FAI Aeromodelling Commission (CIAM)
F3 - Radio Control Soaring
The "F3B subcommittee" was initiated long time ago, and was named respectively after the only Radio Control Glider class at the time, the "F3B". Today its name has changed to "RC-Soaring Subcommittee" as it is responsible for the development and monitoring of five more Radio Controlled Glider classes, a brief description of which is presented below.
F3B - Multi Task Thermal Soaring Gliders
This is the oldest of all R/C glider competition classes. Initially it was a simple "duration" event, but soon expanded to a multi task event, in which the pilot has to fly 3 different tasks, Duration, Distance and Speed in each round.
In the Duration task the goal is to fly the glider for exactly 10 minutes and land as close as possible to a designated spot. In the Distance task the pilot has 4 minutes working time in which his glider must cover as many times as possible the official course of 150 meters in either direction. Finally, in the Speed task the gliders must cover 4 legs of the aforementioned course as fast as possible.
For launching their gliders the competitors use specially made electric winches.
What it is more challenging in this class is the designing approach of the model, as all three tasks must be flown with the same model, which must be trimmed to achieve the minimum sinking speed in the first, the miniimum gliding slope in the second, and the minimum drag in the third. In addition to these parameters, the model must be light, aerodynamically clean and exceptionally strong to withstand launching forces and speeds exceeding 200 Km/h.
World Championships in this class are organized bi-annually, in which more than 80 pilots are competing, in more than 9 flying rounds.
F3F - Slope Soaring Gliders
As the name depicts, this event is flown in front of a slope, taking advantage of the updrafts created by the wind. In the single Speed task the pilot tries to fly its model over a 1000m course (composed of 10 X 100 meter legs) in the shortest possible time.
At least four rounds should be completed in order to determine the winner.
F3H - Soaring Cross Country Racing
F3H is a Cross Country racing for R/C gliders that is the single task is to fly a course from point A to point B or C etc. as fast as possible. The Contest Director before the start of the event decides the type of the course. This class is also provisional.
F3I - Aero-Tow Soaring Models
In this class of R/C Gliders, towing is performed by the use of a tug model provided by the organizer. The tug model tows the glider up to 200m where it is released. This class is a multi-task event (Distance and Speed) and is provisional as well.
F3J - Thermal Duration Gliders
This class is very popular as it is a single task event with simple rules. The competitors try to keep their models aloft for exactly 10 minutes and land as close as possible to a designated spot.
Launching the model is achieved by hand towing, where two persons with a 150m-monofilament line pull the model.
Pilots are divided in groups, after a matrix schedule, so that during the preliminary or qualifying rounds, they compete against as many as possible of the other pilots. Then the top pilots fly in a single group the Final or Fly-Off rounds, which determine the winner.
World Championships are also organized biannually, with more than 80 competitors participating in the senior’s category and about 50 in the junior’s category.
1st World Championship was organized in England in 1998, the 2nd in Greece in 2000, the 3rd in 2002 at Finland, the 4th in 2004 at Canada and the 5th in 2006 at Slovakia. The next one is scheduled for 2008 at Turkey.
F3K - Hand Launched R/C Gliders
Hand Launch R/C Gliders is a class with growing popularity. In this event the competitors fly comparatively smaller gliders, with a maximum wingspan of 1,5 m which are launched from the pilots themselves by hand. In last years the pilots use for launching a method similar to discuss toss.
For the contest the organiser chooses a set of tasks from an official list. The flying tasks different somehow from each other but in principal all call for a number of short duration flights in each round. The pilot usually makes fast relaunches and tries to use the thermal activity near the ground.
Similar rules denoted F6D are expected to be applied in the following World Air Games.
The CIAM FAI Plenary Meeting confirmed this year the promotion of the F3K class to the official status.
Please do not hesitate to download from this site the rules of the above-mentioned classes and if you have any query please try to contact your local Aeroclub for information or any Soaring Sub-committee member.