Radio Controlled Flying
I took up radio controlled (RC) flying as a hobby in the early 1980's. A colleague was an avid RC thermal glider fan and encouraged me to give it a go.
Many and hour was spent at weekends on the airfield at RAF Wildenrath. There I learnt to fly thermal gliders and took part in some postal competitions organised by the British Amateur Radio Controlled Soarers (BARCS). I also joined the League of Silent Flight (LSF). Building models was part an parcel of the hobby in those days; my most successful being the Chieftan. Built from plans, it was a robust glider that took some punishment. It provided some truly fantastic flights, some over an hour long. It would be attacked by birds, in thermals, and I now regret selling it in the 1990's when I 'gave up' the hobby. Maybe I'll build another?
Moving to Cornwall saw the thermalling continue but with superb cliffs a short drive away it would have been silly not to try some slope soaring. So after trying this in light winds with my thermal gliders, I decided to build a pure slope model. I forget the name of it now, but it was strong and fast and great fun. The feeling of launching your model out over the sea is something quite strange, especially for the first time with a new model.
A further house move to Lincolnshire saw the end of slope soaring and I think the excitement of it had spoiled my thermal flying. So after a few weeks of thermalling, and unable to find a nearby club of like minded folk, the hobby was no more - I sold all the models, radio gear and accessories. I am sure someone got a good deal!
In 2010, despite not having much free time, I felt the urge to get back into the hobby. I rejoined BARCS with my original number (1971) and the BMFA as they provide inclusive insurance. For Christmas an 'almost ready to fly' (ARTF) electric glider "The Radian" was bought. I went ARTF to allow a quick re-entry into the hobby and electric so as to provide a 'self launch' facility as I'd sold all my 'bungee' launch equipment.