Longer lines proposed for fast Clown Race

Voting is now open

Northwest racing fliers are being asked to consider lengthening the lines used in the fast version of Northwest Flying Clown Race. Voting on this proposal is open until Feb. 23. See below for details on how to vote.

Current rules specify 52-foot lines. Under the proposal, lines would be 60 feet long.

The proposal is offered by John Thompson.

If approved by a vote of Northwest racing participants, the amended rule would take effect in 2019.


Northwest Flying Clown Race began as a casual, "sport"-type racing event, but the wide-open nature of the engine specifications has resulted in some very fast airplanes. As the population of racing participants has aged, the ability level required to pilot these airplanes has presented a challenge to some contestants. Moving to longer lines would slow the rotation speed so that the planes would be easier to pilot.

Here are the specifics of the change:

Amends rule No. 2.1 by changing the length of lines specified.

NOTE: This proposal does not change the Sportsman version of Clown Race, which would remain on 52-foot lines.

Who can vote

Any resident of Academy of Model Aeronautics District XI (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska) and British Columbia who has participated in Racing in a Northwest contest either as a contestant or an official within the past five years can vote on this proposal.

Spread the word: It is possible that not everyone interested in this topic will have access to the Flying Lines website, or may not have seen this proposal. Feel free to pass on the information about the proposal to anyone you think might be interested. You can print out this page as reference material.

How to vote

You can vote by e-mailing the rules coordinator, or by mailing your vote to Flying Lines, 2456 Quince St., Eugene, OR 97404.

Because there is another racing proposal also under consideration, make sure to specify that you are voting on the Clown Race lines proposal and indicate yes or no. A yes vote would approve 60-foot lines; a no vote would keep the 52-foot lines.

Your vote must include your name and your town or residence. Votes will be kept confidential, but I must have this info in order to be sure that votes come from NW residents and that everyone votes only once.

Voting deadline

All votes must be received by the coordinator by Feb. 23. The coordinator will acknowledge receipt of votes; if you don't get a reply, check again to make sure your vote was received.

Note: The thread for discussion of this topic on the NW CL Forum remains open, but posts there are not official votes. Only votes e-mailed or mailed to the coordinator within the Jan. 23-Feb. 23 voting period will be counted.

For more on the process of promulgating and revising Northwest control-line competition rules, see the Northwest Rules section.

Proposed 2019 Northwest Flying Clown Race rules
New language in red; deleted language in strikeout

2019 proposal

1. PURPOSE: This event is intended for all fliers and pit crews interested in a simple racing event which uses a common aircraft, emphasizes both speed and economy, and encourages the use of a wide variety of engines.

2. All AMA control-line unified racing rules apply, except as follows:

2.1. Airplanes and the entire control systems shall undergo a pull test of 25 pounds. Lines are .015 stranded steel. Length is 52 60 feet, plus or minus 6 inches, measured from the center of the handle to the fuselage.

3. Engine: Any design or make of piston engine is allowed, except that maximum engine displacement is limited to .19 cubic inches. Modifications are not restricted within the limits of the AMA safety code.

4. Fuel tank: Any design of fuel tank is allowed, including pressure systems, except as follows:
4.1. Fuel capacity is restricted to 1 ounce, with a +5% tolerance, 31cc maximum.
4.2. The fuel tank shall be fully external of the plane, on the outboard side of the fuselage, and entirely in front of the leading edge.
4.3. All tank vents are limited to a maximum size of 1/8-inch outside diameter. A spring-loaded pinchoff device capping the overflow vent on a uniflow tank is permitted.

5. Fuel: Glow fuel shall contain a maximum of 10 percent nitromethane with 20 percent lubricant and the rest methanol. Glow fuel will be supplied by the contest management. Diesel engines may use diesel fuel.

6. Aircraft: The only aircraft allowed is the PDQ Flying Clown or faithful replica. Changes to the planform, profile, or wing thickness are prohibited. Cheek cowls are prohibited. Wheels must be at least 1 inch in diameter, and be spaced laterally about 7 inches.

7. Prohibited equipment: Hot glove electrical contact systems, fast-fill setups and fuel shutoffs are prohibited. Shutoffs may be installed on the plane for test-flying, but must be bypassed during races.

8. Races: All preliminary heats and the final race will be timed for 15 minutes from start to finish. The contestant with the most laps wins. Preliminary heats may be 7-1/2 minutes if agreed to by a majority of contestants or required by contest time constraints. Records shall not be established for heats less than 15 minutes. There shall be either two or three pilots in heat races. At least three aircraft shall advance to the feature race. The decision on the number of feature entries shall be made by the event director in advance before the start of any preliminary heats. If more than three planes advance to the feature, races will involve at least two and no more than three airplanes.


* ballot


1. PURPOSE: This event is intended to be slower and less difficult than normal Clown Race.
2. RULES: All NW Clown Race rules except:
a. Engines limited to: O.S. 15 FP, O.S. 15 LA, and Brodak 15.
b. Lines are .015" stranded steel. Length is 52 feet, plus or minus 6 inches, measured from the center of the handle to the fuselage.
c. Races will be five-minute preliminary heat, and 10-minute final.



For a complete copy of the Northwest Sport Race rules (without the annotations above), and for an explanation of how the Northwest control-line rules process works, see the Northwest Rules page.

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This page was upated Jan. 23, 2019