Longhorsley 2005

The LMA’s most northerly public show was held at the end of May. This report by Chris Bland.

In last year’s report I said I had such a great time I would go back, so true to my word, back I went. I was certainly not disappointed. It was another memorable weekend, if not just for the weather! See below for details.

Windy or what!

Saturday was a non-public fly-in. A good time for some practice. We woke to wind, real wind! North of England wind! Only a madman would fly in this! So up pops Andy Johnson with a Cap232 and then a Spitfire to laugh in the face of adversity. Well he flys OK and gets the Cap down in one piece. Then he decided to have a play with the Spitfire. Off he goes. BANG! What was that cries Andy! Well the wind had picked up his Cap from behind him on the flightline and threw it into the sky ending up with a broken bulkhead. Not to lose the fight he retires to the hanger to glue the bits back together whilst anticipating another fly. But the wind just gets stronger and stronger and he admits defeat. In fact, the wind is dangerously strong and is in real danger of causing some structural damage. Most of us retire to our caravans or the club house or tea and conversation.

Still the wind strengthens. By mid-afternoon there are caravan awnings being seriously battered. Rose and I were with Steve Holland and Sharon in their caravan watching my awning getting a battering. It is standing up to this quite well says Steve. Then all of a sudden he makes a run for the door (I didn’t know he could accelerate so fast). Your awning…. its going. We managed to grab it, but is suffered two broken poles. Sensibly, many people begin to try and take their awnings down. This was not an easy job though. At least six people were required to hold onto the fabric with all their strength. Many of the traders were really suffering. There stalls were getting damaged with poles being bent. To help many people parked their vans in-front of the stalls in an attempt to deflect the wind. I found one group of four people who had been hanging onto a trader’s stall for over an hour to stop it being blown away. A few of us went around the site helping others where we can.


The marquee was also suffering badly. In fact, it was decided it was unsafe. Everyone disassembled their models and the top of the tent was put down.

Even the toilets suffered. These were blown over and had to be tied down. What a day!

The best solution to ‘practice day’ was to retire for a cup of tea and a chat. That evening was going to be the BBQ. A great social event, but sensibly this was postponed until Sunday evening.

How would we all cope tomorrow for the public show. Would the public bother to show up?

Show time.

So a new day dawns. People slowly begin to emerge and the topic of conversation is what will the wind throw at us today. Well the forecast is for a cross wind, breezy, but flyable with care. The preflight briefing puts the emphasis on safety and advises us not to fly if in doubt.

The public begins to turn-up and we begin to put on a show. Traders had been helped to repair their stalls and they open-up and begin business. In fact, quite a few public turn-up and those who flew did get in some good flying. The site is superb and because there is so much space there is very little turbulence to contend with. It is a testament to everyone that not one model is damaged, perhaps we just concentrated a bit more than usual.


The evening BBQ was worth waiting for and we were also entertained by a great band that I think involved Keith Mitchell’s daughter as the lead singer. They were really good and everyone had a good word for them.Drinking and conversation went on until the early hours – so normal LMA show practice had resumed.

Monday turned out to be an even better day. The wind is now down to a gentle breeze and we all enjoy some good flying. The photographs below show some of the models. As always there is a good selection for the public to see.


John Townsend spent most of the weekend running the flightline, but did manage a couple of flights with his well known 50% Magister.


Dough Rigby’s own design turbine powered Bede. Dough always goes for the more unusual model and this flew very well.


Roger Bale sold his Sea Otter to John Greenfield to make way for his new project, see later.


Steve Holland grabbed my camera off me several times over the weekend to build up a collection for the Journal. He managed to get this shot of my 25% scale Chipmunk powered by a 3W 40.


Keith Mitchell’s Hunter continues to progress well and attracted a lot of close attention in the marquee.


Wind was no problem to the jet flyers. This one is a superb example.


Dough Rigby flew his speedster. It does perform very well indeed.


Longhorsley rely on the local cadets to organise the car parking for the show. Here is a nice photograph (courtesy of Steve who had my camera again) of the detachment around Richard Rawle’s Spitfire.


I think the star of the show has to be Roger Bale’s new 50% scale Swordfish. How can he manage to build such things over a winter? It flew great, first in the safe hands of Steve Holland and then by the creator himself.


Here is the model disassembled ready to fit into Roger’s van.

So thanks to the small group of people that make up the flying group at Longhorsley. There are only a few of them and their hard work made for a really pleasant weekend. Thanks to you all for your efforts.

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