Strathaven 2016

The Long and Winding Road

This is one event I just can’t make my mind up about. Most manage to get to Strathaven on the Thursday, for me it is a 200-mile trip which starts at 5:00pm Friday having already done a full day’s work and I am faced with the task of a long and boring drive up the M6 with caravan in tow. Having models in the car I tend not to stop at services I plod on until I reach my destination as the satnav says. I arrive at around 9:00pm totally shattered and ready for bed, but first the caravan needs setting up, I need to get water and the midges are already having a meal out of me.

A welcome face

Bill Grimsley the SAA chairman greeted me and asked would I like a cup of tea, oh yes please Bill thankyou very much. After a sit down in Bill’s awning with my tea and some biscuits I thanked Bill for his hospitality and ventured back out to confront the midges and get my water. Once set up I cracked a beer and settled down for the evening it was around 10:30pm and still very much light outside.

Walking on Sunshine

Saturday I woke to a thick mist covering most of the site it was damp and miserable, my first thoughts why have I come here again. It was just like this last year, after having breakfast I got ready to set up the TX control. I was standing in for Rob Buckley as Strathaven is one event he can’t make. As I made my way to the flightline the mist seemed to be lifting, I could just about see the wind turbines in the distance which weren’t visible before. This year the LMA didn’t provide the PA system it was all left the SAA to sort out, and I have to say they came up trumps the system was very high quality and I feel put ours to shame, well done SAA. As I got myself ready for the rush of pilots the sun started to break through the mist and clouds and I suddenly felt the warmth hit me, arr that feels good. Things are starting to look up, as the rush of pilots ended up more of a trickle I set my camera up ready for the first shots of the day. The PA system got a shake down too make sure it was all working properly and in the distance I could see Dave Walker making his way up to the flightline ready to commentate to the public who were trickling in slowly.

Full Stearman ahead

After the pilots briefing I wondered back to the TX Tent then I heard the sound of a  Valach 4 stroke boxer twin engine growing away down the runway,  it was Ted Alison with his 30% scale Stearman taking off. Quick I thought I must get my camera and off I went snapping away. This is a ready to crash model as they are now becoming known as. Ted certainly throws it around and for the first time in ages I could see Ted enjoyed flying it. I was told later the engine was a 120cc

Just Hanging Around

Now there is one thing Scotland is not shot of is 3D pilots. There were quite a few, Simon McNeil with his Extra 300 Alistair Young with is Edge 540 to name but a few at this event but the one that stood out for me was Steven Nicol, this boy can fly am not kidding you! I am not a lover of 3D and although it takes incredible skill I do find it boring. However, I will never take away the skill and talent of these up and coming pilots. For the second time this year I have stopped and watch a full display the other was at Tibenham with Dean Coxon’s superb flying. I have to give it to the SAA they do encourage their young pilots something the LMA could do with doing. It is also evident that the crowd love to watch the 3D flying as it was apparent by the applause at the end of every flight. So keep up the good work lads the penny will drop with the rest of us old farts one day.

Let’s go to War

Now no show would be the same without our warbirds and Strathaven was no exception. We had bombers and fighters from WWII along with 60’s fighter jets. Karl Mander flew his 1/5 scale helldiver and entertained us by dropping bombs on the runway Karl also few is 1/5 scale Savoia Marchetti SM79 now there’s a mouthful for you. Keith Mitchell’s 1/3 scale P51 Mustang certainly turn heads along with Colin Auton with is 1/3 scale FW190 both were stunning. Steve Vodrey also brought a variety of models to fly one was the Dauntless which he flew alongside Karl, Steve also flew his Bronco probably better known for its role in the Vietnam war. Continuing with bombers no doubt the stars of the show where the two B17’s flown by Dave and Andy Johnson. Owned by Ken McCormick and Peter McKenna the two 17ft bombers beat up the sky to the delight of the crowds.

Jet Ally

Jets were a plenty too, before I start I have to say James Ladell must get an award for travelling the furthest distance all the way from Suffolk which took him and his family 7 hours to reach Strathaven. 7 hours with kids in tow, my hat goes off to you James. Now James also bought some stunning models. Jet wise was his beautiful Yak9 this model never fails to impress. Richard Copeland also flew his Grumman Panther, Richard is mostly known with flying the large pits special and it’s the first time I have seen him fly a jet, never the less he flew it very scale like. There were a variety of sport jet trainers over the weekend but the star of the show had to be Ted Alison’s English Electric Lightening now owned and flown by Dave Johnson.

Mixing it all up

Now of course there were other planes besides fighters, jets and bombers and sadly they always seem to get pushed aside so let’s put this right. Steve Vodrey flew a beautiful Dakota not sure of the scale though. There were no less than 3 Cubs two ¼ sale from Phil Cross and Bob Nellies and a 1/3 scale belonging to Ken Richie and flown by Dave Johnson, Bob Nellies also flew a 1/5 scale DH Beaver. Trainers, although I did bring my Sky-120 it never left the ground I was too busy taking snapshots of everybody else planes, Mike Eccles did fly his Sky-120 birddog thingy, along with Alasdair Sutherland’s P99 which has been commissioned to be another LMA Trainer this is Alasdair’s own design, which has a tricycle undercarriage as apposed to the usual taildragger.


Flying Pterodactyl

As the title says it was a flying Pterodactyl I kid you not! James Ladell bought this new toy from Hobby King and I have to say we was all taken back when it flew, James was persuaded to fly it in the show to which the crowd applauded the moment it took to the air, sadly it was short lived, as one of the gears operating the wings broke, which sent it spiralling to the ground, to which the commentator Dave Walker announced “that is why they are extinct” which the crowed responded with laughter, nice one Dave and well done James for amusing slot.

Singing in the Rain

Now I have seen some barmy thinks in my time over the years at shows but this one beats them all. Our Chairman Dave Johnson and Ken Richie bring a whole new meaning to barbequing. Don’t they know that modern day caravans have cookers and even microwaves.

Rain stops play

In the few years I have been coming to Strathaven, we have never made two full days. This year was no exception, we got to around lunchtime on the Sunday before the rain moved in for the rest of the day, luckily most pilots managed to get at least one flight in for the public before retreating with all the models to the main hanger where they were left on display for a couple of hours for the public to look at. Once we knew there was no sign of it lifting the pilots started to pack up and head for home. So there we have it another damp ending to this show once again.

Let’s hope 2017 gives us that two-day window we need to turn this show around.

Dave Parry (LMA Journal Editor)


Shop online with the LMA

For event tickets, merchandise and more visit our online shop.

Take me to the shop!