Despite the fact that it is still early in the year it has been a busy time at the National Centre.
We have already hosted a considerable amount of flying and the calendar is filling up nicely for the coming year. Take a look at the National Centre website for details of forthcoming events.
The site has overwintered spectacularly well and the runways already look in great condition and have had their first few cuts of the year. Hopefully the weather will remain kind as we move into the spring although we have just experienced a rather severe return to winter this weekend……although it didn’t prevent the pylon racers from holding a competition.
The volunteer team continue to do great work and recent projects have included the erection of a new sign at the entrance and on the Hangar as well keeping on top of the day to day site maintenance. The sign on the Hangar refers to the late Geoff Goldsmith who was a lifelong aeromodeller and supporter of the National Centre project. On Geoff’s passing he left a considerable bequest for the development of the site, on this basis the Hangar is now named the Goldsmith Hangar in Geoff’s memory.
Season ticket sales are very strong and have already exceeded the total for the whole of last year, thank you to all those who have joined for 2019, remember, a season ticket is a great way of supporting the National Centre.
One of the challenges we are currently facing is accommodating requests for event bookings, we are running out of weekends! A good position to be in, however there are still one or two weekends available and midweek availability remains very good We already have a number of bookings for club “away days” which are proving very popular. Do get in touch if you would like to organise a visit to the National Centre for your club.
National Centre – Coming Events
As referred above the National Centre calendar for the coming year is full and varied, below are a few highlights to give a flavour and perhaps tempt you to visit over the next few months.
March – the first JMA Jet Fly-in of the year takes place on the final weekend of the month, always a great spectator event, if jets are your thing and you want to get up close to the action then why not come along and meet the pilots and organisers from the Jet Modellers Association.
April – The season really gets into full swing with the SAM 35 Spring Gala and the fist Swapmeet of the year followed by the Freestyle Masters, a new event for the Centre which promises to be a great event for spectators, over the Easter weekend we have a discus launch glider (F3K) “come and try” event and an IMAC (scale aerobatics) come and try event on the last Saturday of the month.
There are still spaces available for the swapmeet but they are selling fast so get in touch soon if you would like to reserve a place.
May – kicks off with an aerotow weekend hosted by the Ghost Squadron followed by a GBRCAA (precision aerobatics) competition and finally the Radioglide competition hosted by BARCS (British Association of Radio Control Soarers).
June – Commences with the BMFA Payload Challenge international education competition, a great day out for spectators at a fun filled all action event, the following week is the second JMA Fly-in followed by an Achievement Scheme Review Committee Fly-in for those looking for training and coaching towards their A and B tests as well the opportunity to take test all in a relaxed environment. We also have the CLAPA Champs (Control Line Aerobatic Pilots Association) and a Vintage C/L combat competions and all rounded off by the SAM 35 run Retrofest event for all things retro and vintage.
More highlights to come in the next blog, but one to get in the diary early is the Warbirds Fly-in and Beer Festival on the 20th and 21st of July, it promises to be a great event and we have just confirmed the booking for live music.
Model Flying Month
As you may be aware, the month of May has been designated as Model Flying Month as a focus for the general promotion of model flying nationally.
Pleasingly, a good number of clubs have picked up the concept and are organising events.
The National Centre is also hosting a Model Flying Month Fly-in on May the 11th and 12th, why not get booked in for a weekend of relaxed general flying and use it as an opportunity to introduce someone new to model flying?
There are also some PR initiatives taking place at the Centre during May to assist in raising the profile of model flying through the media, more information to follow.
As well as the ongoing work such as grounds maintenance and general site care the volunteer team always have a few projects on the go.
One of the projects for the coming year will be an outdoor power supply and charging station close to the flightline shelter, we are currently working on the design and should start work within the next few weeks, a great addition to the facilities at the National Centre.
Another development coming in the near future will be the provision of a toilet and shower block in the campsite, this is likely to take the form of a standalone temporary unit as something of an interim measure, we are currently still looking at the various options.
The Hard Circle project is still ongoing and alongside the current fundraising activities the working group are still looking at the detail and specification of the circle.
Obtaining sensible quotations is proving to be something of a challenge and the overall cost is perhaps at a higher level than envisaged, however the team are still working on quotes and also carrying out a cost engineering exercise.
The exact location is yet to be finalised and again there is ongoing work on this aspect to ensure the best outcome given that the hard circle represents a significant outlay and of course is very much permanent once completed.
We continue to benefit from a broad range of wildlife at the National Centre which co-exists very nicely with the model flying and also the general day to day activity on site.
We have 4 owls living around the site and the volunteer team have just completed the construction of some owl boxes to provide alternative accommodation options. The two barn owls have been roosting in the flightline shelter, we did have to take measures to encourage them to look for an alternative location as they were making rather a mess, we also have a little owl and a tawny owl living on site.
In addition to the owls we have a resident buzzard and the red kites also appear whenever there is any model gliding activity.
The site also hosts a significant skylark population which is very pleasing as they create a fantastic summer sound.
There have also been common snipe on the pond on a fairly regular basis which are generally a very shy bird.
It all goes to prove that model flying has very little negative impact on many of the species that we regularly share our sites with.
As the Centre gets busier there are more and more ways to get involved and more events to attend, either as a spectator or as a participant, we have now moved to summer opening hours so there is generally a member of staff on site 5 days a week as well as on the weekends when an event is taking place, as always check out the calendar and site status box on the website for the latest information.
Camping at the National Centre is also proving popular and makes for a great model flying break with some relaxed flying and some good attractions in the local area.
We look forward to welcoming more of you to the BMFA National Centre during 2019.