SLOPING OFF...

...the Newsletter of Christchurch and District Model Flying Club for September 2022

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POPHAM 2022

This was last year’s display, but much bigger, with extra turbines and far more stalls.

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But was it better or, at least as good? Trevor drove Richard and me at an early hour and we arrived in good time to get a front row seat, with the display due to start at 10am.

There was far more to see and buy, perhaps 30 stalls selling modelling or associated gear (and one with F**k Putin T shirts, beer glasses etc etc). The big marquee was much better, with model railways all along one wall and loads of mouth-watering second hand rolling stock (yes, I’m a railway modeller in denial) and in one corner a demo of quad FPV racing, with tiny quads ripping round obstacles and a guy in a chair and headset controlling it. Far from losing his balance every time the little machine banked and turned at lightning speed, he just sat still. I suspect his skill level was a power or two above mine.

The weather was pretty much a duplicate of last year, too breezy for me to fly but well within the comfort zone of the demo boys and girls. The range of models was not quite as large, with far more turbines, EDFs and big 3-D Extra-types and fewer scale models. The helicopters were just as underwhelming (I’ve seen Farhad do much better display), a large racing quad demo was impressive but a bit meh for non afficionados

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Unlike last year’s glider mass launch this time there was a superb large vintage model by the Ghost Squadron, and for contrast a 5, maybe 6m span monster ASK with pop-up power pod. Both were towed to height and the vintage one looked so good against the clouds and blue sky. The other one turned height to speed and scythed round in front of us a number of times until at last the pilot had to pop up his power and get away. It was very impressive.

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A new one this year was a mass launch of the little Arrows EDFs, about 14 of them, it was hard to keep track. They whooshed around the sky fast and furious without a single mid-air – astonishing!

 The displays were very good and got lots of applause. By far the most popular was Laura, a flier whose inverted landing approach and very last second pull up to land got the biggest shout of the day.

Of the few scale models that we saw, the best was a Yak 11. The owner had spent all day trying to get the engine to fire up and when he finally got it going, his display was excellent, full of clean, accurate scale flying, not a hurried move, not a non-scale moment. A real pleasure to watch after all the high power aerobatics of the works teams.

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It looks good doesn’t it? It was only when it was on the ground that you appreciated that at 1/3rd scale how huge it was!

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I thought that it was as good as last year. The commentary was better, but plagued by inadequate display information from the fliers or their teams, so that he was often lost for words when they were most important. The stalls were bigger and better, the coffee just as good and the administration first class. And all for only 8 for both days! Although when I said this in the car going home, Trevor and Richard laughed and asked why I hadn’t applied for the old folks discount…

Some photos looked better than others - the Man in Black could have been better positioned!

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Finally…at an instant, everyone stood up and started looking over to the left, going oooh and ahh. A gas turbine model (a Futura?) had crashed in the field opposite and set fire to the wheat. The airfield fire crew and engine were on it within 30 seconds and the fire was put out and displays resumed after a short break. But I bet the BMFA insurers will be in demand!

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