Flight Deck

July 2011

Eric Conley's new plane for Sport 40 Carrier, inspired by his visit to the Northwest Regionals. Eric Conley photo.

Northwest Sport 40 Carrier observations from the NWR 2011

By Eric Conley

At this years Northwest Regionials (2011) I got my first look at the Sport 40 Carrier planes in action. I was more imprested than I thought I would be.

The winning plane was the most impressive as they usually are and was well flown by Jeff Rein. There were several things I liked about Jeff's plane.

First, his plane (shown in flight at left) was finished in a color scheme that went with the era of his planes deployment (WW-2 P-40) and I'm sure it very well could have flown off a carrier when it was delivered to its area of operation. I don't know whether the P-40 was ever equipped with an arresting hook and went through any Navy testing or not, as stated in the provisional Sport .40 rules. The rules are still provisional. Flying Lines photo.

I think the wing shape was a wise or lucky choice. My observations and personal experience tell me the wings on model carrier planes should be tapered in width and hopefully thickness toward the wing tip. I came to this conclusion after building a Skyray 35 and spending three years trying to get a decent low speed flight out of it. The only person that I have seen get anywhere near a decent low speed time with this plane is Pet Mazur who has been the National Carrier Champion over the last several years. I'm thinking a tapered wing with some washout in the outside third of each wing panel and possibly a lifting airfoil instead of a symmetrical airfoil?

I also saw that Jeff's tail hook was down while the plane was flying and don't know if this was the plan or not but I doubt that it affected the overall performance much.

This will be one of the things that will make this event so much fun for quite some time, I'm talking about what should these planes look like, should they have large wing area at some cost in high speed or should the planes be built closer to the 300 square inch wing area? How heavy can they be before they won't get off the carrier deck? It's a cinch that they will only have so much power to play with in the OS .40FP or Tower .40 and it will have to be used carefully for best performance.

Another question that comes to mind while discussing power is does the event want to really have unlimited fuel? The chosen engine is pretty docile and reliable so do we load it up with nitro when we find that we are running only a few points behind the guy in front of us? Should the event be “high Speed” limited to say 60 mph? The two carrier events that are high speed limited are .15 carrier and Skyray 35 carrier and it seems to have worked out pretty good. The catch is they were “high speed limited” because there were so many engines to pick from (OS to Nelsons) that is was felt the speed limit would level the playing field. As it turned out even with the “speed limit” many competitors could not reach the high speed limit although it gave you something to shoot for that was attainable if you put the effort into it. If we just limit the “engine” will we have a Fox Race situation where one flyer's plane turns out to be 10mph faster than all the rest? Hey, his is stock, it's just been blueprinted carefully.

So how is it going? Just fine for now as far as I'm concerned. Most of the flyers that entered this event were using it as a filler to all the other events that they were flying. It looked like it was fun for them and it was easy to be a spectator as the event moved right along unlike the AMA carrier events that may be fun for the contestant but hard on the spectator.

After seeing the event flown I went home and converted one of my training planes to a Sport .40 carrier plane and will drag it around with me when I go to the regular carrier contests and see if some interest can be drummed up. There has been a lot of talk about raising the size of the engines in AMA Profile Carrier form .36 to .40 (long overdue) so I find this event to be rather refreshing for a change (I must be getting older) and hope it carries on.

Like all new events we can wait and see how it goes and make corrections when they need to be made.

Comments? See the NW CL Forum.

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This page was upated June 30,2011