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  • Christmas Messages from our President and Chairman


    Christmas Message from the President

    It was the outgoing President Sydney Lenssen who broached the proposition to me, to take on the post of President, although I think it will be difficult to fill his shoes especially in regards to his reports over the years, in the many aspects of our hobby. I think I speak for all of us, when I say that his reports on the F3J and FAI aspects of thermal soaring, under the’ Uncle Sydney’ columns, have always been interesting and informative.

    Although not being a member of BARCS when it was formed in 1972, I believe, having joined in 1974, I knew most of the early cadre of flyers who initiated its formation. There was a move to establish a group of like-minded flyers, to promote RC gliding in all forms, as it was felt that the SMAE did not provide a section that supported their interests at that time.
    It was to prove successful in as much that the SMAE, adopted the majority of the competition classes and rules into their rule book.

    It is an established fact, that numbers engaged in model flying of all persuasions, are falling. The age of model flyers is in the retired group mainly nowadays, so numbers flying are dwindling, due to mortality as well as loss of interest and moving on to bigger things. Only today I heard that one of the younger flyers I taught some years ago, Peter Barnes is now Vice President of Airbus America. Sydney Lenssen did compile a detailed analysis of how this is happening across Europe, in the various RC glider classes. Although some flyers do move over to electric launched classes, even they are just about maintaining numbers.

    The committee, is aiming to achieve closer liaisons with the BMFA, with the growth of electric gliding, bringing the classes flown by the two groups, very close together in the rules used, making this a possibility.

    On a final note, the weather this year has been exceptional for the summer months, rivalling 1976. It was strange that some contests, were still lost when the weather, turned sour on the days allocated to them. Let us hope that 2019, will be even half as good as 2018 was.

    I would like to take this initial piece, to wish all BARCS members a very Happy Christmas and New Year, on behalf of the committee and myself

    Brian Austin, BARCS President

    Chairman’s Christmas message

    Wise words from Brian. The first half of 2018 was a worrying time for all model flyers (especially the soaring glider community) as the proposed 400 foot height limit hung over us like a dark cloud. What was not widely known was that BMFA staff were working very hard behind the scenes to convince the CAA and EASA that the blanket limit was unrealistic and unnecessary. An exemption was granted for model aircraft and an amendment made to the Air Navigation Order. During a BARCS committee visit to Chacksfield House it was explained how the exemption was granted and that work in this area of regulation has been ongoing for many years and continues. The second purpose of the visit was to discuss closer ties between BARCS and the Silent Flight Technical Committee as Brian touched on in his message.

    March 2019 may (or may not!) bring the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, what effect this will have on moulded model prices is unclear at the moment. Hopefully it will have no effect at all on the ease of crossing the Channel either way, Interglide (F5J) was particularly popular with French pilots this year, they used the event as their team selection competition. 

    Improvements at the National Flying Centre (NFC) continue, mostly to the camping area and domestic facilities, Radioglide 2019 is planned to be held at the centre again, the third time the event (and AGM) will be held there, how time flies!
    I wish you all the best for 2019 whether you will be standing on a cliff in a howling gale, on a hill in a gentle zephyr or sharing a farmer’s field with 200 sheep as I do! Cheers, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

    Gary Binnie, BARCS Chairman   

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  • Our picks

    • At this time of angst in the Coronavirus Pandemic, many of us are feeling bored and without many opportunities to fly our models, and that means more time on our hands. So here is a chance to catch up Uncle Sydney’ Gossip Columns, running over the years from 1998 through to 2019.

      Before starting let me thank Jojo Grini who has maintained a web diary of all my reports in Norway and sent it round the world. Thanks also the Austin Guerrier who helped me to reach websites in UK and USA and other continents. And other F3J pilots told me that they enjoyed my Gossips.

      To read, type the following address: www.f3x.no/f3j/gossip/index.htm. Be warmed it takes a long time to read it in full.

      Sydney Lenssen
      • 0 replies
    • by Sydney Lenssen, July 2018

      Brian Austin has been co-opted by the BARCS Executive Committee as the new President of BARCS. His three year term of office will be confirmed by the membership at the AGM 2019. I am confident that this announcement will be welcomed by all BARCS members. Many, if not all, members know Brian from his long record of achievements and activities in the silent flight field. He is especially known for his friendly cheerful manner, always at hand to help fellow modellers.

      Four years ago, Brian was awarded BARCS’ Eppler Trophy, in my opinion, the association’s the most prestigious award with a long list of distinguished aeromodellers such as Eppler himself.

      Graham James, BARCS President at that time, wrote the following citation: In the early years of BARCS, awarding was often a relatively straightforward decision as new construction methods, materials, wing sections, control methods and launch and landing requirements demanded continuous model development. Today, many of us have moved onto moulded ready builds and the skills of the true modeller are largely being lost.

      One person, Brian Austin, continues to lead the field in home design and build models. Responsible over the years for many familiar Open and 100s designs, his name is now better known in electric circles not only for his planes but also as a driving force behind competition rule progression. Names like Trilogy, Alacrity and more recently the Watts series of electric gliders, of which Watts New is the latest incarnation, will be familiar to us all. For many years, he has also been the responsible for running a very successful series of competitions in Essex.

      Although tempted by shiny plastic models too, he continues to fashion exquisitely beautiful soarers, built to standards that most of us can only
      aspire. They take the latest look and feel of moulded machines, but are built in more traditional ways. Brian pilots competition winning models.
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      • 0 replies
    • Can F3J survive the treatment meant to save it
      What are the new rules?

      Two weeks ago the RC Soaring Technical Meeting in Lausanne took the bull by the horns and introduced new rules aimed at saving F3J glider contests from sliding off the world and continental championship schedules - the death of what for many soaring pilots is the most popular of silent flight competitions.

      Joe Wurts, the first F3J World Champion in 1998 at Upton-upon Severn, UK. Twenty years later with the latest F3J WC about to take place in Romania, many soarers are fearing that this could be the last.


      From next year pilots can use electric winches - either/or hand held winches - for launching their models. The models must have a maximum surface area of 150 dm2 and a minimum loading of at least 20 gm/dm2. There will be no dropped round in fly-offs, and no reflights for mid-air collisions after 60 seconds into the slot.

      CIAM, the world ruling body for this class is hoping that its new rules will halt the massive fall in numbers of F3J pilots wishing to compete, sixty per cent over the past five years and still falling, and restore its popularity.

      But among many F3J pilots, the bull is still shaking its horns. There has been an extraordinary shock reaction: hundreds of pilots from all over the world have reacted on social media, protesting, angry and forecasting the end of this class. Many pilots are concerned, ranging from previous finalists and champions to your typical enthusiast who enjoys travelling across country and continental boundaries to participate in their friendly sport. Only a few can see the logic and reasoning and are prepared to wait and see how the changes work in practice. More than a few want CIAM to think again!

      • 12 replies
    • Rule changes to halt terminal decline
      Uncle Sydney’ Gossip column returns

      FAI’s Aeromodelling Commission meets next month, 27/28 April 2018 in Lausanne, Switzerland. For F3J pilots the main topic on the agenda is how to halt the decline in silent flight contests. What does CIAM want to change?  What chance for these changes to save terminal decline?

      Winches to be allowed.

      If this proposal goes through the “launch of the model aircraft will be by hand held towline or winch.” Ever since 1998 when the first F3J world championships were held at Upton on Severn, pressure has been on CIAM to bring in winch launching. At numerous team managers’ meetings held by Jury President Bartovsky during World and European championships, arguments for and against have raged. Many countries do not have enough people to give one or two man tows, so they run their qualifying comps to local rules using electric winches. I guess more than half of countries do this. When they turn up at FAI championships, their pulleys and hand winches are brought out. In the UK perhaps we had one or two practice sessions at home before leaving.

      Certainly there is a difference between a regulation F3B winch and a two man tows. The best pilots still gain the most height either way. The big difference is what you need to carry on your travels, especially by airline. Winches and batteries are bulky and heavy. So far all votes have been to stick with hand towing.

      In CIAM agendas, any rule amendment is followed by its reasoning. 

      The winch proposal stems from Slovakia and they say: “The majority of pilots are older persons who are no longer physically capable of towing models. ( Uncle’s note: I have not seen anyone on crutches yet!) .....

      • 32 replies
    • by Sydney Lenssen, BARCS President and Gary Binnie, BARCS Chairman

      We and the BARCS executive committee wish all members, and indeed everyone who enjoys model flying and thermal soaring, a very happy Christmas, and also a very special year ahead in 2018. May all your achievements, higher scores and hopes be realised.

      Year 2017 has been a mixed year, probably for everybody. The biggest triumph by far has been the successful opening of BMFA’s National Flying Centre at Buckminster. BARCS can be very proud that it was the first group of aeromodellers to utilise the facilities on offer by organising a successful Radioglide 2017 at the end of May. 

      There is still a long way to go until BMFA realises all its ambitious plans for the NFC. Very sensibly, they are taking a careful financial route. Many members will not have even seen the site so far. Don’t hesitate. Many other members are in the band of volunteers, regularly making the Centre bigger and better. Offer to help if you can!

      One of the prime movers to establish the National Flying Centre is Chris Moynihan as chairman of the BMFA and also a member of the BARCS executive committee. Many years ago, it was Chris who tackled the difficult job of persuading BARCS to grow closer to the BMFA. He then went on to become chairman of the BMFA with his dedicated drive and skill at bringing together proponents and opponents. Very sadly, due to health problems, Chris has stepped down from both the BMFA chairman role and the BARCS committee. We shall all miss his wise counselling. 

      All the very best - and plenty of thermals - for 2018!

      Sydney Lenssen, BARCS President
      • 0 replies
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