Site Index
About Us
4D Lite
Big Bouncer
Tuf Yak
Predator X
Enduro Snow Skis
spare parts
What's New

combat hints
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Order


Combat over Cicero, NY - 7/28/01

The first ever TufFlight sponsored sanctioned RCCA meet!

all static photos courtesy of Mike Graham, STARS club of Phoenix, NY

George Hartman and Joe Chovan collide nearly head on. Note how this very flexible Predator bends around the other plane on impact so it didn't sustain as much damage as it might if it were rigid. It's the next best thing to having an airbag!

Joe sustained only a stopped engine and dislodged fuel tank from this mid-air collision. George's "wonder plane" suffered a separated wing, but minimal damage also.

Fran Boatman helped by being our official timer. Who could ever argue with her smiling face?

Here you can see our flightline. Note the trees in the background. Much of the overfly area had trees to negotiate. Sometimes retrieving downed planes was a challenge. This is an excellent reason to install beepers on your planes. Also, tethering engines and other heavy or expensive items together will minimize searching time.

One of "George's Wonder" planes heads for the sky. This original design by George Hartman, Rochester, NY is a local favorite and performs well. It's similar to a battle floyd, but stronger.

Roseanne Donvito takes a break from her magazine to watch the action unfold.

Mike Rotherforth with his Predator.

Steve Scicchitano performed a full aerobatic routine with his "Winnie the Pooh" Enduro during lunch break.

Steve is an amazing pilot and super nice guy also. He'll take your streamer, and leave you smiling.

Steve Krause shows us what happened to his Combat Gremlin.

The Gremlin helped to start the combat craze, and it's still very popular in Massachusetts.

Chuck Hanzel flying during intense action. Chuck did very well this day placing 3rd overall.

Steve Krause judges for Fred Degroff, who came all the way from Cary, NC to fly in our event. Fred, a former Midstate Modeler, loves combat so much, he named his Predator "Designated Target" and has a big bullseye on his wing.

Fred also runs R/C Research and sells lots of scale and combat goodies.

Mark Mozo looks for his next victim. That's a nice RCCA tee shirt as well.

Mark's plane heads for the fray.

Here's Mark starting his #1 Predator.

This plane turns and rolls so fast it's arguably one of the finest combat machines ever made. It flew all 9 rounds at the Nationals in Muncie Indiana less than a month earlier, and helped Mark to earn 11th place. Could it be that Mark is also a great pilot? Naah, it must be the plane!

Contest Summary:

It was a fairly nice day, with a bright, rain free sky. A 10 mph east wind kept our planes flying away from us, so we constantly had to fly back to move the "furball" to where we could see what was going on. This is more difficult than it sounds when most everyone is just looping around, as you have to take a break, and purposely head back every few circuits. Launching planes downwind proved to be a bit challenging for planes with somewhat weaker engines.

There were not enough scale entrants to warrant a contest, so only open class was flown.

There were many mid-air collisions, and some flyers had difficulty searching for downed planes because of the thick bushes and trees in the overfly area. Several flyers were able to retrieve and repair downed planes, and none crossed the safety line. The wind blowing planes away was probably a factor in this.

Issue : Max Planes Per Heat? After 2 rounds of combat, several competitors had disabled planes, and frequency conflicts disappeared. We had suggested combining all remaining flyers into one heat, but this would mean flying 9 planes at once. Some think "the more, the merrier" when it comes to combat, as you get more of a "target rich environment." After all, the Nationals in Muncie routinely flys 9-14 planes per round at once. While some may think this may be more fun, the chances for mid-air collisions go up dramatically when you get that many planes flying. An informal protest was made, and our CD decided not to allow more than 5 planes per heat, so we ran two heats instead of one for the last round. While we certainly had no heartburn in accommodating those who wanted less planes per heat, it may be wise to advertise this sort of philosophy before the contest, so flyers know what to expect.


Place PilotPoints
1 Steve Scicchitano1246
2 Joe Chovan986
3 Chuck Hanzel908
4 Jim Warner644
5 Ernie Nikodem634
6 Mark Mozo581
7 George Hartman500
8 Dieter Schubert436
9 Bill Birkett378
10 Rodney Boatman344
11 Fred Degroff262
12 Jerry Warren156
13 Steve Krause100
14 Mike Rotherforth-154

Lessons Learned

  • Enlist help early : Running an official combat event takes manpower. Ask friends and club members to come out and help for an action packed day of combat. If you organize it -- they will come. Bring extra hard-hats for helpers. Some of the best places to watch the contest are near the flight line, standing and judging for a contestant.

  • Trees and shrubs make recovery difficult : If you can't clear an area big enough where the planes are going to fly over (and fall into), be sure to warn participants of recovery options. Beepers are good, and help to locate hiding planes fast. Several companies make beepers that plug into your RX (either inline with a servo, or into an unused channel) and beep loudly when you turn off your transmitter. Send the word out with your meeting notices so flyers know what to expect before they get to your field. If you plan to run a large number of rounds, you will need to limit recovery times, so flyers may only have a few minutes to get their planes before the next round starts. We flew only 3 rounds of open class that day, so we didn't need time restrictions for recovery.

  • Lost engines - tether them! Engines sometimes "eject" from a plane in a violent mid-air collision. Tether them to the plane with strong thread or fishing leader. Tethering wings to fuselages is also a good idea and recommended by many RCCA members to prevent the "lawn dart" syndrome when a wing separates, and the fuselage becomes a ballistic projectile.

  • Plan and cope with Wind On this day, the wind kept planes blowing away from the pilots and spectators. This made flying in the usual stationary "furball" difficult, and also meant downed planes drifted further away than they would have with no wind. On the plus side it probably improved safety, as there were no safety line violations. If the wind had been blowing towards us, it would have been prudent to move the safety line further away from the flight line. We had noted at the Nats this year there was a very strong (15-20 mph) wind in our faces on one day that made for some difficult flying, and numerous safety violations. It's good to practice flying in such conditions, but it's also good to plan for folks who don't have much experience in strong winds. Be safe!

  • Identify possible frequency conflicts :We had 3 flyers with the same frequency, so this meant we had to have at least 3 heats each round. At the pilot's meeting, suggest that flyers know who else is on their channel, so they can watch and help each other. We didn't have any big problems with frequencies, except we tried to consolidate rounds later in the contest as some flyers dropped or switched planes, and we discovered that some flyers wished to keep fewer planes per round even when frequency availability allowed everyone to fly at once.

  • How to organize : Be safe -- Follow AMA and RCCA rules. Visit RCCA's web site for official rules on airplane classes and field layout. http://www.rccombat.com Local variations for landing points, retrieval or rules of engagements are expected, but please use the field layout distances as specified by the RCCA. These keep pilots and spectators a safe distance from any planes that may fall from combat.

  • You don't need a laptop computer! -- For a small event like we had, you really can run a contest on the back of a napkin. All you really need are a few sheets of paper, a calculator, lots of clip boards and pens, and score sheets (available from the AMA when CD sanctions the event). Folks often think a computer will save time, but you must remember you do have to enter ALL the data into your program and have it do the math. Also, computer programs are notoriously inflexible when it comes to re-arranging round or plane assignments. When you have a moderate number of participants, it's a simple matter to fairly assign rounds and avoid frequency conflicts. The math can be done at the end, or between rounds if you have a helper.

  • It is possible to fly and CD at the same time! Mark Mozo performed all CD duties this day, and still managed to fly all rounds and battle a balky engine in the pits. It may be a bit more stressful to keep track of your own plane and still manage the event duties, but if you have a few trained helpers, it's not so bad. Mark sure looks like he's having fun in the pictures, doesn't he?

Many thanks to the folks who came out to help with running our event. Jim Edick manned the grill for much of the lunchtime break. Fran Boatman ran the timer and helped things to keep moving. Rich Hysick helped tally the results for "the big count." Fran Worth and Mike Graham of the STARS club helped to judge and watch the safety line. Mike took all the great pictures you see here. Several spectators were "drafted" into judging also, but I think they had some fun in the process!

If plans go well, next year's event will be just as fun, if not better! It's time to get some more practice. Hope to trade streamers with YOU someday soon.

Return to Combat Tips page