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The Great Rubber Race
(By David Pengelly)

In the Fall of 1996, Brian Graham, the President of the Flying Tigers Radio Control Club, brought up at one of the executive meetings the need to do more at a club meeting than just business. Thus was born the idea of the rubber race... just to get the members up, involved and doing something.

Almost with tongue in cheek, club members (who, for the most part flew 10 lb. glow powered models) were challenged to build and fly rubber powered stick and tissue planes weighing only a few ounces. As always, the flying was the tricky part. The idea was simple: fly your rubber powered plane in such a way that you hit or pass through a target the size of a "hula hoop" which is 75 feet away. March was chosen as the month to hold the event, at least partly to break up the winter blues. This year's running of the Flying Tigers Great Rubber Race was the 8th annual.

Technically speaking, the GRR is not a race, as time is not involved: it could be called a "task oriented competition", the task being (as outlined above) to fly your models to or through a hula hoop from a distance of 75 ft. The hula hoop is suspended with its centre about six feet in the air, and centred on a nine foot by 12 ft. plastic tarpaulin which is suspended about two feet behind it. Below and six feet in front of the tarpaulin, running its length is some cushioning material for the models to drop on when they hit the hoop or tarpaulin. The start line, made with masking tape across the floor, is at the other end of the room. Two other lines are made with masking tape, one at one-third of the distance, the other at two-thirds of the distance to the hula hoop.


The accompanying chart provides the details of the scoring. Each model is flown three times, and the best score of the three flights is the one that counts for that model. Points are given for entry of a model, so long as a flight is attempted: Scale models get four points, ARF models get one point for entry, with the others in between. Models may be hand-launched, but an additional point is given for an ROG (rise off ground) if the model becomes airborne. A point may be gained if the model passes the one-third line, and an additional point if the model passes the two-thirds line. If the model hits the tarpaulin, an additional point is given; if it hits the hula hoop, two additional points would be given; if it passes through the hula hoop, three points are given as well as an additional point as it strikes the tarpaulin behind it. If a MAAC Cub passes through the hula hoop it will gain five points, if it strikes it, it will gain four. For the Tigers / BRCM competition the highest score of each competitor is added up for all competitors of each club.

Number of points per flight. 3 flights allowed. Only flight with highest score counts.
Type of model Points for entry ROG in air

1/3 line

in air 2/3


hit barrier hit target clean pass thru target
SCALE (balsa/tissue) 4 1 1 1 1 2 3
SPORT (balsa/tissue) 3 1 1 1 1 2 3
CUB (MAAC etc.) 2 1 1 1 1 4 5
ARF or RTF 1 1 1 1 1 2 3

The March 2005 Event

This year, registration and test flights began at 7:00 PM, and the competition began at 8:20 PM, following a short club meeting. The host flying Tigers had 16 entrants; the Burlington Radio Control Modelers had 7 entrants, and a total of 27 models were flown, 15 of which were in the Sport category, 1 in the Scale category, 7 ARF, and 4 Cubs. Only one model was flown at a time, and thus there were 81 flights. Flying was finished by 9:20 pm.

The highest score went to Tony Moore, who won first overall with 9 points, and also won first Sports. There were two competitors tied for second overall with 7 points, and three tied for third overall with 6 points. After 2 fly-offs second place went to Charlie Chomos, and third to Art Titmarsh. The fly-offs were exciting for the spectators, as it was "sudden death", and all five models had performed well in the competition. Jim Daly won first Cub, and Karl Gross won first ARF. David Pengelly managed a dubious first in scale by being the only entrant in this class. A special award went to 8-year old Paul David Hill, who flew as well as 9 other contestants with his MAAC Cub. Paul David is the youngest contestant in the history of the GRR. At the end of the night, the Flying Tigers had accumulated 60 points, with Burlington close behind with 43. The Hawk flies to Flying Tigers!

Getting ready...

Our youngest entrant likes aerobatics!

Charlie Chomos heading for 2nd O/A.

Karl hands Nick the ****hawk. Tigers Win!

More Great Rubber Race pictures

First overall: Tony Moore

Second overall: Charlie Chomos

Third overall: Art Titmarsh

First Cub: Jim Daly

First ARF: Karl Gross

First (?) Scale: David Pengelly

Thanks to Jim Daly for all of the pictures!

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