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    Austin

    John Whitaker

    By Austin, in BARCS,

    BARCS member 35, Fellow and Past President)
    An appreciation by Denis Oglesby (Fellow)
    Jan Whitaker has sent me the sad news that early BARCS “activist” John Whitaker died peacefully on the morning of New Year’s Eve after a period of terminal deterioration following several years in a Yorkshire care home suffering from Parkinson’s.
    BARCS as we now know it, was, in the early years, actually a sub section of a slope orientated organisation of the same name founded by our first president Dave Hughes (No 2). Thermal soaring was then being promoted by Geoff Dallimer (No 1) and the late Dave Dyer (No 12) in Herts and Bedford respectively, R/C thermal soaring had started to become a practical proposition thanks to the recent commercial availability of two proportional channels. This relatively southern “outbreak” was soon racing northwards (neck and neck with Dutch Elm disease).
    Initially located in Lincolnshire, John was soon infected (not Dutch Elm) as was Terry Beedham and others of the same county. John (then in the Nat West Bank) served as BARCS Membership Secretary then Treasurer while Terry became the first Northern Area Rep and an early top flier.
    In the seventies, John was moved north to manage a bank on North Humberside and lived not far from where I worked. I was an early R/C thermal “attempter” from the very start of the seventies but had not recognised BARCS as relevant to the north. John rapidly changed all that, I often visited his house. Compared to my circumstances as a junior engineer, he seemed to live in a semi-detached mountain with a somewhat chaotic family plus a mad dog that did not like visitors! There, we would escape up two flights of stairs to his modelling refuge to discuss his latest project. He also enrolled me as member 193 (aerodynamically fortuitous!) and even tempted me onto the BARCS committee as the next NA Rep.
    From my first attendance at a BARCS AGM I was tremendously impressed at how directly democratic it was with any member who attended able to contribute to discussions, propose amendments and counter amendments to proposals, all under the wonderfully calm and correct chairmanship of Chris Tomkins (No 55). Later chairmen were sometimes less accommodating!
    By then BARCS was expanding so fast the task of greatly expanding the NA league calendar was a bit of a doddle, especially with frequent and always wise guidance from John.
    As a young enthusiast it was quite exciting to attend those early BARCS committee meetings. We were rapidly covering most of England, developing our own rules, awards, achievements etc. I was often impressed by John’s wise and moderate contributions to the few awkward problems that came along. Perhaps not many members realised that we actually had ZERO AUTHORITY in the many years before BARCS eventually affiliated to BMFA. Nevertheless, BARCS rules and activities were very well accepted and dominated nearly all thermal activities in England and soon a lot of Scotland then later to form the basis of the now international F3J thermal soaring rules.
    After just one year as NA Rep, BARCS secretary Bill Longley decided to stand down. Geoff Dallimer volunteered and was almost certain to be accepted except that, despite his considerable influence on thermal soaring, (and later helping to secure our 35MHz band) he had made other committee members a tad nervous as to how he might interpret his duties. It was then that John urged me to stand against him with the seconding of several committee members and thus I suddenly found myself a rather shocked young secretary of a national aeromodelling organisation!
    BARCS membership was booming with at least 5 thousand competition flights taking place every year when John called a special meeting of some of the principal northern area members, the meeting was accessibly located just off the A63 in my house near Howden. He felt there was a need for a nationally centralised 2 or 3 day thermal soaring event that could be hosted by each BARCS area in turn with the first to be held at Pontefract racecourse on a spring bank holiday weekend. The details were prepared and organisational aspects delegated. I suggested we call it “RadioGlide”. I sketched an event transfer and later the BARCS transfer specialist, Dave Dyer, helped me finish the design that stayed much the same for years.
    Onwards and upwards was the continuing theme, again I think it was the influence of Geoff Dallimer that led to a fully independent pre-affiliated BARCS being awarded the FAI Diplome D’ Honneur. Eventually BARCS membership hit its peak of just under one thousand members.
    All the above had been helped by John’s continuing influence in those years but it would be amiss to not also remember the joy and humour we shared in those formative years. We towed each other a lot. Main spars were home built from spruce with wire joiners and long distance gentle tows were required to coax models to full height without folding the wings. I towed John to (and in) many a flyoff. His towing was certainly never the reason for my lack of trophies - he was usually getting difficult to see by the time I unhooked! 
    John was an early deserter of the usual Graupner 12% aerofoil glider of the time (it often failed to regain the flying field). He used one of the early large fibreglass fuselages available at that time and mated it with his own 12 foot span wing using the then state of the art 9% thick Eppler 387 aerofoil and became one of the first fliers I ever saw circling downwind in a thermal then successfully returning up wind! He campaigned much the same model for many years collecting plenty of trophies but often in a style that drew much humour from his fellow competitors. Some friendly rivals asked if John could teach them how he caught all his thermals they would teach John how to land! The early requirement to achieve a landing circle while flying towards the pilot often created orientation problems for pilots so he adopted the technique of facing away from the approaching model while watching it over his shoulder. Returning from downwind was often a problem in those early days and the urge to influence a model to the limits of its capability often caused pilots to use lots of “body language” to try and squeeze more performance on the approach. This would manifest itself in the style of an angler heaving his rod (aerial) over his shoulder to try and speed a model up. In extremis the tip of John’s long aerial was occasionally seen to be touching the ground behind him!  
    The rule in those days was that timing stopped at first contact with the ground and landing points were based on where the glider came to rest. On at least one occasion I saw John’s model cruising back towards the landing circle but running out of slot time. He would bang the model into the grass at speed just before the end of the slot then bounce back into the air to make a more leisurely entry into the circle. 
    Several of us particularly remember one of his far downwind thermalling excursions, we could see his model in line of sight between two levels of some high tension electricity grid lines in the middle distance. He eventually nursed it back to the circle and we asked him if he deliberately flew between the lines. He said he did not know, he had just controlled his elevator to maintain line of site clearance in between the lines until he was sure the model was his side of them!
    Jan said it for many of us when she wrote “John was a lovely, lovely man and I loved him to bits”.
     
    Austin
    From Clive Needham
    It is with deep regret I have to announce the death of Dave Worrall.
    Dave has been fighting a blood disease for several years but managed to restart flying F3B when it became possible to use electric motors for launching.
    Dave was at the top of tree for many years with his own designed "plus" models for slope and thermal soaring and took part in several F3B World Championships the last being in Switzerland 2007. Taking the Bronze medal in 1983 England, Silver Medal 1985 Australia, narrowly missing the gold, was part of the team Gold in Australia that year and silver team in 1983 plus the same in 1987.
    He took part and won many contest both slope and thermal, taking part in the very first Radioglide at Pontefract Racecourse.
    As a qualified engineer working in the aerospace industry for most of his life, spending several years in Germany, he always took a measured technical approach to producing and flying model aircraft and will be sorely missed by his many friends..
     
    Regards;
    Clive.
    Image from F3B UK http://f3b-uk.blogspot.co.uk/
    grj
    Earlier in the month Rick Lloyd lost his workshop to a devastating fire. This has bought production of the Tracker 100s and Claymore F3J to a halt, as all moulds, machinery, models etc. have been lost causing the cessation of business for LiteFlight UK, the only UK based moulded model manufacturer.
    The Tracker in particular has been a perennial feature of the 100s competition scene and the loss of this model could have a marked effect on this class. The Tracker is a brilliant sport/competition thermal soarer, as well as light wind slope model and has been many a pilot’s first moulded model.
    He has also been working long and hard to produce a competitive F3J/F5J model. The details of the Claymore are featured in the latest edition of RC Model World. Rick was well into the prototyping stage, with wings proven and fuselage and other components manufactured.
    It would be a shame to see all this work come to nothing. I hope the modelling community can come together and assist Rick in any way possible. 
    A discussion thread can be found on the forum using the link below. Update: Rick will now be starting again. See the topic below.

    If you would like to be involved and help in anyway, please take the time to post a response on the forum and support Rick.
    Let’s hope we can see these great projects literally rise from the ashes.
     
    Austin
    Once again it is my pleasure to collate an overall report for Radioglide, thanks to Alan Morton and Mike Fantham for the 100S and F3K reports. I hope my memory of events is correct, it was certainly a busy three days! Full results are available on the forum in their respective sections. Photos are either mine (F5J/F3J/Multi-launch) or Graham James (100S).
    Saturday
    F5J
    This increasing popular electric glider discipline attracted 12 competitors, I believe it was eight last year. The weather forecast predicted light winds, staying dry with an overcast sky, which was pretty much what we had. Despite the overcast the air felt warm and there was usable but fairly weak lift in every slot.
    Under the very able direction of Kevin Beale we got started, imagine my surprise when I checked the score sheet at the lunch break after four rounds to find that I was in the lead (but it wasn’t to last)!!
    We found that four minutes preparation time between slots was not quite enough so the computer timing programme was often paused.
    Another four rounds were flown after lunch and a dropped score came in to play. Following the weak lift downwind over the 100S field was the way to go and there were some squeaky final glides back but as the wind was light it looked more marginal than they actually were, most gliders making it back to the landing tape for a perfect landing.
    The majority of launches were around the 170-180 metre mark but a slot in Round 7 had everyone launching to a circling red kite at about 100 metres, this did not work well for me but it was a gamble that was worth taking.
    An amusing moment was timing for Dave East who did a lovely landing on the end of the tape, ‘100 points’ he announced, ‘I’ll give you 50’ says me with a chuckle, it’s easy to get confused!
    Models used were Maxas, Xplorers, Shadows, Tragi Clusters, an Ava and my Ray X on its second competition outing. The Ray X is a very stable model that ignores my overcontrolling flying style!!
    So…who won? In first place was Colin Paddon, second was Dave East and third was Peter Allen.
    Thanks to Kevin Beale for a smoothly run competition and a very enjoyable day out.
    F5J Results

    100S
    Report from Alan Morton
    The 100s Radioglide competition took place on Saturday 23rd May 2015 I was CD for the day but had help from Graham James and Robin Sleight as well as my usual team mates, so not much left for me to do!
    We had the usual 5 rounds and 2 fly-offs and the day was enjoyable with light lift in a cool breeze. 11 of us flew most of which attend the regular Mike Lucas 100 inch competitions. The air was up and down as were the scores, I started with 2 bad scores but then came back to 4th and into the fly-off, others started well and lost out later on. Graham James flew very well throughout the comp and finished in top position before entering the fly-off. Kevin also flew well during the rounds and only lost out to Graham in round 2.
    John Shenstone was defending his title from last year and put on a good show finishing 3rd in the rounds.
    So into the fly off went Graham, Kevin, John and Alan. The round before was nothing special so with a 12 minute slot I was not going to rush, I decided to wait until someone else tested the air. Kevin had other ideas and launched on the buzzer. My mistake, he went straight into lift, I launched and was also in lift but now trailing his score. John had also launched early and Graham had waited with me. I was doing ok and Kevin was losing out, I continued to do well and Kevin continued to drop. With 5 or so minutes left he was very low and I was very high, I was confident that the only pilot threatening me now was John who was not as high as myself. Kevin however had other ideas, he held on at low level for the rest of the slot to win the 1000 points, unbelievable.
    The second slot started and we all launched simultaneously, I did manage to win by 1 second but we all flew it out so the positions didn’t change.
    A successful days flying and a well-deserved win from Kevin.
    RG-2015-100s-Results

    Kevin Newitt 100s Winner 2015
    Radioglide 2015 100S Fly-off pilots. Alan Morton, Graham James,John Shenstone and Kevin Newitt 
    Sunday
    Multi-launch
    The forecast for Sunday was not so good, similar to the previous day but with a promise of rain showers and possibly even the whole afternoon being affected by prolonged rain. There were some showers while we were setting up and one half-hour downpour which produced a natural lunch break but generally it stayed dry and we managed to complete four rounds.
    There were 18 competitors this year, over double the number for last year which was low due to the clash with F3J happening the same day.
    The mixture of launch types appeared to be roughly two-thirds using winches, a third flying electric models and one DLG flown by Maria Freeman (a fourth third?!).
    Tudor Farm has a large population of red kites and buzzards and they have become quite used to us invading their space and were very useful allies in enabling most slots to be flown out.
    Four preliminary rounds were flown, followed by a two-round fly-off. The top three were Peter Allen first (also best winch launched pilot), Graham Wicks second and Cengiz Philcox third. Kevin Beale was best placed electric glider in fourth (notable for the fact that he was flying an own-design prototype machine) with myself in eight place, which I was quite pleased with.
    Thanks to the joint team of Robin Sleight (CD) and Graham James/Peter Mitchell (chief number crunchers!) for a smooth competition.
    The field ropes were reset for the expected wind direction for Monday’s F3J competition. A planned EGM was held on the field after flying to formalise the proposed new arrangement of holding the BARCS AGM at Radioglide instead of at Oadby in December, this was carried unanimously.
    Peter Allen Radioglide 2015 Multilaunch Winner
    Monday
    F3J
    Up with the larks and back to Tudor Farm for the last day of Radioglide for the F3J competition (also a BMFA League Event and part of the British team selection for 2016). Weather was set to be the best day of the three, overcast sky again but fairly warm with a stiff breeze at times, plenty of lift available. 23 competitors rigged and set out their winches, with the competition starting just after 10 o’clock after a briefing from the CD, Sydney Lenssen.
    There was good lift available, marked by many birds, and like Saturday’s F5J, the best technique for staying airborne was to follow it downwind. This led to some very low landing approaches. Colin Boorman won a special prize for putting his Shadow in a tree trying to glide home, twice!!
    A two-round fly-off was held after five preliminary rounds with Neil Jones, Colin Paddon and Peter Allen taking the top three positions. At one stage I was fifth but dropped to tenth after having to relaunch in Round 7, still pleased though.
    My thanks to Sydney and team.
    Radioglide-F3J-2015-Overall-Results.xlsx
    Radioglide-F3J-Fly-off-Results.xlsx

    Colin Paddon Radioglide 2015 F3J Winner
    F3K
    Report from Mike Fantham.
    Ten pilots took part in the F3K contest on Monday 25th in conditions which varied from sunny and almost calm with strong lift to cloudy with a cool breeze and virtually no lift.
    The CD, Hayley Styche, had chosen tasks with the emphasis on fast ‘turn-arounds’, where a pilot needs to land at precisely the right moment and re-launch as quickly as possible.
    In the ‘Best 5 flights’ task, flown to a two minute max in a ten minute slot, Richard Swindells (the eventual winner) made 9:46 in what were less than ideal conditions. That’s an average of over 1:57 per flight – and remember he has to re-launch four times in the ten minutes! F3J was being flown at the same time as F3K and the ‘big’ models were often sharing the lift with us and the local Red Kites and Buzzards.
    As the start of my slot of ‘Last flight only’ was being counted down, a stack of Kites and F3J models was coming right at us in lift. I looked at the well-marked thermal and picked my spot. I launched on the hooter and was soon climbing rapidly in the core of the lift. The task here is to score over 5 minutes on your last launch of the slot. Three of us achieved the ideal solution in that slot – do 5 minutes on your first launch and make that your last one too! Sadly that was my only ‘ten minutes of fame’ and I returned to my normal form for the other rounds….
    GBR Team Members Richard Swindells and Michael Stern came out on top with the Team reserve, Darius Zibikas in third. (Our third Team Member, Simon Jones, couldn’t make this event.)
    In only his second F3K contest, Carlos De Santos was fourth – a man to watch for in the future.
    It was a good contest in interesting conditions – thanks go to the BARCS committee for organising Radioglide and to Hayley Styche for getting us through ten rounds in smooth style.
    F3K Results
    A good launch sequence and model-on-approach shot by Vytautus Zibikas of brother, third-placing Darius Zibikas and his model. The model is the Lithuanian Stream, flown by the Zibikas Brothers from that country. Richard Swindells markets this model in the UK and also won the event flying one.
    THANKS TO CD'S AND ORGANISERS
    Would like to finish by thanking all the organisers and CD’s on behalf of the competitors, apologies if I missed anyone, it was a bit of a blur!!
    Overall it was a great weekend, lots of flying to be had, great camaraderie and banter. Congratulations to all competitors and in particular to Russell Mexome who took the Lilienthal Trophy for his first Radioglide and Peter Allen who took the Victor Ludorum for top placings in three events.
    On a personal note I was very encouraged by my half-time F5J result, still very much learning the ropes and benefited again from sage and calming spotting advice from Chas Dunster, the phrase ‘you can do this!’ works wonders.
    Slightly off-topic but something I’d like to add is that I rechecked my glider set-ups after the competition as I was not convinced that the poor handling I was seeing was all down to my fingers, sure enough the centre of gravities were too far aft and some of the control settings were way too sensitive. ‘Get there but get there smoothly’ I read recently (Mark Drela possibly), very true and I’ll try to keep that thought in my head.
    Cheers
    Gary Binnie