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Three Go Mad in Shropshire

Last year Colin and I spent a hugely enjoyable week slope soaring in Wales whilst our partners availed themselves of the local sites, retail therapy and various craft shows. This year the circle was expanded by the addition of Lee Wilson and his partner with the flying venue being the Long Mynd, Shropshire. The reason for the location was a welcome stroke of fate. Normally for this area Colin and I use a particular B&B. The owners of this B&B made us an offer of the entire house at a very low fee, whilst they were away on holiday themselves. Therefore, the time and location were set. Colin and I arriving on the Friday evening in order to be instructed in the general running of the house and the cat with Lee arriving on the Saturday.

Saturday, 15 Jun 13.
Following a successful “March In” the owners departed allowing us to depart for the slopes. The wind was SW, 15 – 20mph therefore we set up camp on Pole Cottage. Due to the threat of rain I erected my fishing shelter so as to protect both ourselves and the transmitters as required. Models flown consisted of Colin’s Jart, Smart and Luna whilst I flew my Typoon and Mistral. Also with us, were a couple of local fliers who joined in with a range of moulded F3F/F3B models. With the occasional short breaks for passing showers the fun continued. Lee arrived mid-afternoon with a brace of Zagi style models and one unnamed model which I had previously donated to Lee. During the afternoon it was decided to name the model Charon (the name of the ferryman who took the souls of the dead across the river Styx). Colin was taken by the Charon so it looks as though I will have to produce a few short kits. The available lift was very good enabling a good hooligan session to be held with the Jarts ripping up the sky. At 1800hrs a halt was called to the proceedings to head to the B&B fro a home cooked meal with beer and medals.

Sunday, 16 Jun 13.
ind SSW forecasted to veer to the South. We initially set up at Pole Cottage at 1030hrs. The lift was very patchy but was nevertheless workable with the Typhoon, Luna, Charon and Mini-Milan being flown. As the lift started to die Lee bravely launched his Charon and was advised by me to “expect a walk” Initially the model fared well resulting in the generation of the replied comment “A bit premature Neil”. Pride does come before a fall and Lee subsequently won the “longest walk of the day award” after his lengthy trip down the hill. With the wind veering to the South we moved onto a slope called Packetstone Hill. This slope was new to all of us requiring a walk of about a mile with all the gear. We eventually reached a beautiful little bowl which had many quirky patches of both lift and sink. This enabled us to continue until 1730hrs in lovely scenic surroundings before returning to base camp.

Monday, 17 Jun 13.

The wind was very light, Easterly with passing showers. Normally this would mean flying at Ashes Hollow, however the area was currently off limits due to a pair of Merlin’s nesting in the area. We parked at Devil’s Mouth with the intention of walking around to Ashlet which overlooks Church Stretton. Due to the rain we took the shorter option and walked out to the end of the Burway Hill taking with us two Blaster DLG’s and a Mini-Milan.

he lift there was just sufficient to keep the two DLG’s in the air but was not adequate for my Mini-Milan. When the rain returned we back tracked to Devil’s Mouth for lunch with the occasional throw of the DLG’s. After lunch we noticed that what wind there was had veered to the North East so we upped sticks and transferred to the Reservoir slope. This just gave enough lift for me to venture forth with the Mini-Milan upon an impromptu Cross – Country just for fun. I managed about three quarters of a mile before landing out. Upon my return I discovered that Colin and Lee where playing goalkeeper with a Weasel foamie. This consisted of Colin launching the model, flying one circuit and Lee attempting to catch it. With the lift being intermittent we returned to base camp at about 1730hrs. Once sat down with a beer we noticed that the conditions on the hill had improved somewhat with the sun breaking through to produce a glorious evening. Due to the consumption of beer we were unable to return for some evening aviation so we had to just drink more beer and wine. It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.


Tuesday, 18 Jun 13.
Wind NE – East, warm with sunny periods. We all set up the hill towards the Reservoir slope. On the way I spotted a National Trust Warden and stopped to enquire about the boundaries of the ban around Ashes Hollow. He informed me that the nest was in fact a Peregrine’s and not a Merlin’s and that due to the recent predation of the nest, the ban was not longer required. We commenced flying at the reservoir slope which had very little slope lift but was producing excellent thermic conditions enabling the Blaster’s and Mini-Milan to be “specked out” on several occasions. After lunch it was sensed that the wind had backed to the East therefore we set off over the top to the newly available Ashes Hollow. Unfortunately the cloud base decided to lower. Nevertheless we threw the models off and I discovered that the Mini-Milan was no match for the DLG’s in non existent lift and gained the “longest walk” prize. To my credit upon reaching the model on the other side of the valley I decided to fly it back, luckily I succeeded otherwise the extraction of the urine would have been immense. We returned to Devil’s Mouth giving a quick demo of DLG models to a passing Canadian couple on the way. I managed to make a complete idiot of myself by loosing my footing and narrowly missing my model on the way down. Again a halt to proceedings at 1730hrs for food and beer.

Wednesday, 19 Jun 13. - The Wedding

Wind light and from the North. We set out for the slope at Darnford which is on the other side of the Long Mynd. On arrival we trooped to the top, luckily a short walk to find that the wind was more to the North East which meant that the DLG’s were struggling. The decision was made to transfer to the Reservoir slope once more were we enjoyed flying until about we had to leave at 1100hrs. Now a few weeks before the trip, Colin had informed me that during the week, I would require the use of my suit. Now after having checked my diary for any forthcoming court appearances I pressured Colin for the reason. It was quite simple, he and Jules had arranged to be married in the Registry Office in Ludlow and would Sue and I be witnesses. So we all returned to base and changed into our finery. Of course the ladies had spent the morning at the hairdressers in order to also look the part. The ceremony was simple, intimate and personal, after which we returned to the accommodation for some nice wedding photos in the garden. However once the photos were complete it was noticed that the wind had improved somewhat. Now with a few hours to spare before the booked meal/reception we all returned to the Reservoir Slope for a quick fling with the models. For me and quite a few bemused walkers this was a surreal and striking sight. How many times have you encountered a party of slope soarers, not only in full suit and tie complete with bouquets, but the model being launched by a lady in her wedding dress. In all honesty we did allow her to change from her high heels into a pair of suitably spotted wellies. I would like to take this moment on behalf of the RAFMAA to wish the happy couple all the best for the future. Upon a lighter side we all now have the prefect response to any occasion when domestic responsibilities threaten to interfere with flying events. Later on a good meal was enjoyed by all and despite our best efforts to assist with the cost Colin insisted upon picking up the entire tab. Another Yorkshire rumour dented.

Thursday 20 Jun 13.

Absolutely no wind, overcast with rain showers. Lee and Sally decided to venture forth towards the local swimming pool. If it looks like you are going to get wet you might as well have a swim. Colin and I decided to head towards the RAF Museum at Cosford whilst Jules and Sue enjoyed a session of craft work at the B&B. On the way back I remarked to Colin that I fancied having a look at the Caradoc hill behind the B&B as it could have potential as a DS'ing site. We therefore rounded up the girls and set out for the top. Of course I had suggested to Colin that should the wind pick up it would make sense to have at least one model with us. Colin dutifully packed a rucksack and Weasel. Unfortunately the weather was extremely close and muggy which meant that in the time available we were unable to make the top. Also as the air remained still Colin was unable to commit the Weasel to the air meaning he had lugged all the kit for nothing. Luckily he was still under the afterglow effects of the preceding day and as a result a few beers made it OK.

Friday 21 Jun 13.

Wind SW commencing at 10mph with expectations to increase. Bloody hallelujah. The summer solstice was upon us. We made haste up to Pole Cottage where initially we tested the waters will the likes of the Typhoon. Charon and Luna whereupon the quality of the lift was found to be good. Lee managed one of the best presented landings I have ever seen at his feet with his Blaster. However the effect was somewhat ruined by the model coming to rest in a pile of fresh Sheep Pooh. Lee then elected to put together his Diva whilst Colin made use of his Solage to further check the buoyancy of the air. Having dispensed of the preliminaries so to speak both Colin and I prepared for the moment we had been waiting quite so time for, namely the test flight of his Genesis 2 and hopefully the flying of my Genesis 2 at the same time.

Having assembled both the models the necessary pictures were taken and I elected to fly and test the air. Now, the Genesis 2 is essentially a flying wing design with a tiny high mounted stabiliser and consequently requires an absolutely perfect launch. With Colin launching I was not quite quick enough on the elevator and landed in the heather breaking the wing retaining tie-wrap. I then launched Colin’s Genesis 2 a bit high which failed to take it away and caused a rudder cable to
stretch. After the necessary repairs Colin then proceeded to launch my Genesis 2 and on the third attempt, it sailed serenely away as if to say, what was all the fuss about. I flew for about 20 minutes enabling Colin to secure some pictures. A loop was carried out which looks very impressive, but I was nearly undone during a stall turn when the model displayed a tendency to “tuck under” indicating a rear ward C of G. Once the knees became still I carried out a good landing and prepared to help Colin.

This time the launch was good (must be getting the technique) and it flew off perfectly without a single correction being required. Colin then proceeded to acquaint himself with the model whilst I managed to take a few useable clips of video and single pictures.

During the flight Colin remarked that he thought that the spoilers were being sucked out. This lead in turn to the spoiler servos being over worked with the left hand servo burning out causing the spoiler to remain in the deployed position. Bicycle clips were
therefore tightened and emergency landing procedures put in place. The effect of this stuck spoiler was similar to an engine out situation with a twin engined model in that all turns had to be very gentle and to the right away from the stuck control. After a few heart stopping moments Colin executed a very good landing under the circumstances on the slope front. Coffee and medals all round. Further Genesis info on Genesis II page:

Once the threat of involuntary bodily functions has passed we continued to beat up the slope with our respective Typhoon and Luna models so as to get back into the saddle.

I checked the C of G of my Genesis 2 and found that it was behind that of Colin’s. At 1730hrs we decided to call a halt and returned to base prior to a very nice meal out at the Green Dragon.

Saturday 22 Jun 13.
Wind SW, 15-20 mph with heavy rain showers in the morning. We weren’t too bothered by the weather as we were returning home this morning. The
necessary clean up of the B&B was promptly carried out and as a “wind up” we placed a series of fake vac- formed plastic mole hills across the lawn. Good job we know the owners well as they hate moles on their perfect lawn. So another yearly excursion of the Ninety Nine Acre Wood Gliding Club (NNAWGC) comes to an end. We certainly intend to repeat the experience in the future which the location and choice of accommodation being decided upon the numbers of persons wishing to partake of the trip. After all, where else could you enjoy a shed load of soaring, test fly your own designed scale model and get married in the same week.

Genesis related articles:

     A New Beginning

     CW's Genesis Blog


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