Airborne has closed!

It is with great regret that we have to announce the death of a great magazine. After 46 years and 274 issues the curtain has fallen, due in no uncertain terms to the buying habits of aero modellers forsaking their traditional bricks & mortar hobby shop for the vagaries of a quick and sometimes questionable purchase from an Internet site.

These purchasing habits may seem innocent enough, but when these purchases are multiplied, they affect the entire industry from the local manufacturer, (yes, we did have quite a few once!) the wholesalers, the retailers and of course their window to you, our Airborne readers.

Next time you wonder why there is no longer a hobby store near you or a hobby magazine to read, check your buying habits and ask "where can I get sound advice, a friendly face and all the nick knacks that are needed for a model in one place?" If you answer it used to be my local store but it has gone, then more likely you are part of the problem.

Support the shops that are still here because without your support the will not be here much longer. Fly safe and goodbye from us all at Airborne.

Gratton Air International 2014

This year saw the 2nd attempt at getting this event really off the ground. If you recall, last year adverse wet weather played a major part in affecting the event. Well the weather gods seemed to be even keener to upset this event. Right before the start the heavens opened up, flooding the surrounding fields.

On the Thursday, which was the registration day, any decision regarding the event was to be postponed to Friday. Then, on a rather clear Friday morning, the pilots were given the choice of flying or cancel the event. Unanimously it was decided to go ahead. What the organisers then decided was that there would be no public invited to the event due to the public car park being more or less an impenetrable bog.

This year the 2 international invited pilots were Mike McConville and Peter Goldsmith, both from the US. Peter is really an ex pat, and has spent many years in the US doing model design and so on. No matter, both these pilots were well received and they spent a lot of time helping many of the participant pilots who had entered in the events.

This year also saw the event concentrate on pylon racing only, namely Reno Warbirds, Golden Era Inline and Radial, plus 120 Warbirds, 120 Civil, and finally Texan. All these classes had sufficient entries to be flown. Whilst entries were down on last year, the attending pilots enthusiasm more than made up for lack of numbers.

The most popular class by far was the Parkzone/E-Flite T28 pylon racers. Model Flight was the corporate sponsor of this event, and they had a number of their own employees flying as well. One, who shall remain nameless, flew perfectly into one of the steel pylons, totally destroying his T28. No matter, another one was simply prepared from a number of kits Model Flight brought with them. You could always know when the T28s were flying, as there was a cloud of aircraft.

In between the rounds and during the lunch breaks, both Mike McConville and Peter Goldsmith put on demonstration flights. One of the most spectacular flights was with a just released giant scale E-Flite Carbon Cub flown by Mike McConville. Mike did a glider tow of Mike O’Rellly’s Fournier glider. Once that was completed, Mike McConville then proceeded to do low level 3D aerobatics with the Carbon Cub. To say it looked amazing is an understatement.

Another aircraft that attracted a lot of attention was the O’Reilly Model Products Sukhoi 26. Interestingly it was designed by Mike McConville, but was outfitted in a totally different way to what was expected. To begin with, it was all electric; the motor being a Hacker A-1-40, electronic speed control was a Jet 200Amp, running a 27 X 10 prop, and batteries were 14S 2P, 5000mAh.

After Mike put the aircraft through several demonstration flights, he commented, “If I had this model with this power at the last masters I would have had a chance to win it”. In his opinion it was pretty close to the ultimate 3D package you could get. You too can have this exact same package, as it’s all available through OMP/Model Flight.
At least the event was able to be flown both on the Friday and Saturday. Most flyers had a pretty good time, although there was one mid air, and several hard landings resulting in torn out undercarriages.

I have to say that Chris Gratton, one of the organisers of the event, took all that was thrown at him in his stride. So much so, that another event, this time a scale one, will be run later this year, last weekend of August. Check out the details in our Airborne Club Events Calendar. Hope you make the effort, as I’ll be there for sure.

Peter R

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