Fun Electric Fly-In


West Calder Electric Fly In 2002
With the 2003 Electric Fly In fast approaching, (click here for more details), Tom Laird reviews last year's event.

About a year ago we started looking around for a suitable event for our flying site. Since we are still the new kids on the block were a bit apprehensive about aerobatics and the thought of someone breaking a scale model on our site did not go down very well. Free-flight was out as wind would need to be from the East and thermal soaring was a non starter as we could not lay the winches out. This left helis, but we have no helicopters in the club so this might have been difficult to get agreement on. The most suitable discipline would be electro-slot however this is centred around the excellent Mossmorran site, so we decided on electric sports planes. The tarmac would be great for models with wheels, and the grass would suit anything landing on its belly. In the event we had a few electric gliders as well.

The event was heavily advertised on various web sites, mailing lists, model shops in the area, magazines, and by handing out fliers at any events we attended, and by personal encouragement. It all paid off with a great turn-out.

25 people booked-in transmitters and we had about a dozen other visitors who were not flying. At one stage we had 31 cars in the car park. We had between 50 and 60 models including 9 twin-jets. Stars of the show were Lew Weaver with his triple engine Italian Kant, and George Shering with his F5B electric glider with 18x2400 cells. Top speed 200kph and 50 metres per second climb rate. Imagine 30 people turning in unison towards the runway and exclaiming "What the heck" when it took off. It was ballistic! An airshow attraction if ever I saw one (hint, hint).

The mass launch of 6 twin-jets was marred by one not starting, but even 5 in the air was impressive, the differing colour schemes making your own model pretty easy to see. The inverted low pass of the Multiplex Cargo was nice to see, although the passengers might not agree. Martin Gibbs' Sea Fury gave a smooth and very scale-like display and his Crossfire did likewise.

Ken Henderson brought an electric heli along and I hope the glider guys enjoyed the lift. Unfortunately the two 4 engine, 100inch Lancasters are still in the building phase so we might see them next year, and there was no room in the car for Martin's electric ducted fan. The stealth bomber turned up late in the day, but no-one saw it fly I'm afraid.

We had reps from 7 visiting clubs plus 5 prospective members who saw the advert on the web sites. We thought it was a successful day and we will do a similar event next year, around the same time. It was great to go out flying for the day and go home clean. With the correct model, engine and battery pack, there is no way electric is boring.

So it's a big thanks to the guys who organized it, prepared the site, got the food, bought the food, turned up & flew, trained the guys who turned up & flew, but especially to the bloke who arranged the brilliant weather.

For those of you on the Internet, more pictures can be found on our web site at

Tom Laird
West Calder Aeromodellers.

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