|Britain's Biggest Model Flying Competitions.|
The 'Nationals', held over the August Bank Holiday weekend, were once again 'The place to be'.
Thousands of people flocked to RAF Barkston Heath, in Lincolnshire, for the annual BMFA Championships. Numbers were definitely up on last year's record-breaking attendance. This was particularly obvious on Sunday, when, over £8000 was taken on the gate before 11 o'clock! This was also reflected in a very busy trade area.
It was also reported from the campsite that numbers were up there too, by over 200 from last year's 2000 tent and caravan units.
But apart from the bargains to be had, people come to the Nat's to watch or compete in the many and varied competitors that take place all over the airfield.
The F4C class is run to full FAI rules and this attracts some of the U.K's top scale modellers. The likes of Mike Reeves, Richard Crapp (who have both just returned from the World Championships) Brian Taylor, Martin Fardell and Ian Bryant where all in attendance. The Open class is for models that are outside the F4C rules, usually due to their size and weight.
The F4C competition was a close run thing, with the result only being decided by the very last flights of the weekend. Dave Knott's Hurricane put in a sterling last flight only to nose over on landing, in the very difficult conditions. Last to fly was Ian Bryant with his Puss Moth. Ian put in a competition winning flight, not putting wing or a wheel out of place! And with a perfect landing Ian clinched this year's title.
2000 is the class to introduce you to the sport of Pylon racing and again
this was a hard fort competition. The Club 2000 comp is divided into groups
depending on your previous racing form. In the end the top spot was taken
by Paul Edgecombe.
Ian Richardson's beautiful F100 Sabre was on show. Featured in many magazines, the Sabre was recently place second and the World Jet Masters in Thailand. Steve Elias flew the model in an extremely realistic way. It could easily have been mistaken for the real thing.
The model when not flying was displayed outside Ian's Permagrit stand. In spite of the amazing metallic finish on the model, produced by special paints from Bob Violet Models, the model was built in a remarkably short time. Ian told me that that the Sabre took him only FIVE weeks to complete. He did add, however, that most of that was taken up with eighteen hour days! Now that's the way to build models!
Many modellers are increasingly decrying this part of the Nationals as extremely dangerous. Several of them have already voiced their opinions on the UK Newsgroups, but for many, it's what the Nationals are all about. A large group of modellers having what appears to be a great deal of fun, and sharing it with like minded people. I must admit you have to keep your witts about you, but there is certainly a lot an R/C Aeromodeller can learn about trimming and flying a model aircraft. I for one would be sad to see this event disappear.
On Sunday afternoon, almost unannounced, Al completely turned off the engine and glided the Boomerang for over one minute, before relighting the turbine and returning to terra firma. There were some disbelieving comments but just to prove it was no fluke, Al repeated the demonstration twice on Monday. Both Al and Alan believe this is the first time that this demonstration has taken place successfully anywhere in the world. A first for the Nationals!
Also worthy of note on the Show line was a fantastic demonstration with a Starfighter. Boy that model flew fast. Ali Mashinchy also demonstrated his 40% Extra 300. A great display that had you wondering how he kept the model in the air at such low speeds. No doubt helped by the massive 32x10 carbon prop bolted to the front end.
Another great demo was that of the three B17's. Also present was Tony Nijhuis with his electric Lancaster. Not the small one featured as a plan pack in RCM&E but his latest soon to be featured large-scale version. The Lanc flew well all weekend but was suffering from battery problems by Monday lunchtime.
Mike Levy on Pete Tindal's Aeroplanes stand introduced me to the benefits of Profilm. He told me that they are now in the fortunate position to be able to supply Profilm and Protrim in the UK. The film originates from German under the name of Oracover. Profilm is highly temperature resistant and will withstand up to 250 degrees C and will not hole whilst ironing.
It will resist direct solar heat without slackening, wrinkling or sagging. The film stretch under tension and when using stretching techniques to cover compound curves will stretch up to 40% enabling the covering of almost any shape. The film can be ironed at low temperature, even directly on to Styrofoam and can be painted. And what's more the film will not stick to its self if the two surfaces happen to touch. And the range of exotic clours and chequered patterns are quite amazing.
and Eric Henderson, with rest of the team, were keeping one and all informed
about the BMFA. John and Eric visit most of the shows every year promoting
the BMFA. Well done to all at the BMFA for once again putting on such
a great show.
Photographs & Text By
Flying Sites Editor