Radio-active at Rougham
Dave Eade reviews the recent BMFC day at Rougham airfield in Suffolk
"No traffic in sight - the sky is yours, Sir!" With these words, Air Traffic Control releases the next item in the programme. The two jets housed deep in the bowels of Mark Hinton's F-15C roar to maximum revs and the orange and white jet comes to life. As if some secret password has removed the laws of gravity for a moment, this massive jet bounds skywards. Resplendent in the colours of the test centre at Edwards Air Force base, the Eagle roars across the airfield and zoom-climbs until a mere speck in the sky. Returning to earth, Mark puts the star of the show through its paces with rolls, loops, fast and slow passes and zoom climbs that merely illustrate the immense power-to-weight ratio this airshow favourite has.
I am on the flightline, press-pass clipped securely to my chest when I call to Hinton's show co-ordinator "Give me a topside pass - but tell me when!" Out of a rolling dive comes the jet - the pilot's voice yells "Here comes your pass!" The auto-wind goes into overdrive as a roll of Mr Fuji's best cranks past the shutter of my trusty Canon. Where else? What other show can you submit photo-requests to the pilot as he performs in front of you?
Yes, it's that time again - the annual air show of the Bury Model Flying Club (BMFC) is here again. The enthusiasm of these pilots is totally infectious, as Air-Scene UK found last year, and it was with relish that your scribe found himself there again. Held over 1/2 May at the Suffolk airfield of Rougham, just east of Bury St. Edmunds, this event is aimed, of course, at the model flier but there is so much here for the normal aviation enthusiast as well. This was the third event at Rougham held over two days and was well supported by the general public as well as those from the model fraternity.
As well as Mr Hinton's six-foot long F-15, the sky abounded with excellent models of all types, from a Fw-190 to USAAF types such as the P-38 and B-17. Last year we were entertained with a ten-foot wingspan replica of 'Sally-B' - this year it was the turn of Colin Hammond with a similar sized 'Hang the Expense' resplendent in a dazzling red and silver colour scheme. Colin not only showed his mastery of the skies with this machine but managed to commentate at the same time. He also flies a B-25 Mitchell and Dakota, but watch out for his thirteen-foot wingspan C-130!
Your scribe's eyes were also taken with a beautiful Mosquito and I was forced to reflect how 'right' these warbirds look in the sky. So often models fly too fast and too 'jerkily' so they lose the feel of reality, but when you see a B-17 over the fence or a low, slow pass by a P-38 - it all looks 'the business'.
In selecting a few items as I have it inevitably means that you leave some items out that are worthy of mention. Let me say that ALL the flying I saw was incredible. I especially take my hat off to the sixteen-year-old who made a six-foot wingspan Extra perform in such an incredible way that I ended up hoping that no idiot pilot was watching and thinking 'I wonder if I could do that for real!' This aircraft was made to hover - in the vertical - a mere few feet in front of the pilot for seemingly ages - just hanging on the prop!
I suppose it is true of all enthusiast pastimes - spend enough time with them and you get kind of hooked. This was certainly how I felt after spending most of two days in and among these people. Their friendly attitude to one and all makes this a show to relish and I wholeheartedly recommend, at least once, that you give this show a look. The next model display at Rougham is the Top-Gun Model Aircraft Competition to be held over 17/18 July (yes, unfortunately RIAT weekend!). In the meantime, our congratulations once again to Bury Model Flying Club for a great weekend.