I don’t want the title of this blog to confuse you because I had an absolutely splendid day there over the weekend of 17th and !8th June, even though I only visited on the Saturday. As usual, the day was full of model and full size exhibtions of skill and aerobatic genius. My beef was with the system of payment at the gate, which did not permit payment by card, even though people were wandering around with I Pads and mobile looking devices.
It was an early start and a late finish, so at the princely age of 66, I had to have a good snooze the next day. I set off from Macclesfield at 7.45 and got to the gates of Weston Park at around 9.05am (I am sure you are fascinated with the exact timings). Fortunately the queue was small and divided into 4 lanes. I waited patiently, only to be told that they do not take cards and that I must drive to Shifnal to use the cash machine. I struggled to do a U Turn, and retreated, only to find the road to Shifnal closed! When I got back the queue stretched back to the road because they had closed 2 of the 4 lanes!
Anyway, to the show. When I arrived, the heavens opened thus diverting me to the many suppliers tents of which there were many. Last time I came it was shortly after lock down and there were very few. It was nice to put faces to online suppliers all of whom were extremely helpful and chatty. I emptied my piggy bank on items that I hope I will use. You never, however, can buy successfully in speculation unless you have a list of items, which I was lacking. I justified spending over £100 by continually telling myself how much it would have cost me in postage and packing (forgetting of course how much the round trip had cost in mileage). Still I miss the idol meanderings round model shops, now all my local suppliers have closed down.
So, finally the rain stopped, the sun came out, and I made contact with my mates from the Power Scale Soaring Association, who were camping for the weekend. I tried camping last year. Let us say that waking up at dawn, and eating out of the grass, particularly when dew sodden in the morning, is not my idea of fun. I set up shop near the flight line to enjoy the show.
To make an impression at a model show, the aircraft have to be big. Most had fuel driven engines, the jets, apparently consuming a gallon per flight, so not carbon neutral, but impressive nonetheless. There are many trees at Weston which makes flying tricky, particularly as depth perception is difficult. Nonetheless I only witnessed one mishap when a warbird engine cut on landing and stalled into the trees.
I am going from memory of what impressed me most:-
- A couple of Sukhois shown in one of my pictures. These orange pair of turbine powered jets were performing 3D Stunts feet from the ground the equivalent of a prop hang. Don’t ask me what the particular manoeuvres were called, but impressive they were.
- A pair of matching Sabre F86 jets in the typical colours of silver with yellow bands round the fuselage, again shown statically displayed in the tent next to the runway. They flew in perfect formation. I happened to be wearing an F86 PSS T Shirt from our Mass Build, only to be accosted by an American who thought I was something to do with the display.
- An aerobatic 4 stroke low revving Fly Baby. This thing did amazing low speed seemingly impossible aerobatics. I found a You Tube Video of it performing which appears above.
- Various 3D Edge Type models flown by a variety of show pilots. The antics that these pilots can perform is unreal. I cannot imagine how their thumbs can move quick enough. Unbelievable and admirable said by a gentleman of a certain age such as myself.
- Andy Ellison performed a jet powered display with a small model at a flying speed of what must be at least 200mph, pulling square loops and tight turns which did not snap the wings in two but should have done so.
- The Global Flyers full size aerobatic team did two displays during the day, one during the aftenoon and the other at dusk with fireworks which was very impressive. 4 planes flying in perfect formation was a treat. Again, captured partially in my video.
- A Jet Powered PItts Special amazed the audience who were very quiet during the display. It used both the prop, and jets in different parts of the display. Most of the vertical climbs were assisted by the jets, but the rest of the manoeuvres could have been performed with the prop. The jets were two small turbines attached each side of the fuselage.
- An explosive display of foam models most of which were written off during the flight as they either hit the ring of fire, or were damaged by the explosives.
- At night time we had the usual flying illuminated wings which changed colour in time to the music, accompanied by a swing wing jet flying through the ring of fire in the dark at about 5 metres from the ground!
- We were also treated to some 3D Flying from the Edge Type models lit up not only internally but with some accompanying fireworks.
- The final Fireworks Display around 10.30am to 11 was spectacular in the extreme. Fortunately the rain held off all day and the evening air was warm.
So all in all, a great day out albeit a tad tiring for an ‘awd chap. My mates treated me to a lovely barbeque by the side of their tents. I made sure I had a coffee before I left to keep me awake whilst memories of the day washed over me during the night time journey home. Some said that they were not going because the price had gone up, but that is true of everything this year, and I thought it was great value for money.