Northwest Fireballs PDQ Flying Clown Group Build and Fun Fly Event

Results of 2010 event

By Mark Hansen

Hello All,

As you may have heard, the NW Fireballs are planning a little PDQ Flying Clown event June 26-27, 2010.

It will be open to anyone that joins our club. You do not need to be a current member at this time, however you do need to join the day of the event at the latest. Membership is $20 annually, and participation in the "Clown event" is free to current members. Here is a little logic for how the event is organized.

The basic Idea behind this event was to give people a chance to try competing in a variety of different competition categories, in a fun "Low Key" way. Further, the rules are set up with three events that do not require a loop, and one that requires no more stamina than flying for perhaps 35 seconds.

Speed will be flown with a pylon, to allow the newcomer to see what it is like to get a plane into the pylon, and run in a tiny circle.

The High/Low event has a very similar feel to "Carrier" flying, without any of the hassles of putting up a deck.

At one time "Clown Racing" was one of the most popular of all the racing events in the region, and maybe inclusion here will bolster the attendance at Regionals.

We settled on "Old Time Stunt," simply because the plane is legal for the event, and is very capable of doing the whole pattern if built and powered correctly.

The Beauty event was added as a way to give a few bonus points to everyone involved, without the possibility of damaging a plane, and besides, it gives the craftsman a reason to fly in the event.

Lastly I put combat in, because I like to fly combat, and have wondered if the Clown platform would be a good model for NW Vintage Diesel Combat. Gary Harris suggested we fly the event to a speed limit below 75 so we are not required to use fuel shutoff devices, which will make the event much more beginner friendly.

The rules are structured so that every competitor gains points for participating in each of the competition categories, based on the number of people that compete in each event. So, if a competitor wins an event with a lot of participation, he is proportionally rewarded for that win with a point total equal to the number of participants in the event. Winning an event with little interest is, of course, easier to do and therefore worth less points. The Beauty contest did not follow this format; it gives every competitor a chance to get points for just having built a plane. In my experience, appearance judging typically takes on a normal distribution (Gaussian, or bell shaped curve), so some people may get a low score while others get a high score, but the majority will get a score within one standard deviation of the "norm" or mean if you prefer.

With the point format, the member who likes to game theory things and speculate a bit can build a plane for the events he thinks will be best attended, put a nice finish on the plane and have a good chance to win overall. Or, maybe, build a plane that tends to embody characteristics for all the events, in hopes of finishing in the middle of every event and, therefore, accrue enough points to win overall.

Further, as the events will be held in roughly the same order as listed in the rules, each competitor can see how he is doing and decide if he needs to risk (planes that never fly never crash) a plane with further competition. Regardless of how the other events go, combat will be the last event; if there is a tie or just a few points separating the first few spots, we can settle the matter like gentlemen with a duel in the skies.

As stated before, competitors do not need to fly in all the events, just those that interest them. Keep in mind though that if you skip too many, you probably won't place. Whatever your place in this event, one thing is for sure, with that place and three bucks, you can get one heck of a cup of coffee at Strabucks! Hope to see you all here with your Clowns.

Complete rules of Northwest Fireballs PDQ Flying Clown Group Build and Fun Fly Event

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This page was upated June 28, 2010