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An unpleasant experience...

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The Wright Stuff25/10/2013 13:13:48
1381 forum posts
226 photos

I was in two minds about whether to post this, but I had a rather unpleasant experience last night that I thought would be good to share.

I fly in the evenings after work mainly, and last night seemed like a good opportunity before the clocks go back and the weather picks up. I am quite often alone at the field, which is quite remote, and I arrived last night surprised to see a couple of cars parked on the access road. My first thought was that fellow fliers had turned up for a last hour of flying before darkness and didn't fancy driving through the mud, but upon getting out of my car and attempting to speak to them, I realised that they were not model fliers and probably had no idea that this was the access road to a patch. I politely asked the two lads to move the cars so I could get past, and rather than reversing out onto the road as I expected, they continued up the track and parked on the patch itself! As I followed them to the parking area next to the patch, I expected them to drive off, but they just sat in their cars on the patch, scowling at me. I tried to speak to them, but they wound up the window and ignored me: clearly I had disturbed whatever it was that they were doing.

Since I was on my own in a very remote field, I decided at this point that discretion was the better part of valor, and drove off. There were just too many scenarios in my mind's eye. I suspected that they were up to no good, it clearly wasn't safe to fly with the cars on the patch, but I didn't fancy a standoff. If I had a model in the air, that would leave me very vulnerable, and frankly, my model/mobile phone/wallet/car/life were more important than getting a flight in. In my dark imaginings, I even asked myself whether deliberately flying a model into someone would be considered a measured form of self-defence if I was attacked.

It ruined my evening, but then I asked myself afterwards whether I had over-reacted. They had not actually done anything illegal (perhaps apart from trespass as non-club members), but as I felt intimidated, I chickened out of approaching them further - what a world we live in when our first reaction in a situation like this is to assume the worst! Was I rational, or am I a cynical victim of media-fueled 'don't talk to strangers' scaremongering?

So, have any other members had any similar experiences (or worse)?

Jack Banner25/10/2013 13:17:39
332 forum posts
43 photos

Sounds like you interrupted them 'doing business' mate. Probably just selling small quantities of drugs. You did the right thing.

Stephen Grigg25/10/2013 13:23:18
8691 forum posts
1128 photos

You did the right thing.Unfortunately I tend to stand my ground,not the wisest move

bouncebounce crunch25/10/2013 13:23:40
1739 forum posts
212 photos

I would have said "hey young fellas, I am about to have a go at flying a new model, park your cars over there and have a look". I have done this before although on public land, and now one of them is an honestly interested mate with a very small budget, but he gets fun, mateship and a few laughs and a little guidance away from what may have been his downfall.


Percy Verance25/10/2013 14:10:50
8108 forum posts
155 photos

I'd say you almost certainly interrupted a deal of some sort.......

I once arrived at a club field I used to use many moons ago (no longer a member) to find two blokes playing golf on the mown strip. They said they'd no idea it was used by a model aircraft club. I said " the sign on that hut over there says ******* Model Aircraft Club. Wasn't that a clue?" I asked. After which they drove off without uttering a word.......

Mr.B.25/10/2013 14:30:11
413 forum posts
26 photos

TWS, I've been in the exact same situation and did almost exactly what you did. I made a polite approach and very much got the impression that they wanted to ignore me if I ignored them. As you say with a model in the air and with arm fulls of kit preventing a rapid exit you feel very vulnerable. You want to be careful that your patch does not become the place to do business. Consider informing the local police. I found that once the young business men I came across realized that the quiet corner they had found was not as quiet as they first thought they moved on.

Ian Southerton 125/10/2013 17:15:52
121 forum posts
14 photos

I think you did the wise thing, erring on the side of caution.

I'm a maintenance engineer for a large supermarket chain and regularly see abled bodied people park in the disabled and parent/baby and also double yellow lines in the car park. I've given up challenging them due to the verbal abuse I get.

On the news recently, there was a case of some 15 year olds stabbed somebody in an argument-better to live and tell the tale.

Unfortunately, we now live in an age where nobody has a conscience, on the upside, there will always be those of us out there that are 'old fashioned', courteous and thoughtful!


Martin Harris25/10/2013 17:54:03
9154 forum posts
229 photos
Posted by Ian Southerton 1 on 25/10/2013 17:15:52:

Unfortunately, we now live in an age where nobody has a conscience, on the upside, there will always be those of us out there that are 'old fashioned', courteous and thoughtful!


That's rather a damning view Ian! I think that might be rather too sweeping a statement to say that no-one has a conscience - I know I have the vestiges of one - but there is certainly a much larger proportion of amoral people out there, no doubt misunderstood and poor little things who know no better...

Personally, I think it's woolly headed do gooders and over liberal attitudes that have caused this sad decline in the nation's standards. Unfortunately as each generation passes these attitudes on, the decline will snowball but I suspect that one or two within the hallowed virtual walls of this forum have some concept of morality and fair play?

Edited By Martin Harris on 25/10/2013 17:54:46

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator25/10/2013 17:56:49
15748 forum posts
1460 photos

I think you were very sensible. They may have been perfectly innocent - but it does look dodgy and better to be safe than regret getting into a conflict with them.

We had some problems of a related but different nature - local youhgsters thinking that our field was a good spot to ride motorbikes off-road. This is despite signs saying that such activity is expressly banned. The solution to that one was quite clever I thought - whenever they appeared we made a big show of videoing them on mobile phones (actually we weren't - but we made it look like we were). All we got back were a few abusive shouts - but they scarpered and didn't return! So it worked!

I suggest your club committee needs to know about this and they need to consider what action to take. I think informing the local community police officer, or equivalent, is a very good idea - the committee don't need to make unsupported allegations, they merely need to say that some cars have been showing up in pairs, acting rather suspiciously. The police can join the dots themselves! The second thing I think your committee needs to consider is a gate - with a padlock.


Ian Southerton 125/10/2013 18:10:31
121 forum posts
14 photos

Apologies, it was rather damning, it's something i feel strongly about and i agree it appears to be getting worse with each new generation.


Simon B25/10/2013 18:16:59
1936 forum posts
284 photos

Is it really any worse these days? In days of old you had violent teddy boys, plus mods and rockers pumped full of amphetamines terrorising seaside towns. How often do you hear of those sorts of things happening now? The situation above was unpleasant, but a bit of perspective is needed before people fear for the end of civillisation

Shaunie25/10/2013 19:20:11
944 forum posts
78 photos

I think you did the right thing.

It's one thing to stand your corner but if the odds are unfavourable that's another ballgame altogether.

I may have been inclined to discreetely take a photo with reg. numbers to report to the boys in blue if it could be done without being seen that is.

A locked field gate seems to be a necessity.


Peter Miller25/10/2013 19:28:08
10720 forum posts
1258 photos
10 articles

I think you did the right thing.

I always carry a camera in my pocket. I also have one of the new black boxes in the windscreen of my car which videos everything in f ront of the car. Mainly for accidents but would also be good in this sort of situation.

I can actually see our flying field from my home acrss the fields and do check regularly if anyone is there.

Only been club members so far.

However I would be extremely cautious about approaching any trespassers on my own. And ours is in a nice isolated rural area

Depron Daz25/10/2013 19:41:41
760 forum posts
173 photos

As I am one of the "boys in blue" (of too many years to remember) I would suggest that you report the incident as suspicious activity, and without getting yourself into any danger, try and gather as much information as possible in order to forward that on.

It is difficult seeing as you appear to have no security on the track to stop such activity, and to be fair they may not have been doing anything but sitting there talking. However, it still warrants a patrol to take a look just to be sure that there are no illegal activities taking place.

I remember as a youngster in my car that we would sometimes meet friends in remote areas just to get away from everything and everyone, and that included the police. We weren't up to anything, just chatting and listening to music and didn't want to be stopped and spoken to by the police every 5 minutes, which is what it was like back then.

Never put yourself in danger just to "stand your ground", it isn't worth it. At least we can approach them wearing protective armour and carrying tools to deal with any violence should that be their intentions.

There's always another day to fly!

Edit: Forgot to mention, ring 101 for your local police in any non emergency, or 999 if it is an emergency. That being that a crime is taking place, you believe it about to take place, or the suspect that has committed it and is still in the vicinity.

Edited By Depron Daz 393 on 25/10/2013 19:44:09

Codename-John25/10/2013 21:25:11
1087 forum posts
18 photos

Im going against the grain, and say if they were upto something unlawful, then the last thing they would want to do is draw attention to themselves further by causing you any aggrivation. In my opinion you subconciously profiled them and jumped to a conclusion, you say they "scowled at you" and wound the windows up, but take it from their perspective perhaps also, if you were out talking to a friend minding your own business and a stranger ( which you were to them too ) approached you, which you may have thought were 20 questions as to why you where you where. Like the police man above, he admits to doing similar things in his youth without doing anything unlawful, now he`s advocating telling the police for others doing the same, seemingly trying to say you need paramilitary equipment to sort people out these days, how much hypocrasy is that ?

Everybody seems to fear the younger generation these days, and people on this forum seem to jump to conclusions very quickly seemingly always against those younger, just like with the bloke who wanted to take some of his friends kids to a flying field a few weeks ago, and was warned off

Just because of 1 or 2 bad things you hear in the news, the media over sensationalise a lot of things, 1 bad story is more news worthy than 100 good. Dont you ever stop to think your fear may be pushing youngsters further away from someone who may show them a different path ?

Edited By Codename-John on 25/10/2013 21:26:27

Simon B25/10/2013 21:32:10
1936 forum posts
284 photos

Codename John's got a point...

Shaunie25/10/2013 21:52:43
944 forum posts
78 photos

Codename John has a good point. I remember being moved on from the village bus stop on many occasions despite the fact we were only sitting and talking (quietly at that), seems a local just didn't want us to be there, took about five minutes sometimes.

However.... a friend of mine in Kent Police is off work at the moment with his collarbone broken in two places because the "miscreant" they tried to talk to took exception to them. You just don't know which one of these two types you have in front of you!


Area 5125/10/2013 21:54:42
653 forum posts
1 photos

Wright Stuff.. May I just say I feel your actions were indeed the “right stuff”.. This situation is unacceptable.

In this instance; on balance of probabilities/in a remote area and with two “characters” behaving in a less than “normal” fashion.. with these circumstances you were right to leave them too it…

I would also be worth taking a couple of images have been taken on the mobile phone.. whenever possible capturing faces and registration numbers; this is all the law enforcement officers need. Dial 101, it may or may not be relevant..

Had their presence been unintentional/co-incidental/non disruptive, they would have observed any guidance you offered on use of the site or parking areas…. It is only what any reasonable individual (young or old) would do.. If your club suffers any thefts / damage in the coming weeks this may be related!; it may also be someone on farmland considering access to farm equipment or animals….

Under normal circumstances, why not use a layby or regular car park too meet..?

Take care and look after number one in remote situations such as this…. Experience tells us this much, I am pleased to read you are safe!yes

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator26/10/2013 00:25:09
15748 forum posts
1460 photos

I have deleted two posts from this thread.

Gentlemen, this a model aeroplane forum. Political debate, especially such heated political debate which brandishes very serious allegations around, has no place on here.

Now each side have made their primary point - it stops there.


Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator26/10/2013 00:32:01
15748 forum posts
1460 photos

This thread is now locked.


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