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RAFMAA Slope Comp

RAFMAA Competition Returns To The Slopes 2014

Leek & Moorland : RAFMAA Slope Competition

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. 


Friday 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 follows:




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 afternoon.


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 event.


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 winter.


For 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.


Neil T


Cloud Models (Solange):      http://www.cloudmodels.com/solange.html


Midge:                         http://www.slope-dudes.co.uk/Models/Midge.htm


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