UK National Championships 2005

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I managed to make two visits to this years Nat's, pushing it a bit with my health the way it is, but what the heck, I can die later.

The idea was to give myself more time to actually watch the events, wander around the trade tents and swap meet Hangar on the Sunday. As it happened the trade tent area seemed to have grown bigger and the swap meet was buzzing like a beehive. I also spent a lot more time talking to people, so the time went even quicker and I only just managed to do the minimum number of things I wanted to.

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As can be seen from the map the event covers a large area. I long ago gave up trying to see the R/C stuff as I am not that interested and find a lot of, 'my model/engine is bigger/more expensive than yours,' macho posturing involved. The size of some of the models also gives me some cause for concern. R/C equipment is good these days, but no electronic system is infallible, I suspect it is only a matter of time before someone is killed by such a model in some bizarrely spectacular fashion.

It takes all of my time just to see the C/L, and while an element of what I described above exists here as well, F2B models are getting bigger as are the engines, it's far less noticeable: at least at present? most FAI class models have stayed roughly the same size but engine power has increased dramatically over the years. It would still be possible for me to build a competitive racer or speed model in my cramped flat if I could afford the hardware. I don't think I could do that with any R/C class.

The one thing I can say in favour of R/C is that it has driven the prices of hardware down by shear volume of demand and supply. It's not too difficult to adopt an R/C engine to C/L use. It has even brought electric power within practical reach of C/L, but more of that later. Unfortunately the reverse is true of C/L hardware, low demand means higher prices, unless you have knowledge or access to people with engineering skills.

Taking advantage of the fact that dealers tend to have special offers at shows, I spent a couple of hours on the Saturday and Sunday mornings tracking down those little things that the local model shop doesn't stock and stocking up with some fuel and additives to last me into the near future.

Sunday found me looking for an engine, I need something to replace my ageing Merco 35 used in my club open class racer. After wandering round the swap-meet hangar finding only two engines that fitted my criteria, I searched the trade tents for new engines. The trade area seems to grow bigger every year and is time consuming to walk round all of it. I found what I was looking for in the form of a brand new MDS 38 with quiet silencer for £30. At that price, if I had possessed the money, I would have bought a few more. So with empty pockets and a satisfied smile I wandered off to watch some flying.

Spending so much time shopping and talking to people didn't leave much time to take as many picture as I would have liked. I found it quite amusing being told that Nelson diesels where the bees knees for racing but unavailable, only to walk down to the F2C Nationale heats and see everyone using them, only then to be told that all you have to do is order them from Nelson in America. The racing events I caught, Class B and Internationale, were as satisfying and noisy as ever, with some of the teams as tense and highly strung as the models.

Unfortunately I didn't see any aerobatics and all the pictures of said stunt events and R/C were taken by my partner Paul on the Saturday. Cheers Paul.

I am also always deeply frustrated that I cannot get a any good pictures of combat models in flight, or speed models come to that. The limitations of a digital camera I'm afraid, the shutter lag, and problems with high contrast are painful at times, at least on the ones I can afford.

I waited a long time to see some pulse jets fly at the speed circle but every one seemed to be having trouble starting them. And as usual, Sods Law dictated that I should be at the other end of the runway when one did fly.

I spent a good portion of the Sunday afternoon talking to Jan Odeyn at the Carrier circles, from whom I learned a great deal about Carrier and Electric C/L. I learned enough to to make a separate page for the electric information, available here. The wind was giving lots of problems and the, "have a go at carrier" offer was cancelled yet again, because of the blustery conditions

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R/C
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Stunt
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Speed
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Team Race
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Carrier
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Combat
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