Southampton Model Aeroplane Club

Established 1932



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F3A Flying - what’s it all about ?

F3A is the special interest section of the Flying Code for AEROBATICS, specifically aerobatics outdoors, with fixed wing planes.  (There are separate categories for aerobatics indoors, F3P, and aerobatics with helicopters, F3H, but we will not deal with them here).

So the idea is to fly specific manouevres which look as good as possible, and a judging panel will score the contestants, the highest score winning.

Now, obviously, big planes fly better than small planes, so there has to be a class definition, which  is that planes should be no larger than 2m in any direction, and should not weigh more than 5 Kg.  If electric they should not use a battery with more than 42 volts.

The result is that a Sebart 125 Wind S, as shown in the picture, is an ideal entry model.  It can be purchased and set up for about £1200 and is good enough to compete (but unlikely to win). The top fliers are using more advanced models which cost £5000 to £10000 so are only for the serious.    

So what aerobatics are we going to fly ?

The world of aerobatics (fullsize and model) uses a special notation, called the Aresti code, to write down what aeros are needed in what order.  The whole sequence is called an Aresti-diagram and an example is given here.

It may seem a bit obscure at first, but you soon get the hang of it - the plane flies along a line, solid for upright, dashed for inverted flight.  A loop is notated by a circle, a roll by an arrow.  Dashed and dotted denotes knife-edge flight.  

The aeros are carried out in front of the judges (in 2D) and the items are linked in the diagram by dotted lines, which take no space in real flight.  The rest you can guess.

Items are scored out of 10, multiplied by the difficulty factor (some are harder than others) and the whole added to the score.  Now to fly… see if you can do it !