Racing Remote Controlled Planes

Racing of any kind usually draws a large crowd, but not so for the first remote controlled plane race. The very first example of radio control demonstrated in New York City in 1898, its inventor was a 43 year old immigrant who was duly awarded U.S Patent no 613,809.

It was only one of 113 U.S patents that this prolific genius received during his lifetime. Many electrical engineers and historians regarded his basic inventions as the foundation of the 20th century as we know it.

remote-controlled-airplaneBy the middle of the 1930s, miniature airplanes were just beginning to be powered by very small gasoline engines. An R/C contest event was even scheduled for the 1936 model aircraft Nationals in Detroit. It was a little premature, not one entrant showed up! The following year however, must be regarded as the true beginning of R/C racing.

The 1937 Nationals attracted 6 entrants, the lightest (6 lb) and simplest plane won although his flight was a bit erratic and lasted several minutes. Two other entrants had their plane take off then climbed steeply, stall and crash.

Remote controlled plane racing has come a long way since then. Flying R/C aircraft as a hobby grew substantially from the 2000s with improvements in the cost, weight, performance and capabilities of motors, batteries and electronics.

A Wide variety of models and styles are available. As manufactures quickly recognized a keen market it did not take long for electric planes such as the now-famous HobbyZone Super Cub to become established products in the hobby.

Incidentally, foam construction has become the industry standard material for electric planes. Although of course traditional balsa/ply model planes are widely available as kits. These kits can be mostly foam or plastic, or may be all balsa and ply-wood.

Construction of wood kits typically consist of using formers and longerons for the fuselage, and spars and ribs for the wing and tail surfaces.

Many designs use solid sheets of balsa wood instead to form the fuselage. The lightest models are suitable for indoor flight, in a windless environment.

Amateur hobbyists have more recently developed a range of new model designs utilizing the corrugated plastic or “Coroplast” material. These models are collectively called “SPADS” which stands for Simple Plastic Airplane Design.

Fans of the SPAD concept tout increased durability, ease of building, and lower priced materials as opposed to balsa models, sometimes (though not always) at the expense of greater weight and crude appearance.

Overall the quality of of electric planes has improved dramatically, to the point where mass-produced scale foam airplanes, like warbirds for example are nearly as impressive as a scratch built one made by an experienced modeller over many months! And they can be bought for a fraction of the cost too.

While r/c airplane flying has over the years attracted an abundance of attention and racers they are not the only ones interested in this modern sport.

Scientific, government and military organizations are also using RC aircraft for experiments, gathering weather readings, aerodynamic modeling and testing and even using them as drones or spy planes.

Soap Box Racing

Racing goes a long way back in time, and people will race just about anything. The idea of the Soap Box Derby originated with news man Myron Scott. While on a photography assignment in Dayton Ohio in the summer of 1933, he came across a group of boys racing their home made cars.

He was so impressed with the event he acquired a copyright to Soap Box Derby, and went in search of a corporate sponsor to establish a national program.

soap-box-carChevrolet liked Scott’s proposal and agreed to sponsor the first official All-American Soap Box Derby. This race took place in Dayton in 1934. The following year the race was moved to Akron, because of it’s central location and hilly terrain.

By 1936 Chevrolet and Akron civic leaders recognized the need for a permanent track site for the youth gravity racing classic. That year through the efforts of Works Progress Administration (WPA), Derby Downs became a reality in the southeast section of Akron.

The Soap Box Derby ran continuously from its inception until the onset of the second world war.

After a four year hiatus the All-American Soap Box Derby resumed in1946 in Akron and has been held at Derby Downs every year since. The Soap Box Derby was open to boys only until 1971 when girls were included.

In the fall of 1972 Chevrolet officials withdrew their sponsorship . All trademark and copyrights for the event were transferred to Akron Area Chamber of commerce. After attempts to secure new sponsors failed, the Chamber assumed financial and administrative responsibilities for the1973 program.

Early in 1974 the Chamber’s Derby corporation assigned rights for the All-American program to the Akron Jaycees, which established International Soap Box Derby Inc, to operate the Derby. The corporation’s affairs are administered by a board of directors of community leaders from Akron and other cities.

To become a Soap Box racer its best to start at the beginning, you can either buy a car or you can make a car. In order to make one you will need plans, or a kit, they are readily available on the internet, there are a multitude of different plans and kits to choose from. The advantage of making one yourself is that it will give you an in-depth idea of exactly how they work.

Some rules that apply are, the Soap Box car must meet the Construction and safety Guidelines. You must preregister, and all cars will be subjected to an inspection, and eliminated if deemed unsafe.

All drivers must wear shoes and a helmet with a chin strap. The race judges’ decisions are final and shall not be contested.

Should you be fortunate to have access to a soapbox car that has been stored in a barn or attic somewhere, you may be able to use it. But all cars must meet the standards and should be built with the driver’s safety in mind.

You can be as creative as you wish with your cars appearance , and in fact they do award trophies in the following categories.

  • Engineering.
  • Most original plan design.
  • Best novelty soap box car.
  • Overall best soap box car.
  • The safest car.

Soap Box Derby racing is a fun relatively inexpensive sport, that is readily available to boys and girls ages 7-13. Building their own soap box is an educational and fun experience.

Motorcycle Racing: How it Began And More

motorbike-racing-1Motorcycle racing or “moto racing” is the sport of racing motorbikes. This includes road racing and off road racing. Other categories include hill climbs, drag racing and land speed record trials.

Motorbike racing was first “played” in 1895, many of the tracks were built of wood and banked to enable riders to go faster.

The Hendee Manufacturing company introduced the 1.75 horsepower single cylinder Indian in 1901. Harley-Davidsons soon followed in 1903. Then inevitably racing ensued.

The races were spectacular, the bikes were designed to go fast, and that was about it. They had to be towed behind other motorbikes to get them started and they had no brakes. Crashes were frequent, horrific and often fatal.

By the mid 1929s the sport began to lose it’s appeal, as the carnage was appalling. The newspapers began to refer to it as murderous and some local governments began to close many of the tracks.

In 1949 the FIM (Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme) was formed, establishing the format for road racing. The first race held under the new FIM rules took place on the Isle of Man in 1949.

Then around 1960 Honda entered the races, and in 1961 Honda was declared the double World Champion, claiming first place in both the 125 cc and 250cc classes.

In north America the formation of the Federation of American Motorcyclists that later evolved into the still active American Motorcycle Association, gave new life to the sport and since 1937 the Daytona200- mile (320- kilometre) race has been the leading US race. It is held on the same road circuit used for the 24 hour Daytona auto race Grand Prix racing.

The motorcycle road racing world championships were established in 1949, in these races, machines are divided into several classes based on engine displacement from 50 cubic cm, up through 125, 250, 350, 500 and 750 cubic cm. Local clubs and organizations all over the world have their own international road-racing meeting throughout the year.

dirt-bike-racingGetting started in motorbike racing is relatively easy, exciting, accessible and affordable. Every weekend at AMA racing events across America, thousands of racers of all ages and skill levels ranging from beginners to experts, face off in a number of disciplines on both modern and non-current, or vintage, motorcycles.

Of course you will need safety equipment similar to what you wear in regular bicycle racing – an approved helmet and visor is compulsory. Approved motorcycle helmets are marked with the ACU gold stamp. The helmet must fit well and be properly fastened.

Visors should have the latest and highest BSI kitemark stamp. It is best to purchase these new.

You must also wear a one piece leather suit. Two-piece suits are not allowed in motorbike racing.

Your gloves should be of good quality leather, look for a pair that fits well and offers a good feel. After all you are driving a race bike and loose flapping gloves that are too thick will not help you with control.

Now for the boots, buy good quality leather or boots made from approved substitute material. The boots must be at least 200mm high. When in use there must be no exposed skin between the top of the boot, and the bottom of the suit leg. As safety is important it is recommended you buy the best equipment you can afford.

A good idea for a beginner would be to download a copy of the AMA, Amateur Competition rule book.

Here you will learn what classes you’re eligible to enter, and how to make your bike legal for competition. You can also go on line for events taking place in your area, and keep abreast of any safety or rule changes.

Bicycle Racing: The Why’s And How’s

One of the most “raced” vehicles in the world is the simple bicycle. It has been around since the late 1800’s and the bikes used then were nothing compared to the graceful cycles we use in modern times.

bicycle-racingThe driving wheel of the early models could reach 60 inches in diameter! At that time, the only way to increase speed was to make the wheel bigger. “Breakneck speed” came to be a term used because these people went fast, and if something happened you got tossed over the handle bars and that resulted in massive injuries.

So why do people continue to race bicycles if it is dangerous? Well, it isn’t so dangerous anymore. The bikes in modern times are amazingly engineered, and have plenty of safety features. For example, in the 1800’s a “brake” did essentially nothing. It was a brake in name only. Now of course, you can almost instantly stop a bike by applying the different brake systems.

Then, there is the other gear. Helmets, pads and even racing suits designed using impact and tear resistant materials. This makes it a lot safer, and major injuries are much less frequent.

Essentially, people race bikes for lots of different reasons. Exercise is of course a major reason, while simple competition, the speed, exhilaration and fun make up a few more good reasons.

bike-helmetAll you really need to race is a bike! Virtually any kind will do. A helmet is an absolute requirement, and everyone who rides or races a bicycle should wear one. Pads, race suits, special shoes and what not are not mandatory. You don’t even need people to race against! Simply time yourself from start to finish and the next time you do that circuit, try to beat your old time.

There are 3 major bike racing events in the world. Of course one is the Olympics, and that is generally the most sought after competition on the planet. Cyclists strive to be good enough, fast enough, to compete for their country in the Olympics.

Next is the Tour de France. It began in 1903 as a yearly event. Racers compete in a multistage race that sometimes passes through neighboring countries, but is primarily conducted in France. It is one of the worlds most famous races of any kind.

Finally, the third big competition is Road World Champs. Cyclists compete all over the globe for placement in these races. The UCI Road World Championships were held in Qatar in 2016. These include events like individual time trails and team trials as well. This site was the official site for the road world champs in 2007!

Bicycle racing is obviously not going anywhere. Like soccer (football to you Europeans), cycling is a sport anyone can get into. It is relatively cheap, great exercise, exciting, and thoroughly enjoyable. Next time you consider taking up a sport, think about bike racing.