Contest Rules – F5J USA Tour

Recent updates:
4-23-2019 – 2019 season Tour changes based on FAI rule changes for 2020 season: #1A (b) added, #1B added.

The F5J USA Tour is allowing certain deviations to the FAI rules. These deviations are designed to enhance safety and remove barriers to participation and will be allowed at all Tour events. Note that the Advisory Group will review the need for deviations every year based on pilot feedback and the effectiveness of the deviations.

1. FAI F5J Rules – The contest rules for each Qualifying Event must follow the latest official FAI F5J rules (posted here) with the following deviations and changes:

1A.  FAI Rule Deviations – The following FAI rules deviations are in effect for all Tour events:

(a) Emergency motor restarts – Emergency motor restarts are allowed but will result in a zero flight score i.e. not a penalty (Note 1).

(b)  Altimeter hardware is allowed – Installation of altimeter hardware that enables reporting of a plane’s altitude is allowed but active reporting of altitude data must be disabled during Tour events (2020 ref. 5.5.11.1.3)

Other FAI deviations will only be accepted if they are pre-approved by the Tour advisory group.

1B. FAI Rule Changes adopted from 2020 season – The following FAI rule changes that have been adopted for the 2020 season are in effect for all Tour events:

(a) 5.5.11.1.1, 5.5.11.1.3 – The use of stability systems, gyros, or airborne sensors that could be used to actuate control surfaces are prohibited. A Tour deviation has been added to allow altimeter hardware but disallow its use in contests. (FAI proposals h,i,j)

(b) 5.5.11.1.3 – Continue to allow emergency motor restarts via the existing F5J USA Tour rule deviation. (FAI proposal k)

(c) 5.5.11.3.1 – Launches must now be made within the Safety Corridor and within 2 meters of the marked launch spot (i.e. usually the lane marker flag). (FAI proposal l)

(d) 5.5.11.6 – Re-flights are allowed due to a timekeeper failure if the pilot informs the timekeeper of his model’s position in a “reasonable time” before landing. Re-flights due to timekeeper failures/errors were always allowed; this rule change now clarifies the conditions under which such a re-flight can be claimed. (FAI proposal n)

(e) 5.5.11.10 – Launches must be straight forward for 3 seconds before turning. This has been in use in F5J USA Tour contests for 2018 and 2019. (FAI proposal p)

(f) 5.5.11.10 – Launching- The motor must not be run during the last 60 seconds of prep time. A 100 point penalty is given if violated. The model must be launched in the Safety Corridor within 2 meters of the lane marker; a zero flight is given if this is violated. (FAI proposals q, r)

(g) 5.5.11.11 – Landing approach direction can now be chosen by pilots on each flight, or, at the discretion of the CD, the landing direction may still be declared by the CD. (FAI proposal t)

(h) 5.5.11.15 – Wind – The maximum FAI wind limit for F5J is now 9 m/sec (20 mph) measured at the landing spots at 2m above ground sustained for 1 min. The start of a contest is to be delayed if wind speed exceeds 12m/sec (26.8 mph) as measured 3 times for a sustained reading of 20 seconds during a 5 minute period. (FAI proposal x)

2. FAI rules highlights – The following FAI rules for F5J are highlighted here to address common questions:

2A. Fly-offs – Normally, 3 or 4 fly-off rounds are flown after the qualifying rounds. However, as of the 2017 rules, the CD may elect to not have a fly-off if announced before the contest starts.

2B. Discards – If 4 or fewer qualifying rounds are flown there are no discarded rounds (“throw-aways”). If more than 4 are flown then the lowest round score is discarded. Note that all zero flights are “discardable.”

2C. Re-flights – Pilots may request a re-flight if they are involved in a midair collision or “unexpected event.” Please see the “Handling Re-flights” topic in the CD Guidelines.

2D. No skegs – No skegs or other “arresting devices” that cause the plane to slow down during landings are allowed.

3. Rules deviations in announcements – All FAI contest rules deviations–including those listed above–must be clearly identified in the RC Groups and/or email contest announcements.

4. Safety – For safety reasons all F5J USA Tour contests must follow the FAI’s flying site layout for the Access Corridor (safety lane).

5. Sportsmanship – The F5J USA Tour Advisory Group reserves the right to sanction or ban any pilot who demonstrates poor online or on-field sportsmanship.

Note 1: This deviation is allowed for safety reasons since many USA flying fields have at least some trees and/or power line obstacles to avoid on low altitude returns. Most popular altimeters (e.g. Altis) support this option with a display showing that a restart was triggered.