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Bruce Matthews with his Dominator powered by an AM25 

Our Vintage Combat Philosophy by Bruce Matthews

The British are flying Vintage combat with their own set of rules that guarantee a tight compliance with their vision. Here in good old North America we are attempting to blend the good points of this event with enough flexibility to generate a low key fun event that will allow easy entry and good times without “evolving” into another really fast slow combat event. It should be evident by the end of this note that those combat fliers whose fun (?) quotient is measured in MPH over the century mark will probably, or at least should, look elsewhere. For those that are still with me let’s look at the why of a few of the rules.

By limiting the prop to a 8x6 nylon we level the playing field to within a few mph regardless of the strength or weakness of the engine. The next bonus is that a goodly amount of flying has shown these things to be TOUGH! Work with us. This is supposed to be fun, low key and, most importantly, slow enough to fly out of trouble when we are in the heat of….ahem…COMBAT. With the 52 ft lines the lap times and rotational velocity are still far from boring for the experts and slow enough for the part time warriors. Each motor has a slightly different "feel" to it, and they all become easier starting as they break in. A fully broken in motor when ditched can usually be started with one good flick. In diesel combat at 64 mph, the planes can take several "dorks" in a match, and be instantly restarted by a good pitman.

WARNING Do not under any circumstances use an electric starter to start your diesel. The motor will hydraulic and shear off the crank pin. Always hand start your diesel. Store diesel fuel in a metal can and not in a plastic container.

By limiting the designs to older planforms we have done two things. We have controlled the sharpness of the cornering to avoid super tight turns that can be confusing to occasional warriors. Second we have a host of designs that can be built without high tech materials and with phenomenal toughness to withstand all but the worst collision with the big green thing (terra firma). The rules allow for the use of foam for those that have to but be warned. Foam will not stand a “combat” landing (thump) and the normal foams are made kind of soft and, well, liquid by the exposure to diesel fuel. The English type combat models will certainly be new to you but they do build up tough. And besides the tough models will be needed because of the flight rules.

The air time is very important as the streamer cuts are only worth 50 points. The idea is to encourage flying not hiding on the ground. For the same reason the match does not stop after a mid air. Believe me you want to avoid mid airs because even these tough models will not live through a bellcranker! It makes much sense to veer away from a line tangle or collision to keep flying and go for a later cut. With no “kill” it also makes sense to pass up a cut if the string is the target and wait to get controlled cuts of the streamer for more points.

Great but why diesels? They are different and the fuel is harder to get. True but the diesel difference is one of the strong points. Due to lower RPM inherent with diesels and the selection of the prop the noise from these models is much less objectionable and doesn’t carry near as far as the whine of the high RPM glows. In this age of vanishing flying sites this is no small advantage. Besides, once you get used to the diesels many of them will give consistent one or two flip hot starts.

This page was last updated on 02/22/04.