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    Latest news and information

    After due consideration from the BARCS Committee we have decided to cancel the 2020 Radioglide Weekend at Buckminster due to be held in
    It is unlikely we will be able to reschedule. However, we will liaise with the BMFA when more is known about the ability to hold larger gatherings at flying fields.
    We will keep you posted as and when we have more information to act on.
    Sorry to have to write this post.
    I wish you all good health in the coming months.
    Sydney Lenssen


    By Sydney Lenssen, in General News,

    by Sydney Lenssen
    Any F3J pilot who has competed in contests worldwide over the past 20 years will be saddened to hear of the recent death of Jack Sile. He played a key role in F3J’s birth. Of course many soaring pilots also helped the transition from BARCS Opens to CIAM’s thermal soaring class, recognised around the world and until recently the most popular of R/C glider events. But Jack, in my opinion, came very close to being key.

    Last week, 16 August 2019, Andre Borowski, my wife and I went to the celebration of the life of Jack Sile at the West Suffolk Crematorium. On the very same day in Trnava, Slovakia, New Zealand became F5J senior team champions in its first world championships, the successful three man team Joe Wurts, David Griffin and Kevin Botherway. 
    That excellent achievement would have brought tears of joy to Jack. He was team manager for New Zealand in 1998 for the first F3J world championships at Upton in England, his team pilots Ross Biggar, Andre Borowski and Stuart Grant, helpers Sydney Lenssen, John Barnes, Nick Evans. Sad to say, the Kiwis did not reach the podium, but the first F3J world champion was the legendary Joe Wurts from the USA, who a few years later emigrated and adopted New Zealand citizenship.

    Jack Sile was born in Arkansas, an American citizen with a career in the US Air Force which he joined at 18 years old. Most of his military ca-reer of 27 years was spent in Britain at Lakenheath, and continued more years in non-military roles. He married his second wife  Phyl.
    He never lost his American accent. He had a warm smile and always with an amusing tale to tell. An active “do-er” and achiever with a wide range of interests and activities. When he joined a club or organisation, he gave it extra zest, he would happily accept the job of promoting and organising. 
    In R/C model glider flying he played a large part in persuading the FAI to adopt F3J championships. He enjoyed travelling in Europe and quickly joined the Dutch, Germans, French, Belgians, Czechs and Brits who had started annual Eurotour events, one in each country, with scores added to a league table. European contests had started with F3B, speed, distance and duration flying requiring high skills. F3J being ra-ther easier to fly in and cheaper, this new event grew rapidly.
    How versatile Jack was can be judged by this list: 
    When Romania was chosen to organise the European F3J champion-ships in Deva, he was invited to act as contest director. 
    He wrote for Soarer, the BARCS magazine and a newsletter. 
    He started the technical lectures and demonstrations at the RAF Muse-um in North London where top pilots and designers could give their experiences and guidance. 
    He travelled each year to Lausanne for the FAI’s Aeromodelling Com-mission CIAM sessions writing reports for Sandy Pimenoff. 
    He was a dedicated supporter of Ipswich Town football club and worked as a steward and on the turnstiles for nearly 25 years. 
    He was an expert guide at Duxford and helped with restoration work. 
    When Rui Silva wanted to run the first international F3J contest in Por-tugal, Jack was appointed contest director.
    He was a staunch supporter of the Peterborough Winter Series which was held in all weathers and drew pilots from North and South, East and West on the first Sunday of the month from October through to April. 
    On competition days he would go around the field with a collection box, complete with Neil Webb’s famous feather, to fund the Neil Webb Trophy to be awarded to the F3J World Champion every two years. Donations produced sufficient funds to pay for the magnificent globe of a trophy. The successful champion does need fitness to transport the heavy box and prize back home.
    In those days, Jack was confident that BARCS membership, already close to 900, would soon top 1,000! Sadly that was not to be!
    Over the last ten years Jack found the Masons, carefully choosing which Lodge to join, where he would be active in a reasonable time. At the Celebration of the life of Jack Sile, by far the biggest number of at-tendees were masons and their wives, and just a modest number of model glider pilots.
    Jack and his wife Phyl, married for nearly 45 years, were good people to know and very worthy in every sense of the word.
    SL 20/8/19

  • 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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