Trips in 2013

During 2013, I attended 11 shows both here in the UK and in mainland Europe. It would have been more but for the bad weather in the spring which caused some to be cancelled. At the start of the year I had a number of models ready for flying displays that included two Red Bull BO-105's, a Bell Huey, and our large scale Lego helicopter. I had also built an Apache attack helicopter for my friend in Spain.

The Red Bull models are now flying really well after fitting new stabiliser systems, which the crowds seemed to enjoy based on the comments I received. There were too many shows to comment on individually, so below are two of the highlights from the year.

Sanicole air show, Belgium:

I was invited to attend this show by the organiser based on a recommendation he had received from the Flying Bulls. I had expected this to be a model air show with a few full-size machines but it turned out to be the exact reverse. This event has been going on for 37 years and is attended by 35,000 people. It is crammed full of military jets, aerobatic teams, parachute displays plus the amazing aerobatic Apache of the Belgium airforce.

My Red Bull BO-105 was the only model helicopter to be flown and I had the privilege of opening up the show. People were surprised as I drove the model on the back of it's radio controlled trailer through the crowds and out onto the runway. The weather was perfect and I performed a 10 minute display that ended by landing back on the trailer. The model was then towed back through the crowds with the model pilot waving, much to the delight of all who saw it. The whole show was a fantastic event and well worth a visit next year.


Spanish National Championships, Valencia.

For the 3rd year running I was invited to attend the Spanish championships. I really enjoy going to this event, even though it involves a 22 hour drive from the UK. The people I meet are so welcoming and the standard of model building is very high. On the first day of the event, the static part of the competition was judged. This was to have been followed by the first flying round but due to high winds was cancelled. Unfortunately, the second day was just as bad with 20-25mph winds, so it was decided that all the pilots had to do was complete a basic hovering manouver. Once these were completed I decided that I would fly my Red Bull BO-105. This is where the time spent over the winter in fitting a new stabiliser system paid off. Despite the gusty winds I managed to put on a complete flying display that included stable hovering manouvers, pirouettes and low fly passes. I even managed to perform a one handed hovering manouvre while blowing my nose with a hanky! The flight ended with a rollon landing much to the crowds delight, after which I received a loud round of applause. I was even congratulated by the Spanish FAI officials who didn't think anyone would be able to fly in the conditions. I must admit I was quite impressed myself.

Plans are now under way for 2014, with a number of invitations already received, These including a trip to La Feyette in the US and a repeat visit to Spain for the annual scale trophy competition. I would like to give a big 'thank you' to the Flying Bulls for their support in 2013, and to my dear friend Felippe Arenas, in Spain. I could never have managed so many trips without their help. Here's to an even better 2014!