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That Was The Year That Was! The 2013 Carrier Deck Flying Report from Andy Housden
Andy writes: “The following is just the year’s end brief note to summarise what went on in Carrier flying in 2013, and to thank everyone very much indeed for supporting Carrier during the year. You can guarantee that, except for those who have been involved in the administration of an activity, no-one fully understands how much it takes to keep the wheels turning for the flyers themselves – though as the years go on, I continue to be pleasantly surprised that the efforts of our officials and organisers are actually more appreciated than you might think. The trouble is that the flyers themselves are notoriously backward in coming forward to say thanks for this sort of thing. However, I guess we don’t do it for the thanks, though, do we!? Here’s my summary of 2013, essentially lifted from my end-of-year report to the BMFA Control Line Technical Committee.
Andy and assistant – a regular sight at every UK Meeting!
There have been 16 events, of which 12 were in the UK, 3 in Holland and 1 in Germany. Of the 12 UK events, 8 were of full weekend or longer duration and 4 were single-day contests.
There are 9 Carrier Decks in existence in the UK and 3 on the Continent, with 7 of the UK decks and 2 of the Continental decks in regular use.
So far as the UK events were concerned, we continue to complain about the wind more than anything else, yet tend to forget that we manage to fly in most conditions! Fortunately, no event had to be cancelled beforehand and only the MayFly at Old Warden had one day written off – the Saturday – and due to rain rather than wind. That’s not to say, of course, that all the other events didn’t suffer in any way (Leicester had more than its fair share of rain and it was seriously breezy on the Yorkshire Weekend Workshop’s Sunday) but conditions were actually pretty reasonable for the majority of the remaining events, with those at the Old Warden Scale Weekend, Marlborough and Croydon being almost perfect. However, the event of the year, for the second year running, must again be the August Nationals at Barkston Heath, and this is dealt with below.
Not bad at all! Despite the inevitable growing selectivity of our ageing aeromodelling population in respect of exactly what each of us decides to spend our increasingly limited money on, Carrier had the best attendance for several years – and this happily included the Nationals (again!). Nor do our ever-cautious national weather forecasters help matters: on a number of occasions the on-site weather was actually measurably better than the forecasts of previous days, but peoples’ plans are usually laid in advance and the forecasts had therefore caused some people to choose to do other things. As commented in several previous reports, it seems that a number of flyers are not prepared to take a chance and adopt the philosophy that “there’s no such thing as the wrong weather, only the wrong clothing!”. On a few occasions, the weather “at home” was poor and therefore discouraged people, whereas the weather at the contest site was actually good. Now that’s plain unlucky…
Carrier continues to be fortunate in its recruitment due largely to the efforts of the Training Teams at the Nationals and the Old Warden events, plus a surprising amount resulting from word of mouth which is unfortunately not measurable but nevertheless seems to be remarkably powerful and we experienced the widest age range in recruits that we’ve had for years: from 7 years old, through young middle age, to several retirees. As usual, of course, we welcome them all
Wow! For the second year running, the Nationals was not only “weather-flyable” but also very well attended. In fact, if many more people had pre-entered, we would have had some serious thinking to do about the handling of all the entries in the time available. Now that would be a nice position to be in! Anyway, Saturday went without a hitch both in terms of weather and continuity of flights; Sunday started a little windy but by the afternoon was behaving itself and resulted in another full day of activity; Monday turned out to be such a lovely day that the entire backlog of flights – mainly by Carrier’s Training officials who are often very hard-pressed to find time for their own flying -were able to take place, even though this meant we flew until about 1400 (by which time in previous years some of the circles were already being dismantled!). As in previous years, the Nationals hosted easily the largest Carrier contest of the season, with 44 pre-entries across the two Carrier classes particularly pleasing in view of the previous disenchantment with Barkston’s perceived local climate. Both the Training Circle, Practice Circle and the Information Tent were popular and heavily used, with the info Tent PRO staggering out late on Sunday afternoon for a brief breather and the comment “Gawd – it’s never been so busy!”.
Whilst “traditional” i.c. engine + mechanical 3-line throttle control systems still outnumber any other systems, the contest use of electric power and/or electronic down-the-lines throttle control has been a rising trend during the last 5 years. As been noted before, it is distinctly possible that this form of power and control will eventually dominate both the competition and sport sides of Control Line. Basic Carrier Deck contests have seen a disproportionate number of the top places go to electric power in the last 5 years and this also continues to rise. Class I is now as likely to see electric as much as piston in the top places by virtue of reliability as well as performance. Quite remarkably, first, second and third places in Class 1 at the Nationals were electric for the first time in British Carrier’s history, with first place in BCD also being electric – and second place was electronically-controlled i.c.! Beyond this, I personally hope that the increasing familiarity with electric power and electronic control will result in more EDF-powered jet models, particularly in Class 1, as this will open up a huge range of additional prototypes to model. We’ll have to wait and see…
So finally, a Happy New Year to you all, and I hope to see as many of you as possible during 2014’s contest season!”