At the end of November David visited Kings Rd Primary Schooland and gave a talk about model flying to P5 – P7 pupils. There were 120 kids and they were very quiet taking it all in. As a result the club was invited back to demonstrate Indoor flying in the school hall.
On Wednesday 24th January, David and Jim fulfilled this commitment. We arrived at the school as the debris of lunches was being cleared from the hall and had some 20 mins to get set up ready for action. The P7 pupils were scheduled from 14:00 to 14:30 and the P6 pupils would have from 14:30 until the school bell at 15:00.
At one end of the hall David set up three electric models, a Free flight (FF) E36 power model , Control Line (CL) stunt PT19, and a Radio Control (RC) thingy ( Mike’s Firebird ) and at the other end Jim set up his stall with Pennyplane indoor rubber duration models. Initial test flights with these models went badly when a heavy hit on a sidewall broke the prop on one of them , then the second settled on one of the six pendant light fittings and had to be retrieved with a perch pole. Jim was quite harassed even before the pupils arrived.
P7 comprised of 30 pupils who filed in very respectfully and sat on benches along the wall between David and Jim. David gave an introduction and then started demonstrating each of the static models. Jim took six pupils over to his table, armed two of them with stopwatches and one with a scoreboard then started “The Pennyplane Contest”. The models were set up with 300 turns and then each pupil launched a flight. When the first model went away there was a wave of gleeful gasps – “its still going” “its going to hit the light” etc. There were often two pennyplanes in the air together and near misses caused more excitement. Some pupils showed admirable determination and competitive spirit – “ I’m gonna to be the winner”. After they made their flight they were quickly over to the timekeeper to see what they had scored. One particularly bright lad realised how to win and asked to have extra turns put on for him. Models hung up on the lights about four times and then there was a cheer when Jim managed to knock the model off and amazement when the model pulled out of the resulting dive, sorted itself and climbed away again. “I want one !” “how much does it cost ?” “ where did you get it?” “ did you make it ?” “I will get my dad to make one” were some of the comments heard. Most of the flights were between 1 minute and 2 minutes, although one girl did record over 4 minutes – ( probably the stopwatch was not reset before that one ). We wanted to give every P7 pupil a flight, but we were unable get through all 30 in the half-hour slot , so the six P7’s that were still in the queue stayed on whilst their classmates were taken away to be replaced by the P6 class. Only about 12 of the P6 class managed to get a flight, but they were equally enthralled.
Whilst all this was going on David described and demonstrated the three different model classes, FF, CL, RC. He had made up a control-line handle with five foot lines so that the pupils could have a shot at wiggling the controls on the PT19. There was a wow of excitement when he started its motor and they felt the blast of the prop wash. The pupils were amazed by the weigh (or lack of it) of the Super Pearl E36 and enjoyed wiggling the sticks of the RC thingy. It was noticeable how the lads tended to run the motor flat out where as the lassies were content to actually control the speed. Several times David “lost” his charges when there was some form of drama with the Penny Planes.
The deputy head of the school thanked us for the session saying it was clear that the pupils had really enjoyed it. We left the school feeling more knackered than after a days flying at New Bigging but with the satisfaction of a good job done. Subsequently Jim recommended three proprietary model kits for indoor models and offered an e mail advisory service for building these models. We wait to see if any kids or Dads take up the offer.
Report by Jim Arnott with aditional material from David Hambley.