Carrier Flying for Sport and Competition
by: Dick Perry
Since it was first introduced over 40 years ago, CL Navy Carrier has provided modelers with a form of competition which is both challenging and enjoyable. Navy Carrier was first flown at the 1950 National Model Airplane Championships (NATS), and was sponsored by the U.S. Navy. By 1958, popularity had grown, and Navy Carrier became an official AMA event. Since its beginning, the event has changed considerably in equipment and rules, but the basic intent remains the same. Models of actual naval carrier-based aircraft are flown from a simulated aircraft carrier deck and must demonstrate the characteristics which are required of their full-scale counterparts: high speed; slow flight; and precision arrested landing. Scoring is a combination of these three flights regimes with bonus points added (on an all-or-nothing basis) for scale appearance.
Flying consists of a takeoff from the forward portion of the deck (about 24 feet long), followed by high-speed flight of seven laps. After the high- speed portion of the flight, the contestant slows the model and signals for the low-speed part of the event (seven laps). When slow flight is complete, the contestant lands the model on the 20-foot long aft portion of the deck so that the tailhook on the model catches one of the arresting ropes. The ropes are tied to sand bags which stop the model.
There are three classes of competition. Profile Carrier is for profile models with at least 300 square inches of wing area and front-intake .36 engines using suction fuel systems. A nominal bonus of 10 points is offered for models which represent actual carrier aircraft. Class I & Class II have no restrictions on model design, type of engine, or fuel system. They are usually full-bodied models of real aircraft and receive a rather substantial 100-point scale bonus if they are within a 5 percent tolerance of scale dimensions. Class I is for engines up to and including .40 cubic inch displacement, and Class II is for up to .65 engines. The complete rules for Navy Carrier flying are found in the AMA rule book, of course.
Navy Carrier is a challenging event which is a balance of good, reliable equipment and flying skill. Reliability during slow flight is at least as important as high-speed performance, making modern throttle-equipped R/C engines competitive. Engine speed control is most easily accomplished using the Brodak • J-Roberts three-line handles and bellcranks available through this catalog. The best introduction to Navy Carrier flying is the Profile Carrier event. There are many profile kits in this catalog which comply with the rules, including the J-Roberts profile models which were designed specifically for the three-line control system.
Flying as part of a team of carrier modelers is a great way to get started in carrier flying. Practice is more fun when it is shared and working with a familiar teammate can be a help at contests, but the events are designed so that an individual can compete very effectively. A contestant can usually set his own schedule at a contest, rather than being tied to a rigid schedule of heats or rounds, making Navy Carrier competition more relaxing and allowing a contestant to participate in other events, as well.
The best way to stay attuned to what's happening in the Navy Carrier events is by reading the "CL Navy Carrier" column in Model Aviation magazine and by subscribing to the "Hi-Low-Landing" newsletter of the Navy Carrier Society. An annual subscription to "Hi-Low-Landing" costs $6.00 and can be obtained by writing to Bill Bischoff.
How to join the NAVY CARRIER SOCIETY
Send your name, address and AMA number to:
NAVY CARRIER SOCIETY
3734 Truesdell Pl., Dallas, Texas 75244
Membership is $6.00 per year.
You may subscribe for multiple years if desired.
Navy Carrier Society
c/o Bill Bischoff
3734 Truesdell PI
Dallas, Texas 75244