What a strange and wonderful hobby we do indulge in; and in a land with strange and wonderful weather? No, I haven't quite gone ga-ga - yet! In forty plus years of modelling I cannot remember ever having experienced conditions quite like those seen on Saturday at the Nationals. There was just enough breeze to let those tied to mother earth know which way to launch their models while the air itself was unbelievably smo-o-oth.
One can only feel sorry for those poor unfortunates in the helicopter scale event who wasted the day arguing. What! you didn't know that there was a helicopter scale event? Shame on you for believing the entry form. Just because you are an SMAE member it does not give you the right to know everything that takes place at the SMAE Nationals. Strangely enough, that was not what the argument was about.
It seems that when the Contest Director - quite correctly - decided that the maximum weight limit for entries was to be 6Kg it was discovered that only one entry met this requirement, BUT his model weighed more than 5Kg and he did not have an exemption for it!
Meanwhile, the control line circles were enjoying the conditions and a certain, aging, R/C magazine contributer managed his best placing for years in stunt and actually won vintage stunt. But then those events were on the entry form.
The evening freeflight session assumed quite unforgettable proportions - alas not to be repeated on Sunday evening in vastly inferior conditions. I do not believe that I can remember ever having seen so many models in the air at one time. This can be a rather hazardous type of operation and there were numerous mid-air collisions and people hit by models, but everyone took it in good spirit and the result was fun.
Perhaps it is wishful thinking, but I got the distinct impression that there were more people there this year, in contrast to a steady decline in recent years. Entries seemed to be up in most events too.
Perhaps all is not gloom and despondency after all. Lets hope we don't have to wait another forty years for another day like that one!
Peter McCarthy writes:-
"You must have been talking about the Ivel Model Aircraft Club in the September issue. Either that or all model aircraft clubs are the same. It seems to me a great pity that our hobby brings out the worst in people, or is it just some people? If the latter is the case, why is it that they inevitable turn up on club committees and make decisions about who should have what frequency. Because these people are too single minded to appreciate the other facets of the sport they seem determined to make things as difficult as possible for those that do.
"I have been flying R/C aeroplanes for seven years now and in all that time I have never had any radio interference of the slightest order, or description. In contrast, there is a person who wrecks models week after week shouting radio interference and other like utterances.
"Maybe its people like this who need their frequencies changing and not that of their radios."
Well Peter, there are several issues there that I could dwell on at length. Sadly, the situation you describe could apply to many clubs and individuals. One point which springs to mind is, why don't you get onto your clubs committee and do something about it. Let them complain about you for a change.
Perhaps you should ask the person who complains about interference just where he thinks it is coming from. If you cannot see the source within easy visual range then it would take several hundred Watts of power to break through to an average R/C outfit at average flying distance. That sort of aerial is not easy to hide. Personally I have never, ever seen a case of genuine interference that was not caused by another modeller. Most cases of 'interference' are caused by poor installation or bad maintenance of the gear in the subject model.
I must say that I am relieved to hear that the Ivel club (anagrams, live, evil...) is a model aircraft club. I have only ever seen them fly R/C models.
This piece of eruditious prose which some of you may actually read is being written on a word processor. Wonderful things computers. One of the latest gadgets available for this particular device is one which actually reverses the function of the printer. A small unit is clipped onto the printhead and any printed matter, or drawings, etc is then run through the printer and a copy is taken and stored in the computers memory.
Once converted into this form it can be enlarged, reduced, modified, chopped up and then reprinted in its new form. One use for this would be to produce a club newsletter incorporating photos or drawings all arranged in a professional manner.
But why stop there? How long will it be before an object can be copied and reproduced in a modified form. Build one model and a whole fleet of identical, or modified, copies can be easily produced. Wishful thinking? We already have computer programs to draw out airfoil sections to any required size. It is surely not too big a step from there to a program which will cut a perfect set of ribs from a sheet of balsa fed into it.
Programs exist which can produce a three dimensional drawing of an object and allow it to be viewed from any angle. Why not a program to copy any three dimensional object and then reproduce it. So you thought computer radios were good, you ain't heard nothin' yet!
Following a recent brief spate of correspondence about our 'do it' feature - and a possible future flood from the Ivel club - the letters have dried up again. Really, I do try to be as controversial as possible but I can't go on and on about the SMAE, BRCHA and vintage indefinitely (people are already accusing me of being Pete Russell in mufti). No, I refuse to discuss German slotted canard deltas.
So, please send in your letters - preferably insulting - and help me to fill the vast void left by the editors inability to find any more cartoons - or captionless photographs.
'Thats a pretty tenuous link with item one above' you will, by now, be thinking. Ah yes, but the remark about changing the frequencies of people instead of their radios reminded me of one of my favourite pieces of graffiti:-
I'd rather have a full bottle in front of me, than a full frontal labotomy.