2017 Annual General Meeting and Xmas buffet

New venue, new caterers and if all goes well there may even be a bar! Put the date/time in your calendar now – ~December 5th 8:00 – 10:00. More details to follow nearer the day.

Indoor flying dates for autumn/winter 2017/2018

Indoor flying dates now booked for this autumn/winter. See Diary for more details.

Incident reporting.

In an effort to protect ourselves should a member of the public make a complaint about a model crashing near them we have an incident reporting system. Should your model ‘land’ outside of the rough grass area surrounding our strip or land near a member of the public standing within that area please submit an Incident Report form. They are available from Dave Grey on the field or it can be done on line. Martin Dance periodically reviews these reports and the good news is that we are operating safely and incidents are random events. There is no pattern to incidents which suggests that our general operation is safe, however, incidents do occur and a report made at the time will allow us to repudiate mischievous complaints should one arise. The Incident Report is NOT a reflection upon the skill or care taken by the pilot.

Use of failsafe on R/C systems.

You need to be aware that it is mandatory to set the failsafe if it is fitted to your radio system, That means all 2.4Ghz radios and any 35Mhz systems using a PCM Rx. The minimum setting required is that the control surfaces hold their last position and the throttle is closed to at least idle. Those of you preparing to take the ‘A’ achievement test will be asked to demonstrate the operation of the failsafe as part of your pre-flight checks. Further to that you should test your failsafe on a regular basis and certainly following any program changes to your models. To demonstrate the operation of the failsafe the model must be restrained, the motor/engine RPM set above idle (but not necessarily full throttle) then the TX is turned off, at which point the motor/engine should go to idle.

Vintage Fly-in 

Saturday was the club Vintage Fly-in and the weather was superb with clear skies, full sun and a very gentle breeze.  The rules were very simple – take-off, circuits, aerobatics and landing to be smooth, controlled and flown in a way reflective of the model.

Initially there were four contestants with Pete Riddick being the first to fly. Try as he may, and he tried very hard, Pete was unable to get the engine on his SE5A to run well enough to fly so he decided to retire. As is the way of things, Pete took the model home, flushed out the carburetor and guess-what – it now runs fine!

Next up was John Ratcliffe with his Flair Puppeteer.  He flew this model in a very scale-like manner and impressed the judges with the whole flight setting a high standard.

Next was Dave Grey with Junior 60 but he too retired with engine problems (sorry Dave, forgot to get a picture!).

Finally it was time for Ron Perkins with his Falcon. Again, a lovely flight which put the judges in a difficult position to decided on the winner.

After some deliberation the judges decided that John had won by a gnats whisker with Ron coming second, so congratulations to John.

My thanks to the competitors for bringing their models along and joining in the fun. Thanks also to the judges, Colin, John and Jack.

And to finish the day on a high note,  John Ratcliffe had also brought along his own design/plan/build twin-engine Raven for its maiden flight. Many of you will have no doubt have been following the build of this complex plane on John build blog.  I am pleased to say that the flight went extremely well , even landing with only one main undercarriage leg down will no ill-effects, which brought a well deserved round of applause from the members watching on.

Reduction in membership fees.

As of July the BMFA have reduced their membership fees. As a result we have decided to also reduce the club fees for the remainder of this year. Membership fees now :-

Senior members –£42.50 (£17.50 club + £25 BMFA Insurance)
Junior members – £18 (£5 club + £13 BMFA Insurance)

plus a one-off £25 joining fee for senior members.

FPV flying at Thames Valley Park.

Although we are pleased to see the spectrum of model flying on the club site widen, we do need to be aware of the potential problems that can arise on this site. The site, although private land, is open to the general public for recreation, dog walking etc. We have no control over where other users are and what they do. So we must be eternally vigilant and exercise some common sense and follow a few simple rules. Many of our day-to-day rules have evolved through custom and practice. For example, low flying and high speed low passes with fixed wing and helicopters (although not specifically banned) are considered to be high risk and therefore not carried out.

The recent growth in the use of multi-copters and FPV flying have given rise to a new set of safety considerations. By and large multi-copters are flown lower than most other model types. There is also an interest in racing and obstacle course flying. By their very nature these activities take place at low level, typically between 1m (3’) and 5m (15’). The reason of course is that it is difficult to erect and keep in place obstacles at greater heights.

It should be obvious that flying FPV on our site at theses low levels poses a considerable risk. Obviously much of this flying is taking place at around chest to head height and members of the public, as we know, are notoriously unobservant and will wander into the path of models. Equally many of the dogs are capable of jumping into the path of a FPV model in an attempt to catch it. Both could have serious consequences for everyone.

Therefore, can I ask members who are flying FPV to remain above 3m(10’) except on take-off and landing and to always have a dedicated spotter by their side to keep them informed of any hazards, this is after all a legal requirement.