Basic Carrier Deck (BCD) is a great competition. The idea is that the models take off from an "aircraft carrier", fly as fast as they can for 7 laps, and then as slow as they can for 7 laps. During the seven slow laps, the model should not exceed an attitude of more than 30°. After this they must land back on the carrier, catching the arresting wires with a hook. A score is calculated, by subtracting the fast time from the slow time, and then landing points are added. Fast times are around 30 seconds for 7 laps, and slow times anywhere from 30 to 150+ depending on the model and pilot. The landing is judged on quality with a maximum of 100. 10 points are also available if the model resembles a real carrier aircraft, and 10 further points if the model carries a suitable colour scheme. At a guess, I would say average scores are around 170 points, perhaps higher. The best pilots and models can manage 220 or more. At a competition, you can have 3 attempts to make a scoring flight. A flight is called an attempt when the slow run has begun. Go to the Flying carrier page for my approach on flying technique!
Basic summary of rules:
60 ft line length maximum (from handle to prop).
450 square inches maximum wing area.
Effective silencer and no tuned pipes.
Carrier models are not too complicated. They are usually simple profile scale models. There's not much difference between your average model. The largest difference is the addition of a throttle, which needs a 3 line bell crank or can be operated by a servo on the model. Both the 3 line and electric throttle systems are not too complicated to understand and use, if studied a little. So, other than that, carrier models are standard models beefed up a bit. They need beefing up to withstand heavy landings, unless you're very confident about you're flying.
I currently use a Fairey Spearfish, with a 3 line throttle and an OS 40 FX motor. It's a good combination. The Fairey Spearfish has a large wing (good for slow run), and a shallow profile fuselage (light weight), the 3 line system is reliable and the OS 40 has loads of power and is also very reliable.
The Carrier UK website has many articles for building models and flying carrier, so check it out. It also has a vast archive of pictures and competition reports.
My Spearfish carrier model
My Spearfish is a development of the Guardian, which we (me and my dad) also developed. The Guardian is a proven design for Carrier, being very stable and fairly slow. We enlarged the wing and made the fuselage slightly longer. The Spearfish is basically the developed Guardian with a slight fuselage shape change. I did this so I could fly a British model, no other reason. The Spearfish was flown first at the BCD demo event at the 2002 world C/L champs. I managed second place and best junior. Not bad, considering it wasn't even finished when we arrived at the champs! I built a second Spearfish, for extra lightness. I think I got carried away, because you could see the wings bending in flight. But it still performed. I will build another one, with a compromise between strength and lightness.
This article was first published: 13/05/2003
This article was last updated: 13/05/2007