Monday, February 01, 2010

Sportsman Pattern: to limit or not to limit? -- Pieter le Roux

The local Pattern community have decided to do away with special limitations on planes competing in the sportsman class and all planes would now be governed by FIA rules: 2X2 meters and 5 Kg. Not everyone would be happy with this, me included, mainly because we don’t have a 2X2 to fly with at this stage. I had a look at the rules of other countries and none of them have any special limitations on sportsman planes so this move would put us in line with what been done internationally. Locally there have been huge move from glow fuel engines to electric powered planes by pattern pilots and I can not help but wonder if part of the motivation for this sudden move were to find a market for their obsolete planes?

In the long run I think this is a move for the best. One can now start by flying in the new Novice class and when you feel ready, and can afford it, you can move up to the Sportsman class. Once you have acquired a 2X2 plane you could compete with it up to F3A level. The initial costs would be higher but there would be fewer costs involved when you move up to the next class.

Unfortunately after the decision had been taken by MAASA nobody were prepared to do the necessary paperwork and communicate their decisions to their members. The MAASA Sporting Code clearly states that:

“The MAASA Management Committee reserves the right to amend this Sport Code at any time in consultation with its Regions in order to ensure the Proper management of all MAASA management activities and competitions. Such amendments will come into effect on a date determined by the Management Committee after the circulation to all regions and the Publication of a revised Sporting Code on the MAASA web site.”

The present Sporting Code on the MAASA website for 2008 to 2011 does not reflect any of these amendments so a date can not even be set for these amendments to come into effect. The first competition will take place this weekend and they would have to disallow anything over 4.2 Kg and over a .91 two-stroke or 1.25 four-stroke to keep within the sporting code. To implement these changes later in the season would be “unsporting”, for those Sportsmen that have already changed their planes I can just say: Read the instructions and hope you kept your 90 size.

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