Home     Updates     Hydros     Cars     Engines     Contacts     Links                              Contact On The Wire

Tight Lines

RRC, SAM 35, BMFA Buckminster and Tethered Cars
by Steve Betney

The BMFA’s latest blog covering their project plans for a hard circle at Buckminster Lodge, the National Flying Centre, was published on Nov 7th. This can be viewed at www.nationalcentre.bmfa.org, and under the "Latest News" heading look at the "Blog" and "Control Line Circles" items for a good and very encouraging status report on the project, on which we have been working for about 2 years now with them to ensure that our tethered car interests will be catered for.

This blog contains great news for both control line aero and tethered car fans, as the BMFA Hard Circles Working Group has now developed and published an implementation plan for a caged hard circle, with a £20k contribution from the BMFA itself towards the projected total cost of £45k, and some additional funding has already been raised from members interested in control line speed and team racing who have been approached so far.

SAM 35 now includes tethered cars as part of the Society’s modelling scope as ratified at this year’s AGM, and the representatives on the BMFA working group are Tony Goodger for c/l and Oliver Monk for tethered cars, who are to be thanked for their continuing efforts on behalf of us all. The circle will be suitable for running our tethered cars as well as the control line aero models, and car activity is now confirmed to be included in the BMFA’s scope, and covered under their standard 3rd party insurance policy for members.

We are now seeking donations to help to finalise the circle’s construction, so that we should be able to run tethered cars and fly control line planes there by the end of the 2019 season. This appeal is currently being made directly to SAM members, but now we also need to appeal to the wider tethered car community, so please help as much as you can. My initial contact to car fans leads me to expect that a good sum can be raised to pay a fair share of the total cost. If you can’t contribute cash, donations of cars not still used, for us to sell would be a great help! Please send your donation by cheque made out to "BMFA" with "BuckMins Hard Circle – TC" on the back, and send to me at 20 Fairfax Road, London NW6 4HA for batch transmission to the BMFA. All monies are guaranteed to be ring-fenced by the BMFA and will be returned to you should for any unlikely and unforeseen reason the circle cannot be built. Tony Goodger is coordinating the donations from those in SAM with purely control line aero interest and it’s all going towards the same circle!

The 70th and final hard copy edition of the UK Retro Racing Club Newsletter was published by Peter Hill in mid-November, but as you probably know by now, the Club will continue to function for the purposes of running cars for all comers on Peter’s track at Great Carlton in Lincolnshire, and the archives will be available to all, as will the plans service, and onthewire will continue to have an RRC section and publish dates for running our cars on Peter’s track. The 2019 season’s dates are now published.

In the final RRC Newsletter, Peter floated a suggestion for a new tethered car class for the 2019 season which should be of appeal to many who want to get into running tethered cars for the first time, or after a long lay-off. This is for a basic speed competition for wheel drive cars that are easy to build and not too expensive, suitable to run on the Great Carlton Raceway, along the following lines:

Maximum 2.5cc engine capacity, diesel or glow, single or twin-shaft.
Driven wheel(s) to be attached directly to the engine crankshaft(s) with no other gearing.
Only one axle can be sprung (i.e. the non-driven one for a standard aero single shaft engine).
Fuel knock-off valves are optional, but a good idea.
Body style to be any of your choice, scale(ish) or free style, of any material (probably balsa).
Start on the track with a hand push (if you’re lucky) or most probably with a push stick.

This class is proposed because of the number of Russian etc twin-shaft engines available at reasonable prices on eBay (RYTM and others), and suitable RRC tyres which can be obtained from Bill Bannister. You can even get full kits on eBay of the Russian School Car model at reasonable cost, huge numbers of which were manufactured, if you avoid the eBay shark dealers. See some of the examples on offer here.

Jan Huning’s example of this car starts incredibly easily with a hand spin of one of the drive wheels on the totally stock engine, is remarkably quiet when running on the track, and is in some danger of cracking the 60mph speed mark when it stays the right way up!

It is hoped to publish a starter article on the other simple car alternative, airscrew driven cars in SAM 35 Speaks magazine sometime early next year if I can get someone to pen it, and below you will see a photo of Dick Roberts’ Proa skeleton aircar which is the current Great Carlton Raceway track record holder at over 60 mph, with possibly a bit more to come during the next season now that Jan Huning has re-bored the worn-out Ollie Tiger! This well used engine started its life in my old Ollie’s Rocket Racer aircar, which is alas no more after shedding a wheel at speed a couple of years ago. I have a replacement car more than half built (like so many of my other car projects), which is a similar looking, own-design Dooling Rocket Racer with a Dooling 29 in a magnesium speed pan as a body half shell to pull it along.............. Peter’s track limit is 2.5cc for aircars, so this one will have to wait until we can get on the track at Buckminster when it is finished.

Steve has gone one better and penned an article himself, including all the details and sources of items needed to build a car such as he describes in a very detailed article. Thanks to Steve for all the work on this project and promoting tethered cars at Buckminster. Click here for full article.

Aged PAW and some metal Demise of the Rocket Dick Roberts' 'Proa'

Please don’t forget to contribute to the Buckminster Lodge hard control line circle fund as mentioned earlier if you possibly can. This will be a facility for us all to enjoy for a long time to come, and greatly assist the revival of the wonderful world of building and running vintage style tethered cars, and help to keep control line events alive and accessible to the next generations of younger modellers.

London Model Engineering Show

A previous Pylon spoke about the decline of interest in many areas of modelling, and it does seem as if this extends to exhibitions as well. After more than a century, the Model Engineering Exhibition ceased to exist and one does wonder how long Meridienne can continue to promote the London Model Show? Commercial pressures appear to have made several regular traders decide against taking up stand space, leaving vast areas of the hall available for alternative attractions. The Model Hydroplane Club had been moved from its previous and spacious location to one of the trade aisles, although Tony and all his helpers had gathered an excellent and representative selection of boats.

Occupying the end of the stall was something that created a great deal of interest, and that was a complete kit of parts for the Bulgarian, carbon fibre, B1, airscrew boat.

As a sport, we do struggle in not being able to offer equipment on a commercial basis, but thanks to Norman Lara, here is the basis for a very competitive boat in either the super fast B1 class, or as a B1S requiring a much more modest outlay for a motor.

The ex Ian Berne flash steamer had people asking lots of questions and showing a degree of disbelief at the speeds the steamers can achieve, a much more sedate power source in their eyes. Just beside it was John Hyder’s mighty A class boat with its three OPS motors coupled together. Photos of this on Facebook also produced a number of comments from far a field.

In the centre of the stand was a showcase with seven engines representing the increase in the hydroplane outright speed record from 5mph to 135mph over the previous 110 years.

The one motor that did have people scratching their heads was an early Stuart Turner with atmospheric induction. Virtually all IC engines of the period used this method to get the air and fuel in, with just the exhaust valve being controlled by a cam.

As usual, there was a goodly selection of past and present competitors that passed by, including Roger James, Oliver Monk and Gregg Sadler, all making their way down to the metropolis. Inevitably this leads to as much talking as looking, and we never cease to be amazed at the depth of knowledge that there is available and information that is to be gleaned through these conversations. Phil Abbott on the Blackheath stand gave a detailed description of one of Alan Rayman’s unfinished, flash steam motors, unusual in that it had both uniflow and cam controlled exhausts. Even more fascinating was that, just recently, Phil had discovered the original drawings of the motor, meaning that he could add completion of this to the ‘roundtuit’ list.

Phil with the 'Greenhalgh' tug plant Blackheath steamers and 'Comet' Mystery sideport ignition motor

Keith Reynolds had a selection of hydros on the Victoria stand, including Alan Greenfield’s complex, asymmetric boat. The engine is purpose built to lie horizontally with induction through the edge of the crank disc, it has electronic ignition from a trigger on the flywheel, radio control of the mixture, and a sliding tuned pipe activated by a lever arm and weight, phew.

Selection of hydros Even  more of a mystery Alan Greenfield's 'hi tech' hydro

Away from the boats, it was a bit thin. The Chelmsford ME society had put a huge amount of work into their stand, which represented an engine shed with each ‘road’ bearing the name of a different and iconic type of locomotive. The most obvious absences were the numerous stands offering second-hand or new ‘kit built’ locos, traction engines, stationery engines and the boxes of part built projects always there to tempt. There were exceptions like Polly Models, Stuart Turner and a selection of small steam engine kits on another. What is quite noticeable are the prices being quoted, well over £500 for a small marine engine and boiler, and what happened to the Stuart 10V kits for a fiver that we used to build? The Australian ‘shammy’ man was there, but for the first time for donkey’s years, no Beugler paint lining. Always remember an associate that used to exhibit at the London Boat Show, cost him far too much to have a stand, but even more in lost sales if he didn’t.

Must be a delicate balance between the trade stalls that pay, the club stands that are supported and the public that pay to get in? Hope the figures continue to add up, or large scale model engineering exhibitions in London will be no more than a distant memory, which goes back now fifty plus years.

Measurement, Inspection and Registration.

Any tethered car that is going to be run at a FEMA meeting has to be registered and carries a unique chassis number. Registration is based on a 'data sheet' that has to be completed by the technical delegate of the country the car is to be registered in. This sheet requires important features to be measured, such as the bridle and screws, fuel knock off and tail skid. Also, other features have to be checked to ensure conformity to the rules but are yes/no tick boxes. Each car is also checked at a European Championship meeting and at the start of each season. In addition, the cars have to be inspected visually to ensure that there are no obvious safety issues. In Switzerland, this is undertaken at the Tell Meeting on the Saturday, whilst in the UK all drivers gather together to get the cars checked and deal with the paperwork.

Lots of talking between the official bits Oliver checking bridle dimensions on a Class 3 car

This is a huge undertaking for the technical delegates, yet is essential as we discovered in Hannover, where many cars that had supposedly been checked and were registered failed the official inspection.  This year, all car and driver registrations have to be made 'online', meaning less paper and current registrations can be checked at www.speedmodelcar.org