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The British Free Flight National Championships.

Ron Sabey (Dumfries), Chris Edge (Borders) David Hambley and Jim  Arnott (Dunfermline) traveled down to RAF Barkston Heath in Linconshire for the British Free Flight (FF) Nationals over the Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend. This 3 day event organised by the British Model Flyers association (BMFA) is the largest of its kind in Europe and attracts competitors from UK, Ireland and mainland Europe. When we arrived on Friday afternoon and made camp there was a stiff wind blowing which barred any thoughts of a last minute trimming session. We settled for a brisk walk around the fishing lakes at the Woodland Waters camp site and a meal in Woody’s restaurant, with portions which would have defeated Desperate Dan.

Woodys BarWoody’s Restaurant at Woodlands Water Camp Site – photo D.T. Hambley

Saturday morning there was a breeze of about 12 mph from the east and control was based near the Flying School at the east side of the airfield. David flew in the E36 class. After a few test flights with his new model (Super Pearlite) he decided that this would require more time to fully trim and so reverted to his well proven Super Pearl for the contest flights. The decision was rewarded with a very nice comfortable max on its first flight. The second flight a bad launch saw the model loop and come in heavily after 15 sec. Fortunately there was no damage apart from a broken prop and the sub 20 sec time allowed a second attempt at the flight. This time David launched it perfectly and the Super Pearl scored another comfortable max. For the third flight, with the motor run reduced to 10 secs, the Super Pearl again climbed nicely and returned the max required to qualify for the fly-off.

Ron flew in BMFA glider with his Junior A/2. On his first flight he found a good patch of supportive air and the model was well on its way to a max, but a miss set D/T brought the flight to disappointing early end. Ron spent the rest of the day trimming his two vintage gliders, the Nord and the Odenman.

Jim flew in BMFA Rubber using an Urchin with a modern prop. On his first flight, it was clear soon after launch that he had chosen the air badly as the model was struggling to climb. When the prop folded it looked high enough to get the max, but the Urchin then started to stall and it landed 5 secs short of the required time. Jim’s second flight took the small step from the ridiculous to the sublime. Launched into a big thermal, it d/t’d very high up at 2:30 and took another five minutes to come down by which time it had drifted about 1 ½ miles and was way off the airfield. By the time Jim fetched that one back he was physically wrecked and retired for the day.

In the afternoon David turned his attention to BMFA Glider, flying his straight tow Old Peculiar. With the drift now coming from the South East, David towed along the perimeter track towards the small hanger until he felt an encouraging tug on the line. The Old peculiar settled into a buoyant patch of air and held towline height until the max was achieved. Two very similar flights in well chosen air followed to give David the three maxes he needed. It was a very good day indeed for David in qualifying for two fly- offs.

For the fly off’s control moved to the South East corner of the airfield and the 10 mph breeze was towards the beacon outhouse. The temperature was distinctly cool and there was little lift around when the E36 fly off started. David was one of five fliers in the fly-off. His motor run of 3.5 secs was well short of the 5 secs allowed and despite a good pattern climb his model was always below the others and was down in 54 secs in fifth place.

Super Pearl Nats FODavid studies the air during the E36 Fly-off. – photo D Hipperson

There were 17 fliers qualified for the BMFA Glider flyoff, which started at 7:50pm. Some late evening sunshine was a mixed blessing with slightly warmer air but the models were drifting straight into the setting sun which made timekeeping difficult. David’s tow and launch were good and the Old Peculiar held up well in some gently supportive air for a good flight of 3:41. As the times came back to control it was clear that others had found better patches of air and David finished in joint 8th place. The event was won by Richard Jack with a flight of 5:34

Old Peculiar at NatsDavid in the BMFA Glider Fly-off with his Old Peculiar -photo J Arnott

Sunday morning started with a breeze of some 12 mph from the West-southwest. It was overcast and threatening to rain. Our expeditionary team all flew in F1a Glider. The max for the first two rounds was set at 2:00 and these flights had to be completed by 12 noon. There would be three scheduled rounds in the afternoon. David, Ron and Jim all started well with a max on their first flight. In the second round, Jim got his max but Ron and Davids’ were in really poor air and down in 1:04 and 1:28 respectively.

For round 3 and round 4, the max was increased to 2:30. The wind had now freshened to 15 mph. David and Jim found good patches of lift for comfortable maxes in Round 3, but Ron retired from the event after dropping more time. Jim was lucky then unlucky on this flight. As his Superba d/t down in-line with the small hanger it was unclear, from a mile away, if it was on the hanger roof or over. When he reached it, he was delighted to see it lying on the grass 20 ft behind the hanger. Then he discovered that it had hit a solitary telegraph pole, broken the tailplane, and ripped the wing covering. Some quick field repairs with carbon tow and superglue, then Magictape to cover the holes soon had it ready for round 4.

In round 4, David had another comfortable max while Jim had more dramatics. At the moment of launch his model would not release from the line so he pulled it back in as gently as he could for a second attempt. This attempt was good and the model went away for a comfortable max finishing tight in the southeast corner of the drome. With the more testing wind conditions and longer maxes many entrants had dropped time over rounds 3 and 4 and there were now only four fliers with full scores – Phil Ball, Brian Baines, John Williams, and Jim.

The breeze freshened more for round 5, to say 18 mph. It was like a fly-off atmosphere with those four fliers watching each other. Jim was first away with a good launch into what felt like nice air. Phil followed immediately with a straight tow and high bunting release. After looking good for two circles, Jim’s Superba lost the good air and started dropping. A couple of circles later it was climbing again and finished high up and well off the drome, to give him a place in the fly-off. John William’s max was never in doubt after a super launch, however Brian Baines needed a slice of luck after a mistimed launch saw his model bunt down to 50 ft before picking up by good air for his max. So the same four flyers continued into the fly-off with full scores.

David finished his event with another nice max which d/t’d down off the airfield, which moved him further up the rankings to finish in 6th place alongside Stu Darmon, and 4 secs behind John Cooper in 5th place. Then David and Jim discovered that the max for round five had been reduced from 2:30 to 2:00. No harm done but, if had we known, it might have kept us on the airfield and made model retrieval much easier.

As the crowds gather around control at 6pm to see what the fly-off schedule would be, it was noted that the members of the Free Flight Technical Committee were huddled together in deep debate. When they broke up they announced that there  would be no fly off’s and flying was finished for the day due to technical reasons. The score at the end of round five were therefore the final result and the four F1a leaders was declared 1st equal. There was a similar position in F1b, F1c, and Vintage Power/Rubber.

Jim at FF natsTired but happy after 5th max -Jim 1st equal in F1a, the third time in 4 years! -photo D.T. Hambley

On Monday morning there was an announcement that, since the wind was blowing in the same direction, all events would be run to a 1:30 max to keep models on the airfield as far as possible. The wind was quite a bit lighter at 10 mph and anything under 4 minutes would stay on the field. These benign conditions remained all day and it became a case of trying to avoid that pervasive moment of senility which catches you by surprise.

David flew in Classic Glider with his Sans Egal and it was flying nicely on its way to achieving the three maxes. Ron flew in Classic Glider with his Seraph and Vintage Glider with his new model, the Odenman A/2. He achieved the necessary flight times with both to book his place in two fly-offs. He was particularly pleased with the performance of the Odenman which did comfortable max flights even though Ron was launching off a 75M line rather than the 100M allowed. Jim flew in Mini-vintage with his Gollywock and Classic Rubber with his Urchin. Both completed their max flights to get into the fly offs.

By 5pm, along with most of the other contestants we had completed our full house in all five events. There had been moments of doubt with at least three “early” d/t’s but in all cases the flights had been high enough to max anyway. The Free Flight Tech Committee announced  we were now clear to have normal unlimited fly offs. With over sixty fliers qualified for the various fly-offs and the wind now freshening  to 15 mph, the surrounding fields were  about to be bombarded with models.

In the mini-vintage fly off, Jim’s Gollywock was up and down in mediocre air in a disappointing 2:14 to finish in 11th place.

In Classic Glider, David launched his Sans Egal into what looked like good air, but surprisingly it developed a stall which prevented it going away and it was down in 2:49 for 6th place. In the same event when Ron towed up his Seraph, the wings were bending as it strained to get away in a boomer, but on release it failed to drop the towline. Without the auto rudder it flew a massive left hand circle  taking it out of the lift. The line caught on the ground low down and allowed the Seraph to fly free from 50 ft up so was timed for a 44sec flight.

Ron at FF natsRon prepares his Seraph for the Classic Glider Fly-off -photo J Arnott

Ron then turned his attention to Vintage Glider with the Odenman. He towed it on a 100M line for the first time. It was a weaving quite a bit but Ron managed to release it nicely into its turn around 80M height. The model was gliding very well but it did not find true lifting air and it eased its way down for a time of 3:13,landing just inside the perimeter fence. This gave Ron 4th position.

Our final event was the Classic Rubber/Power, where Jim was flying an Urchin. It was a similar tale for Jim, with a good steady flight but missing the best of the lift for a time of 3:50. The model was well off the field and was eventually tracked into a farm courtyard.

Jim launch at NatsJim gets his Urchin away in the Classic Rubber Fly-off -photo D Hipperson.

Chris Edge had a very good day in F1h having quietly flown away from the madding crowd and qualified for a four way fly-off. After a 10minute circular tow he  won handsomely with a 5:09 flight while the other contenders were under 2 minutes.

Unusually we had enjoyed good flyable conditions on all three days and it was great to have it dry all weekend. Having two fly-off spots on Saturday, one on Sunday, and five on Monday showed that we are still contenders at this level, and had Lady Luck smiled a little more kindly we could have had bonanza of trophies. It had been a very successfull three days.

Report by Jim Arnott.

SAA Static Display at Glenrothes.

Click on top left thumbnail to run a slide show. Press ESC key to exit.

Bill Grieve, Mike Rouse and David Hambley intrepidly set forth on the A92 into the bad lands of Glenrothes on Friday evening. Approximately one hours work saw the display area roped off with the two new Carnegie Trust funded DMAC banners looking resplendent. Tables were collected and deployed in the same area as used by the club last year.

Next day the trio arrived independently with cars full of models and extra tables. A total of 12 Radio Control (RC), Control Line (CL) and Free Flight (FF) models and some supporting kit were set up. One of David’s model boxes was placed on the floor just behind the rope with its lid open enabling visitors to see more FF models in storage. Also a mylar covered tail plane and uncovered carbon/balsa composite wing was on show. The 6.6 gram weight of the tailplane caused amazement with many visitors who were invited to “feel the weight”. As the Kingdom Centre was equipped with free WiFi a laptop computer was set up and the club website gallery was left running which gave a good overview of club flying in action.

The Chairmen of the three other clubs, Balbedie, Kinross and Glenrothes were impressed with the range of models on display by DMAC. This compared starkly with the Almost Ready To Fly (ARTF) RC models from their clubs.

The overall display went down well with the shoppers as last year even though there were slightly fewer models on display. The DMAC display, however, was well supported with models. The trio manned the stand all day with Dougie Groome giving a helping hand part way through.

Report: The trio. Photographs: David Hambley

Report on 6th March club meeting

A good turnout of members assembled at the Royal British Legion to discuss the major topic on the agenda.

This was whether the club should invest in the refurbishment of the existing and purchase of a new banner. The proposal was that the existing banner be refurbished with the addition of the web address and QR code. Also correction of the club name from Dunfermline Model Aeroplane Club to Model Aero Club. The new banner would be identical. A unanimous decision was made in favour of the proposal and Bill Greive offered to investigate whether funding would be available from the Carnegie Trust. After the formal business members continued with much aeromodelling craic.

Funding has been successfully obtained, the banners are made and one will be on display at the Kingdom Centre Glenrothes on Saturday 28 March.

Banner artwork web

Marchetti Shield Presented

At the beginning of the recent club meeting chairman Iain Ward announced that the Marchetti Shield for the clubman of the year was to be awarded that evening. This trophy is awarded to the member who has made a notable non competition contribution to club life. It had been decided that the work on resurrecting the web site was just such a contribution and so the shield was to be awarded to a very surprised webmaster (David Hambley).

In accepting the shield David thanked the club and acknowledged the great help provided by his son Michael throughout this flight of discovery. Pictured below is David with Michael who won the shield as a junior in 1994

Marchetti trophy web

SAA AGM Report

The SAA AGM was held on Sunday 7th December. Bill Greive and Mike Rouse attended and reported a short and entertaining meeting.John Robertson trophy web 2

The club was mentioned on no less than five times during the course of the meeting for its active participation in SAA events. A slide presentation of the Glen Display and Bob Hutton Memorial Trophy events ran in the background throughout the meeting.

John Robertson trophy web 1Finally Bill and Mike were honoured with the presentation of the John Robertson Memorial Trophy for their work in promoting Aeromodelling and the SAA within Scotland.

In accepting the trophy Bill stressed the support of the club that had enabled them to achieve so much.

AGM Report

The AGM was held and the following officers elected.
Chairman: Iain Ward. Secretary/Treasurer: Mike Rouse.
Club fees were held at £25 for a full senior member.

Competition reports were given by Bill Greive (CL) and Jim Arnott (FF). The CL season had been successful with particular note being made of the Bob Hutton memorial trophy held at the Inverkeithing site. The FF season had been severely effected by the weather with members being unable to compete until the British Nationals in May. Jim Arnott, David Hambley and George Blair had successes with Jim wining the overall championship (yet again). The club retained the Caledonia Shield, this being the 14th time since its institution in 1951.

The webmaster gave a short report in which it was noted that our entry into Fife Direct had not yet appeared. Since then we have been notified it is now live. The webmaster has expanded it and it may be viewed on

New member Alan Morris was welcomed into the club. He is now busy learning to fly Heli at the Inverkeithing site under the watchful eye of Cas.

Bob Hutton Trophy

This annual event was held at Inverkeithing on Sunday the 12th of October in memory of our long time club member and was to be the eighth time competed for, (Bob died ten years ago).

Early morning heavy mist burnt off to leave ideal flying conditions and so following “warm up” flights the competition began at 11:30. Six entrants fought for the trophy this year and the “order of play” was:- Jimmy Pinkerton followed by Peter Millar, Iain Ward, Eddie Burr, Ian Galt, Willy Wallace for each of the three rounds.
Only two minor mechanical faults occurred during the whole competition and no models were damaged. The usual rapid banter prevailed throughout the competition (as one would expect).

Bobs Widow Mary kindly presented the memorial shield to the winner Ian Galt. The final scores were:- Ian Galt 2161, Iain Ward 2037, Eddie Burr 2023, Jimmy Pinkerton 1990, Peter Millar 1985, Willy Wallace 1597.

Report Mike Rouse, Photos Pete Brown.

“Sport for All” in Pittencrief Park

We ran an aeromodelling event on behalf of the SAA as part of the Dunfermline Sport for All week. With special permission from the Fife Council we were able to put on control line flying and a static display on the “South Lawn” of Pittencrief Park. We welcomed flyers and exhibitors from other Scottish clubs.

The day started clear, sunny with a heavy dew underfoot. The Crossford Scouts arrived and in short order had two marquise up and ready for use. The SAA had intended to have a Radio Control simulator running for the public to have a go. Unfortunately the light levels in both marquise were too high to view the screens so the idea was dropped. The static display featuring a wide range of Radio, Control Line and Free Flight models from several clubs was set up in the larger marquee.

In the meantime the Control Line circle was measured out and roped off and soon Iain Ward was airborne for a shake down flight. Aerobatic displays interspersed with Classic Combat bouts then continued throughout the day.

A steady flow of visitors came including members from Fife Council, Dunfermline Sport for All and a group of visitors from Germany. All who came were delighted with what we had achieved and hoped that this could become an annual event. The club members who were there were disappointed with the numbers of the public who apparently had attended. However our Park contact was delighted with the day and estimated the 200 to 300 folk had been “through the door”. The SAA were also delighted and a report will be published in Air Time in due course. Photographs giving a flavour of the event can be seen in the Sport for All 2014 gallery.

Thanks must be given to Fife Council, Dunfermline Sport for All, Crossford Scouts, Scottish Aero Modellers Association, members from other clubs and most of all to Bill Grieve who did the lions share of organising the event.

Report and Photos: David Hambley.

Name Correction

As a result of research into the history of the club your webmaster has realised that the club name has always been Dunfermline Model Aero Club and not Model Aircraft Club. I have corrected the error on this website and apologises for the mistake.

Club Listing

The URL of this site now appears against our entry in the SAA club list. We have also been registered with the BMFA and will appear in their club finder.