Due to rebuilding work at Nottingham we had a change in venue this year, and the Nats were held at Wolverhampton University sports centre
(confusingly located at Walsall!) It’s a nice big hall, similar in size to Nottingham, but with the big advantage of a much larger “pit area”.
It was great to have so much extra room between the rows of tables – a benefit to competitors and spectators alike. As at Nottingham, it was
possible to view proceedings from the balcony, where a handy coffee shop was located.
So, this time, would you believe I completed my new peanut model in plenty of time for the competition? No, I wouldn't either.
My Boeing P.26 was finished a couple of days before the event so yet again I turned up with a completely untrimmed model.
My new open rubber Fox Moth was far from finished, so I entered the Curtiss P-6E in open rubber again. The plan this year was to back
off on the rubber cross section by 1/32” to make the take-off less abrupt and hope to have it landing with more turns left – hence
a less steep approach to landing. Initial tests on Saturday evening looked promising, but I managed to lose the trim completely after
a few fast taxis into the walls moved some (glued) control surfaces out of position. Come Sunday morning I only had time for a few
hand launches before the first official flight, and my first ROG resulted in a dropped left wing and a premature touch down with the
left wheel. A tweak down on the left aileron before the next flight cured the problem. It was very satisfying to get my best score
with the last flight of the day, with the plane circling nicely and coming in for a textbook shallow approach. Shame it tends to bounce
after touchdown – I don’t think it’s the prop hitting the ground, but that's something I need to check. When the scores were added up
I was delighted to find I’d finished second, behind Mike Hadland’s Stampe SV.4.
Monique Lyons took the video below of my second flight.
Somewhat to my surprise, I actually got the little P.26 flying, and in contrast to my Buffalo from last year, it even survived the event
relatively undamaged. It got a decent static mark, so even with a best flight of only 21 seconds it managed 7th place. If I can get
it to ROG to earn the 10 second bonus, that would be very helpful in future competions!
As usual, I'm not going to summarise any class rules as they can all be found painstakingly detailed in the latest BMFA
rule book here, or have a look
at some of my older
Nats reports for a brief summary.
In the open rubber class this year 12 entries were put in for static judging of which 8 managed to make at least one qualifying flight.
For comparison, last year there were 15 static judged entries of which only 9 got a qualifying flight. I think the conclusion to
be drawn from this is that if
you were to enter a simple, relatively light model with an accurate scale outline that was well trimmed, you'd stand a good chance of finishing near the top
of the pile. Kit scale entrants take note - the step up to open rubber is not as big as you may think it is. To emphasise the point,
the top two entries in open electric/CO2 were quite simple (but very well finished) high wing cabin monoplanes.
Mike Hadland won the open rubber class with his extremely well detailed Stampe SV.4 - his static score was about 200 points ahead of
A special mention is due to young Merrijin Brinks from The Netherlands who put in a very good qualifying flight with his neat Ryan M-1, finishing a very respectable
Chris Strachan finished fourth in class with his fine flying Gee Bee Model X Sportster.
Lawrence Marks has Wittman Tailwinds in various sizes, and this one put in a superb final flight, obtaining the best score in the class all day.
As you can see from the wings, somebody noticed that the model had gathered a little dust! The Tailwind finished fifth overall.
It's always a pleasure to welcome Robert Pajas from the Czech Republic to our meetings - amongst the exquisitely built creations he brought with him this time was this
rubber powered Fokker F.IX for the open class.
There were 9 entries in the Electric/CO2 class, which was a little disappointing, but the top three models put in some superb flights.
Richard Crossley won the class with this lovely Piper Tri-Pacer, originally designed for lightweight indoor radio control,
but now converted to free flight.
Graham Banham had converted his 2014 open rubber entry to electric power for this year's competition. His Cessna C.34 flew
extremely realistically, as you can see below. Graham and Richard's models got very similar flight scores, but Richard edged it in static.
Peter Smart's wonderful electric Lancaster was flying as well as I've seen it - I suspect only the loss of some static marks prevented this model winning the class (especially
as you get a 10% flight bonus for a multi-engined model)
This beautiful CO2 powered Caproni Ca.97 was brought along by Robert Pajas from the Czech Republic, but unfortunately he failed to register a qualifying flight.
Numbers for kit scale were a little down this year, but 20 entries was still very respectable, and the standard of flying was
outstanding - in fact putting many of the open scale models to shame.
There seemed a bit more variety this year, as illustrated in the photo above. At the front is Mike Langford's Edge 540 with a spectacular printed tissue finish, built
from the new Guillows kit. Behind we have Richard Moore's lovely Bristol F2B, built from the old 15" span Comet plan
and John Holman's Veron Tiger Moth. You can see the Tiger Moth in action below.
Ian Lever won a closely fought class with his West Wings Puss Moth - nicely finished and an excellent performer.
Russ Lister finished third in class with this very neat SE5A, built from the Aerographics kit. It was a bit of a rush to get
it finished in time apparently, but the effort was worth it. A nice flyer, as you can see below.
Monique Lyons entered the event for the first time with this Dumas Fokker D.VII finished in unusual and attractive Finnish markings. She just
missed out on third place by one point! It's a larger model than many of the class entrants, and thus benefits from a nice slow cruising speed -
see the video below.
The kit wood must have been nice and light.
I had no idea Skyleada had ever kitted a Seamew until I saw this model! In size it sits about half way between the Veron and Keil Kraft
examples. Ian Cooke discovered the plan and couldn't resist building one - it's not a bad flier either.
Behind the Seamew you can see one of several Micro-X Taylorcrafts entered in the class - possibly Tony Rushby's second placed model? If you know, please get in touch!
I liked the colourful scheme chosen by Peter Fardell for his Dumas Fiesler Storch - also the fact he fitted skis to it. Peter had built a little take-off dolly
to allow it to ROG which worked fine as you can see below.
Ken Bates built this colourful Cessna 140 from the Keil Kraft design - a popular subject in the kit scale class the last few years.
Two Skylake Waco SRE's were entered - this one was by Peter Boys. Both flew well.
13 entries recorded a score in peanut scale this year- one more than last year. The top three were the same as last year, but this time
Mike Hadland and Richard Crossley swapped places, with Mike winning the class and Richard coming second. It looks like Mike will be retiring his
successful Bucker Jungmann soon, as he brought along this new one - beautifully detailed and finished in this complex, colourful scheme.
This was Robert Pajas's peanut scale entry - a very nice Fokker F.VIIa which got the second highest flight score and placed
I loved Gary Flack's new foam Westland Wyvern - not the easiest type to trim, but this one was flying well. A conventional
prop was used for flying.
Another nicely finished foam peanut was John Valiant's Doflug D-3802 - basically an improved version of the Morane Saulnier MS.406.
Longest peanut flights of the day were made by Chris Strachan's Beardmore Wee Bee.
There were five entries in Pistachio, the same as last year. Winner was Nick Peppiatt with his BAT Baboon.
Gary Flack entered this nicely finished Focke-Wulf Ta 152. I think there was some problem with the judging which
prevented the model registering a score.
Scale glider had its second outing at the Nats and five models managed to get a flight score. As last year, there was no static judging. Peter Fardell
won with his Chardon biplane glider, which I unfortunately failed to take a picture of.
Peter Smart entered this EoN Olympia 2b in the competition, finishing third.
To finish, here are a couple of models which caught my eye that were not entered in the competition, but exhibited on the display tables.
This is Monique Lyons's fantastic rubber powered Avro Shackleton. Span is 60 inches and construction is amazingly light for the span.
Monique let me pIck it up, and the lack of weight was very impressive - it should be a real floater. Power will be from four Igra 9.5 inch
Exceptional detailing was evident on Dave Banks's beautifully finished Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter - I wonder if we'll see this one entered in the open class next year?