Pictures showing how Grant Potter and Hugh Simons built their own private flying circle in an outback NSW farm paddock.

Grant's pictures as a clickable image   From where Grant lives he is faced with an 8 hour drive to the nearest concrete flying circle suitable for practising F2C.  Instead of driving so far, Grant and Hugh Simons practice F2C using plastic mats laid out over grass in an outback farm paddock at the Muswellbrook Modellers Club, 5 klms south of Muswellbrook NSW Australia.   This site is about 40minutes drive for Grant and 2.5hrs drive for Hugh, so usually they practice together for 2 days each session, to justify the travelling and work involved in setting up the circle.  The circle described here is the one they have been using for four years.

Grant writes:

"Our circle is made of plastic matting laid out over grass and nailed to the ground.  The plastic mats were purchased from a paper mill, known to the paper mill as "dryer screen".  It arrived at my house as strip 9 meters wide and 55 meters long.  I cut this using a hot knife at 19.8 meter radius and 3.8 meters wide across the belt, 14 pieces.  The dryer screen was donated to us for $10 by the paper mill but the transport to here was about $1500 dollars!

The plastic mats are 1mm thick and overlap at the edges by about 150mm (and more on the inside).  The overlaps are arranged in the direction of the landing model.  The whole process takes about 1hr to set up, and about 1/2hr to pack away.  We roll it up after use as we don't want to kill the grass.  The rolled up matting is stored at the edge of the grass circle when we are not using it.

The pictures at left show construction of the circle.  An enlarged view can be seen by clicking on any of the pictures.

1.  Pic 1 - Mowing the grass and cow manure.

2.  Pic 2 - The grass site is mown.

3.  Pic 3 - The mats are stored rolled up in 2 rolls of 7 mats each.  These have been unrolled ready to be placed out in a circle.  They roll out flat.

4.  Pic 4 - We mark a circle of 19.8 metres radius on the grass.

5.  Pic 5 - We tow the pieces of plastic mat to roughly where they need to go.

6.  Pic 6 - Each piece is placed by dragging by hand to its final position.

7.  Pic 7 - A 100 mm nail is pushed into the ground on each corner of each piece to stop the wind blowing it away, and the circle is finished.

8.  Pic 8 - A close up view of the plastic matting surface.

The plastic matting is expected to last many years.  The Albury club uses the same material as a runway for radio models and driveway into the club and so far it seems to last well for them laid out permanently.  They would have had it in place for over 10 years that I know of, maybe 20 plus."

Is it worth going to so much trouble, knowing that many people would look for an easier sport or hobby if they could not simply fly their models over existing grass surfaces?  Well, Grant flies Vintage A over grass too, but reckons if F2C was easy it would not be as rewarding.  He says that he and Hugh "really enjoy the F2C competition regardless of success.  We both like the physical challenge of the model speeds, the tactical challenge of racing at such speeds, and the mental challenge of trying to understand what is happening both aerodynamically and mechanically."  To do that flying F2C the way it has developed, a special flying circle is necessary.  Perhaps a wind tunnel will be next?

A drawing is available here in pdf format for anyone thinking of making a flying circle like this for themselves:  DRAWING.pdf


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