POTTED HISTORY – by Mike Larlham.
“As at Year 2000”
Please note that the history of Kidderminster Severn Spinners Radio Control RC Aero model Flying Club in the County of Worcestershire as related below was researched by our member Mike Larlham who was our Club Secretary at the time. He then published this information in an article which was published in a Club Newsletter during the year 2000. Whilst this has not really been updated since then, it nevertheless provides an excellent record of the interesting background to the club for the 25 years from 1975 to year 2000.
■ Our Radio Control Model Flying Club was formed in 1975
It was way back in the last millennium that the Severn Spinners Radio Control Model Flying Aero Club first came into being, in 1975 to be precise. You might think that a club like ours wouldn’t have much in the way of difficulties, we all being such nice chaps, but you would be wrong.
It seems that as soon as you mention flying radio control model planes, particularly ones with engines, some people have fits of apoplexy and do all they can to have us put down.
■ The first flying field was at Bannutt Tree Farm, near Pound Green, and we were able to fly there with our 15 members for the first year. The club then looked for a second field, and found one at the 25 MU at Hartlebury. This required SMAE club membership, and we agreed to join in November 1975.
■ Our New Badge (Logo) 1977
At this time the club badge was chosen from a list of 9 candidates, although there is no record of them, so I presume our present badge was the one. At the first AGM in 1976, the Bannutt Tree Farm field was no longer available, the permitted membership was raised to 30 seniors and 5 juniors, and the committee increased to 5. Subscriptions were set at £15 including SMAE membership! Monthly meetings were started, and were apparently held at the field. The 1977 balance sheet showed we only paid £25 for the use of the field!
Membership was now around 22, and 23 attended the AGM – a bit better than we now achieve. Subs were set at £10 with each member paying his own SMAE fees, but SMAE membership was not compulsory. The club started to look for a Sunday flying field, but in February 1978 the Hartlebury field was lost, I believe due to an invasion by travellers. A new field was found at Sionhouse Farm, Yieldingtree, but then our troubles began.
■ Our Troubles began 1979/80
Someone crashed a Rob6ot in the farmyard of the farm next door, and this made the farmer really see red. There followed a campaign to stop our activities, with various articles in the press, some well informed, most very much against us. In 1979 the first use was made of our Heath Lane field, and flying finally finished at Sionhouse Farm around February 1980. There is mention in the records of a field being used at Bridgnorth, but this seems to have been given up or lost.
Right from the start, the club was concerned to limit the noise generated by our models, and some people were refused renewal of membership for not complying. Radio frequency control was a problem which took much attention, just as today, and interference from Citizen’s Band radios on the 27MHz band was a real cause for concern – it may have been the reason for the crash which started the troubles at Sionhouse Farm.
■ Eventful Time 1980/81
1980/81 was an eventful time, as it saw the introduction of 35MHz equipment and the removal of the need for a GPO transmitting licence. The club also started taking an interest in the SMAE achievement scheme, but only a few were actually members of the SMAE at that time. A search for new flying fields was started, including asking Wyre Forest District Council, but all to no avail.
■ Planning Permission Required 1983
The Council were beginning to take an interest in the Heath Lane field as there had been some complaints about our activities from neighbours. Flying was stopped until we had obtained Planning Permission, so we made our first application in 1982, which was promptly rejected!
However, we appealed and won, and in February 1983 were given a two year trial period, and so began our continuing battle to keep the field. We have had a succession of temporary grants, a further refusal and successful appeal in the period to date, and as you know, we are getting ready for the next round.
Since the club moved to Heath Lane, it has changed somewhat in character. Perhaps naturally enough, the members of the newly formed club were very enthusiastic, with large attendance at meetings and a keen interest in attending functions as a club.
These days, members are much more inclined to be individuals, interested only in flying their models, with the odd barbecue if the weather permits. While the main object of any model flying club must be the flying, I often wonder if we are missing out by not doing more as a club. On the positive side, we do all have the common purpose of enjoying our flying as a pure sport with the minimum of formality, under the cover of the not too arduous rules which ensure safety and minimum interference to our neighbours.
■ The Annual Dinner 1999
Some 24 members and guests met at the Ripperage on 18 December 1999. There was much more room than at our previous venue at Ombersley, and we enjoyed an excellent menu. In all a very enjoyable evening.
■ Pegboards – Can’t Do it Alone
Our new pegboard system seems to be working, but there have been a few teething problems. On one recent occasion two members happily changed their pegs over on the board, but the one who had just landed forgot to switch off his transmitter and receiver. He also left his transmitter aerial extended.
This had the effect you would expect – the second member’s model went out of control shortly after take-off and was written off. Fortunately, no other damage or injury was caused, but we could have had a repetition of the horrific death of the boy in Essex.
■ This sorry tale “highlights” the reason for some of the club rules:
Always retract your transmitter aerial when returning to the pits and make sure you have switched it off. Remember that you are legally responsible or ensuring that your flight may be made safely. Don’t rely on the pegboard, always double check that the last user of the channel has indeed switched off before proceeding with your flight.
Both the MFA and the club are very concerned bout the safety of frequency control systems, see the February BMFA News, and e must all do our very best to ensure that our system works. A number of pilots are ignoring the club rules regarding transmitter flags or ribbons. It is important that all pilots show the correct pennants on their transmitters, ie an orange one marked with the number of the RF channel, and a red, yellow, blue or green ribbon according to the pilot’s achievement status.
■ Membership (Year 2000)
So far this year, we are significantly down on last year’s numbers, and will need to recruit some new members if we can. I am told that some have gone to the Central Club at Alverley. So if you know of any likely candidates who could be persuaded to join us, give them a nudge.
■ Anniversary Celebrations (Year 2000)
We still haven’t received any good ideas for the form of a celebration of our anniversary, so get those thinking caps on.
■ Renewal of Planning Permission (Year 2000)
We have had discussions with the BMFA Flying Site Adviser, and have now sent the application to the Council. We hope to expand our hours and cover power and electric models under separate rules, and although this is fine in theory, let us hope the Council will see it our way this time.
■ The next 25 years – Going forward from year 2000
Let us hope that the club will continue to thrive for the next 25 years, and that Planning Permission and the Kidderminster bypass will no longer be problems.
■ WORCESTER NEWS … Click here
Air club in appeal for flight time
Severn Spinners – in the News
■ WE ARE NOW – “In Year 2018”
Well, since that Newsletter was written in 2000 it seems there has been a more stable period. With membership now just below 50 we are still going strong and it is true to say there is a fantastic atmosphere between members which makes us a very happy Radio Control Flying Club.
We welcome interest in our club from Worcestershire, Wyre Forest and locally from Stourport, Bewdley, Worcester, Bromsgrove, Malvern, Redditch and also Stourbridge and Halesowen.