RAFMAA Competition Returns To The Slopes
For too long the RAFMAA slope soaring meetings have (a personal view you
understand) drifted by in a haze of Fun Flying days. Now whilst I have
nothing against Fun Flying, all flying is fun, just once in a while a
short bout of competition flying serves to sharpen the reflexes and
raise the blood pressure. So it was that the crowd of usual suspects
gathered for the last RAFMAA organised slope event of the year.
For most of those attending this was a double first in that not only
were they competing but the location was also new to them. By the kind
permission of the Leek and Moorland gliding club the events were staged
on their private sites just North East of Leek in Derbyshire. Not only
are they excellent sites with slopes for every direction but are
accessible by vehicle with little walking required. So first of all may
I take this opportunity to sincerely thank the committee and members of
the Leek and Moorland for their time and patience in granting us access
to these wonderful slopes.
26 Sep 14.
Wind W to SW 15-20mph steady. As prearranged, we initially met up by the
old Mermaid pub (sadly now closed) before moving onto the Gate Site. The
event for the day was Pylon Racing and Colin and I quickly set out the
course. At 1030hrs a brief was given to the thirteen entrants before
racing commenced at 1100hrs. To simplify things two persons raced at a
time over the distance of ten laps with the winner gaining 1 point and
the loser gaining two points.
Once racing had commenced it was very rewarding to notice that pilots
started to organise themselves so as to lessen any gaps between heats.
The models used for the event covered a very broad spectrum ranging from
light rudder- elevator (salutations to Dave Bradick who was not that far
off the pace) to the more nimble full house designs.
Three rounds were flown before the top six pilots were drawn for the
semi-finals which produced a final of three pilots with the results as
Plug for Colin Waite.
The winning model was
one of Colin’s own designed “Midge”
slope soarers for which, very reasonably priced kits are available.
After the racing had finished and the prizes distributed the young
whipper snappers proceeded to tear up the hill and any available gully
with their Zagi style models whilst the older gentlemen partook of tea,
muffins and relaxed flying in what had turned out to be a glorious late
Saturday 27 Sep 14.
Wind SW to SSW 5-10mph variable. With the shift in wind direction, a
move to the Mermaid Pool Slope was required; no great problem as it was
only 400 metres further along the road. Today the name of the game was
Cross Country. To those unacquainted with this event pilots have
themselves to negotiate and fly their models around a course. This was
run to a format devised by myself copying and using the rules of the
game of Snooker. Each different coloured flag was worth a certain number
of points (red-1, yellow-2, green-3 and so on). You could attempt the
course as many times as you wished and were allowed a time of 45 minutes
to gather as many points as possible. If you landed out you incurred
penalty points which were deducted. Everybody only attempted the course
once and the placings were taken from the returned score sheets with the
results as follows:
Once again prizes were
given out in the form of slate trophies for 1st,2nd,3rd
placed competitors. I had also a Solange kit kindly donated by Cloud
Models for the person who had placed highest over the two days and was
effectively the King of the Hill. Given the above overall results, this
was of course Colin and I, but we already own a Solange each. Next down
the list was Mike and Lee who had equal scores, therefore, a slightly
unusual impromptu Pylon course was set up and both Mike and Lee were given three minutes to
complete as many laps as possible, however there was a catch to this
The snag being that
whilst Colin and I were at the distant pylon we were not armed with
flags to indicate when the models had past the pylon, instead we just
had to count when the models actually crossed the line. This required
the pilots to judge the distance themselves – easier said than done!
Lee flew his heat
by over flying the line significantly on most occasions, whilst Mike cut
the line a few too many times. The result was Lee managed ten laps and
Mike four, therefore, Lee was crowned King of the Hill and given the
Solange kit. Now he has no excuse not you build something over the
remainder of the day,
flying off the peg
ensued until we departed wearily to our respective accommodation for
some well earned rest. Earlier I mentioned that the Sports Board decided
years ago that model flying wasn’t worthy of the title of sport. Well
they certainly have never seen a model Cross
Country flown. Mind you
it didn’t go unnoticed that the more elderly members were generally
showing a clean pair of heels to the young whipper snappers.
Sunday 28 Sep 14.
Wind SSW-S 0-5mph. For
the last day which was given over to general relaxed flying and line shooting, we were
located again on the Mermaid Pool slope. Due to the lack of wind, flying
required some nerve and
a nifty knack for locating thermals. On several occasions I was low
enough down in the valley to see the model’s shadow on the ground but
thankfully was able to return without having to complete the “walk of
shame”. The rest of the day passed in tranquil peace and flying before
we all took our leave, shook hands and departed homewards.
To those who attended
many thanks and please pass on to those who didn’t attend the sense of
what they missed. I sincerely hope that this could be the start of and
re-emergence of competitive model flying in the RAFMAA. Over now to the
membership for direction in the future.
Cloud Models (Solange):