The Indoor Nats always seems to come round too quickly and catch me by surprise, so that the model I was planning to finish weeks
in advance is in fact finished the day before. That is exactly what happened with my Curtiss Shrike this year.
The photo below was taken on Saturday morning before the competition. Some of the paint is still wet.
I just seem incapable of
realistically assessing the time needed to complete a model for a deadline and it drives my wife Ros nuts. As she says, "how long have you known
you known the date of the event?" the answer of course is about 12 months, but this doesn't seem to help. So it was off to Nottingham on Saturday afternoon
with the Shrike, Kamikaze and Gloucestershire Gannet peanut (no surprise that the Blackburn Blackburn never got finished in time).
The trimming time in the hall after setting up was very useful, as always, and the Shrike started to look hopeful from a hand launch. I even managed not to break it.
The Saturday evening is also a good chance to socialise away from the pressures of competition and chatting about models over a nice
curry has become a traditional and pleasurable way to end the day.
I'm not going to summarise any class rules as they can all be found lovingly detailed on the BMFA
website here, or have a look at some of my older
Nats reports for a brief summary.
Entries were pretty healthy is all classes, even without many overseas flyers this year. Pleasingly the class with the biggest entry was
kit scale. As I have mentioned in previous years, the class was brought in to encourage newcomers to come along and have a go, without having to
worry much about documentation and outline accuracy - all you need is the kit plan and a photo of the colour scheme you have chosen.
I think we had four people enter for the first time this year, which was great. I know from conversations I had, that at least two of them are very keen to enter again next year
and are also considering building models for the open events - just what the class was designed for. I have to say that the standard of
flying in kit scale this year was outstanding, so I'm including more photos and videos from this class than in previous
years and I hope you enjoy them.
My own flying was the usual emotional rollercoaster. The Kamikaze put in two good flights once I had worked out where to launch it from and
in which direction to point it, and finished fourth in class. It seems to be a quirk of electric models
that just after you let go, they turn left before the rudder has any
authority, so you have to point the thing at the wall about 45 degrees to the right of the direction you would like the take-off run.
The Gannet scored only 41 seconds total for its two best flights in peanut scale, but still managed to finish fifth in class due to a good static placing.
And the Shrike? Well it did manage one decent qualifying flight, unfortunately after the event had finished. I really wish I had thought
of adding a small lifting tab to the left wing trailing edge BEFORE the final official flight attempt instead of after it. Oh well - at least
I now know it does fly, and I got it home in one piece.
So, let's start with the kit scale class.
This is Graham Banham's class winning Herr Piper Tri-Pacer, powered by an Atomic Workshop Voodoo 15 motor and Zombie controller
Ken Bates entered this Veron Tru-Flite Comper Swift which flew extremely well, achieving the best flight
score by a rubber powered model and finishing second in class.
Laurence Marks could not repeat his first place of last year with his Thomas Designs Piper Vagabond, but still
finished a creditable third. The rather precipitous landing on the only flight I caught on video was due to the
turns running out a little too early.
Peter Fardell was a new face at the Nats, entering the event for the first time with this Auster Arrow from the Keil Kraft flying scale range.
An excellent flight score and a good static mark resulted in fourth place overall. I strongly suspect Peter will be back again next year.
Another first timer was Andrew Darby, who built this Veron Jodel Bebe in about two weeks after some serious "persuading" by certain
members of the Small Flying Arts forum. I think it is safe to say that Andrew has no regrets, as he got the second
highest static mark and finished fifth in class. Both Peter and Andrew were trimming their models for the first time in the hall the night before the
competition, which makes their placings all the more impressive.
This Keil Kraft Fairey Junior by Dave Whitehouse was electric powered, using a controller I hadn't seen before. It
was started by pointing a TV remote control at the model, and pushing the apropriate button. It flew extremely well, as you can see below.
Aeronca Champion built from the Veron Tru-Flite design by John Churchill.
Dan Mellor flew this Hipps J-3 Kitten, the only CO2 powered model entered in the class. Model was built from the Peck Polymers kit
and the motor was a Gasparin GM 120.
Graham Banham proved this year that it is possible to win one of the open classes with a high wing
cabin monoplane - the aircraft in question being the Fairchild FC-1. A scale structure and immaculate finish (silver is so unforgiving)
gave a decent static mark and the model flew superbly, getting the highest flight score of the day. It's a
shame the one flight I got on video resulting in a non-landing, but it was a good catch by Graham, as you can see below.
Richard Crossley finished second in class with his Flying Flea
Peter Smart's twin electric Heinkel He 111 put in one excellent flight - see below - to claim third in class
The following flight however ended in disaster as during the flight one of the engine covers flew off
during the flight, moving the C of G slightly back and caused the increased climb rate up into the roof structure.
The model has since been repaired, and Peter is keen to try it outdoors.
It is alwats a treat to see something new from Derek Knight's workbench, and he turned up this year with this beautiful
D.H.60 in Swedish Air Force markings. Derek couldn't get the trim sorted well enough to get a qualifying flight,
but I'm sure it is only a matter of time before he has another winner on his hands.
The only CO2 powered entry in the class was this charming Sorrell Hiperlight by Chris Strachan
This is Divs Masters electric powered Sopwith Triplane which finished fifth in class.
The open rubber class was won again by Richard Crossley with his Brewster Bermuda
with Peter Smart finishing second with his Pitts Special.
Third place went to Reg Boor with this fine flying Bernard 191 "Oiseau Canari"
A new model in Open Rubber this year was Dave Crompton's Curtiss P-40B Tomahawk - a great looking model which
unfortunately, like my Shrike, failed
to register a qualifying flight.
Tim Horne had his Misty 1 F.1 Racer flying nicely this year finishing eighth in class.
Top static score in the rubber class went to Divs Masters' museum quality SE5A.
Mike Hadland achieved a remarkable feat this year by not only getting the top static mark in peanut scale, but also
the top flying score as well. So much for having to compromise flying performance for scale detail! Mike builds very
light, as is evident in the slow flying speed in the video below.
Chris Strachan's 6th place peanut scale Lippisch Storch dwarfing Richard Crossley's foam Junkers Ju 87 Stuka, which finished 2nd in class
John Valiant had a new foam model entered in peanut this year - a Yak 7 UTI which flew nicely with a best flight of 41 seconds.
I somehow managed not to photograph any of the top three placed models in pistachio scale, which was won by Divs Masters and his SE5A, with Nick Peppiatt
second and Gert Brendel third. However, here is a photo of the sixth placed model, a very nice foam replica of the Aviamilano F.14 Nibbio (no I'd never heard of it either!) by Gary Flack.
This is Reg Boor's pistachio scale Bristol Brownie which finished fifth.
Russ Lister brought along a brand new pistachio scale Fiat CR 32 which looked great, but unfortunately was proving tricky to trim.
In the upstairs room being used to judge the open rubber class, there was a display of some of Peter Iliffe's amazing models, including
this free flight 1/24 scale Albatros D.V.
This beautiful Fokker D.VII is radio controlled, and Peter gave a couple of demonstration flights during pauses in the competition flying.
This Morane Saulnier A1 is also radio controlled, and as superbly finished as all Peter's models are.