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RAFMAA Slope Comp



For this advertised event for once the signs leading up to the weekend were favourable. A reasonable turnout was expected and the weather was set for fair with no rain. Fate can be somewhat fickle as whilst the attendance was the best seen for a long time, God decided that he wished to fly free flight over the weekend. Therefore whilst we enjoyed very good weather the winds were quite light.

Friday 18 Mar 11


Winds 5-7 mph Northerly. Due to the wind direction the CD managed to cancel the planned meet at Devil’s mouth and transfer to Darnford, the blessing of mobile phones and multiple text messages. The hill at Darnford, which we have used before flies best with a North West wind. The wind upon arrival was North with a tendency to swing towards the East. Nevertheless we all selected whatever lightweight models we had and headed to the top. A big advantage of Darnford is that the slope is reasonably gentle with plenty of landing sites on the way down to the valley floor. First away was the large throng of seven members for the Marham Modelling Mafia (MMM) with a collection of Zagis. This was met with reasonable success until Colin Waite decided to venture forth with a sensible model to show the young whipper snappers how it should be done. The effect was spoilt by the choice of model namely a reworked Multiplex Fox. To the uninformed this is a moulded foam glider of about 20” span aimed mainly at the children’s market as a throw around chuckie. Colin had pivoted the wings and installed radio so as to allow for mixed wing twist to cover both aileron and elevator function. This model was collectively thrown and flown until the trim and wing loading was right. The Godfather of the MMM, Ian Nelson, then decided that as the lift was unreliable, and no way was he walking to the bottom, to throw off his Electric powered glider. His 2i/c Gary then produced his electric glider and between them a good few hours during the day was spent roaming far and wide. Quote of the day. It might not be slope soaring, but its time spent flying. The day passed very quickly with all persons enjoying varying degrees of success. I myself was very lucky to manage two flights with an own design aerobatic model which managed the conditions well. Flying was eventually curtailed by the complete disappearance of the wind at about 1630hrs and a tired but happy band dispersed to there various accommodation bases. For the three honorary members the meal of the day was a pub grub with a few pints in Church Stretton.

Saturday 19 Mar 11


Winds 5-7 mph South Westerly. Again under the guidance of the mobile phones we all met up at Pole Cottage. The wind was light and slightly too far to the south to be ideal. For some persons present the fact that I had supplies of suntan lotion was very welcome. Not a commodity usually associated with a RAFMAA slope event. Frostbite, hypothermia, exposure yes, but not sun burn. The conditions dictated that light wing loading were essential with most parties experiencing enforced hikes to recover their models. Stan Elworthy reinforced his position as head of the ramblers in order to find and retrieve his Zagi. A task which took about an hour due to the fact that Stan had lost sight of the model and was not sure where it actually was. Later, not wishing to be outdone I managed to fly my model completely to the foot of the Long Mynd and rapidly discovered that contrary to my belief my spring chicken days were well and truly gone. At roughly the same time as my return Ian had taken his Romans hour, Retired Old Man’s Afternoon Nap. Move over Ian that soft heather looks very inviting. Pole Cottage is not as forgiving as Darnford regarding landing out sites. So the physical retrieval duties were spread quite equally amongst those present. In this vein the flying continued throughout the day and eventually ceased at about 1700hrs. All present had decided to partake of an “Indian” therefore a table for thirteen was booked via the services of the Comp Secs Social Secretary.

Sunday 20 Mar 11


Winds 15-20 mph Westerly. All good things come to those who wait. Whilst the sky had clouded over and the temperature had dropped the lift was there. The Honorary members could be seen unloading various models created since the last meeting. Centre stage was the Dude. At our last gatherings Terry had demonstrated his version of the Dude, an own design by Colin. This time both Colin and I had our own versions. Mine which hadn’t yet flown was a slightly larger version (72”) with split elevons operated by four servos. Some interesting moments followed with several landings in order to change movements and C of G. More experimental is required but I think it shows great promise. The MMM took full advantage of the conditions and spent a good portion of there time beating up each other with their Zagi’s. Unfortunately the competition element of the week end was a non event. The previous two days light winds had prevented any meaningful competition flights. Today the wind was good with a good turnout of the local flyers and I had no wish to restrict their enjoyment of the day. So fun flying was the order of the day which continued until 1600hrs before everyone made their respective ways home, except me as I was staying for a further three days. However before everyone thinks smug lucky b****r, over the next three days there was no wind whatsoever and I spent the time walking.

Whilst the competition side was a complete non event I felt that the weekend was one of the best that we have enjoyed in recent times with a total of thirteen RAFMAA members present. To those who attended I extend a hearty thank you. To those, who for whichever reason was unable to attend you missed a cracking weekend. To all the “Cyber Flyers” of which there are many amongst us. Put down your keyboards and pick up your transmitter you will never find any modelling event within reasonable distance of your computer. The next event on the gliding calendar will be the thermal weekend. This will include Open, 100S and Electro-slot. Due to our falling attendance numbers over recent years this event will be a renewal of what used to be the RAFMAA/BMFA yearly thermal competition. The competition will be held over the weekend of 25-26 Jun 11 at RAF Barkston Heath and the other civilian competitors will be coming from the Grantham and Sandhays Clubs. The frequencies in use will be 2.4 and 79-84 on the 35meg. I have long advocated a joint civilian RAFMAA as I feel that we unfortunately have neither the numbers or support from within our own members to stage a functional thermal competition. To this end I have put my money where my mouth is and obtained some trophies. The placings for the RAFMAA side will be drawn from the final competition results. So to all RAFMAA members dust off those long neglected thermal gliders and place Barkston Heath into your Sat Nav for what I hope will be a good turnout and a successful weekend.



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