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Old 10-10-2006, 11:00 AM   #1
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Default Getting Started in GSR, A Rookie's Perspective

I'm new to GSR. I did compete in the first two races this year after building a formula one plane from a kit. I made mistakes and had some success. The experience is still fresh in my mind and I figured I could share with prospective racers what it took to get started.

The first and best thing a new racer can do prior to becoming involved is attend a race. Ask questions. Everyone has access to the pits and most of the experienced pilots and crew are very open to sharing information. Many teams welcome volunteers and are happy to enlist helpers. Bookmark http://www.usrainfo.org/. It's the official site for GSR and is a good place to stay informed on things like rules, rule changes, race information, etc.

This is a shot of my effort this year. Pic is courtesy of Ben Lanternman

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Next up, selecting an airplane and components

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Old 10-10-2006, 03:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Getting Started in GSR, A Rookie's Perspective

Hey Joe...good to see you here....

Looking forward to following this thread!

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Old 10-10-2006, 03:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: Getting Started in GSR, A Rookie's Perspective

AAAHHHH, the old Pole Cat!!! I raced them in F-1 in the seventies. I had the high vert stab and the low. My impression of F-1 gas is that the guy with a GR-7 is going to be tough to beat. Flying a Pole Cat is by no means a handi cap, you just have to fly a good course. Seeing the GR-&'s wrap around the pylons was surely something to see! They look really well behaved going fast or slow. So as far as MPH, how do the Pole Cats and Proud Birds measure up? I'm sure the GR is a touch slower, but not that much!! Thoughts?
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Getting Started in GSR, A Rookie's Perspective

Like most new racers I found it difficult to decide on the airframe. I wanted to build the plane myself but not from scratch. I wanted an all composite plane for speed of construction. Composites can be very light, accurate and strong. I obviously wanted a fast airframe.

There are options for ready to fly planes from Team Extra and Ed Rankin Designs. The USRA web site has numbers for most of the manufacturers and the kits available. The key again is to ask questions. Most of the airframe manufacturers are small and wait times for a kit can be lengthy, so plan ahead. Experienced racers all have their opinions on the best planes in each class and it's good to weigh these opinions when deciding on a plane.

I decided on the Polecat from RnR products. The design had been around for a while and had proven to be fast. I liked the classic formula one look. It is all composite and according to the company could be delivered in four weeks.

The kit took longer than four weeks to deliver. In fact the long delivery time effectively killed the first two races in 2005. Remember what I said about planning ahead.

When I received the kit I was suprised that it came with no instructions, not even a spec sheet. While the basic construction wasn't too much of an issue, it would have been nice to have templates for formers and the firewall. The lack of wing attachment instructions was a major concern for me. Wing attachment points were not marked on the wing and a fuselage attachment assembly would have to be engineered.

A trip to the Ashtabula race shortly after receiving my kit helped greatly in attacking the construction issues. A few questions to Fred Sattler resulted in what seemed like a complete construction manual's worth of information.

Next I'll talk about the necessary components and where to get them.







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Old 10-10-2006, 04:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Getting Started in GSR, A Rookie's Perspective

Yeah, the gr-7 seems to accelerate out of some wicked turns with those high aspect wings. The polecat may have an advantage straight line everything else equal. I strongly believe though that in GT the turns make the difference.
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Old 10-10-2006, 04:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Getting Started in GSR, A Rookie's Perspective

Dudes, I'm LOVING this thread!!! PLEASE share your thoughts and photos boys!!!
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Old 10-10-2006, 04:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: Getting Started in GSR, A Rookie's Perspective

Kenny
Please chime in if I need any mid course correction.
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Old 10-10-2006, 07:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: Getting Started in GSR, A Rookie's Perspective

Mid-course? Kenny told me let it run, fix it on the next turn..... :-)


Quote: Originally Posted by joeraf
Kenny
Please chime in if I need any mid course correction.
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Old 10-10-2006, 07:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Getting Started in GSR, A Rookie's Perspective

Where's my SPEED DEMON BOYS AT?????
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Old 10-10-2006, 07:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Getting Started in GSR, A Rookie's Perspective

Parker's two weeks away. I'm sure they are all in their secret labratories cooking up something evil.
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Old 10-10-2006, 07:29 PM   #11
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Default Re: Getting Started in GSR, A Rookie's Perspective

A few years back I was lucky enough to be in the Las Vegas area during the Parker event. I saw a post online that said it was happening the same weekend I was there. My co-worker and I headed out there for the day. Man, that was an impressive event to watch. It took a little while to stop fearing for everyones life while these ballistic planes wrapped around the pylons, some flown by guys that probably could use a little more stick time on a Goldberg 56 instead of these racers, kind of out of control at times. The landings were exciting to say the least too! I came away from that day all juiced to give this event a try, hussled back to my casino room and started looking up planes and options. WHOA NELLY, these guys think they've got something special here I thought.......$5k for a painted arf?? (5 years ago). So, I promptly back-burnered this latest passion and stuck with my now seemingly more economical IMAC stuff. If Comp-Arf or a chinese producer of composite planes ever gets going with USRA planes in the $1000 range, I'll give it a whirl for sure, looks like a blast.
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Old 10-10-2006, 08:29 PM   #12
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Default Re: Getting Started in GSR, A Rookie's Perspective

You're doing great Joe!....

The Polecat is a very fast airplane, in fact the world record in F-1GT is held by an RnR Polecat, and the Parker race last year was won by a Polecat that also won every heat it was in that weekend. It is faster on the straight than the GR, and gives up very little in the turn. It's my belief that at the slower speeds that the F-1GTs go, the GR has less of an advantage, and the F-1GT events have been won by Polecats, Kelly F-1Ds, GR-7s, and even a Cosmic wind.

In F-1 proper...(my bias is showing)...the RnR Polecat is a very good choice, and it's the only airframe other than the GR that has won in a few years. I think you will see the AR-6 join that club soon.

No course correction needed so far Joe...and Craig has it almost right...you fix your course early and live with what you got past the start finish line!

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Old 10-10-2006, 09:00 PM   #13
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Default Re: Getting Started in GSR, A Rookie's Perspective

Pole-cats rule here is a pic of mine at the NATS this year in 422...
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:00 PM   #14
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Default Re: Getting Started in GSR, A Rookie's Perspective

What would it cost to get one of these going and be competative? Are most guys still running the engines on some sort of skunkworks glow cuncauction? I assume the plane is around $1000-1500 for a GR-7 or a Kelly, and what about the engine? I am thinking around $2K? It is probably not something I can handle in the immediate future, but I am interested. I am also assuming being part of a race team might make it a little cheaper, operational-wise?
Since I will be in Tucson, I may see if my buddies want to take a road trip out there for a day in Parker...I do miss the excitement of it!
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Old 10-10-2006, 11:18 PM   #15
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Default Re: Getting Started in GSR, A Rookie's Perspective

Biff,
The SDR crew is lurking about.....

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