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Where to fly?

Looking for remote spots and seeking permission in Lancashire

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Alan Cotterill06/07/2019 08:34:01
7 forum posts

Hi all - glad to have found your forum!

About 7 weeks ago, i bought my two kids a ridiculously cheap RC aircraft each - a WLtoys cessna 182. Compared to my RC modelling days as a kid in the early 90's - I was amazed at what £36 can get you! Mostly because I am good with anything technical repair-wise, I was able to keep these cheap little planes going for my kids on many visits to a local park and they absolutely loved it. Reality set in however when a council official politely asked us to leave and not come back on the last visit.

Just before that, I had upgraded my kids to new models - the younger one now has a Sonik RC Ranger 600 which has Gyro control - more forgiving on windy days and he did manage keep it in the air for a lot longer. My older boy now has a Park Flite Cessna 182 Skylane - a big jump to a 950cm wingspan. We have yet to fly it as we are now looking for safe sites.

I have visited my local club - a short drive away. It has a perfectly mowed patch in the middle of a large field with a windsock and remote webcam. The guy i spoke to on the phone was very friendly and said we were welcome to look at the field before joining - and IF there there happened to be member flying, fly our models.

So eye on webcam, I rushed up one day with my kids, thinking i had seen someone. Of course no one was there. It was a bit odd once we actually found the gate to the main field - on getting to the electric fence that borders the landing area, there was no obvious way of getting past the fence or switching it off and across the other side was a large bull. The guy did mention a bull but I suppose the reality felt a bit dodgy. We looked on at the mirage before us - so near and yet so far! Making our way back to the gate, about 10 of the bull's wives turned up - lots of cows, which further un-nerved my kids.

So electric fences, bull n cows? I had a vision of Mr Burns watching on via the webcam - 'Smithers! do we need these people? Press the trample button!'

I have not given up on the club idea but looking at their fees, I decided to join the three of us to the BMFA separatley and look for sites around where we live.

Apologies for the essay but can anyone suggest sites around Burnley? Council sites are out seemingly. I wondered about seeking permission from water authorities or the forestry commision - there are some open sites away from trees/reservoires that may fall under their ownership. Also, who do you ask for permission to fly from the top of large hills? Pendle Hill was another thought?

Thanks for any input!

Tom Sharp 207/07/2019 00:05:45
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3552 forum posts
18 photos

National Trust

Allan Bennett07/07/2019 05:17:37
1555 forum posts
39 photos

Sorry I can't help you with an alternate site, but don't let bulls and calves put you off. We sometimes have them in one of our flying fields, and the biggest problem is their inquisitiveness -- we have to make sure someone remains in the pits area to stop them checking out the models and equipment. Usually it's a calf that comes first, followed at a slow amble by the rest of the herd.

Percy Verance07/07/2019 07:24:55
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8108 forum posts
155 photos

I wish you luck with the National Trust. They don't seem to look too favourably on model flying most of the time....

The main problem with flying on the top of large hills is wind. With smaller/lighter models it can be difficult.

And yes Alan, many local Authorities have by-laws in place to prevent the flying of models in parks and open spaces over which they have control. It's the way these days unfortunately. They don't want to be liable if someone got injured. Sadly Alan I think water authorities will probably adopt a similar stance. Health & Safety gone mad etc.

The club is really the best solution at the end of the day.......

 

 

 

 

Edited By Percy Verance on 07/07/2019 07:52:34

Frank Skilbeck07/07/2019 08:13:13
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4489 forum posts
101 photos

A lot of national trust sites allow gliders but not power, and yes that includes powered gliders.

But I would think you could find some quiet common land and fly from there, or get a couple of RC gliders and use the local hills.

Also try your local rugby/football clubs, one of our members often flies small foamies from a local rugby pitch near him having got permission from the club.

Peter Christy07/07/2019 09:20:40
1582 forum posts

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer! What follows is what I've gleaned over the years!

Without getting into the wisdom of it, the council can only stop you flying on public land if there is a bye-law specifically banning it. For such a bye-law to be valid, it has to be clearly displayed at all entrances to the park. Were there any such notices?

If there is no such bye-law, then the council official was exceeding his authority by kicking you off! (Technically, this is assault!)

Of course, if you are close to an airport, then the Air Navigation Order takes over, but that is outside the remit of the parky!

I am not suggesting that it is necessarily wise or practical to fly a model in a park - I gave up doing that decades ago! However, I do occasionally take a small park flyer out to some quiet public land near my home on a calm summer's evening without issue.

I recall an incident many years ago, when a then well-known flyer took down a sign put up by the council banning flying in a public park. He took it to the police station and told them he'd taken it down as the sign was illegal (no bye-law)! It didn't get replaced!

However, if you have found a local club with a decent patch, I would strongly recommend going down that route rather than picking a fight with the council! Get in touch with your contact and arrange to meet a committee member at the site. Most clubs welcome youngsters with open arms - look at all the threads on here bemoaning the lack of youngsters in the hobby - and may well offer family membership, or at the very least, much reduced fees for juniors.

Best of luck, and well done on introducing your children to this fascinating hobby. My experience of kids is that if they have a hobby that they enjoy, you will never have a problem with them!

smiley

--

Pete

Peter Miller07/07/2019 09:47:10
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10255 forum posts
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10 articles

I should like to point out that clubs are the best way to go for many reasons.

Finding a good site with friendly farmer is not always easy and once obtained are jealously guarded.

While the bull maybe intimidating and cows can be a niusance following the club rules and instructions is vital.

You found a club with a field. I suggest that you would do well to become members and get used to any normal club procedures. THis will provide you with a flying field with no hassles.

AS a club chairman I have spent many hours driving round looking for fields and negotiating with farmers for even limited access.

Now our club has a superb field with access any time we want.

Don Fry07/07/2019 12:29:46
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4051 forum posts
47 photos

Are you sure the local club fee structure is three bodies, three club fees. Junior membership is normally a nominal sum.

Bill Reed07/07/2019 13:33:03
80 forum posts
2 photos

My nearest club is a 45 minute drive away. That is not at a peak time,after work say.

To become a member was easy BUT I could not fly solo/alone until I pass a test. I do not get key until I pass test.

I work and "testers" work so can never get any air time, on 2 occasions this was possible and there was 7 other "newbs".

Soon gave up on that and powered flight, just use common land now

Percy Verance07/07/2019 14:12:06
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8108 forum posts
155 photos

Isn't taking out a BMFA family membership less costly than joining individually? I ask as I'm not a BMFA member.

If there is a club site available then that's perhaps the best option overall.  I fly with just a small group of people, and for the past 10 years or so we've used 3 different sites. It certainly isn't easy to negotiate use of a site, with some landowners fearing impending doom if they allow anyone on their land. We did eventually find a sympathetic landowner though, and we've now been using the site for a few years, although one of the stipulations was that we did not run model engines. The other was no cars to be parked on the land. We fully comply with both stipulations. 

Edited By Percy Verance on 07/07/2019 14:18:57

Jason-I07/07/2019 17:12:59
260 forum posts
37 photos

Where can one find 'common land' that isn't teaming with people or fenced off?

leccyflyer07/07/2019 20:29:13
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1273 forum posts
302 photos

Scotland.

Nigel R08/07/2019 06:15:50
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3102 forum posts
479 photos

Ì have some near me. I will admit it is a complete bonus to have such a thing near you. I take the odd foamie there sometimes.

Back to clubs. I would absolutely persevere with the club you have found. Try and go on their 'busy' day so you can meet a few of the locals and see what the place is like when in use.

The livestock may not be the problem you fear remember the club operates there regularly yes

Denis Watkins08/07/2019 07:08:39
3912 forum posts
61 photos

In agreement with Nigel

At my place we share with livestock and this is easily handled by the regulars

" Gill Favour, Rawhide " Rollin, Rollin, Rollin "

Cuban808/07/2019 07:35:25
2760 forum posts
13 photos
Posted by Alan Cotterill on 06/07/2019 08:34:01:

Reality set in however when a council official politely asked us to leave and not come back on the last visit.

No doubt resplendent in peaked cap, hi-viz jacket, safety boots and copy of his latest how to 'engage with the public' hand out (unread).

wink

Peter Miller08/07/2019 08:32:25
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10255 forum posts
1225 photos
10 articles

Many, many years ago some of our club flew radio control off the local Water meadows on a Sunday morning. The cows that grazed there used to come over and watch and usually lay down round the group.

There was some woman who would complain about everything anonymously. She started phoning the police claiming that we were stampeding the cattle.

The police would come down and say "Oh yes! We can see how they are stampeding. They actually used tp take turns to come down and watch.

Eventually the woman started phoning the Freemen of the town who controlled the meadows on a Sunday morning. The Freemen could not be bothered with her phone calls so instead of telling her to make a proper complaint and sign it they just told us to stop flying there.

Years later they brought in bye laws which among many other things banned model aircraft.

Cuban808/07/2019 09:43:29
2760 forum posts
13 photos

There's a huge imbalance in how 'safety' is perceived and clearly we don't want to have a culture of anything goes and who gives a hoot about the consequences, but for goodness sake get a grip.

I looked up the model in question on YouTube.......take a look yourself and see what you think.

I was listening to my local radio station a few minutes ago and they were doing a piece on injuries to postmen caused by out of control dogs. Post Office staff either attacked by animals loose in gardens or those that cause injury to fingers when mail is put through a letter box. Been going on for years but very little seems to be done to stem the tide of very serious wounds to delivery staff.

Fly a tiny foamy in the park and you instantly become a public health hazard. What are they worrying about with such a small and light toy?

Alan, I hope that you get something sorted, we need to attract new blood into the hobby urgently, and not just children or teenagers. Having people encountering the dreaded council jobsworth and possibly putting them off for life is not at all helpful. Very sadly, and not unexpectedly to many of us, drones have queered the pitch for so many risk averse councils and give the H&S maniacs a reason to hassle people. (Not connected, but the news about the indoor flying at the Ally Pally model exhibition in the BMFA mag is quite ridiculous, and could easily be sorted with a little common sense)

I'm all in favour of clubs, I've been involved for many years, but it's nice to be able to have the option of having a bit of fun as the fancy takes you when you have a free moment, or the kids just fancy an off the cuff opportunity to play with their model. Hope that you find a solution.

BTW, I used to fly in a field with quite few horses and cows, they can be unpredictable and we had several incidences of modellers being chased and harrassed by livestock. Sounds funny, but it's not when things get out of hand, especially when the animals have young.

Edited By Cuban8 on 08/07/2019 09:48:29

Alan Cotterill08/07/2019 11:03:24
7 forum posts

Wow! an explosion of replies! It took a while for my post to show up so I've only just discovered you all - thanks for all of your comments and views. I've decided to join the club, its the only solution really and their setup is ideal. They are only 4 miles away from home and the opening times are 10am 'til dusk 7 days a week - regardless of who is or isn't there.

The cows do bother me a bit, especially with my kids. I've read horror stories about cows with calves inflicting damage on passers by - in vary rare instances. Maybe eBay sells cattle prods?!

J D 808/07/2019 11:12:31
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1311 forum posts
78 photos

As someone who works with cattle and horses I give the following advice.

If you are unsure what to do then do as the OP did and leave alone

If animals are being nosy a shoo and hand wave is often enough to get them to move back although they may return again in a bit.

If cattle are getting aggressive [ snorting, stamping/scaping the ground ] if you are within a few feet of the exit back away slowly and leave.

If out in the field stand your ground and group together if others are with you. [ you can not out run even the fattest cow ]

Make yourself look big. By big I mean taller than they are, hands waving in the air, a stick, an aircraft part. Neither horses or cattle like the look of something higher than them.

Should they still advance towards you shout / scream take a step toward them be aggressive in return. Do not run for it.

At a recent incident in north Wales a lady was badly injured trying to protect her grandaughter from cattle on a mountain path. They were surrounded by cows but then two mountain bike riders came to their aid and drove the cows back. However they then tired to run for the fence line and the lady was trampled.

Two things made the situation worse, the cows had young calves with them, cows are very protective of new born calves and those of about a month or less age.

The walkers had a dog with them, If you are ever in a situation as above let the dog go, he/she can out run the cows. Any dog is still a wolf to cows with young.

Alan Cotterill08/07/2019 11:14:14
7 forum posts
Posted by Cuban8 on 08/07/2019 09:43:29:

There's a huge imbalance in how 'safety' is perceived and clearly we don't want to have a culture of anything goes and who gives a hoot about the consequences, but for goodness sake get a grip.

I looked up the model in question on YouTube.......take a look yourself and see what you think.

I was listening to my local radio station a few minutes ago and they were doing a piece on injuries to postmen caused by out of control dogs. Post Office staff either attacked by animals loose in gardens or those that cause injury to fingers when mail is put through a letter box. Been going on for years but very little seems to be done to stem the tide of very serious wounds to delivery staff.

Fly a tiny foamy in the park and you instantly become a public health hazard. What are they worrying about with such a small and light toy?

Alan, I hope that you get something sorted, we need to attract new blood into the hobby urgently, and not just children or teenagers. Having people encountering the dreaded council jobsworth and possibly putting them off for life is not at all helpful. Very sadly, and not unexpectedly to many of us, drones have queered the pitch for so many risk averse councils and give the H&S maniacs a reason to hassle people. (Not connected, but the news about the indoor flying at the Ally Pally model exhibition in the BMFA mag is quite ridiculous, and could easily be sorted with a little common sense)

I'm all in favour of clubs, I've been involved for many years, but it's nice to be able to have the option of having a bit of fun as the fancy takes you when you have a free moment, or the kids just fancy an off the cuff opportunity to play with their model. Hope that you find a solution.

BTW, I used to fly in a field with quite few horses and cows, they can be unpredictable and we had several incidences of modellers being chased and harrassed by livestock. Sounds funny, but it's not when things get out of hand, especially when the animals have young.

Edited By Cuban8 on 08/07/2019 09:48:29

Yes - I was quite shocked myself - the planes we started with are tiny WLtoys Cessna's. Just about a 30cm wingspan and no real danger to anyone, they are so light. The site in question is Townley Park. It has an old manor house with some large open fields in front which are where our local RC club where actually based some years back until they secured their present site.

The council took no exception to my younger son being chased by one of the endless hoard of dogs they allow to foul the place on one occasion (sorry dog owners) Nor did they arrive to turf off the father and son team that were flying a large-ish drone over the house, clearly with camera attached as their attention was fully on the transmitter and presumably a small LCD screen. Spotted those two a few nights ago. I go to Townley hall frequently with my family for evening picnics etc so we see all sorts going on there.

The council official mentioned the councils drone policy which I have since looked up:

https://www.burnley.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Drone%20Policy%20Burnley%20Borough%20Council.pdf

- does not mention RC aircraft, unless they lump the two together?

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