Photos by John Bowman (check out John's album for more photos)
The first of the 2010 season PSSA ( Power Scale Soaring Association ) meetings got under way on a rather grey and doubtful day, at the famous Great Orme Llanduno venue Sunday 6th June.
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Things didn’t get off to the best of starts with the surprise announcement by the local council that the Orme would be all but closed completely on the Saturday of this planned two day weekend event – due to a car rally taking place around the Marine drive. Keeping a close eye on the met office reports, it was touch and go right up to Saturday night as to 'whether' the event would happen at all, as we had been experiencing some rather calm and pleasant conditions for a change – great for all but us slope soaring fans who like nothing better than a brisk 20 MPH westerly wind!
Sunday morning dawned cloudy, but at least the forecast included some wind. Right up to 9AM or so on Sunday morning, several phone calls and emails were flying to and from the house – as we can literally just about see the Orme from our back garden – the trees at our place are a pretty good indicator of conditions, and that, coupled with the behaviour of the off-shore wind turbines which now blight our sea view helped cement the decision that we were good to go. My wife Rahme and I arrived on site to be greeted by around a dozen or more PSSA enthusiasts many of whom had travelled goodly distances to this famous venue. New faces and old friends alike were already testing the lift with some not so precious foamies and the odd non-power-scale like flying wings. The 12 MPH or so Northerly wind was not really 'on the slope' so flying was a bit marginal and several peeps were scratching for lift. Newcomers and fellow forumites Dave Gilder (I reckon the registrar got the spelling of his surname wrong) and Chris Perkins were enjoying their first experience of throwing a model off a big rock and watching it head out over the fearsome Irish sea!
Local flying buddies Ron 'Rocket' Cooper, together with forumites Kevin Davies (Iawnski) and Paul 'digitup' Vernon were also active – with Ron having just participated in the days first of 3 mid airs – downing PSSA stalwart Scot Steve Kemp’s Mustang and damaging his own FW 190 on arrival back to terra firma.
As more and more flyers arrived during the morning, numbers finally peaked at 24, with a total of 41 assorted models counted. Sadly missing from the days proceedings due to work and other such commitments were PSSA regulars and all round great modellers Phil Cooke, Matt Jones, Andy Conway, Rez “flyboyrez” Manzoori, and most sadly of all – the father of PSSA Alan Hulme, who passed away in early January of this year. You were missed guys.
On a brighter note, as PSS guru Simon Cocker rolled into the now crowded car park, the wind had obligingly begun swinging a bit more to the west, and also picked up a few knots. We therefore eagerly moved camp some 50 yards over towards the slightly better NW point, where Simon bravely tested the air with the 'baby' 9-foot wingspan version of his old, but still magnificent O/D foam based B52 bomber. Simon is currently renovating the bigger brother of this fantastic beast which sports a huge 13-foot wingspan, and we hope to see this one flying at the next meet.
Due mainly to the absence of Phil Cooke, sadly we didn’t get to see the other now familiar spectacle at these events – and that’s the duet of Simon and Phil flying in close formation their superb T33 shooting stars…but for those who missed previous events…heres a taster.
A new landmark for the PSAA was the first (as far as I know) lady flier – the honours being taken by none other than my wife Rahme flying her Ripmax Spitfire.
Several other WW2 warbirds were soon patrolling the seas, at times accompanying the Lancaster of Kevin Davis, and occasionally threatened by another Ripmax model – the BF109 of that man Simon Cocker. These EP ARTFs really did perform very well, unpowered on the slope, and provided that decent landings are part of your repertoire, make a great dual role model to have in your collection. Other models of note included the HP Victor, Hellcat, Learjet, superbly finished L.E.G Spitfire and Hurricane, a couple of Hawks, a lovely F86 Sabre, DH Swallow, Corsair, and many many more. There were simply too many models to mention every one individually, so apologies to all those who I missed, but hopefully the included pictures (courtesy of clubmate John Bowman) will give a flavour of the day. Lunch break and group photo call over and it was back to real business of the day – flying! Making the most of the weather, ourselves and Simon Cocker were still enjoying the day as the rain arrived around 6 pm.
As I drove away a short while later, Simon could still be seen tearing great holes in the darkening skies with yet another model from his extensive hangar, the FX27 – obviously stalling the 2+ hour drive home after what was again yet another enjoyable day at this fantastic site.
If you haven’t yet tried PSS, then now is the time to get a model sorted – the next two meetings of the association are scheduled for the same venue on the weekends of 14th and 15th August, and rounding the season off ….2nd and 3rd of October. Don’t be at all concerned about any elitism – this friendly bunch of fliers will welcome any like minded modeller, and even if you don’t yet have a proper power scale model, things are pretty informal, and all manner of models get flown.
More details of these events, as well as a host of other PSS related stuff including many more photos of this and other events can be found over at the dedicated PSSA website at www.pssaonline.co.uk
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