Flight Deck

July 2009

Carrier planes at the 2009 Northwest Regionals, waiting for action. Flying Lines photo.

Nostalgia Carrier at the Northwest Regionals 2009

By Eric Conley

During this years Northwest Regionals, where I compete in carrier, I became aware of a situation in the event called Nostalgia Profile Carrier.

This event was created to draw out the carrier fliers from the early 70s that have stated forever (well ever sense the early 70s anyway) that carrier was ruined by the newer rules which allow the hang during the slow flight portion of the event. Many of them claim that they would still be flying carrier if it hadn't been for that change in the rules. Also it was felt that there were a lot of the older planes hanging up in a lot of garages across the nation just waiting for the chance to fly again. So Nostalgia Profile, Class I and II were added to the unofficial events list.

The idea behind these events is stated in the "Philosophy" section of the current rules and reads as such: "The Nostalgia Navy Carrier event offers flyers an opportunity for additional Navy Carrier competition in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. It re-creates an earlier period of Navy Carrier flying which predated the prop-hanging slow flight which characterizes today's competition. As the years separate us more and more from the models, engines, and flying styles that formed the beginnings of the modem event, Nostalgia Navy Carrier will help to keep alive the memory of those earlier years. Because the models are simpler than those used in modem competition. Nostalgia Navy Carrier may introduce new flyers to Navy Carrier competition."

It goes on to state that there will he bonus points awarded for original planes of that era (20 points) and for the use of non-Schnuerle engines (20 points). At the present time there are a 152 designs that qualify for these Nostalgia events. There are many allowable modifications that can he built into these planes that would make them simpler to build and stronger (crash survival). The key is that there outside dimensions and how they looked would be the same as the original plane.

So here is how it all went down at the 2009 NWR (and also last years NWR). This year there were four entries in Nostalgia Navy Profile, AD Skyraider, Boeing F4B-3, MO-PIPE, and a modern profile carrier plane with the slider locked in the forward position. Well guess which one of these planes took home first place. It was the modem carrier plane in spite of the other three being allowed bonus points for design and I think at least one for an engine.

My experience with modem AMA Profile Carrier planes tell me that the Nostalgia planes cannot compete with a modem carrier plane that is allowed to hang or for that matter even if it was barred from the hang in LS. The modern engines coupled with a much superior airframe (purpose built for carrier) are just too much for most fliers and their Nostalgia carrier planes to overcome even with a possible 40 point bonus.

The Nostalgia rules say nothing about the hang so you can't say that the modern plane flown under the 1974-1975 rules can't hang along with the Nostalgia planes. I flew Mike Potter's Joe DeMarco F4B-3 and found it easy to hang to any degree that I wanted it to hang (perhaps if the wind had been blowing I wouldn't have been able to do this) so the challenge may be for the Nostalgia flier to learn how or if his plane will hang. I think this is the last thing (the hang) we want in the Nostalgia events. Also in the Philosophy statement it says this event should predate the prop-hanging slow flight which characterizes today's competition.

So what can be done to alleviate this problem, or is it a problem? I guess there is nothing that says the ED for the event could not tell the fliers in the pre-flight meeting that there would be no hanging during LS in the Nostalgia classes. That might work OK for that contest but how about the contest next month where the ED doesn't tell the fliers that they can't hang. Now the Nostalgia guys that didn't hang their airplanes check on the top 20 list in the Hi-Low newsletter and find that the "contest next month guys" are way up at the top of the list and they are somewhere below?.

I'm not absolutely sure that the ED or inside judge (which you don't need if the ED has said no hanging in ES in the Nostalgia events) could tell whether the plane was in a hang or not. I have never tried to see just how shallow a hang I can fly but I do know that I've flown a nose high attitude during which time the wing was stalled and the plane was seen to be flying right along (slowly) and it was not readily apparent that it was in a hang (that the wing was stalled).

Another simpler way (nothing is ever simple anymore) may be to not let the points in Nostalgia transfer to the race for the contest "Carrier High Point" or "Championship Trophy." This would not preclude a trophy deprived entrant from entering their modem AMA plane in a Nostalgia event. To me its is clearly stated in the Philosophy statement that this event should "predate" the prop-hanging slow flight which characterizes today's competition. In other words there is NO hanging (stalling the wing) period (including the landing approach) in Nostalgia carrier. To view the rules for Nostalgia Carrier go to navycarriersociety.org and look under "Rules." If you need a list of the qualifying Nostalgia Carrier Models let me know in the carrier forum and I will send it to you. It is a large file so you may need a KS system or I can send it one or two pages at a time.

It would be nice to see some comments on this in the carrier forum.

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This page was upated July 4, 2009