Rules & Gameplay for RCBowling
Official Rules and Document Downloads Page

IRCABA League Rules


  • Players will fly [X] individual CALLED approaches in an attempt to strike the pins with the pumpkin ball.  The player will call their name and the word “shooting” to allow the score keeper and other pilots to maintain order and safety.  Example: “Kevin Shooting”

    Where [X] equals the number of times a player can bowl per frame or "passes."
    Novice League: 8
    Intermediate League: 7
    Advanced League: 6
    Expert League: 5

  • The alley is set up so the plane’s approach will be into the wind.  In cases of a wind direction change, the alley position may be changed, but only after a completed round.

  • Every time a pin hit has been registered, the alley will be reset so the player’s next attempt is on a “full alley.”

  • A pin hit is only official if the pin stays down.  Wind pushing pins down does not count.  CD has final ruling.

  • If any part of the plane touches the ground or the pins, a gutter-ball will be declared.  Only TWO gutter-balls per frame will be allowed.  If TWO gutter-balls are made, the frame being played will end.

  • Players will continue making pass attempts until either the number of passes has been used up, or TEN pins for the frame are scored.

  • STRIKES: For every STRIKE scored in a frame, a bonus pass will be awarded at the end of the game.

  • Players may use a caller or assistant.

  • Pilots must stand in the designated area to fly (typically at the flight station poles on either side of the CD).

  • Hovering type maneuvers are not permitted.  Reasonable forward motion must be maintained while flying the agreed upon race track style flying pattern.

  • Dead stick landings must be called and will not count against scoring.  The pilot will not score or gutter during a dead stick landing.  The pilot may restart the plane and resume normal game play.

  • Damaged aircraft determined unable to continue may be replaced or repaired.  Replacement with a similar substitute or loaner aircraft is permitted, provided said aircraft does not alter the player’s advantage with specialized features.  No “secret weapons”.

IRCABA Standards

Equipment Standards:

  • The Tether: It shall consist of a 30 foot piece of 1/16” contractor’s or mason’s nylon cordage with tied loops at each end.  A large fishing snap swivel or durable plastic keychain hook will be used to secure it to the attachment loop underneath the plane.

  • Attachment Loop: Players will attach a loop of contractor’s or mason’s cordage between or around the main landing gear of their aircraft as the attach point for the tether.  The attach loop cordage should not exceed 2 feet in length and should not interfere with the proper operation of the landing gear.  Optionally, players may use some other “dedicated to event” attach point in a similar airframe location if their aircraft is so designed and it remains safe.  Examples: eye bolt, bomb drop mechanism, or similar purpose-built attachment point.

  • The Ball:  A traditional round, orange plastic, trick-or-treat jack-o-lantern style bucket of approximately 10-12” in diameter will serve as the “bowling ball.”  It will be secured to the tether directly, or by using a large fishing snap swivel.  It is highly recommended that the plastic handle of the bucket should be removed and replaced with a doubled loop of contractor cordage equal to what was used for the tether, not to exceed 2 feet in length.

  • The Bowling Alley:  The alley will consist of 10 pins, standing side by side, on a hinged base.  The pins are to be constructed of a corrugated plastic material (CoroPlast) of roughly 3/16”-1/4” thick.  They are approximately 28” in height and attached to a hinged base in a straight soldier-row line spanning 10 feet in width.  Both the base and the pins are to be built according to the specifications on the RCBowling.Org website.

Aircraft Standards:

  • Aircraft should be standard sport category, propeller driven, fixed-wing aircraft, ideally in the .40 to 1.80 cubic inch glow or electric power class.  Helicopters, autogiros, jets, and multi-copter platforms are not permitted.  The aircraft should have sufficient power to properly and safely tow the tether and ball.

  • Small displacement gasoline powered aircraft (50cc and below) can participate as long as they have a remotely activated engine kill mechanism (electronic switch, servo operated switch, choke control or similar) and can demonstrate that it functions effectively and quickly.

  • Aircraft with fixed or retractable landing gear may be used as well as those with no landing gear at all.  It is highly recommended for safety and weight & balance reasons to have an aircraft equipped with at least a main landing gear of some type, either dual wheel, single wheel, or skid that may be used as an attach point for the tether under the plane.  The tether should be attached in such a manner to be reasonably spaced from the engine and as close to the center of gravity of the airframe as possible.

  • Flying wires or rods intended to be used for tail surface structural support may be used, but are not recommended.  The hardware attachments tend to snag the tether.  Pilots using flying wire supports may proceed at their own risk.

  • Aircraft may contain flaps, flaperons, spoilers, slats, vortex generators, fences, or other STOL type devices for slow flight as long as they are intended for use in forward flight and they can be deployed and operated in a safe manner.  They will only be permitted in open class rule events.

  • Under no circumstances will an aircraft be equipped with extensions, protrusions, or devices used for purposes of altering the flight path of the ball mechanically.  Steering, guiding, shortening, or lengthening, the tether of the ball will not be permitted.  The tether and ball must only be attached in the aforementioned manner on the airframe and must be permitted to be towed normally and unrestricted with no additional attach points or mechanisms.  The flight path of the towed ball must only be altered by the pilot’s own flying skill.


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