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    Bertrand Willmot wins Interglide 2018
    After several weeks of careful planning and negotiations with Richard Thomas, owner of Hamilton Farm Airstrip, caterers, food vendor, sponsors and the printing of stickers, registration packs and score cards, BARCS Interglide 2018 was finally upon us and the weather looked set fair for a long hot weekend. The event forms the British leg of the Eurotour series and so entry had proved very popular with the sixty places taken up within days of registration opening. The French contingent were also to use the event as part of their national team selection process.
    Driving on to the site early Thursday afternoon, we were surprised to be met by two Dutch pilots waiting to get their caravan onto the field and within minutes they were out testing the air with DLG’s. The need to get the early preparation work installing signage, decking out the marquee and other facilities would clearly need to be undertaken with the utmost haste. The farmer was instructed to cut the long grass and the huge one hundred and sixty metre, fourteen spot flight corridor planned to best suit what was expected to be the variable wind directions of the weekend. The landowner had agreed to remove a section of fencing used to keep the sheep off his long West-East runway. We had one other small request of him, being as there were a couple of interesting football matches to be played, a television was duly hung in the marquee.

    From 6.30am on the Friday morning we were greeted by a rapidly filling camp site and the first electric soarers being launched into the cool still early morning air. Indeed this scene was repeated every morning with models being tested at times when most British pilots were still dreaming of their Full English.  It was a busy day, not only for the organisers laying out the field but also competitors as a huge tented village started to appear along the edge of the flying area with ‘Coleman’s’ were erected to form a ‘pits’ area. The campsite itself was much improved on last year with a small toilet block and wash-up area, electric hook-ups and sectioned off pitches which lent themselves to forming the small national enclaves of British, German, French and Dutch. Practice continued all day apart from a couple of short delays as full size aircraft took off from the runway.
    Saturday morning dawned with a slightly sharp breeze and most competitors rigged more than one model to cover the conditions. Briefing started at 9am with CD Peter Allen welcoming our friends from across the channel and the further reaches of the UK. Nine rounds were to be flown, in three sessions of three, with a lunch break both days and a three round fly-off on the Sunday. With up to twelve pilots per slot, each round would take something around an hour and a quarter and at 9.30am, the first round was underway.
    Model wise, there was plenty of variety on show. From Optimus and Infinity through Xplorer and Explorer (see Acemodel.co.uk to note the difference), Shadows, Storks, Pike Perfections and Dynamics, plus one or two rarer planes El Nino, Nova and Satori. Very few v-tail these days, as lighter construction allows the use of the more stable cross-tail, although Julien Benz flew an Xplorer 3 v-tail to great effect. Good also to see one or two Claymore and Colin Paddon and Kevin Beale successfully campaigning the Proglide. 
    At this level, it is small differences that make for a winning flight. In good conditions, all F5J gliders are capable of a ten minute flight and landings are on the nail within seconds of the slot ending. The key is the launch height and good thermal detection. To aid this, many now carry poles with mylar strips to the flight line as wind drift indicators. Fred Simiand of France flying an Infinity, threw down the gauntlet early with a 66 metre launch for his first 1000pts. The rounds carried on in the improving conditions until 1pm, when as scheduled three had been completed. Dutch pilot Frank van Melick led the way with 2976pts, Simon Thornton UK flying Optimus placed second and Fred Simiand in third on 2944 pts. For those who didn’t want to cater for themselves, there was a cold buffet available in the marquee. The French contingent lived up to their deserved culinary reputation and dined in style on the campsite.
    Flying recommenced at 2pm and it seemed some may have left their ‘gliding heads’ back on the lunch table. Others however were newly refreshed and Simon Thornton took over top spot, with Steve Haley’s slot win taking him into second. Frank van Melick had a poor round and dropped back to eighth. But these were fine margins and with the fifth round flown and a drop score now applying, Frank soon found himself restored to top place. Given the style of flying, it seemed everyone had one poor flight, misjudging the lift and landing early, or outside the circle when trying to return from long downwind searches. The wind was constantly swinging throughout the afternoon resulting in the landing spots being moved from one side of the flight line to the other. Flying stopped at 6pm as scheduled with the completion of round six with Frank van Melick confirmed in top spot, Simon Thornton in second and Julian Benz from Germany in third.
    Saturday night is BBQ night on the camp with the grill and beers supplied by BARCS. There was football on the television in the marquee, the Brits laid on some music and there was a party atmosphere around the site as the warm evening closed in.
    Sunday saw lighter winds but with very strong lift and three rounds went ahead as scheduled. Everyone was now launching to around the sixty to eighty metre mark and mostly getting away, though one or two did choose the wrong part of the sky and would have to return to the spot and sit it out whilst others flew out the slot. Nine rounds completed, time for lunch (which conveniently coincided with England first half thrashing of Panama in the World Cup) whilst CD Peter Allen slaved over a hot computer to determine the fly off of twelve pilots. Interestingly there were several father/son teams with Frank and Geert van Melick of Holland, Steve and Simon Haley from UK and Bertrand and Tierry Wilmot from France in the fly off. Sadly neither Guillaume and Adrian Gallet, France, or Nils and Wilhelm Winkler, Germany, made it through. Julian Benz, Germany and Simon Thornton, UK were joined by other Brits Kevin Beale and Colin Paddon (Team Proglide), along with Fred Simiand, France and Pascal van Ool, Holland.
    The wind, what little there was, was now blowing along the flightline, so the CD asked the pilots to decide which side to put the spots and they were moved as requested and so the three fifteen minute round fly off was underway. Slot one and everyone got away and flew the slot out with Julian taking the 1000pts closely followed by Steve and Simon Haley. Simon decided to go for it in slot two and was unlucky not to contact but Steve did and took the slot with Julian very close behind. In slot three, everybody decided it was go low or go home. Steve and Julian immediately headed in the direction that the lift indicators suggested but failed to hook up and indeed Julian recorded a zero, landing out, with Steve just managing to make it back to the circle. Many others also landed early, leaving Bertrand Wilmot to take the slot and the fly off win to be closely followed by Frank van Melick and fellow Dutchman Patrick van Ool.
    Back to the marquee for the prize giving. We were very fortunate in receiving support with prizes this year, led by Flightech, who provided a HET/Reisenauer motor set as first prize, Samba Models supplied servos, West London Models batteries and glues and eSoaring gadgets a height limiter and other goodies. This generosity, along with items bought by BARCS built a prize haul of over £700.  And there were the Eurotour and Micro-Mold Trophies too and cups down to twelfth place and the best placed junior, Adrian Gallet from France.

    BARCS would like to thank all who attended and particularly those who helped with timing duties, flight line relocation and of course, Brian Austin and Syndey Lenssen who shared the duty of Jury Chair, which as it happens, proved to be fairly easy task as there were no protests. They did however have to award the ‘Unlucky B’ Spade, presented to the pilot who runs out of luck over the weekend. The recipient this year was Phil Brandreth, who having practiced on Friday only to have his transmitter fail before flying a slot in the actual competition. Despite this, Phil assisted the rest of his team with great humour and heart throughout the weekend.

    Indeed, that summed up the tone of the weekend, competitive but friendly, superb flying, great weather and all went very smoothly.
    A full breakdown of scores, further pictures and videos (thanks to Eamon Keating) can be found here.  There is also a gallery of additional shots
    Graham James
    Link to forum topic below


    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.



  • 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
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      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!

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      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. 

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