first started flying about 20 years ago, but had a 12 year semi-break
after my son was born. I got back into it about 8 years ago, first
with the Linlithgow club and then with Kirknewton, and latterly
with West Calder. Most of the last 5 years has been spent building
the flying site, and very little on flying. I was slowly clawing
my way to Silver but felt I needed more exposure to top class
fliers in order to improve. Last year I asked around and managed
to get a couple of other guys who were interested in aerobatics,
but I wrecked my own plane and never really got started.
year was different. Both my Excelsior and CAP232 were ready and
flying well, so it was of to Hamilton in March for the first comp.
Steve Currie, Elliot Balfour, Malcolm Harris, Bill Allison and
a few others were there, and Colin Nicol turned up with Craig
and a few of the cadets. Unfortunately a 40 MPH wind also turned up, so
the event was cancelled.
up was the event at East Fortune. This was much better. Again,
about 8 or so competitors turned up and plenty flying was on offer,
even though it is one plane in the air at a time. I think it is
fair to say I was shaking like a leaf on the first trimming flight
with the Excelsior. However it went well and I set about round
1. Unfortunately a minor hic-up on take-off meant aborting that
flight, and I flew the CAP232 for the rest of the
day. I had just stiffened up all the control linkages and it took
most of the day to get used to the better responses.
had the option of flying 1 of 2 schedules – 1 has about 10 manoeuvres;
the other 20. I opted for the 20 as it meant I’d be flying longer
and so would improve more, and I could miss out any manoeuvres
I was not comfortable with (like the double outside loop). The
thing to remember is that if you are in the wrong place then miss
out the manoeuvre as there is no point in risking the model.
Allison was calling for me, and the odd bit of encouragement to
concentrate certainly helped. There is a maximum total of 340
points available. I think I scored about 50 (I’m not sure how
many were the turning-up bonus). 3 rounds are flown at each comp.
flights there was plenty of time to talk to the other fliers.
APC props and Yamada YS engines
seem to be standard fayre although my MVVS 90 2-stroke and TT
91 F/S did seem to have the enough power for my level of flying.
Fuel is generally 20% nitro for improved power but again at entry
level, anything will do.
competition flying finished about so we had the rest of the
day for general flying. By this time the sun was out and the inviting
blue sky was not to be missed. Bill Allison did a maiden flight
with Gordon Frost’s Flair Swallow and then gave a demo of low
level flying and prop hanging with his own pattern ship.
next day it was on the phone to Just Engines for some general
advice, and to consider an order for a manifold and tuned pipe
for the excelsior. And then some serious wife-pampering to get
that Swallow & YS120 J
disaster stuck! The following Saturday I wrote-off the Excelsior,
and as an encore, flipped the CAP over on take-off. Result – I missed
the next event at Dumfries.
third outing was to East Kilbride. I took the Glen’s 68” CAP232 and
a Travel Air with an Irvine 46. A clapped out Irvine 46 as it turned out as
the main bearing was making more noise than the exhaust. Another
disaster of a day where I ran into the long grass on take-off
and damaged the wing mounting plate on the CAP, so the travel
Air was called into service. Again, lots of advice, help, models
to look at for ideas, and a generally great day out.
flying, I talked to the judge and my caller to tell them which
manoeuvres I would be missing out, namely the double outside loop.
Don’t be put off by a 20-manouver schedule as you do not need
to do them all.
it was back home, order an Irvine 53 for the Travelair, and
the YS for the Swallow. Then fire up the computer & get some
simulator time to practice the manoeuvres.
July event was at the CVF site and as I had flown there before
I was really looking forward to it. The wife was packed off to
some flower show down-south, and we were all set to go. However,
the good old weather had other thoughts and the morning broke
with low cloud, rain and blustery wind. By it was no better and a
decision had to be made. The thought of a 40 mile drive just to
sit in the rain for an hour then come back was not appealing,
and I could feel the power of the dark side pulling – I could
go sailing! Water from the sea or water from the sky – it doesn’t
matter. And boats like wind: the more the merrier. And the club
has a nice warm clubhouse with cooker, toilets and showers. Sailing
1 Flying 0.
it turned out, by mid-day the sun was splitting the sky, and I’m
sure both sailors and flyers had a great day wherever they were.
14th brought the Nats and although I had managed some practice
flying at my site, I was nowhere near ready for the Nats, so had
to give them a body swerve.
arrived and it was back to East Fortune for the final event of
the year with the CAP232, the Travel Air and the Swallow. It was
a beautiful blue sky for a great days flying. Total hilarity though
when I gave my caller one schedule, and the scorekeeper a different
one. Gordon Frost (15) did some great flying with his Acro-Wot
as his Swallow was not being used that day. Lindsay Dickie was
flying his Excelsior which was an upgrade from the OS70 Surpass
powered Kyosho Majestic he had been flying the previous year.
George Sherring was flying a 50inch wingspan electric model and
is planning on an up rated version for 2005 and John de Pree from
the East Fortune club turned up with his YS powered Swallow. At
the time of writing one other potential beginner is making noises
about competing so 2005 is shaping up to be a great year.
did I come away a better pilot? I have to say “Yes” but there
is lots of room for improvement. I certainly learned a lot, and
can do a few manoeuvres I couldn’t do before, and the ones I could
do are done with more confidence and better precision. I saw some
great flying and have some targets for next year. Come on guys
– it isn’t difficult so why not come along and have a bash?You do need a little bit of discipline to arrive
at a site 30 miles away at 9 in the morning, but the rewards are
there for the taking. The standard of flying is amazing and the
help and advice is given freely. But watch out – the bug bites.