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Old 12-07-2007, 12:37 PM   #1
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Default 2008 Electric Blue Ray Pylon Racing in North Alabama (with plans!)

Tim Batt, the new 2008 President of North Alabama Radio Control Association (NARCA.net), has come up with a design and has built and flown several prototypes for a 24 inch wingspan Bluecor electric pylon racer called the Blue Ray. He is promoting a series of short course electric pylon racing events to be hosted by several different clubs in North Alabama (and possibly Southern Tennesee), all with the same set of rules and using this particular airplane design, motor, and prop.

The 2008 racing schedule is April 26 at RCRC and then May 10, July 26, and November 15 at NARCA.

Tim has a set of rules worked up. See the next post. These are based on some practice pylon races already held with the prototype planes.

The logic behind limiting the number of batteries is to keep costs in reason. Otherwise people might think they need a separate pack for each heat, and certainly for each class, possibly becoming battery wars instead of electric pylon racing competitions.

Iíve seen one of Timís prototype Blue Ray planes fly, and it was impressive. Reminded me of a fast pattern plane. Feedback from others who have flown it is that it is not only fast, but it flies just like an airplane. For pylon racing, it does not have a moveable rudder, but a rudder servo could be added for acrobatics, with some weight penalty and CG impact. As it is, any battery that fits inside the fuselage can be placed directly at the plane's CG.

The Plans are available! Send Tim an email and he will send you a copy of the plans. The plan is in PDF and is a D size print. Kinkos, Staples, and Office Depot can print this size. [email protected]


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Old 12-07-2007, 12:39 PM   #2
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Default 2008 Electric BR Electric Pylon Racing Rules - for discussion/feedback

Blue Ray
Electric Pylon Racing Rules
April 14, 2008


Airplane: Blue Ray
Motor: RC Hot Deals A2208/12 1800KV or equivalent
Prop: APC 6.5x6.5 Pylon LP06565
Minimum Weight: 2 cell class 11oz, 3 cell class 12.5oz
The same airplane may be raced in either class.
Maximum of 2 Batteries and 1 Charger per pilot per class allowed


Course:
The course shall consist of two pylons spaced 200ft apart. The planes are not required to go around the pylon but must pass them for distance. A Start / Finish line shall be placed at the middle of the course. The pilots shall be positioned at least 200 ft to the side of the course near the Start / Finish line. Pylon marker design is left up to the race host. A Turn Marshal shall be located across the course at each pylon. If a plane cuts a pylon the Turn Marshal shall call out CUT!. The pilot shall lose one lap as a penalty. A Zero line must be established so that the planes are not allowed to fly over the pilots or workers. Crossing the zero line will result in a disqualification for that heat race. Safety should be the first priority for course setup.






Starts:
A designated starter shall be used for timing. Each race shall begin with a flying start. Pilots will have 30 seconds to launch airplanes. After 30 seconds time a 10 second countdown will start. The time shall be called out by the starter 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-GO! Each pilot must time their crossing of the start finish line so that the airplane does not cross the line before the GO call is given. If a plane crosses the line before the GO command is given the pilot will receive a one lap penalty.




Heat Races:
Heats shall be 2 minutes long with the winner having the most full laps completed within the 2 minute time period. If two planes are on the same lap count then they will be awarded the same points. Laps shall be called out by the pilot or the pilots designated caller. Turn callers may be used as long as each pilot has a caller. Heat races shall be run at a minimum of every 15 minutes.


The CD shall divide the number of entrants into groups not to exceed four planes per heat. The number of heat races shall be determined by the event CD. Each entry must run the same number of heat races unless they drop out due to a crash. Backup planes are permitted.


Determining the race winner:
The pilot with the highest number of points shall be the winner. If a tie exists the tie breaker shall be a ten lap race with the fastest time the winner.


Heat race points:
Winner = 10 points
2nd Place = 8 points
3rd Place = 6 points
4th Place = 4 points


Example #1:
Heat #1
Pilot #1 completes 18 laps and gets 10 points
Pilot #3 & 4 both completes 16 laps and gets 8 points each
Pilot #2 completes 0 laps and gets 0 points


Heat #2
Pilot #1 completes 19 laps and gets 10 points
Pilot #2 completes 17 laps and gets 8 points
Pilot # 3 completes 16 laps and gets 6 points
Pilot #4 completes 10 laps and gets 4 points


Heat #3
Pilot # 1&2 completes 18 laps and gets 10 points
Pilot # 3 & 4 completes 16 laps and gets 8 points each


Race total
Pilot #1 = 30 points (First Place)
Pilot #2 = 18 points (Forth Place)
Pilot #3 = 22 points (Second Place)
Pilot #4 = 20 points (Third Place)


Example #2 Race total:
Pilot # 1 = 20 points (First Place Tie)
Pilot # 2 = 20 points (First Place Tie)
Pilot # 3 = 20 points (First Place Tie)
Pilot #4 = 16 points


Pilots #1-3 race ten laps for the quickest time.
Pilot # 2 & 3 are on the same Channel number. Each pilot runs ten laps against the clock. Quickest time wins.
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Old 12-09-2007, 12:13 PM   #3
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This plane, series plan, and racing rules looks good to me. But what do I know?

Any other brilliant ideas to share or show-stoppers here to address before we go too far down the current path?

Thanks!
Jim Marconnet
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Old 12-09-2007, 12:56 PM   #4
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Default New Electric Pylon Rules?

Hello Jim, This is a great concept! I'd be interested in hearing how the tests and racing go.
We've tried "sport" racing a few times here, using a Slow Stick class and later a "Warbird" class, lots of fun.
I have a couple of suggestions, bear in mind they may be refuted by your tests.
First off, are you sure a 100' spacing for the pylons is long enough? A model traveling 30 mph (which isn't very fast) will traverse the leg in 2.4 seconds and (with a 25% time increase for turns) do about 20-25 laps in 2 minutes. If my math is correct, this will make a dizzying race for the contestants and a lot of work for the callers. I'd suggest at least 200' pylon spacing, if not 250'.
Second, you should consider making the callers and a Field Marshall mandatory. There is a real safety issue involved with multiple planes airborne, all traveling in the same general area, path and speed. The pilots can only watch their own plane and mid-airs are a distinct possibility.
Last, add mandatory helmets for both pilots and callers, and keep at least one (preferably several) fire extinguishers handy. Mid-airs and LiPos are a bad combination!
Maybe I'm being overly cautious but a grass fire can ruin everyone's day, not to mention the potential loss of your field.
JMO
Best of luck with the project, fly safely!
Ron
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Old 12-10-2007, 02:58 AM   #5
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Default Just a simple question

Hello

I'm about 60 mi from Madison in Tuscumbia. Sounds like fun but - I have a couple of questions.
Just giving a 2 cell and 3 cell class will leave power open. Did a little math and I have motors from 75w to 400+w using props and 2-3 cells. Going to do a run what ya brung thing? Power limit? Single power package?
Not sure battery capacity would make much difference for a 2 minute race.
One other thing, any chance of a Blueray.PDF of the plans?
I lied, a few more
3 cell open class? 9000w max
3 cell "stock" class? I'm thinking TP 2409-12 on a TP 25a ESC. $24

I'll quit here, I could go on for at least another hour.

Robert
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:43 PM   #6
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Thanks, SkySharkster!

I see this as much much closer to "sport" racing in intent as compared to the all-out formal pylon racing, but I've never done either. Much to learn!

Would love to hear more about your club's racing experiences. What worked, what didn't. Why you stopped, assuming you did.

Thanks for the suggestions.

The 100 feet does seem pretty short to me. Seems like the time I went out with Tim to show us his new plane that we flew around a longer course than that. Probably about 200 feet. The 100 feet might have been a typo.

One of the major obstacles we've had to starting up pylon racing here in Huntsville in our Renegades non-club is the number of people required. We're lucky to get 3-4 people total out to a flying site most lunch times. I can see Tim trying to keep the number of people required for a race down to something more doable.

Thanks!
Jim

Originally Posted by Sky Sharkster View Post
Hello Jim, This is a great concept! I'd be interested in hearing how the tests and racing go.
We've tried "sport" racing a few times here, using a Slow Stick class and later a "Warbird" class, lots of fun.
I have a couple of suggestions, bear in mind they may be refuted by your tests.
First off, are you sure a 100' spacing for the pylons is long enough? A model traveling 30 mph (which isn't very fast) will traverse the leg in 2.4 seconds and (with a 25% time increase for turns) do about 20-25 laps in 2 minutes. If my math is correct, this will make a dizzying race for the contestants and a lot of work for the callers. I'd suggest at least 200' pylon spacing, if not 250'.
Second, you should consider making the callers and a Field Marshall mandatory. There is a real safety issue involved with multiple planes airborne, all traveling in the same general area, path and speed. The pilots can only watch their own plane and mid-airs are a distinct possibility.
Last, add mandatory helmets for both pilots and callers, and keep at least one (preferably several) fire extinguishers handy. Mid-airs and LiPos are a bad combination!
Maybe I'm being overly cautious but a grass fire can ruin everyone's day, not to mention the potential loss of your field.
JMO
Best of luck with the project, fly safely!
Ron
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:59 PM   #7
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Default Just 4 simple questions!

Robert:

Thanks for asking and for sharing your insight.

Tim has a particular inexpensive TowerPro brushless outrunner motor he uses. I don't see it in the rules, but his intent may be to use a specific motor as well as the specific plane. Might also be a maximum prop diameter limit set at some point. That would be easy to check! Will have to ask him about that. (Edit - I checked with Tim, and he sees the motor and prop to be unregulated)

I know Tim has larger intents. Has mentioned getting a build article in a magazine. I don't know which mag or how that is coming along (my guess is that takes a long time from pitch to publication). So likely he won't release too many details widely till that gets published, or not.

Two minutes wide open would be 30C. Plus about 30 seconds slower flying for launch and sailboat-style start. Sucking a pack dry with only 15 minutes on average to cool-down and charge it seems to be asking a lot. Remember the two-packs and one charger limit. That limit seems like a good idea and a good equalizer to me. Time will tell. Has anyone else tried that sort of rule?

My guess is that two classes will be all that can be managed, time and manpower-wise, the first season at least. In fact, I'd not be surprised if after a while there was just one class run, the 3S. Who knows what may happen!?

Jim

Originally Posted by Robert53 View Post
Hello

I'm about 60 mi from Madison in Tuscumbia. Sounds like fun but - I have a couple of questions.
Just giving a 2 cell and 3 cell class will leave power open. Did a little math and I have motors from 75w to 400+w using props and 2-3 cells. Going to do a run what ya brung thing? Power limit? Single power package?
Not sure battery capacity would make much difference for a 2 minute race.
One other thing, any chance of a Blueray.PDF of the plans?
I lied, a few more
3 cell open class? 9000w max
3 cell "stock" class? I'm thinking TP 2409-12 on a TP 25a ESC. $24

I'll quit here, I could go on for at least another hour.

Robert


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Old 12-10-2007, 02:50 PM   #8
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Default More Pylon

Hello Jim,
You are right, it's difficult to come up with enough people to fly and organize the race, but I think you're cleared the biggest obstacle by posting (or submitting) a clear set of rules beforehand.
I believe if you make a firm rule that all pilots must have a caller, the safety-concious flyers will find a way to get one.
As with any competition, there will be the few who squabble about any rules put in place. Before the Lipos were commonly used, we tried racing Simple 400's, the idea was to use stock airframes, 7 cell NiMh or Nicads and any motor. One particularly contentious club member practically boycotted the event since most of his packs were 8 cell.
So we tried to accomodate him by also having an 8 cell class, but by then he had tried LiPos and now wanted the voltage limit to go to 12 volts! By the way, this flyer never did build a Simple, he just griped about the rules and didn't race.
We never really stopped racing, there were just too many rule disagreements to come up with a set of classes that satisified everyone.
So, I'd recomment sticking to your 2s and 3s pack rules, any motor allowed. Although Robert has asked for a motor spec clarification, at this point I'm not sure it's necessary. The better "400" sized brushless motors range from about $50.00 to $100.00. After that, you can't get more speed by spending more money. Neu, Mega and a few other hot inrunners are as fast as anything available. Putting a much bigger motor into a small, light airframe has more disadvantages than advantages. Heavier, harder to balance, needs much larger capacity and "C" -rated batteries (more weight), possible airframe failure, control surface flutter, etc.
Virtually all of the races were won by the best pilot, not the fastest plane.
We also tried "Stryker" pylon, this was popular too, since they're cheap airframes and everyone has one. The absolute fastest plane was so over-powered it couldn't make tight turns and the straight-line speed wasn't enough to make up the difference.
Eventually some will want to use other airframes, composite pylon racers specifically made for this. I'd stick to the one-design format as long as possible and only add other classes when there's enough genuine interest.
Same for adding motor size rules.
The actual pylons were built using this design;
http://www.pylonworld.com/rc_electri...tric_pylon.htm
And if you check some of the other links you should get an idea of what's working in other parts of the country.
Good Luck!
Ron
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Old 12-11-2007, 02:27 AM   #9
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Thanks Ron for that wealth of info!

I've spent some time at that PylonWorld site. Interesting. Sad to see so many several years since they were updated sites and broken links and such. It made it look like pylon racing has seen much better days. I saw nothing there at all similar with what Tim is coming up with now. I noted one pylon club that was not even allowing electrics!

Jim
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Old 12-14-2007, 11:56 PM   #10
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Default 3- or 2- or no-pylon races?

I'm not sure if the logic came thru clearly in the proposed rules, but NARCA flies on an active general-aviation airport runway with trees on both sides and cannot put anything out on the runway that would be an obstruction for that occasion every now and then when a full-scale manned airplane takes off or lands on that runway!

In their practice pylon races, they have called out a prominent pair of trees on the far side of the runway as delineating the "pylons" beyond which the pilots are required to fly.

Anyone ever done anything like that? How did it work out for you?

I've done just a little solo practice flying around two traffic cones spaced 100 feet apart, and I see immediately how difficult it is to fly cleanly around the pylons without going way long, crashing!, or cutting on the wrong side of one or both of them, especially in the wind. Yes, a real fast pylon plane would clearly be less affected by the wind than my flying wing, but I learned a little something in the practice. Flying close and clean and fast around real pylons is some kind of a trick to learn!

Jim
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:43 PM   #11
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Default Realized how ignorant I am! :-)

In further reading about pylon racing, I realized how ignorant I am about it. Read somewhere that if you get really good at it, you will basically be flying knife edge the entire flight, thus the rudder would be a really good thing to have for elevation control.

Jim
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Old 12-31-2007, 01:01 PM   #12
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I found out other places that only really really really fast planes can fly knife edge much of the course. So that and having or not having a moveable rudder would not be a significant issue for the Blue Ray.

Also I've been practicing some with two of my existing (slow!) electric airplanes flying around a 100 foot 2-pylon course, standing 100 feet away rather than the typical "A" distance of 50 feet. I'm doing OK on Pylon 2, but having a challenge setting up and turning at Pylon 1 without losing a lot of speed and altitude. I could use suggestions about this difficulty I'm having.

Also I have not gotten one yet, but I'm looking for an inexpensive .MP3 player or voice recorder with which to record and to play back the launch, start, and race timeing. That way I can go practice the entire race sequence and count my laps by myself. So far without such equipment, I've been unable to figure out how many laps I can fly so far in 2 minutes. That would be good to know and to keep track of so I can see my improvement as it occurs. Of course, having competitors would be great, too! That will come.

I'm looking forward to Tim getting back from Christmas holiday to make further progress on this new racing plane and race series concept.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Jim
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Old 12-31-2007, 01:10 PM   #13
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Morning Jim,
hope you are doing well. I like the Pylon racing stuff. That sure does look interesting. Are you a member of Narca? So Ernie is not the Pres anymore. Did he need some time off or was it just his time to give up the reins? Well, enough off topic, sorry folks..
I like your info. easy to understand..

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Old 12-31-2007, 04:21 PM   #14
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Bruce:

Tim Batt ran for and won the election for NARCA President for 2008. I have no idea what about Ernie. He's still active, and he seems interested in the new pylon racing series. He was so busy last year as President that I have no idea how he managed to hold down a day job!

I've considered joining NARCA, but I have no strong reason to do so. I have no glo-planes, nor do I plan to get any, so their field is a nicety, but not a necessity to me. Their field is 15 miles North of where I live in Madison, so I have not gotten up there much. They typically run a lot of club and public glo- events that I'm not all that interested in. They need a lot of manpower to do so. So a lot of responsibility and time commitment goes with that club. Not to mention comparatively steep annual dues compared to some local clubs, and especially to the non-club! And I'd need to find a sponsor and to face a club acceptance vote and another at 6-months to stay in the club. What was it that W.C. Fields said about clubs? "That a club that would accept the likes of me - I'm not sure I want to join that club!"

Tim put together his Blue Ray pylon racing rules and procedures proposal, and I've floated it around some on-line for comments and to see what has worked in other clubs to promote electric pylon racing. We have had some lively on-line discussions on the merits and the pitfalls. But it's Tim's baby, beautiful or flawed.

The Alabama Rocket City Renegades non-club that I am a non-member of has (besides me) shown no interest in participating in the pylon racing, much less in getting organized and holding one or more races. That's understandable. "Renegades" says a lot!

I know of a pair of semi-local serious glo- pylon racers who go clear to Georgia to race. Now that's commitment!

I hear there is some pylon racing interest at RCRC, but I have no idea who, how many, or the club commitment. No pylon interest that I know of yet at Brindley Mountain R/C. Tim has contacts at several other less-local clubs that I understand he may contact after talking to RCRC in January. So much is yet to be worked out between Tim and other Presidents. Miles to go before we race, as it were.

2008 should be an interesting season, how ever it all turns out.
Jim


Originally Posted by Airhead View Post
Morning Jim,
hope you are doing well. I like the Pylon racing stuff. That sure does look interesting. Are you a member of Narca? So Ernie is not the Pres anymore. Did he need some time off or was it just his time to give up the reins? Well, enough off topic, sorry folks..
I like your info. easy to understand..
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Old 01-07-2008, 12:44 PM   #15
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Default Clarifications and more info added

After some further discussions with and getting further information from Tim, I added Blue Ray motor, ESC, battery, & prop info to Post #2.

NARCA club will discuss this event more at their February meeting and then have a group build session some time shortly thereafter.

I'm looking forward to seeing how many of the Blue Rays get built and raced early in 2008. From what I've seen and read so far, it should be quite a hoot, not only for pylon racing, but also for general sport flying.

Jim
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Old 01-10-2008, 11:08 PM   #16
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Default 3 Pylon race dates set!

At Tuesday's NARCA meeting I learned that they have set the following dates for 2008 Blue Ray Electric Pylon Races at EPPS Field, Harvest, AL: 10 May, 26 July, 15 November.

http://narca.net/ will have more info later once they start updating their website with 2008 events and such.

2S packs will be required early on. Later races may add a 3S class. And an Open Class may be flown after the completion of Blue Ray racing on these race dates to tear up any other pylon racers that pilots may have lieing around!

No news yet from RCRC about pylon racing there.

Jim
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:40 AM   #17
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Hey Jim,
did you go to the Narca meeting? As a visiter..

Bruce
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:41 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Airhead View Post
Hey Jim,
did you go to the Narca meeting? As a visiter..

Bruce:

Yes, I did visit the January NARCA meeting and I got the latest info on the Blue Ray Pylon Racing.

Have updated the two threads (here and RCGroups) with rules clarifications accordingly. Short version (sorry, still long!) - 3 NARCA club pylon races are scheduled: 10 May, 26 July, 15 November. That's 3 times as many pylon races as they had foamy full-contact combat contests last year!

Next NARCA meeting will be Tues Feb 12, closely followed by club group Blue Ray build session Saturday Feb 16th 10-2. About 6 club members want to build one then and to race. And one guy from Nashville area is building one!

Tim is doing a short- and a full-equipment group buy at $33 and $70 respectively. Plans are available to print out yourself on large paper. E-size. Tim has been making up some wings for sale, and he has box-cutter templates made for the other pieces. At that Saturday build session, they will hot-glue airframes together to walk away with an airframe ready to install equipment in. And hopefully the equipment orders will be in by then.

They will start out allowing only 2S class at first to keep things reasonable. May open up to 3S class a little later. Possible Open Class racing at the end of the race day to clean out any remaining pylon racers lurking about!

Then Tuesday of this week I visited RCRC to see Tim's pitch to their membership. At least 4 members from that meeting want to build Blue Rays, several of them building 2!

Their RCRC contest calendar is pretty full already for 2008, so they discussed after the meeting adding Blue Ray Pylon Racing as an additional event to one or both of their Fun Flys. Sounded promising to me!

Tim told me he has other individuals and clubs interested in the Blue Ray racing. So it's not all known in detail, much less all set up yet. But 2008 looks like a definite getting started in electric pylon racing year around here!

Jim
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Old 01-18-2008, 12:56 PM   #19
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Default Blue Ray Plans now available!

The Plans are available! Send Tim an email, and he will send you a copy of the plans. The plan is in PDF and is a D size print. Kinkos, Staples, and Office Depot can print this size. [email protected]

At one time I had the .PDF here for immediate downloading. Tim prefers that people email him so he can send them the absolute latest info and so he has some way to keep a little track of who and where have the plans, etc.

I understand from Tim that he get 1-2 requests a day for the free plans. If anywhere near all the requestors build and fly a Blue Ray, Look Out World!

Jim
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Old 01-19-2008, 01:58 AM   #20
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I practiced today with the 100 foot pylons spacing and several existing, non-pylon-racer planes. It's a pilot's course for sure!

In two two-minute runs, I got 6 and 8 1/2 laps with one plane and I did not time the other plane. A long way to go before I can race!

Jim


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Old 01-30-2008, 12:41 AM   #21
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Several updates from Tim Batt:

Tim has just completed 18 kits (wings and fuselages) for the NARCA and RCRC building session that will take place on Feb 16th. Soon after that we will be practicing for the first big event in May. He's expecting somewhere around 15-20 entries. This event will be two cell class racing only.

In July, NARCA will have the Firecracker 4 Minute race with BOTH two and three cell racing. Heats will be run to determine the finalist that will race in the 4 minute main event much like the way NASCAR does it. Tests have shown that a full 1300mah pack will power the Blue Ray for about six minutes at full power; so the duration should not be a big issue.

Tim does not plan on offering kits of the Blue Ray because it is so simple to cut out and build. He might offer just the wing if he can find a box to ship them in at a reasonable price. The wing is not particularly hard to build, but it does require some extra work. He made jigs to speed up the process and produce a more consistent wing. They weigh in at about 2.5oz before the servos and such are installed.

We've had one plans request and such from a nice guy in Belfast Ireland. The Blue Ray could well go International!

Jim
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Old 02-03-2008, 12:12 AM   #22
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Default To see a Blue Ray fly is to want one!

I was out at the NARCA Epps Field today to see Ernie fly his Blue Ray. He flew it just one flying session before today. It looked good in the air, even with the strong winds we had today. It slowed down well and landed softly.

The several new pilots there who saw it want one and asked where to find the plans. Plans? We've got Plans!

To See a Blue Ray fly is to Want One!

I need to get busy and finish up the two I'm building. I'll need more coloration than Ernie had. His Bluecor matched the blue sky exactly today. See the second photo to see it for yourself!

Jim


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Old 02-05-2008, 12:21 AM   #23
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Default Preparations for the February build session

I just got some photos from Tim of the 20 kits and prefab wings he has been putting together for the February group build session. And nearly all of them are spoken for already!

Jim

PS: I'm looking forward to hearing and seeing how some of the guys with Blue Ray plans around the country and around the world do building and flying theirs.


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Old 02-16-2008, 10:29 PM   #24
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Default Group Build went like an assembly line, which it was!

Tim came up with some neat jigs and such and 13 of us showed up today to assemble 20 Blue Ray kits. About 2 were messed up from mis-glueing. The rest got assembled and went out the door at the end of the day.

A lot of happy pilots are now ready to install their equipment and radios and to go fly, perchance to Pylon Race!

Jim


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Old 03-09-2008, 12:16 AM   #25
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We had the Madison County Swap Meet today. I had a Blue Ray display just to the left of the NARCA club membership table, and I talked to a lot of folks about them, passed out individual handouts and a club handout with the plans in .PDF on CD. Had full-sized plans printed out and available for just the cost of printing. Hopefully we found some more racers and eventually some more clubs to host races.

Jim


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