Report from Gary Oulds of Crawley DMAC

ASHDOWN GALA 7 August 05

This turned out to be another really great day on the Forest, very sunny, very hot and steamy, a good opportunity to get sun burnt for one and trim out a model or two, whilst flying a few competition flights. At the same time enjoying the day and the company, in a slightly more relaxed atmosphere than is probably normally the case, when flying a BMFA  Area event.

A light north-north westerly wind meant this year’s Gala, run by Neil Allen, would mean flying across the Forest towards Nutley. With the light winds all day, most people wished their flights down before they reached any major hazard. And the ideal flight would fall short, landing safely on the open slopes for a much-welcomed easy retrieve.

One or two hungry carnivorous model munching trees eagerly picked out the occasional flight, and the Ashdown Ferns seemed to be well up around seven foot tall or more in places. You took a bit of a chance if you had to plough through them blindly to reach a model, as they often concealed dangerous trenches; a loss of footing could soon find yourself sliding down into The People Eating Pits, ……staring up at the sun.

Neil Allen set a target two-minute max across the board of events to help encourage entries, apart from combined chuck glider/girliepult, which was a seven flights all to count contest to a minute maximum.

A bonus winner takes all the entry fees was also up for grabs to the flyer with the most points accumulated on the day from all the events flown.

HLG/CAT Glider

Chuck glider/cat was very keenly contested throughout the day, a few flyers had a go despite quite a high chance of losing these relatively small models.  Ken Taylor put in some great girliepult flights, which whizzed out high across the valley. One of Brindley’s early chuckie flights had spun down into dense woods, and he’d returned model-less after a brief search. Fortunately was able to continue to fly on, when his Dad, Ken, found it seemingly relatively easily. Neil, John and Gary also had a good bash at this class. But it was Ken that triumphed in the end. 

Combined Power

At one point it looked like John Richardson might put in a challenge to Peter Lang in open Electric. But this faded after the model suffered a broken (nose) fuselage whilst trimming. Despite being the only entry Peter still put in another fine performance, even if you are competing against yourself, you can’t do better than three maxes, from three flights!

Earlier a John Richardson flight with an A1 had ended nestled into some trees just down the hill. This called for a mini expedition; John, Mandy, Lucy the dog, myself (camera man) and Peter Cameron’s enthusiastic young grandson, Cloud Tramp flyer, Leon, who walked down with a couple of the long aluminium club poles which were waving around a little bit so I figured it was best to stay well clear, at least several metres behind him out of range if you didn’t fancy being accidentally swished off your feet. The glider was soon back in the air after some minor repairs to its fin and tail plane.

Open Glider

Peter Cameron flew pretty smooth all day, well ok, he brushed with danger once I believe when one of his glider flights found the trees, but no real problems and eventually run out the comfortable winner.

Open Rubber

Martin Stagg maxed out to tie with Neil Allen, they shared the top points on offer after wisely agreeing not to fly off. Geof Stringer flying a Wakefield took third spot. It was good to see there was some support for all the events.

Combined mini competition

Neil Allen won this time, maxing out with his coupe model. This was stuck in a tree downwind but had somehow mysteriously vanished from it towards the end of the day.

Notably amongst Robin Willes array of models stuffed in the back of his car, was a rather smart looking version of Fred Boxall’s open rubber floatplane (minus floats).

Bob Taylor spent the day trimming a pretty pristine looking mini vintage power model; one slightly off flight veered across the sky when the wind direction swung the launch. The short DT took it over the nearest trees, not far, but it took a couple of concentrated search efforts, before I think Brindley finally found it and got it back to uncle Bob.

Also whilst walking along the top ridge I stumbled across two pretty weary looking flyers, Peter Norman and Tony Clark sitting down over looking the forest. Tony had been flying A1 and Peter a Senator, it was hard to tell from their glazed expressions if they’d just finished flying for the day or the Forest had finally finished them off. Either way I hope they enjoyed the day.

At the end of the day Neil Allen presented all the winners with bottles of wine.

Combined Power  Peter Lang
Open Rubber  Martin Stagg
Open Glider  Peter Cameron
Combined mini  Neil Allen
HLG/Cat glider Ken Taylor
Gala Champion Ken Taylor

After all the points were toted (several recounts) Ken Taylor was pronounced Gala Champion.

Many thanks must go to Neil Allen for organising this event, which has always been popular with all the local flyers especially in recent years. It’s a great get together and it certainly helps bridge that long gap during the summer months.

Lets hope its even better next year…

Gala news extra

As everyone drifted away at the end of the day, we still had two A1 gliders and an A2 to recover, plus Neil’s missing Coupe was still a mystery. One of Dads was hanging in an Oak tree in the cutting, Martin Stagg kindly offered his assistance. Firstly finding Johns A1 safely on open ground, as Alex Cameron had predicted, was no problem. With one model recovered (in the bag) I left Dad and Martin to tackle the awkward treed model. I then tracked my A2 through high ferns and by the time I’d hacked my way through to it and back out to the path, Martin had managed to hook Dad’s glider out. Back at the car park, Neil and Martin set off along the top firebreak in search of the Coupe…15 minutes after they’d gone a car pulled up. This member of the public had found Neil’s model in one of the lower car parks abandoned, and had thoughtfully bought back to us. Angela Oulds then sent a text message to Neil & Martin, which soon bought them back. Unfortunately it wasn’t all good news, as the model had been badly mishandled by whoever had dumped it originally, and it looks like it’ll need a new fuselage.

Looking on the bright side, light heartedly John told Neil “They’d probably done him a favour in a way …as the nice wings deserved better!”

Hope to see you all next Meeting…on the Forest

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