News

GREAT TURNOUT FOR NEW CLUB NIGHT VENUE

Some 20 members attended the first meeting held at the Chepstow Community Centre – that’s more than half the membership!

Much of the attraction was to view the items being sold by former member Lee Stoffer, and most of these found new homes and will no doubt be seen at the flying field in due course. A couple of other members brought items for sale too, while Tony King demonstrated the start-up sequence on his jet – though not to the ‘burn’ stage…

Please note that the May 2019 Club Night will be at the same venue, BUT FOR ONE MONTH ONLY THIS WILL BE A WEDNESDAY – that is 15 May.

IMPORTANT: NEW VENUE FOR CLUB NIGHTS

From the 9 April 2019 meeting we have a new venue:

Chepstow Community Centre, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK3 5NG

http://www.chepstowcommunitycentre.co.uk

This is a nice modern hall with a large main room plus a second smaller room and a kitchen. Tables and chairs are provided, as are cups and saucers and a kettle. We will bring tea and coffee.

If you want something more refreshing, then bring your own – or you can buy drinks (alcoholic or otherwise) from the convenience store next door (open until 10.30pm). There is ample car parking available.

The venue is very easy to find and quite central (it is West of Bletchley, off the main Bletchley-Buckingham road at the Tatternhoe roundabout – just past the Windmill Hill golf club if you are travelling from MK).

The advantages of this venue are many:

  • Plenty of space to bring models
  • No distracting background music/noise
  • Possibility of having guest speakers if attendances permit
  • Opportunity to have bring ‘n’ buy sales
  • Facility to bring video/monitor for talks
  • Those not interested in the talk being given can still chat in adjacent room

The only downside of course is that it costs money to hire – so we will be looking for donations of around £2 per head each night to cover our costs.

Club Nights will remain as before as being the second Tuesday of each month, from 8.00 to 10.30pm. The only exception is the May meeting, where a previous booking means we will hold our event on WEDNESDAY 15 May.

Field Works

While unfavourable weather has meant that flying sessions have been rather few and far this year, there has still been a fair bit of action by committee members at the flying field.

Both mowers have been serviced, and both are to shortly have new drive belts fitted. By the end of March, the strip had been mowed and rolled twice, old mole runs had been filled-in with top soil and re-seeded – while in some places we have experimented with strips of turf. It needs some rain for the benefits to show through.

In addition the shed is now looking smarter with lino laid on the floor – but we will need to replace some of the exterior ply shortly as it is beginning to de-laminate in places.

New Club Night feature

At the recent AGM, there was a suggestion from the floor that Club Nights could be made more entertaining if there was a ‘workshop theme’, rather than just a general chat session. So, for the very next Club Night (11 December) we held a meeting entitled ‘Get to Grips with your Transmitter’.

The fact that attendance trebled showed that the demand was there! Topics covered included a demonstration of exponential, why throttle hold is essential for electric flyers, setting dual rates – and a host of questions were answered by many of the more experienced members.

Stand by more more themed Club Nights – and keep the second Tuesday of each month free to attend them at The Two Brewers, Thornborough, from 8pm.

2018 Annual General Meeting – 13 November

A good turn-out for an AGM is a sign of a healthy Club – and with 24 attending plus apologies from a further six unable to make it, then the prospects are good for the future!

The Chairman reported that membership showed a slight increase, and that field attendances has been good despite weather that was often too wet or too windy: Fridays now regularly attract a dozen members. A great deal of effort (and money) has been expended on the take-off strip, ranging from filling-in the huge number of cracks in the ground and exposed old mole runs caused by the dry summer, through to cementing plastic tubes into the ground to secure the electric fence’s corner posts, making for quicker and easier field set-up.

The new email communication system introduced to replace the unreliable Yahoo system has proved reliable and fast – and it’s free!

Our training scheme continues to be of service to members, and we can just about keep up with demand. Social events included a very successful Fly-In/BBQ which enjoyed excellent weather and attendance, plus our annual dinner held at the Buckingham Golf Club. Thanks were offered to Steve Holfield for his services in supplying glow fuel to the Club at substantially reduced rates.

We continue to be represented at the BMFA Area Committee meetings, and also attended the BMFA’s workshop for the new GO Membership scheme, which the Secretary confirmed members will be encouraged to support. However, though those who prefer to rejoin via the Club in the conventional way may do so.

The Treasurer reported that we remain in a good financial position despite having continual expenses in relation to field maintenance, but all equipment is currently in good order and with no major expenses anticipated, so recommended that our subscription levels remained unchanged.

As for the meeting itself, it was agreed that we would again hold a BBQ/Fly-in around June (date to be confirmed) and that the Annual Dinner will be held on Saturday 9 March 2019 at a cost of approx.£25 per head.

To help increase attendance at Club Nights, it was suggested that we hold workshops on technical matters regarding model and transmitter set-ups.

When it came to electing Committee Members for 2019, the existing officers were returned en bloc with the exception of two resignations (Tim Drysdale who has moved to Edinburgh, and Jim Waddington who has insufficient spare time: both were thanked heartily for the contribution they have made to Wicken MAC).

Their positions will be taken over by Roger Salter and Brian Mather who were welcomed to the Committee.

2018 – A SLOW START

Prolonged periods of wet and windy weather has meant that the New Year has seen very little flying at the field – but that does NOT mean that nothing has been happening! Indeed various members of your committee and some other willing helpers have made a number of visits to the field.

Towards the end of last year we discovered a problem with the new high power electric fence: it was drawing more current than the battery and charging system could provide. Consequently, we have installed a new battery, added a second solar panel and also replaced the charging system with a new, more sophisticated unit. Now all is well on that front.

Whilst looking at the electric fence supply we decided to remove the old charging points provided for those wanting to charge LiPos at the field. In practice, very few ever used this facility – but when they did, the load placed on the fence battery was too great. Now if you must charge batteries at the field you should bring a mains type charger and use the generator – see below.

The generator – stored in the mower container – now has an external feed to the Shed, to which it can be connected by an extension lead. The mains socket in the Shed has been rewired. Place the generator outside the Shed, hook up the extension lead and you can be in business. The generator is a 2-stroke, so only use petrol from the RED cans in the container.

Our victory against the moles was relatively short-lived – and besides, they have been joined by voles! We are currently actively hunting the moles: if you see upside down flower pots on the strip/pit area, they are there to cover over the traps. Please do not disturb unless entail – and replace after flying.

Winter storms caused some damage to the model benches, but these have been repaired.  The strip itself has remained in better condition than perhaps expected considering all the rain we have experienced – only the last 20 feet or so have been waterlogged. However, many of the old mole runs have become very apparent, so we have filled-in as many of these as possible and re-seeded the areas affected. Please keep off the growing grass! The strip was rolled during the last week of March 2018, and this was very beneficial. We will be rolling the strip far more often in future to help keep it flat and to discourage moles.

Finally, if you tend to park your model in the trees near the car park – good news! We have made the ladder much more readily accessible, and have also invested in an Aeroloop Model Retriever: basically a giant fishing pole with a strong nylon loop on the end, which gives you a near 30 foot reach even before you get the ladder out!

Let’s hope you never need it, but if you do we have the technology, and it is kept in the Shed.

2017 AGM: 14 November

The meeting opened with an upbeat report from the Chairman, relating that membership is showing a slow but steady increase, that the flying site has benefited from a significant investment in terms of both time and money that has seen an area of the strip levelled and the whole protected by a new electric fence system, while the all-important shed is in a good state of repair – and all field maintenance equipment is in a good mechanical state.

Social events included several Fly ‘n’ Fry events, a Fun Fly with BBQ and a formal dinner held at the Buckingham Golf Club, while theTraining Scheme continues to operate successfully, with one member (Tim) gaining his BMFA ‘A’ Certificate, with a couple more likely to receive their ‘wings’ shortly.

The Treasurer’s report encouragingly stated that we are still in a sound financial position despite the year’s exceptional expenditure – so there is no need for an increase in subscriptions.

Only change to the Committee was that Martin Underhill stood down due to work commitments (Paul Appleyard will take on his role as Safety Officer), with Tim Drysdale being welcomed on board.

Ian Heath asked the meeting if he should investigate the practicality of setting up a weather station at the field, which would enable members to check the exact conditions at the strip before venturing out – and this was approved unanimously.

ANNUAL FUN FLY AND BBQ

Maybe we did clash with Father’s Day and the Weston Show, but you can’t criticise us for choosing a day with glorious sunshine and little wind!

The BBQ was as popular as ever with Nick’s Jerk Chicken maintaining its fiery reputation and enhanced by the provision of many cakes by three members’ wives (thanks Christine Appleyard, Liz Heath and Christine Chapman). Indeed, there were so many we dismally failed to clear the lot, though not from the lack of effort by certain members…

As for the competitions, the Fast and Slow event attracted some 11 entries, the eventual winner being Dave Clark, who despite still being on ‘L-plates’ won by a safe margin with his foamie electric glider that went REALLY slow when needed, and fairly quick when it mattered! After the food and with all that heat, enthusiasm for more events rather evaporated.

Congratulations too for Tim Drysdale for gaining his ‘A’ certificate in double quick time: all those hours on the slope in his New Zealand homeland meant he only had to master the use of throttle plus take-offs and landings.

A great day: thanks to all those who attended, whether as organisers, participants or spectators – you all contributed to a very enjoyable day.

MORE STRIP LEVELLING

During May we took delivery of  bulk bags of both top soil and sand, and subsequently have continued our previous work in levelling the dip in our take-off strip. The wet weather and the application of seed has meant that this has already blended in with the rest of the grass. Its looking good!

AGM FOLLOW-UP

Since the November 2016 AGM we have had ‘instructor’ arm bands printed so that trainee pilots can readily identify who is available to help teach them how to fly – and have updated the ‘Training’ tab of this website to include photographs of the guilty parties! Apologies to Tony King for not including his mug shot – he has evaded the camera so far…

In addition, on the same page you will find some useful advice regarding Spektrum transmitters, while the Review tab includes comments and advice relating to the HobbyKing Bix3 motorised glider which is proving very popular as a ‘first model’. The ‘Who’s Who’ tab has also been updated to include a few more profiles – with more to follow. – and many new photos are now included.

2016 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

With 20 attendees and apologies received from six other members, this was a well attended AGM.

The Chairman’s report noted that it had been a successful year for the Club, with streamlined administration thanks to the adoption of the WebCollect system allowing on-line membership and the switch to a Santander on-line bank account. Membership has increased with the biggest growth being in retirees – which means good mid-week attendances. Mowing equipment is in good shape and we have acquired numerous assets during the year, ranging from pit tables through to a trailer for use with the Westwood trailer and the purchase of a toilet tent for use at future BBQ events.

On an equally positive note, the Treasurer noted that our closing balance showed a useful increase over the previous year, while the meeting voted to increase the adult  annual subscription to £85.

With regards training, it was decided to identify instructors with suitable armbands and to have training progress records for each trainee kept in the shed. Chief instructor will again be John Dickison, with additional help provided by Ian Bagshaw, Paul Appleyard, Russ Chapman, Paul Andrews and Tony King.

Levelling of the strip with sand and top soil has already started, and this will be continued in the Spring.

Date for the annual BBQ and Fun Fly will be 21 May 2016 – with ‘fall back’ dates in case of inclement weather being nominated as 18 June and 9 July.

A proposal to introduce formal Drone Training to aid newcomers to the hobby and to raise an income for the Club was defeated.

The Committee for 2017 will comprise:

  • Chairman: Peter Richardson
  • Vice Chairman/Field Maintenance Officer: Chris Smith
  • Secretary: Ian Heath
  • Treasure: Nick Beard
  • Safety Officer: Martin Underwood
  • General members: Russ Chapman, Geoff Taylor and Jim Waddington