The UK and Europe's Control-line Carrier-Deck Site!
Message from Andy Housden:
The BMFA National Championships at RAF Barkston Heath this year has finally been officially cancelled, and whilst very disappointing – it’s the peak of our contest season, after all – it’s hardly surprising, of course. There is, however, within the cancellation advice, a very positive comment about the 2022 Nats at Barkston which is actually quite heartening! Although we individually pay (rather minor) costs for our actual Nats contest flights – though you won’t notice them because it’s always taken care of in the entry fees – remember we get loaned Barkston from the RAF for absolutely nothing. We have no right whatsoever to the site (or any of the many other airfields we’ve used in the past) – our continuing access is the result of a prodigious amount of unseen work by senior BMFA officials, both elected and unelected, and a long succession of Commanding Officers who continue to offer this priceless favour to us all. So no whingeing, please!
As a consequence, the Chairman effectively intimated that it’ll be down to the individual BMFA Technical Committees to decide what to do for their own disciplines, and those such decisions are still in the future. Our decision will come from the Control Line Technical Committee, of course. In 2020, only Aerobatics held their own individual mini-Nats. No other C/L discipline did then because the situation was so fluid that no-one was really sure what was possible until the very end of the season – and then it was too late. This year will probably be rather different and I would expect the CLTC to suggest that each C/L discipline runs their own mini-Nats like we all did, separately, in 2016. Remember, though, that all the Nats classes that produce an annual champion are BMFA classes, and therefore it has to be an official BMFA decision to ‘farm them out’ as was done in 2016. That said, I think it will be no more than a rubber-stamp decision when the individual CDs-in-charge suggest dates and venues for their own disciplines to the CLTC.
Given such a rubber stamp, Old Warden or Buckminster are the obvious possibilities for Carrier, of course. Old Warden’s better because there are likely to be way more off-duty-competitor-friendly facilities available such as food, trade & swapmeet stands & possibly the Air Museum (and Sainsbury’s and fish & chips shps are within easy reach). Buckminster’s better because it’s more central, there are less public safety issues and no operating time restrictions. Buckminster will almost certainly be oversubscribed now that Barkston’s been scrapped, though we could still use either of the two remaining SAM35 events we’re booked to go to there – but the June 25-27 date is almost certainly way too soon for the necessary decision-making and the October 16-17 date may be pushing our weather luck a bit. Old Warden’s better here, because both dates are more workable (Jul 24-25 and September 18-19) and we’ve run a successful replacement Nats there once before in September 2016 anyway. My personal preference would be for Old Warden in September, with Buckminster in October as the reserve date in case of bad weather, etc. However, I will make sure that everyone interested in coming to either place has a chance to state their preference, just as we did in 2016, and I’ll act on the decision, whichever the venue selected is.
So the next step is to see what the CLTC suggests, and I’ll report back here as soon as I get any further info. Again, no moaning, please! Remember that, unlike 2016, if the social distancing regulations remain in place throughout the contest season, neither Team Race nor Combat will get a Nationals this year, whereas at least we can run a normal contest, as we’ve already shown both ourselves and officialdom (as kindly reported in Aeromodeller last year) that we can do it Covid-safely.
Watch this space – and stay safe!
Last updated 12-03-21 at 10:15
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