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F5J Autonomy by Jan Kubica (English version)

image SmallJanKubica English

Hello all, I’m very happy today. I’m including here an article coming from Jan Kubica. Jan is a very experienced F5J pilot. He has participated in many different F5J categories and he has been flying regularly in the Czech Republic for many years. He maintains a website dedicated to F5J: and also has helped in the creation of different set of rules for F5J kind of competitions. Here it is his article describing the F5J category he likes the most:

Autonomy F5J

image "The Autonomy originates in and is flown in Italy (please see
The rules are simple: make as many 6 minutes flights as possible with the allocated amount of energy.
The energy available for the contest was determined by a battery capacity 3 cell Lipo capacity in mAh shall equal the model weight in grams (e.g. 1000 g model could have had 3S1000 battery, or 2S1500, etc.).

Mathematically, model min. weight [g] = 90 * battery nominal voltage [V] * battery nominal capacity [Ah].

This energy corresponds to 666 W.min/kg.

A separate Rx battery is allowed and it is forbidden to charge the battery during the contest window which lasts for 3.5 hours.

For this year the Italian rules were slightly modified  the battery nominal capacity has been replaced with  actual capacity . They do measure the charge input into the battery (from the defined state 3 V/cell and 2C charging current   I am not 100% sure but it is described on their page).

In Italy, there are two classes S and L. These letters stayed for small and  large  models with the break point at 2200 mm. For this year they changed the meaning for Standard  and unLimited  (or  Libero  or something like that), where the standard models shall be less than 3000 mm in wingspan and not moulded composites. All larger models and the moulded models regardless the size fly in the L-class.

Over here in CZ (Czech Republic), we modified the rules: the allocated energy is based on a drive power rather than on the battery capacity, and also allow for re-charging. It probably compromise the word  Autonomy in the original meaning, however it widens the potential competitor base.
Each pilot decided himself (politically correct should be also herself out so far there are no ladies flying this category) when to launch, where to fly, how long to motor, etc. He himself
takes care of the time flight measurement (the flight must be longer than 6 minutes, there is no penalty for longer flight), he himself records the landing points (easy less than 5 m = 40 points, more than 5 m = zero) and also the fuel consumed . So the organization is very easy. On the other hand, it is for gentlemen only (which really is as we even inform each other about the situation in the air).

All pillots should use compatible radio channels enabling them to fly freely within the window. Even if there is any clash in frequencies the pilot concerned are usually able to agree on a scheme of flying.
The very first event in CZ (Czech Republic) was held just a year ago and I simply love this Automony. It is a pure thermal soaring when the thermal hunting starts at 50-100 m (of course with possible re-starts). It is about making decisions and unforgiving   one bad decision about the launch time could easily cost you 25% of the available motor run time.

The derivation called Non-stop is easier and perhaps more attractive for on-lookers. Very easy to organise right away in the field when few pilots are willing to try it. Both the Autonomy
and the Non-stop are different from the more traditional contest schemes and a great fun.

Below please find our (I mean CZ) rules:
Unified rules for Autonomy and Non-stop

Common part

1. Any electric sailplane.
2. Any drive components.
3. Energy allocated for entire contest is 600 W.min/kg. The total motor run time available is
T … motor run time for the contest
M … all-up weight in grams
P … input power in watts
The power is measured at fully open throttle and freshly charged battery at between 5 to 10 second into the run. Alternatively (and temporarily) it can be calculated using a tax power  formula.
4. The motor can be switched on/off during the flight as desired. The motor run time is included in the flight time. A pilot can measure this motor run time using the transmitter timer linked with the throttle switch.
5. A discus launch is not allowed, the motor shall be running at launch.

    Specifically for Autonomy
    1. The aim is to make as many 6 minutes flights as possible with the allocated
    motor run time (energy).
    2. A pilot will chose his/her launch times in his/her discretion within the
    contest window (e.g. 2-3.5 hours).
    3. A flight that is not the last one:
    – shall last at least 360 seconds;
    – is awarded 360 points (regardless the time flown over 6 minutes);
    – is terminated with a precision landing, measured from the targer centre to the model’s nose, if this distance is less than 5 metres, the landing receives 40 points, more than 5 m is zero.
    4. Last flight:
    – each second is 1 point;
    – no landing points.
    Accordingly, the flight that is not the last, is given either 360 points (with bad landing) or 400 points (with good landing), the last flight is always less than 360 points.
    5. The max. score wins.
    Specifically for Non-stop
    1. The aim is to make a longest single flight with the allocated motor run time (energy).
    2. Common start.
    3. A low pass (below 3 metres) over the defined area in 15th, 30th, and then each 5 minutes into the flight, the low pass window is given time +/- 1 minute (ie. intervals from 14th to 16th minute, from 29th do 31st minute, from 34th to 36th minute etc.)
    4. The last landing wins.”


Thank you Jan, we appreciate your contribution.

Regards, Javier.

Categorías: Artículos, Autonomy F5J, Inicio
  1. 11 marzo, 2011 a las 3:01 pm

    Empezamos ya la temporada de Autonomy en Italia y tememos 3 competiciones tambien de f5j, Ryanair es barato y podemos ayudar para el transporte!

  2. 11 marzo, 2011 a las 7:45 pm

    Hola Max, sería interesante. Enviame un correo y comentamos detalles.

    javier (at)

  1. 17 junio, 2010 a las 12:04 pm

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