off-pattern. The wheel had been deflected as a result of a DT landing. It doesn’t take much, an offset nearly undetectable. It’s nearly impossible to bend it back to its’ original position. I have seen others meet the same fate. The wheel moved ever so slightly one way or the other when the wire strut deflected to absorb the landing shock. I actually avoid building gas models that show a wheel on the plan for that reason.

During the Nostalgia period, many modelers substituted a skid for the wheel, or left it off altogether. It was a common practice, especially when Ron St. Jean and the Ramrods came along, VTO became the norm, and all that was needed was a simple skid to protect the engine. Models had to sit “unassisted” in the VTO position for some time to gain that precious 5 seconds of engine run.

There are some common sense provisions in the rules.  Reinforcing known weak structures with ply, or even carbon fiber is allowed. Adding one turbulator spar in the forward third of the airfoil is allowed. Any covering material is allowed, even though Japanese tissue or silk was “part of the design.”  When VTO is allowed on our larger fields like in Colorado or  California a single point is sufficient.  Let’s make this change to simplify our lives.

Original rule:
5.5.4 Wheels and Skid
Models must have at least as many wheels and/or skids as shown on the construction plan. When scaling a model up or down, the scaling factor will determine the minimum wheel diameters. If the original plans show neither wheel nor skid, the option of using wheel, skid or no undercarriage is up to the builder. Some designs had versions with both wheels and skids. If the model is built from or scaled from one of these plans, the builder may use whichever undercarriage is shown on that plan

Change to:
5.5.4 Wheels and Skid
Wheels and skids, even if shown on the plan, are up to the builder. Number, diameter, placement, or omitting altogether are up to the individual builder.
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2020, 08:27:11 AM »

Hi Flydean

Though I do understand your logic, and can appreciate the argument...

This is one of my pet-peeves when it comes to Nostalgia, Vintage and even Old-Time rules...

The idea of "hey, I know, let's have an event where we can build and fly those great old designs" sounds great and all, but the problem comes with all of the "exceptions". A couple examples:

I was  (back in the 1970's) one of the first to fly a Casano "Stick" in a contest. I used the plan from Model Builder, and built per plan, including the single-blade free-wheeling prop. It flew well, and I did pretty well with it. But, as you can imagine, with the free-wheeler, the glide left something to be desired. Then, someone read the original article and the very last sentence said (sic) "The airplane has been flown with a two-bladed folder" No details, no pictures, nothing but that one sentence. Well, that threw it wide open, and builders/flyers could use any design prop and folding mechanism that they wanted. So now, you never see a Casano flying with the free-wheeler. I thought then, and still think, that allowing that was a mistake. I quit flying my Casano in competition after that.

Here is a (much) more recent example: There is a discussion on the Vintage FAI Free FB page regarding the new Vintage Wakefield rules. The question was asked if a builder can substitute a carbon-fiber motor tube for a rolled balsa or a Aluminium motor tube. The consensous is "why, yes, yes you can!"
The rules state: "Motor tubes may be made of any material, but must be the plan-specified outside diameter and length."

In my opinion, this rule is not in the spirit of the event.


I believe that these events should be strictly "Build per plan" If it's not on the plan, or specified in detail in the original construction article, it should not be allowed.

The airplane should be aerodynamically identical to the original, but any changes to the construction is acceptable. This would allow for Carbon D-Box and any other changes.

After all, what are we really trying to achieve here? Are we trying to resurrect these great old designs? Or, are we trying to make modern replicas of the designs?

I do find it ironic, though, that the Vintage Power guys get all stinky about the engines that can be used, but are perfectly ok with changes to the airframe.

In you specific case, I'd be willing to bet that the majority of the Zeeks had the wheel, and most flew pretty well.

The problem with allowing deviations from the plan is that, where do you stop?

But, this is all water under the bridge, as they say. The rules as they are written allow for all kinds of deviations, so what's one more exception?


"We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty..."
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