Friday, 17 August 2018

A One Minute Guide to F3F

F3F is the Formula 1 of slope soaring, but you don't need a Ferrari to compete - just a moulded glider, a transmitter... and a liking for ripping up the slope!

F3F in action: the perfect excuse to let rip!

What is F3F?

F3F is very simple - you have 30 seconds to gain height, then your task is to fly ten legs of a 100 meter course as fast as possible. The ends of the course are marked with two 'bases', and a man with a buzzer clicks it as your model passes the base.

 A time of 40 seconds is considered 'good'. A highly proficient pilot in ballistic conditions can go 'sub 30'. The adrenaline of a fast run is what keeps pilots coming back for more.

Rounding a base. The buzzer man hits a button when you reach the base.

The quickest time in each round gains 1000 points and other flights are scored pro-rata. Several rounds will be flown, and the pilot with the highest aggregate score is the winner.

Sun powered!

Hello, I'm new around here!

Everyone competes on equal terms in F3F. That said, conditions often vary from run to run, so even if you're new to F3F, you can still achieve respectable times. A lot of the fun is chasing your own personal best - and improving your flying skills at the same time. Apart from flying technique, it's also about ballast choice and model setup.

At a recent English Open. Your model could be in there next time!

How much does it cost?

F3F is relatively inexpensive because no winches or motors are involved. All you need is a model and a transmitter - along with DLG it really is flying in its purest form.

A second hand mouldie is a good route if you're new to F3F. You don't need to spend the earth on a transmitter either - the FrSky Q-X7 is fully F3F capable yet costs just £100. There's also a  free a F3F setup available (disclaimer: it's one of mine!).

Jean-Luc Foucher with own-design Pinguin and FrSky Q-X7

Where are the events?

F3F events are typically run over one or two days. Locations include Sussex, S. Wales, Scotland, N. Yorks Moors and Shropshire so you're sure to find a competition within reach of an early start. There's a full list of events on the the GBSRA site.

F3F is not all just about the flying: Whitby harbour after the comp, 2017

The next step

Why not come along to one of the events? Go on, treat yourself! Not only is it a lot of fun but you'll learn more in a day of F3F than in a year of tootling around. Plus, there'll be no shortage of pilots to assist you for your first try.

Another run accomplished


Here are some useful links:

GBSRA - GB Slope Racing Association
BARCS forum - for all the banter including competition news
Contact the author - and I'll point you in the right direction

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