Jump to content
  • Radioglide and BARCS AGM 2018 – 26th/28th May

    For BARCS members, the late bank holiday weekend is synonymous with Radioglide, this being the 39th running of the event. Unfortunately bank holidays are also well known for poor weather and following a warm sunny week, it was almost inevitable that as we moved towards the weekend things would deteriorate. And so Saturday 26th May saw the BMFA National Flying Centre in Lincolnshire swathed in mist and low cloud with a stiff northerly breeze.

    The site is still developing but it has to be said has moved on a long way from the bare shell of things we saw last year. The camping field though flat and close mown, is still fairly basic offering cold running water and waste disposal but the flying area has matured well with a flat grass runway, a shelter and tables for model set up and other flying areas. There is a small toilet block in addition to the facilities within the conference building and the office and meeting rooms appear fully operational. I would recommend any member to visit and use the site, see http://nationalcentre.bmfa.org/ for more information.

    The venue is chosen to try and give a more central location to BARCS members and make it more attractive to competitors from a wider geographical area, a decision which seems to be vindicated given entries came from Scotland to Dorset. This year was to see a first, with no winch competitions scheduled, nonetheless there were to be four events, F5B, F3K, BARCS ELG and F5J. 

    The F5B competition, which by the way was also being run as the British Nationals, got underway fairly early on the Saturday as, at least for the speed and distance tasks it can operate with a lower cloudbase. Because of the multi task nature of F5B, they were located to take full advantage of the runway to set up their course and enjoy the pits area for charging etc. 

    BARCS ELG however is a standard duration event and so start was fairly leisurely as we waited for the improving conditions. Flown to 10 minute slots with a penalty applied for launches over 200 metres and a landing bonus, this makes for a fun, not too onerous competition, unless of course you are the CD and poor Pete Mitchell had more than his fair share of headaches with technology issues. Indeed, I think Pete was pleased to get to the lunch break so that some of the equipment could be swapped out and he had a chance to catch up with the scoring.

    For the competitors it was the blustery 20mph breeze blowing over the upwind line of trees which provided the challenge for the day. Lift was difficult to find and exploit and any hope of slope soaring the treeline was dashed by heavy turbulence. This then translated into a wicked rotor in the landing area causing planes to roll from wingtip to wingtip on approach and in many cases dumping the model in the long grass, well short of the ten metre tape. It was not a cold day and there was always the threat of sunshine throughout the day, though little actual evidence.

    Twenty one pilots participated, divided into four groups over the five rounds which allowed a drop score. Despite flying to these rules for the first time, eventual winner Steve Haley and son Simon, placed third, proving the adage that natural skill will out in the end. Equally gifted second placed Peter Allen was less than two points behind Steve. Despite the difficult conditions there wasn’t the carnage of models one might expect, a testament perhaps to the actual skill levels on show and the manoeuvrability of modern aileron/crow brake equipped machines.

    Unfortunately a deteriorating forecast persuaded the F3K contingent that their competition would be adversely affected and CD Mike Fantham took the difficult decision to cancel the event before too many had travelled. The night proved cold and wet with a heavy downpour in the small hours and flashes of lightening but the weather passed with little drama. Unlocking the gates to the site at 6.30am saw competitors for the F5J competition arriving with high expectation. In the event the conditions were similar to Saturday though the wind did increase and flying became increasingly unpleasant throughout the day.
    F5J is somewhat more demanding than the previous days ELG format, in that height limiters are not set for altitude, only motor run and penalties incurred for launches over 200 metres. This requires a level of experience that your scribe, for one, doesn’t have with my rounds having launch heights between 160 & 230 metres, I must do better.

    Peter Allen was our CD for this event and at briefing told us he was aiming at a ten round competition over two days with 6 rounds on Sunday and 4 more on Monday. The pilots from Saturday were joined by several more to give a field of 26. All the same challenges faced us regarding lack of lift, turbulence but of course made that much more interesting by having to guess at launch heights. Those that did catch lift were finding themselves downwind quite rapidly and then having to fight their way back with varying levels of success and many doing the walk of shame to retrieve models outside 75 metres. Flying continued till lunch when Peter used the break to compute the scores. As the afternoon session got underway conditions continued to deteriorate and some competitors consulted online forecasts which indicated that Monday would be much better and so a vote was taken to cut the competition to nine rounds and it was decided to complete five rounds and then fly four more on Monday starting at 9.30am. The distant rumble of thunder suggested that the right decision had been taken and indeed, later news reports of flash flooding around the country gave credence to the F3K group decision to cancel, though the rain never actually hit the field.

    The thunder continued throughout the evening and the small hours but when I went to open the gates in the morning the mist had once again descended and only lifted very slowly. Come 9.30, some people were ready to fly but launches into the clag were only recording heights to cloud base of 150 feet or less and given the contrast, overall visibility and topography of the site it was deemed unwise to fly. In the end the cloud didn’t really break until 11am and so flying didn’t commence until around 11.30am. But crucially the wind was far less strong and so the heavyweight models from the previous two days were retired and the lightweights were very much in evidence. By foregoing the pleasantry of a lunch break and speeding on through the rounds we were able to complete our schedule by a little after 3pm and then have a prize giving and clear the field.

    Most competitors now fly the same top quality models for all electric disciplines. One exception to this was Paul Wainwright who flew 2 metre in ELG and a Bitsa, flown to great effect and based around a very early F3J Corrado wing married to a T tail fus which performed so consistently that Paul took a very creditable third place in F5J. Always embarrassing for the CD but Peter Allen took top spot, flying his Tragi variants (one with an Optimus fus) with Steve Haley was in second (Pike Dynamic).

    So what models were flown during the weekend? 

    Well, as has been said it was windy and turbulent for the first two days so it was often older design converted F3J models, out on the flightline. Xplorers, Shadows, Storks, Optimus, Pikes and Maxas were all on show. However once the wind dropped Optimus were joined by Pike Dynamics and Explorers plus two very interesting designs, the Infinity NG available through Flightech and campaigned by Graham Wicks and Claymore designed, kitted and flown by Rick Lloyd, son Josh and several other pilots. The Infinity NG is unusual in being a smaller 3.5metre design. It was only its second outing for Graham and he was using the competition as shake down in preparation for the Euro Championships where he currently plans to fly the model. 

    Also, I believe, a Eurochamps model, is the Claymore designed by Rick Lloyd of Tracker fame. Sadly the Tracker is no more, following the loss of moulds in a fire at Rick workshop. Also lost were early incarnations of Claymore originally conceived as an F3J/F5J project but now configured as a totally dedicated F5J soarer. This hollow moulded airframe is beautifully constructed to a standard comparable with Eastern European produced machines. It has taken three or four years to develop but is now a very competitive and economically priced model, at around £1000 and has the distinction of being the only model, commercially designed and produced in the UK. More info available at www.liteflite.yolasite.uk.

    A full set of results for both competitions can be found on the forum page below

    One of the other advantages of using the BMFA facility is the large hall on site which allows us to run the AGM when there is already a large number of BARCS members assembled. These meetings are now little more than a formality with reports from the officers, accounts and elections of committee and none of the rule debates seen in earlier years. However, one very pleasant duty is the awarding of a Fellowship. This year the committee commended to the meeting that Pete Mitchell, our Membership Secretary, co-author of our GDPR and Compliance Manager be awarded the honour. Members will also know Peter for his CD duties and participation in numerous competitions. It was a pleasure to see the look of shock and then delight on Pete’s face.  A copy of his citation and draft minutes from the meeting will be published in the members section of the website in due course.

    We did also invite members to participate in a Bring and Buy but there appears to be little appetite for this idea.

    So overall, a very successful and pleasant flying weekend. It would be good if we could get back to the huge entries of the early days. For a number of factors well outside our control, that will never happen. But for the band of dedicated pilots, the fun, camaraderie and banter will continue to hold appeal. It was great to welcome an injection of northern grit, straight talking and wicked humour into the proceedings. It also gave BARCS the opportunity to present the BARCS ELG League trophy to Brian Johnson, along with certificates to other league winners and placed pilots.

    Get the date for 2019 into your diaries.

    BARCS ELG League Champion 2017 Brian Johnson

    Bare Carbon Models need Sunscreen

    Bob Dickenson prepares to launch Optimus. Bill Haley on wathes

    ELG League and Radioglide Winners and Places

    ELG League and Radioglide Winners and Places

    F5J Third Paul Wainwright

    F5J Winner Peter Allen


    Lightweights Away

    Old style Tragi. New style Explorer

    Rick Lloyd Launches Josh Lloyds Claymoore. Paul Wainwrights model in the background

    Team Claymore

    BARCS Fellow Pete Mitchell

    • Like 2

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    This is now closed for further comments



  • Our picks

    • 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.
        • Thanks
        • Like
      • 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!) .....

      • 27 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
    • Interglide F5J 2017 Report and Results
      This year’s Interglide over the weekend 24-25 June run by BARCS saw a necessary change from F3J to the electric launch format of F5J which proved to be very popular.

      Cracking flying site. Forty-seven pilots booked in. Prizes acquired, particular thanks going to UK KST agents, Flightech and C & M Rapid (Model Glasses) Ltd. for their generosity. The previous week saw fantastic weather. So what could possibly go wrong at Interglide 2017. Well, being the UK in June it’s no surprise, the weather changed for the week. Full report in the link above
      • 0 replies

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.