|Wait for Ages and Then Three Comes Along
Times and work have conspired to prevent
further expeditions by the NNAWGC for the early part of this year.
However we have been lucky to have enjoyed a busy and satisfying May,
which I hope will be a prediction of what is to occur during the rest of
Earlier on Colin and I decided that a joint flying break was urgently
needed and arrangements were made for a weekend jaunt to the Long Mynd.
Accommodation was booked at our usual B&B with us meeting up for an
evening meal on Friday 9 May 14. I must admit to arriving slightly
earlier than Colin thereby allowing myself time for a quick blast with
my Weasel. During this flight I was fortunate to be joined by a Red Kite
who was most curious about a multi-coloured interloper and spent 4-5
minutes in formation with it, a brief but very rewarding sight.
Saturday 10 May 14.
Wind 20-25mph SSW. This wind direction is
a bit too South for Pole Cott and not enough south for Packetstone
indicating that Ashes Hollow would be suitable. However due to nesting
birds Ashes Hollow was not available during this time of year,
therefore, the best of the bunch was Pole Cott.
The wind was quite gusty with some turbulence requiring the use of good
strong weighty models. Break out the Jarts. Also taken was Colin’s new
Midge and my small Notus flying wing. The view across the valley was
somewhat marred by the presence of several rain showers which could be
seen approaching. Nevertheless, flying commenced with the intention of
taking shelter during the brief passing showers. Once again the Jarts
were a joy to fly being well matched to the conditions. A strange
anomaly was noticed in that due to the turbulence, the Jarts would
occasionally appear to fly into a hole in the wind and almost free-fall
for a couple of seconds with no response from the controls. Luckily this
only occurred at height over the valley. Whenever a large patch of rain
was observed approaching we either took shelter under our well used
tarpaulin or returned to the car for coffee and cake. The rest of the
day progressed in much the same fashion until 1600hrs when we retired
for beer and medals. Evening entertainment was a very nice dinner with
the girls in the Housemen’s restaurant in Church Stretton.
Sunday 11 May 14.
Whilst the wind direction was good at SW
the strength was much higher combined with heavy rain to the extent that
the tops of the Long Mynd were shrouded in cloud. After much debate and
checking of the conditions we admitted defeat and joined the girls for a
trip to the National Trust Café at Cardingmills prior to commencing the
Now For Something Completely Different
on these news items you may have noticed a brief article concerning the
“Circle of Friends” with a picture of (left to right), Paul Blakeborough,
Chris Barker and myself. Paul is an occasional soarer whilst Chris being
a devoted Control Line flyer, couldn’t fly a radio model if his life
depended upon it. By way of diversion Paul and I partake in Control Line
team racing, Paul piloting with me pitting. Every year the Barton Model
Club hold their annual “Barton Bash” which encompasses every thing
circular with the event being held over the weekend of 17-18 May 14. Due
to a slight “Blonde moment” Paul had double booked the Saturday with a
friends wedding and was unavailable for the day. This required me to
team up with Chris for the Saturday. Over the weekend the following
events were flown by the three of us.
a. British Goodyear.
Profile models which represent the American pylon racing aircraft. These
have 2.5cc diesel engines and have to cover 100/200 laps with a minimum
of 3/5 pit stops.
b. Mini-Goodyear. The same configuration as British
Goodyear but with 1.5cc motors. This event is flown over grass as the
models have no undercarriage and have to be hand launched.
c. F2C National. Profile flying wing models. These
have 2.5cc diesel motors and are limited to 15cc fuel tanks. Again
100/200 laps with 3/5 pit stops.
d. Barton B. Semi-scale full fuselage models with an
Irvine 25 glow being the only motor allowed. The fuel is limited to 30cc
and the models have to cover 70/140 laps with 1-3 pit stops.
e. Texas Quickie Rat. These are profile models powered
by 6.5cc glow motors. Only cross flow porting style motors allowed
therefore nearly everybody uses a K&B 40 as they are widely available
despite being an elderly motor. This class is real “hairy chest stuff”
as they are heavy models circulating at high speed. Nevertheless once
experienced the sight and sound of three “roaring 40’s” is not easy to
At the end of the weekend competition
which was blessed with some of the best flying weather for a good long
time we were tired and sunburnt with the pungent smell of fuel
detectable a good 300 metres down wind of us. But we were happy in that
between us we have achieved a first placing and numerous seconds and
BMFA Free Flight Nats
Fast forward now to the BMFA Free Flight
Nationals held over the weekend of 24-26 May 14 at RAF Barkston Heath.
Due to the absence of the Officer in charge of Model Flying, RAF
Cranwell I was asked to carry out the role of the RAF Liaison Officer
between RAF Cranwell and the BMFA for the duration of the event. No
problem as I was going there any way. The Free Flight Nats encompasses
every thing that mainly flys without radio control. I say mainly as some
use a radio control triggered de-thermaliser to prevent the model
disappearing for good. During this event there are a couple of side
shows in that the Space Modellers and the vintage control liners both
avail themselves of the opportunity to run events. Both Paul and I
attended on the Sunday and Monday, the Saturday was washed out due to
the rain and wind. I flew in the vintage stunt event whilst Paul flew
his beautiful free flight models. I achieved a fourth in the vintage
stunt, not enough practice as I found the bright but windy conditions
the Monday the day started with light rain which cleared up to leave an
overcast sky with an almost dead flat calm. This was great as I had two
new control line models to fly. In the picture these are the red and
white model called a Tombola and the blue model should need no
description. These are both own designs which have been produced at the
request of a small kitting concern. The Tombola flew great being
designed as a possible trainer with stunt capabilities. The flights
included all the basic stunt manoeuvres and whilst Paul flew it he
declined any thing other than straight and level due to flying over
concrete. I then test flew the Bearcat and as they say a funny thing
happened on the way to the theatre. The
has been designed as a semi-scale stunter and I think looks good (biased
of course). However the engine installed is an OS 25FP which as the day
of the test flight approached I thought would be rather underpowered.
The Bearcat was a little lively so after a few laps I commenced a loop
the idea being that if the model did not possess enough urge to complete
the loop I could always continue into inverted flight and recover back
to normal flight. In the first stage of the loop it was clear the power
available was insufficient to gain enough height to fully complete the
loop but upon levelling into inverted flight the engine threw the
propeller and spinner before commencing a shaft run. I then had to land
the inverted model on the concrete, and then run to it and stand on the
propeller driver of the engine to stop it. The model suffered from the
inverted three point landing, cowl, canopy and fin which will require
some TLC. Later inspection revealed that the engine was OK with some
loss of performance.
Later that day the rain started to return,
therefore we made for home and of course the weather cleared to a lovely
warm evening. As an aside it was noted that the usual adverse comments
experienced in previous years concerning the use of RAF Barkston Heath
in respect of the weather conditions were somewhat lacking this year.
Nothing to do with the fact that the MOD has effectively pulled the plug
upon the future use of Barkston as a model flying venue. Suddenly it is
now viewed as a valuable asset. Further proof if any is needed that
unless the BMFA and we as model flyers wake up to the fact that we need
to obtain and purchase suitable flying sites then the days of the
current good facilities that we enjoy are strictly numbered. It is a
particular “hobby horse” of mine that we have enjoyed such good cheap
facilities for so long that we regard it as normal. It is of little use
claiming as most clubs and organisations tend to do, that we cannot
afford the cost of purchasing our own fields. In the last few years the
number of available airfields has plummeted and with the financial
constraints being imposed across the public sector, airfields will only
become fewer and much more expensive.