28 September, 2014

SCRCS 2014 Open Day

Our open day this year was on 21st September during a period of quite unsettled weather but on the day we were fortunate to have light winds and some sunshine too.

We had a fantastic turnout of show pilots and some of our own pilots flew too. As a club member I would like to thank all those that helped make the day a success. There's insufficient space here to feature all of the pilots and aeroplanes but I'll try and feature a few. Full details will be published on out website www.scrcs.co.uk .

Liam Swarbrick, Andy Ellison and other pilots from Tyldsley Model Flying Club flew a variety of gliders and aerobatic aircraft. Being more of scale type myself I really enjoyed watching Andy flying a Super Decathlon. Andy Pace gave a very lively display with his Vision 50 helicopter and another of one our members, Andy Wiggins, flew his rather good looking Mustang. Simon Cocker and co. make aerotowing gliders look easy but actually there's a lot skill involved.

Gordon Whitehead flew several machines but my favourite was his red and silver Tiger Moth looking absolutely splendid despite it's many years of service. Nathan Farrel-Jones pleased spectators with his amazing displays including his jet powered L39 Albatross.  It's absolutely amazing and mind boggling how Chris Martindale manages to fly his high speed Voodoo models, most of us can't even keep track of them from the spectators line, needless to say I didn't get any photographs of his fast flights. More SCRCS members made flights too, Martin Kynder, Martyn Coles and Pete Jeffries all put up aircraft and acquitted themselves well. I was not too well at the time but I did manage a couple of flights with my DG1000 glider. Sounds like a lot of flying, indeed there was and many more models and displays than I have mentioned here.

As usual we had one of brilliant raffles. I was fortunate enough to win a flight in a full size Jodel and Andy Ellison's son one an almost complete SAS Venom flying wing, so nearly complete that before the day was over it had been towed into the air. Prizes has been donated mostly by members but I should also mention that local model shops had also donated prizes, including Barnstormers.

On a rather sad note I have to report that Tom Doyle insisted that this really was the last time he was going to do the catering. His bacon butties and beefy burgers will be truly missed.

It's a great way to see model aircraft, join in and fly or just get to chat with the pilots and we will almost certainly do it again in 2015. All I can say to that is that if you fortunate enough to get an invite, don't waste it!


10 September, 2014

Shangai'd in Middlewich

Steering Maria
Every year in Middlewich there is the Folk and Boat Festival and my wife Hilary usually helps out with stewarding. This year Sue Day from the Horse Boating Society was demonstrating how to harness a horse for towing a nearby wooden narrow boat "Maria" and Hilary duly assisted in holding the horse still. At the end of the display Sue asked for people to come forward to crew the boat the next day as she didn’t have anyone. I was watching and both Hilary and I declined at first but Sue can be quite persuasive so we were (slightly willingly actually) shangaid. It turned out Sue was short of crew for much of the journey ahead and to cut a long story short, both Hilary & Emma ended up crewing the boat too and through a large part of the Cheshire Ring from Middlewich to the centre of Manchester. This included the first time a horse drawn boat had been in the Anderton Lift for 60 years, legging through Preston Brook tunnel and polling (like punting) along the parts where the horse and towline couldn’t be used. Steering a horse drawn boat is a lot different from one with an engine, so is stopping one too!

Maria under tow from Bilbo
A little about Maria:
* Built at Marple in 1854 so in 2014 she was 160 years old!
* Oldest wooden canal narrowboat and does not have an engine.
* Until around 1950 she was un use for carrying goods and repair materials for canal repairs.
* During the 1970s she was raised after having been sunk & abandoned sometime in the 1960s
* Restored and owned by the Ashton packet Boat Co. and now operated by The Horseboating Society.

Sue Day and the narrowboat "Elland"
Hilary and I have also helped out at at a demonstration at National Boat Museuem, Ellesmere Port and crewed "Elland" on the Leeds and Liverpool canal near Burnley.

Maria at the Anderton Boat Lift