A Message from Charles
(Air Section Secretary)
As we approach the end of the year, it seems timely to make this report to our members.
In the past year the sub committee and members have contributed to achieving the following:
The refreshed air section rules have been in place for some time. The rules were re-written, simplified, and hopefully made more logical. We have tried to follow the BMFA’s guidelines, with some further site specific limitations.
So far we have managed to have fun in safety and harmony with our neighbours.
The bottom line with the rules is:
Please be considerate and polite to everyone, and be safety conscious.
We have tried to make the facilities more accessible to the members. Duty officers / keyholders have been increased from perhaps ten to almost 30 participants. This has allowed more flying during the week.
We are always looking for more volunteers, particularly for the lawn mowing roster, as this requires a team of two. In the past this duty has been regularly undertaken by a small number of people, in particular David Ebdon, who heads up the section. The grass takes over two hours to mow each week during the season.
I think we have a splendid runway thanks to volunteers’ efforts.
After many years development, we now have an “almost” fully functioning club house and meeting room, with lights and heat. Many thanks to those who have made great efforts to get the facilities as good as they now are.
We have welcomed a number of new members during the year.
The level of enthusiasm and the wealth of experience from new members is most welcome.
We are currently operating a waiting list. We expect to be able to allow more entrants in the New Year.
The weather for our club open day this year was perfect. We enjoyed lots of flying, fun, friendship and food. The barbeque catered to about 80 people. Again thanks to the people who put in a lot of work to make this a success.
Our Training Section is becoming more organised thanks to the efforts of Jeremy Martin, who leads the section, and others. Terry Huxley particularly has given much time to our trainees.
Jeremy is also keen to help others further their skills with aerobatics.
We are very fortunate not only to have Dave Charles as examiner, but we have also recently welcomed a second examiner, Martin Painter to the club. So we can now examine for fixed wing A and B certs, and heli A certs.
Our members have a wide range of interests, and we see a good variety of models being flown.
Petrol powered models are becoming more popular.
Helicopters too are more popular than ever. Phil Penn has just taken on the job of heli representative. Phil is keen to help people to obtain their A certificates. I hope that you will take advantage of this, and our having two examiners, to obtain your proficiency certificates.
There still seems to be some confusion about “drones”. In my understanding a quadcopter/ drone is just another type of helicopter, and they are welcome at the club. It’s in the rules!
FPV (first person view) flights require an observer, to comply with BMFA regulations. Our boundary restrictions must be adhered to by drone flyers just like everyone else.
Not to be overlooked, EDF Jets are a regular sight, many of them sophisticated foamies, but also several beautifully built balsa ones.
And we have some oddities, for example: Dave Allen’s ornithopter “flappy”. This old model has been revitalised thanks to a lipo!
I recently acquired a “Skysurfer” built by Tony Handley, which looks funny in the air, and is a bit of a handful!
Ted Cotton Concourse
Dave Charles kindly organised this event at the Ripley British Legion this Autumn. There was a good turnout, with some splendid models displayed.
David brought his Hawker Typhoon, which is astonishingly well made. It looks to me a world championship class model. Huge and gorgeous. Congratulations, Dave.
I also admired the part built Comet 4B by Geof Ward. I am looking forward to seeing it completed someday.
It is my duty to bang on about this:
Accidents are not friendly or fun and our models are capable of causing serious injury.
This is why we have to have rules, which we must all be familiar with, and must adhere to.
I ask you all please to take safety very seriously; in particular may I highlight the following:
Your Preflight Checks must include:
A range check on any new or repaired model.
You are legally required to check your fail safe each and every flying session.
All models must be suitably restrained when starting or arming. There are no exceptions.
Before arming or starting propeller driven models, please make certain that people are behind the propeller arc. Props do occasionally come loose when starting up, sometimes violently.
Never fly over anyone.
Bring your model down low when full size aircraft fly over. Keep out of line of sight with aircraft.
You should be prepared to “dump” your model if necessary to avoid people or aircraft.
If you must crash, (!) please do it inside our field! You must report any “out landings” or crashes to me, as I am required to investigate and maintain an incident book.
Any injuries must be reported to me, as I am required to investigate and maintain a personal injury book.
It is common to be blasé about fire risks. Perhaps I have had more unfortunate experiences with fires than most. Generally, quick action is the answer, which necessitates preparation. Fires can build on themselves very quickly, with potentially disastrous results to people and property.
Here are some notes:
Lipo battery fires are best contained with SAND. There is a fire bucket under the concrete bench. Avoid the toxic smoke.
In the event of a lipo having crash damage, there is a water bucket(yellow) there for safe disposal. It is bad enough to crash a model without the damaged lipo catching fire in your car or home.
Petrol models: It is a BMFA requirement that you have a suitable extinguisher to hand before fuelling or starting petrol models. No chocolate fireguards please.
In my experience you have about 30 seconds before things start to get really out of hand.
CO2 Extinguishers are used in light aviation ground operations, as they are the best option for quickly extinguishing small petrol fires. There are CO2 extinguishers available at the club, please fetch one, and have it to hand. Have a look at the instructions too. You may not have time for this in a crisis. You definitely will not have time to fetch it from the chapel.
My vision for the future
There is quite a lot of work involved in keeping our club operating well. I see it as essential to share out the different roles. To this end we have a sub committee, and the safety/duty officers.
There is always ongoing maintenance and new projects ahead, so more volunteers are always welcome to take on specific tasks.
By doing what we can ourselves, we are getting the job that we want, and are controlling expenditure. The benefit of this is that we can keep our subscriptions low.
I believe that it is unhealthy to have the same people in the same jobs forever. We should always be looking for new blood to invigorate the club. I plan to hand over my role at the end of my term in about eighteen months.
Accessibility, and maximising the use of the club facilities:
I would like to continue to increase the number of safety officers. This should further increase the availability of the field to all at other times. The opportunity is here now for specialist groups, for example helicopter flyers, to arrange flying sessions at different times to the usual 10am Saturday and Sunday. By doing this people could enjoy much more stick time, and less queuing.
I will be away from 4th Dec to the 7th March. I am leaving the continued running of the section in Barry Apostolous’ capable hands, ably assisted by the sub committee and duty officers.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributes to the club in so many different ways, and I look forward to another great year of safe, friendly, flying fun.