Andy Housden’s Carrier Report 2019

Andy wrote to me just before Christmas with his regular annual retrospective on Carrier flying in the UK. I’d like to extend my thanks on behalf of everyone who competed in 2018 to Andy for once again organising, judging, and encouraging us at all the events that took place. He’s throwing down a challenge to us regarding the setting up and running of an exciting new Carrier venue at the BMFA Buckminster site – please read his words below and consider whether YOU could help by running an event or two there! Andy writes:

“Dear Mike

After the fundamental matter of survival, the single biggest problem besetting all volunteer organisations of any kind is finding people committed enough to help run the organisation. Very fortunately, I really do believe Carrier is luckier than most, because the number of officials we can muster means, for example, that we are able to run a really big event at the August Nationals, and this sort of achievement gives us way more credibility with the BMFA and other bodies than many of the other disciplines. Inevitably, there”s a downside to this – and, of course, it’s that the same people get asked to help year after year after year… So, as we have only just enough people to manage Carrier’s annual workload, l’m hoping that, despite your substantial SAM duties, you’ll still be able to spend time in 2019 to continue to manage the website and hopefully even to write the occasional report! (Fear not Andy, I’m happy to continue!) As l haven’t yet submitted my annual report on Carrier to the BMFA C/L Technical committee, I can’t reproduce it here – so l’ll simply summarise our year.

Normally we have 11 contests in the UK but we really only had 8 – the most extreme reduction we’ve EVER had! Damyns Hall was scrubbed after poor attendance due to a bad but very inaccurate weather forecast, Tyneside had to be cancelled sometime beforehand because the council could not resolve the public site’s access problems, and Leicester MAC cancelled their club’s R/C gala due to bad weather, so the Carrier (and Waterplane) contest that runs in parallel had to follow suit. The weather experienced during the remaining contests ranged from boiling hot (Marlborough), through hot (Old Warden Scale Weekend), wet & windy (Old Warden Nostalgia Weekend Saturday afternoon, Pontefract both days) to very wet and/or VERY windy (Nationals Sunday afternoon and Monday morning). It was probably the most extreme contest season for most of the weather conditions possible!

However, I was damned proud of everyone at the Nationals! We operated right up to darkness on the Saturday to cram in as many flights as possible, then on Sunday we continued flying right up to the point of impossibility, long alter other disciplines had stopped – then repaired to the Mess Tent for what could happily have passed for a party for about 6 hours – and THEN resumed flying when conditions were a bit less unpleasant in the evening and only stopped when we couldn’t see the models on the end of the lines (after which people had to wind dieir lines up with the aid of torchesl). Bloody good show, everybody!

So it’s been a bit of an up-and-down year, really! However, there were a number of very positive developments to offset the negatives. In the order they appeared in 20l 8 they were:1

. A MUCH better site for the Tyneside contest was negotiated with the Teesside Club and will be up and running in 2019 (so it’ll be a Teesside contest now, not a Tyneside one).

2. Chris Howell has started developing some electric training models which, whilst not being as nearly bulletproof as the Mike Welch training discs, are more suitable for loaning to enthusiastic novices at the Nationals and other contests so that they can participate in the actual competition flying.

3. Your own very useful suggestions made at Marlborough WILL, in 2019, lead to the storage of another carrier deck (HMS Incontinent) on its own dedicated trailer under cover at Buckminster Lodge. For your information (and I apologise if l’m repeating information l’ve already given to you), this deck originally belonged to Alan Morgan and Trevor Tabor and was based in Hertfordshire; it was subsequently sold to George and Nick Ford and located near Stroud in Gloucestershire. Chris Howell has already been customising a trailer to suit the deck and I went down to see the Fords a week ago to check up on some of the critical dimensions so that we don’t trip ourselves up with a lack-of-fit problem. Once it’s all up at Buckminster (and I’ll give it a full complement of contest equipment), it’ll be available for competition use. I also intend to press HMS lncontinent into service as the contest deck at the Nationals, since it is one of the best designed decks available to Carrier, and using it like this means one deck less for someone else to haul long distances during the bank holiday!

4. As far as having a contest (or two?) at Buckminster Lodge is concerned, I would be absolutely delighted to see this happen – but it WON’T be me running the comp, purely on the basis that too many eggs of this type are already in one basket, ie: if something happens to me, too many contests are already at risk.  So we actually need someone else to come forward to be CD. All the gear necessary will be present, but the CD will have to wheel the trailer out, erect the deck and other items, run the contest pack the gear away, return the deck & trailer to whichever Buckminster shed it came from and report the contest results to yourself for inclusion on the website Perhaps it would be a good idea if you could advertise our need for a Buckminster Carrier CD in 2019 on the website and see what happens‘? Maybe we should say that the start could even be in maybe even make it a 2020 start to give the candidate a bit more tome to get organised?

SO HOW ABOUT IT, CHAPS – ANY VOLUNTEERS?

5. Peter Tribe is developing a very attractive and lightweight Douglas Skyraider designed for i.c. power and very suitable for replacing the ageing Grumman Hellcat free plan that has been a feature of the Carrier Deck Information Pack since 1998. That makes the Hellcat an amazing 20 years old! (…and Flyco’s ‘DRONE’ version with electric power is still rattling the arrester cables!)
Bring that Skyraider on, Peter!

6. Peter Tribe has also decided, after consultation with Andy Green, to move the Cosmo Club’s Carrier and Scale event based at Damyn’s Hall Airfield in Essex at the end of April – actually the Carrier contest season’s opening event – to Andy’s club field in Leicestershire. The use of Damyn’s Hall is becoming politically more difficult as time goes on and Leicester is considerably more central in the UK, so please give this new venue – the event is still to be held at the end of April – your support if at all possible!

7. Peter Tribe – that man again! – will be managing a ‘Sportsman’ Championship from 2019 onwards. Something of this nature has taken place in Carrier before, though not on this scale, but in any event it became moribund a few years ago. Peter has decided to resurrect the skill category principle,previously being Novice (Personal Best Score not exceeding I00), Sportsman (PBS not exceeding 170) and Expert (no PBS limit). These categories were originally designed to be able to recognise and award the achievements of competition mid- and low-fielders (music to my ears, Andy!), but on a contest-by-contest basis. Peter has chosen to concentrate on Sportsman, but has updated the PBS limit to a modern and more appropriate value of 230 and will make this into an annual national championship with the awards presented near the end of the contest season at the September Old Warden weekends. The details of the Sportsman Championship will be published on the Carrier-Deck website in due course.

And that’s it! Time to sign off and wish you all a Happy New Year and a successful 2019 contest season!

Best Wishes”

ANDY HOUSDEN