A really big thank you to Dave Goodenough, our newly appointed scribe for RCM&E Magazine. You have no doubt read one or two of his excellent articles in the Mag, so you will know that he is not only of our very own members but also an excellent author. Here is his report of the Fly 4 Fun Competition at the Gate on 7th May 2023. To view all the pictures, see our Gallery here
“You do this for fun?
Having settled in these north-western climes and begun to feel at home amongst the disparate bunch of rogues that make up the LMMGA, I recently realised that I’d never attended a club Fun Fly competition. It’s the stuff of legend, where fliers foregather and pit man and bolide against the onerous tasks set by our hallowed comp. sec., Ant Jervis. My calendar was free, the flask was filled and corned beef sarnie fettled – no more excuses, what would I find?
It’s the only word that fits the scene. For ‘spot landing’ Ant splurged a couple of dollops on the ‘Gate’ turf, the listed combatants strode forth when called and launched their charges into the faltering breeze. Accuracy was the name of the game and it’s a pity that no-one told the pilots, many of whom delivered their charges into varied landing patches around the slope. I didn’t see all the action, but managed to catch Ian Sherratt plonking his little foam ‘Adagio’ admirably close to a spot. Jeff Mortimer’s lovely Bird of Time was cast into the void and tooled around gracefully as only this old classic can do, before making a low level attempt that unfortunately suffered a tussock-induced whoopsie – nice try, no cigar. A late attendee was Simon Cocker who gave us ‘best dismantling’ of the day when things went awry on his attempt. ‘A little Multiplex ‘Dart’ was zipping around usefully under the guidance (?) of Andy Gough, target of much banter and doubts on his parentage. He too made attempts on the spots but the ribald comments of ‘’not close enough’’ left the field open for John Vaughn and his ‘Wild Thing’ to show us how to do it.
The second task, multiple loops and spot landing within a time limit, favoured the foamies. Heavier models simply couldn’t climb fast enough to convert altitude into aerial doughnuts. Many tried, most failed and whilst other would-be winners fell by the hillside, Dave Maynard happily converted the breeze into multiple loops within the given allowance, making the task look easier than it actually was. Apparently no-one else came close to his score.
Ant waded through the sedge and sheep ‘berries’ to appoint himself as pylon for the task – others saw it as meaning ‘target of the day’ and took aim at our factotum. One wild-haired comp. sec. was seen ducking and swatting at ‘too close for comfort’ fly-bys and turns, marking points up or down on a scale that only he understood. Harry Twist’s ‘Cinch’ model nearly did for young Jervis when it decided to try and nail him, thankfully missing when Ant moved faster than the plane! With minimal lift and close flying tolerances, this particular model workout was doomed to multiple failures, despite much manipulation of tranny stick and control surface. Even Bob ‘I’m a teapot’ Jennings couldn’t make the mark with his ‘Easy Glider’ and it was left to Jeff Mortimer to work the air to his advantage – a well-earned top spot.
I make no learned comment about this particular playtime as I have no idea what the parameters were for this final play off. By now the competition has descended into the ‘normal’ realms of a Feydeau farce and was just as amusing. Models flitted about ‘on task’, but what was the task? The mention of ‘improvised spot’ was heard and there was certainly a lot of improvisation seen in keeping models airborne. The arrivals, whether by design or accident, were as varied as the landings and at one point, Andy Gough’s ‘Dart’ skewered the lawn to the depth of some inches, quivering like a just-shot arrow. Entertaining, certainly, but apparently ‘nil points’ from the jury; once again dark horse Dave Maynard proved up to the job and was awarded top spot.
Ant retired to his mobile control centre to deliberate the final outcome of the days shenanigans, have a calming cuppa and get away from the attempts at nobbling the judge and jury, himself. Refreshed and replete, he waved the score sheet to gather in the combatants and press filthy lucre into their hands. The individual winners were already known, but it was Dave Maynard that got the biggest payout and gave the biggest smile, earning ‘overall winner’ as best of the day; his exalted position was well earned and applauded by all.
I’ve been a member of many clubs, both in this country and abroad, but from my perspective I’m now convinced that the mixed bag of personalities that make up the LMMGA are the best I’ve ever flown with. Of all ages, abilities and persuasions, they come together to make something very special. You can’t manufacture it and if it were bottled it would be a much sought-after brew. Thank you Ant for taking the time to draw us all together for the Fun Fly, it may have confused me at times, but it was brilliant.