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12-13th August 2000
There are in the South East of England very few clubs who go to the trouble of organizing large public model air displays. Let's face it, there are so many factors to have to consider, the task is very daunting. Therefore, to organize one, a club needs to be very committed. One such club is the Hastings & District Model Flying Club (HDMFC) who are motivated by the wish to raise funds to purchase their own flying field. They have been running a show for about four years now, usually in June. However, the decision was made to move the date to August, following the end last year, to the very successful Plumpton Family Model Show to fill the hole left. Having attended the latter show last year, myself and Gerry Towner, packed a car and headed to Hastings for a weekend by the sea, to compare how well the Hastings show filled Plumpton's shoes.
The weather for the weekend was pretty well perfect. It was hot and sunny with hardly a cloud in sight on Saturday, while Sunday saw the skies start to cloud up in the afternoon. We arrived in Hastings about 10.30am to see that the parking area was already nearly half full at Bulverhythe Recreation Ground. This is just off the A259 Bexhill Road, where the show was being held.
Having parked the car a look round revealed a healthy number of traders stands, covering aircraft, boats and cars, and that there was an adequate provision of toilet facilities, food and drink, etc. Local model traders were well represented with Streamline Sales, Sussex Model Centre, Hunter Systems, and Two O Two Models. Local model clubs were also invited to display at the show, and apart from HDMFC, there was the Hastings 1066 MFC, Sussex Radio Flyers, Croydon, and Epsom model flying clubs, while the Eastbourne Model Power Boat, and Hastings Model Stockcar clubs were also present.
The flying was organised into various theme slots and displays. Present was the Ripmax Team who flew a mixture of aircraft including Kyosho Spitfires and ME109's, Balsacraft Rapiers, F15 Eagle, and their new Kangaroo gas turbine powered models. Also present were the Arnhem Memorial Flight, Woodwings Team, and Corsair Flying Club.
I had not seen the latter before, and their display of two Avro Lancasters, and an Avro Manchester in formation was nice and a pleasant change to see.
There were for me two stars of the show, and I would not like to say one was better than the other, because the models and displays differed. Young Ali Machinchy flew his gas turbine powered F15 in a very smooth, well co-ordinated tight display that really impressed the crowds. If you have not seen this, try and make a show where he is flying.
The other star was Les Eagle and his 1/3rd scale model of the Stearman biplane. Again the model was displayed in a very realistic manner.
The sight of two gas turbine powered models formation flying looked and sounded great. It just goes to show that this method of power is on the increase, and will feature more in future displays in this country, as engines and models continue to become more affordable.
After the Saturday show there was a vintage model flying competition, which was followed by a free for all electric powered flight flying until 9pm.
Sunday's show was more of the same as for Saturday, except there were more people in attendance. There was the added bonus on Sunday of seeing Gary Rawlings fly his twin ducted fan powered F15. This model looked most realistic both on the ground, and in the air. The scale detail was great. The flight was curtailed when an engine cut, and Gary elected to land under single engine power, which he did perfectly safely.
In summary the weekend was excellent all round, and hopefully some of the pictures from the show showing the standard of models present supports this. The flying was to a high standard, as was the level of safety. The venue is ideal, and the support of Hastings Borough Council in this respect, adds to the success, and encourages visitors to Hastings. As an advertisement for model flying to the general public the show was first class. In comparison to the late Plumpton shows, it makes a worthy successor. Given a few more years to become firmly established, it will certainly be the equal, if not better. I for one have already marked my diary for 11-12th August 2001, for the Hastings show.