Control Line Carrier Flying has long been a favourite event in the US and Great Britain. Launching, flying, and landing “marine style” was felt a challenge which had to be mastered. Because of too complex a technology participation had diminished in the past. Then the British developed the “Basic Carrier Deck” ( BCD ) event - with immediate success. Only recently this class has come to Germany. A few enthusiasts enjoy this activity, and together with the Dutch and British friends the contest scene is not huge but quite healthy.
The BCD rules have been thought over thoroughly and they are quite simple. They govern only the essential aspects concerning shape of airplanes, design, and control system, plus contest procedures. They are wisely written since they lead the development of the event in the right direction. The main advantages of the rules are: they allow easy access to the event for newcomers. They leave enough personal freedom for the competitor. They reduce the required effort quite remarkably. And they offer a decent flying task. Let’s see this in detail.
To allow for easy ACCESS the airplane should be easy to build. BCD rules allow profile fuselages to be used. This helps to reduce design considerations and building time. Since scale fidelity is not judged the competitor is not forced to add many labour intensive details. The model just has to resemble a full size carrier prototype. This simple construction method doesn’t require special knowledge and years of building experience to produce a competitive model.
Each model class will greatly benefit from sufficient FREEDOM for the designer/ builder/ competitor. The possibility to create own ideas and to realize them is a great chance for the flyers, and helps to make for a colourful and interesting event. There’s a wide variety among original carrier airplanes to choose from, so everybody will find a version to satisfy his aesthetic imaginations. By abandoning finicky scale judging allows the competitors to modify the design according to its flight task and flying characteristics, thus all the problems with typical scale models are avoided.
The required EFFORT to fly an event is always an important aspect for the respective class to be successful. The clever aspect of BCD is the definite emphasis on the “slow flight”. This automatically eliminates the constant chase for the latest, strongest ( and usually expensive ) engine. Special tuning skills aren’t necessary either. Each average sport engine is suitable. The profile rule allows easy construction; complicated building methods are unnecessary. Since the control system is limited to basic controls only, sophisticated gadgets are out, thus a degree in physics doesn’t help in any way. Finally these clever rules don’t require the competitor to ( as was so appropriately stated recently ) “ hang his wallet at the end of the lines”.
This leaves the flying TASK which consists of speed flight, slow flight, and landing. Admittedly it’s not quite as nerve wrecking as is aerobatics. Even if the flight is mostly (sometimes !) horizontal - slow flight and landing on the deck need some getting used to it, and the pilot will really benefit from some occasional practice flying.
To sum it up, the whole BCD scene can only be seen in a positive light. It’s an appropriate activity for individuals who want to share their interests with like minded people in friendly competition, without being forced to be totally engaged right from the first cut with the balsa knife. BCD is a good start for beginners or converts from other events. Maybe it’s also a good solution for grey haired stunt and combat flyers to enjoy a nerve saving activity which might keep them from being left in the rocking chair. Almost any control line model can serve as a pattern as long as it’s a model of a full size carrier prototype and the wing area is according to the max wing area rule. The Brodak company ( USA ) offers a number of kits which are very popular and are used for carrier flying quite successfully. Comprehensive information about BCD can be found on British Nigel Cheffer’s website www.cheffers.co.uk/carrier.html . Mr. Cheffers describes exactly the criteria for the choice of suitable models as well as detailed advice on how to modify existing models and/ or plans. Also the exact rules can be found here. Mr. Cheffers can offer an information package with plan and text-info. If there's interest for an unusual prototype: a plan for the Messerschmitt Me 109 T for 30 to 45 engines is available from Claus Maikis.
While slow flight can be practised on each short cut meadow, for real carrier flight experience a real “deck” is necessary. We are very grateful that Robert Schulze has built one . Each year Commander Robert shows up at several contests on the continent , gets his carrier deck into position, and allows the carrier fraternity to have great fun. Thank you, Robert.