Free flight at the end of the century

A good article written by Mr. Martin Dilly several years ago

Martin Dilly Fellow BMFA,
British Team Manager.

Not many people fly competition free-flight today. It's clearly not the expense. Look at the cost of a year's golf, or some of the stereo equipment with which people adorn their houses, personalised car number plates, a kid's mountain bike or trainers (used for posing on the way to school, not for athletics), four-wheel drive mock-Jeeps, smoking or many peoples' drinking habits. Could it instead be that what we do is simply not fashionable?

One means by which something becomes fashionable is that it is heavily promoted and made constantly visible and thus desirable (to some, at least!). But we make hardly any attempt to make free-flight accessible. We go off to some abandoned airfield (public excluded) or military training area miles from normal human activity because the performance of the aircraft we use demands the space. The news-stand magazines have little to inspire people to progress to flying contest free-flight (perhaps because we don't take the time to write it) or even to learn the techniques of building the models. What information there is comes to us via various subscription-only newsletters (FFN, Vol Libre, NFFS Digest), - in other words you have to be in it to find it. If someone asks where to find out more, there is not a single book on free-flight to which to refer them, certainly in the UK. Model shops stock almost nothing of free-flight relevance, and their proprietors will tell enquirers that it no longer exists; instead we depend on the cottage industries, - FliteHook, Viktor Stamov, M&K.

Media coverage is effectively zero. Within the BMFA Council free-flight is poorly represented, so its needs are often ignored. In short we are virtually invisible.

The BMFA's Dart programme has no follow-up, so kids and their parents have no perception of where it can lead. What a missed opportunity! Is this what we want? Do we prefer to fly in national contests with entries in single figures? Are we happy to be part of an ageing group with a mean age of 54? Is the public perception of model aircraft as being all radio-controlled one with which we are happy?
The remedy is in our hands, - that's yours and mine. We have to write the magazine articles. We have to attend BMFA committee meetings that may not be immediately relevant to Free-flight. We should be badgering the publishers for books on free-flight (and writing them). Radio and TV should get details of free-flight events, and somebody will have to do the follow-up needed to get them covered. I've done my share, so it's your turn now.

Volar Libremente

El aeromodelismo de vuelo libre, nos enseña que cada detalle, cada ajuste, es crucial. Cada modelo es al mismo tiempo una maquina voladora y una obra de arte destinada a funcionar en un universo de variables infinitas. Al que dejamos escapar de nuestras manos, esperando que con buena suerte retorne con nosotros... Leer la nota completa
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