Fresh Air Festival 2017

The Fresh Air Festival was run on 27th March from 12:00 – 16:00 in the “Public Park” Dunfermline. There was a yellow warning for thunder & torrential rain at 3PM, this rain duly arrived but did not last for long. The DMAC flying and static displays were held on the upper lawn of the park with the flying circle placed adjacent to the Donald Fountain. This fountain is on a raised area and gave an excellent viewpoint for the public, at times it was reported that spectators were two deep watching the flying action below.

The upper lawn in the Public Park.

The flying started right on time at noon with an F2B flight by Ian Galt with his Joelle in what was a stiff breeze but flyable. At the request of the club to the Fresh Air Festival organiser Jim Stewart the grass had been cut very short to give a good take off and landing surface. The Joelle having spats on its undercarriage wheels appreciated this short grass. F2B is the international class of control line aerobatic model flying in which the pilot guides the model through a set schedule of manoeuvrers receiving points from a panel of judges in a similar way to the compulsory figures in ice skating.

Ian Galt concentrates on an inverted pass with his Joelle

John Davidson and Dave Hill, the combat boys, put on their usual spectacular flights all over the sky with the models towing paper streamers with each pilot attempting to cut his opponent’s streamer with his model’s propeller. This discipline of model flying is akin to fencing.

The combat boys battle it out overhead.

Eddie Burr, after some teasing by Bill Greive on the Public Address System, put on a wonderful display of special manoeuvrers and terrain following with his Bi Slob. This model being a biplane flies very slowly but has a powerful engine and so is capable of hovering and flying backwards. He also flew some of the F2b aerobatic schedule with David Hambley’s electric PT19. Eddy flew this model as David was away at the British Free Flight Championships at RAF Barkston Heath in England, more of that in another report. The first flight was rather short due to a low charge battery being accidentally used. During the second flight¬† with a fully charged battery Eddy really put the model through its paces. Bill commentating during this flight pointed out the noise difference between Electric and Internal combustion powered motors.

Eddy Burr guides the electric powered PT19 quietly by.

Dave Hutchinson flew his semi scale twin engined Mosquito and did some pitting with Dougie Groome for other pilots.

Flying continued more or less non stop with slick changes between flyers and there were no no engine starting problems. The combat boys entertained the crowd with a bout some five minutes long during which time it was obvious that both pilots were enjoying themselves.  A spectator was so amused by the gyrations of the pilots that he took a series of photographs one of which is included in this report, thanks Ian.

The two Bills and the Gallery enjoy the flying whilst Bill G imparts his pearls of wisdom.

Bill on the PA mentioned that these bouts quite often ended with a mid air collision, no sooner had he finished speaking there was a loud bang and the models fell to earth in a shower of balsa wood bits to the great delight of the spectators. A little voice piped up and said “do it again mister”! There is some video of one of the bouts, sadly not the part where they hit each other.

Fortunately they were both old models which were pretty much at the end of their lives so the pilots were not upset by the loss. The rain then started just after 3pm and bearing in mind the forecast, particularly the lightning, we hastily packed up. The rain then stopped!

Whilst the flying was underway there were all kinds of Control Line and Radio Controlled aircraft on static display both in a tent, at the top of the hill and in the pits where the flying was taking place. Unfortunately due to the wind strength no Free Flight models could be displayed as they were too light to stay on the tables. The club prides itself on being the only club in Scotland that caters for all three disciplines of the sport so the lack of Free Flight models was a loss.

A selection of control line models for close inspection in the tent.

The display was ably manned by Bill Crossan who was regularly plied with burgers from the adjacent scout tent. Due to it being quite windy brown parcel tape was used to secure models and one of the club banners, this turned out to be not a good idea as we now have a very sticky banner! Mike Hambley did great job with the electronic side of the static display by setting up and looking after the photographic slide show and Radio Control Simulator which the public were encouraged to try. One mum had the greatest of difficulty prising her son off this simulator! The two Bills, Crossan and Greive, were kept busy handing out fliers and fielding questions.

Eddy tries his hand on the simulator “Flying” a Radio Controlled Trainer. The second screen was running a photographic slide show of club activity.

There were three tables of models in the tent. Mike Rouse was displaying a 6ft span Radio Control foam slope soarer which was so tough that our visitors were encouraged to handle the model. The late Bill Browns “Bitsa” consisting of a Thunderbird wing, Crusader tail plane and an own design jet style fuselage and a simple profile model completed Mikes offering. Bill Greive had an Almost Ready To Fly (ARTF) and a ready built “Russian” style combat model on display.

Unfortunately due to position of other exhibitors tents public access to our tent was severely restricted resulting in a low number of visitors to the static display.

The Fresh Air Festival as a whole appeared to suffer from a limited number of visitors possibly due to the date clashing with other events both local and National. A change of date should be considered for next year which would remove the clash with the British Free Flight National Championships and we hear the championships of other sports.

Thanks to Bill Grieve who masterminded the whole DMAC event. Pete Brown and Dougie Groom were there at setup and helped out for the duration. Mike Rouse helped setup but then had to leave for another appointment.

Report by David Hambley with material from Ian Galt, Dougie Groome, Bill Crossan, Bill Grieve. Mike Hambley. Photo credits Mike Hambley and Ian Muir.

Tent kindly supplied by Cairney Hill Scouts, Slide show screen by Andrew Thompson Ltd, Public address system by Fife Leisure Trust (Dougie Gordon).