After having to cancel the first Clubman Event because of strong winds, the second one went ahead in sunny, dry conditions with a gentle wind straight along the runway – amazing! Eleven pilots had entered but one withdrew the night before. We were blessed by having 5 mentors ranging from a current GB Team member to a Masters pilot – pretty experienced therefore!
The entrants had a wide range of experience, which is what was intended. We are aiming for Club pilots who wish to progress their flying skills by improving or learning how to fly aerobatics. Some attendees were already flying 2 mtr specialist aerobatic machines but were yet to fly in a competition while we did have one competition pilot coming back after a long layoff from flying. The Club type aircraft included a Splendor, Explorer, an own design (I think), a Monolog 30 and a Calamato.
The event began with one of the mentors, Bill Michie, flying the Clubman Schedule to give the participants an idea of what they should be aiming for as well as how far out to fly – further than most expected – and the importance of building up individual manoeuvres before trying to fly them either a few at a time or all together. Like snooker, you need to know where the aircraft needs to exit one manoeuvre to be in the right place to enter the next manoeuvre, all while dealing with a head and/or cross wind and flying the right shape for the current manoeuvre. There’s a lot to think about! However, practice is essential if you are to make progress in flying aerobatics and, as we all know, practice makes perfect.
Thank you to the Harlow Club for giving up their patch to host this event. Their Chairman, Garry Peacock, also a current GB Team member, provided the lunch and other members the all-day hot drinks. The Club also provided 3 more mentors (Eugene Anker (GB Aerobatics Team Manager), Eddy Scott and Bill Michie) while none other than the GBR/CAA Chairman, Peter Brett, an experienced aerobatic judge, was the 5th mentor. I made the 6th one.
The key point of the day was not, repeat, not to drive people to fly in competition, but to learn how to fly aerobatics. We did, however, ask Garry to fly the FAI P and F Schedule that he will be flying in the World Champs in Argentina in Nov 2017. Some of those present had never seen these schedules flown and I think they were astonished at how complicated the schedule was and how easy Garry made it appear! Thank you Garry.
Finally, the participants were: Mick Broad, Eddy Down, Al Williams, Neil White, Mike Rieder, David Beavis, Dave Lewis, Geoff Reynolds, Neil Martin and Ian Barker. All departed well pleased with what they had learned during the day. The photo shows all the participants and the mentors at the end of the day.
There are 2 more Clubman Events planned. One on the 17th June at the South Norfolk MFC and one on the 20th August at the Tendring MFC. There are still spaces available if you wish to join the fun. Please contact Peter Jenkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those pilots interested in flying in an event that simulates a competition, we are running a New (to aerobatics) Pilot Open Day (NPOD) on Sat 23rd September. More details later.
Front row kneeling: Ian Barker, Geoff Reynolds, David Beavis, Bill Michie and Neil Martin
Second row: Mike Rieder, Eddy Scott, Mick Broad, Edward Down, Neil White, Al Williams, Eugene Anker, Peter Jenkins, Garry Peacock and Peter Brett