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The Venue

Introducing BMFA Buckminster
BMFA Buckminster is located on the Leicestershire/Lincolnshire border close to the towns of Melton Mowbray and Grantham and is the National Visitor Centre and Model Flying site of the British Model Flying Association (BMFA). See here for exact location and directions

3D Championship 2008 – Event Review

Thursday 18th September

A small group of helpers arrived onsite to meet Mike and I and to start preparing the competition venue.

The weather leading up to the event had been so bad that the field we intended to use had been under a metre of water the week before, and there was still a good six inches in the middle of it. Luckily the site owner, Alan, agreed that we could utilise the upper field for the competition and we quickly arranged to close off the main entrance to the site through the day for safety. Once the flying area had been sized up, we decided on where to place the trade stands, the catering bar and the beverage bar, the bouncy castle, the camping and the car parking, and proceeded to setup the flight line which needed to be ready for the Friday fun-fly.

Once the flight line was setup, and other arrangements decided upon, we went over the road to the pub for some dinner and a drink before returning to continue working on event preparation. The pilot and sponsors boards were made up, along with getting other elements ready for the competition, like checking pilot’s music and setting up the sound system etc.

Funfly Friday – Friday 19th September

Friday morning we all drove out to Tewkesbury to get a cooked breakfast off-site (we had only arranged this with the on-site caterers for Saturday and Sunday mornings). Having made a grassy mess in the café, and apologised for it, we headed back to the venue to get ready for the Fun fly.

The trade stands began to arrive and setup their stalls for the weekend. Fast-Lad, Optifuel and Blink-Trading all had their stands setup with Evo-RC arriving very early Saturday morning to set theirs up. Unfortunately, several more companies that were due to be on site with stands couldn’t make it in the end, so we’re truly grateful to those that did!

The fun fly attracted a few non-competition pilots to come and have a flight, which was great – but the majority of pilots were competitors arriving early to get some practice in before the competition began. Overall, the Friday funfly was a day packed full of flying and everyone seemed to have a great time.

Funfly 1 Funfly 2 Funfly 3 Funfly 4

James Robinson won the beginners Tail In Trophy, awarded for a best effort flight.

Friday evening was finished off with a meal and a pint on the club house balcony watching the sun set over the lake – a beautiful setting.

Sunset 1 Sunset 2

Competition day 1 – Saturday 20th September

Mike and I along with our small band of helpers got up early on Saturday morning to prepare for the start of the competition. The sun was out and shining brightly, which was a bit of an issue on the flightline as the pilots now had to look into the sun instead of it being at their backs. We put a delay on the start of the proceedings to allow the sun to get further around the sky and slightly out of the pilots view. The first pilots to fly were slightly disadvantaged by the sun, but the running order is randomised to keep things fair – apologies to those unlucky few who drew the short straw there!

With everyone where they needed to be there was a short pilots briefing to make sure everyone was aware of the safety issues on-site and that everyone knew where they had to be and what was expected of them. A short time later, at about 11:30am, the competition finally kicked off. The five judges, Russ Deakin, Nigel Fraser Ker, Jon Fox, Simon Brown and Jeremy Morcom were seated under the judging tent, Nigel Revill and Paul Lison were ready in the scoring tent to total everything up as the rounds progressed and Roger Hamilton took the microphone to introduce the event and the pilots to the audience.


First to fly were the Intermediates group kicking off with their set manoeuvres round followed by a break for lunch. Aurorra Ltd, one of the event sponsors, had provided 100 free drinks vouchers to be redeemed at the bar and Mike decided to grab the microphone and announce that he had the tickets about his person whilst standing on an empty flightline, and was duly mobbed by a thirsty and appreciative crowd! Hilarious! Thanks for the drinks and the laughs Aurorra!

The flying continued after the lunch break with the Champions set manoeuvres round and after another short break we moved swiftly on to the Intermediates Freestyle flights.

Saturday 1 Saturday 2 Saturday 3 Saturday 4

Another short break was then followed by the Champions Flight To Music round. Owing to the fairly late start and the amount of flying we needed to get through, the competitive flights for the first day finished at around 6pm.

Night flying competition – Saturday 20th September

This timing actually worked out very well because in the next 2 and a half hours, people had something to eat and drink while pilots prepared helicopters for the night flying competition which kicked off around 8:30pm.

Roger once again took to the Mic to compere the event, except this time there were a couple of pints to help lubricate the vocal chords and he really put them to great use, spurring on the pilots to fly extremely low and extremely high (in the scoring zone) “anything in-between doesn’t count!”. Some inspired commentary which luckily was also captured on the videos of the flights that Lance DV produced – a worthy download indeed!

Overall there were 24 pilots who had a go at the 2 minutes and 30 seconds freestyle flight. A few crashes (some from very high up) spurred on the crowd and Roger kept everyone on their toes egging the crowd and the pilots on in equal measure.

We are led to believe that this was the world’s largest ever night flying competition, which is great news, but regardless of that fact it was an absolutely stunning evening and one that we hope to repeat in 2009!

Night flying 1 Night flying 2

There was a real buzz over the whole field, pilots, judges and spectators alike all had a fantastic time.

The night flying competition was complete by 10:30pm ��������������� some people went to bed early while others retired to the bar for a night cap or 6.

Competition day 2 – Sunday 21st September

There was a fairly thick and heavy fog engulfing the field early on Sunday which hung around until fairly late in the morning which was almost a blessing as it forced us to start the competition later than we had planned, allowing the sun to move further around to get out of the way for the early competitors flights.


Owing to the number of flights we had to get in, we couldn’t start much later than 11am, by which time the fog had burned away nicely and the sun was shining brightly once again.

To keep the “sun in the face” issue fair on all pilots, we kicked Sundays competitive flights off with the Champions flying their Freestyle round. A short break followed and then we were straight back into it with the Intermediate groups Flight To Music round.

Sunday 1 Sunday 2

Having completed all three competitive rounds for both groups, the scores could now be totalled to reveal the top 5 in each group who would have to go out and perform their set manoeuvres and freestyle flights again.

The scoring process can be fairly lengthy due to the system being employed requiring everything to be accurately entered, and checked – especially when the competition is running as closely as it was for the top five slots in both groups. Thanks go to Nigel Revill and Paul Lison for taking on that monumental task!

While the scores were being entered and tallied to produce the overall scores, we took the opportunity to draw the raffle and hand out a large number of fantastic prizes that had been donated by many sponsors of the event. We are truly grateful for all of their generosity and we urge you to give them some of your business whenever you can.


Several prizes were won by people who had taken advantage of our online ticket purchasing system, including one lucky winner who won the Trex700 kit supplied by Align UK. Mike made an impromptu phone call, mid-raffle draw, to the lucky winner, only to get their answer phone! He left a nice message on their answerphone followed by a suitably loud cheer from the crowd!

Intermediate Preliminary scores Champions Preliminary scores

With the scores posted, the top five fly-offs began.

Scoring in the fly-offs was based on three rounds ��� pilots kept their Flight To Music score, and had their set manoeuvres and freestyle flight scores zeroed before going out and doing those rounds again.

The Intermediate group got the ball rolling with their Set Manoeuvres, followed straight away by the Champions Set Manoeuvres. A short break was followed by the Intermediates Freestyle flight, then right into the Champions freestyle flights to complete the competitive rounds.

Once again, Nigel Revill and Paul Lison did an absolutely superb job in getting the final scores prepared very quickly and accurately. We managed to see some relaxed demo flying from Peter Roper flying a Synergy N9 and Myself (Rob Turnbull) flying a Trex700.

Intermediate Final scores Champions Final scores

Once the scores had been finalised, everyone assembled around the trophy table and the presentations of the trophies were made to all the pilots. At 3D Championship, everyone receives a trophy in an attempt to wear out Bob Johnston’s handshake. This year the competition saw 29 pilots competing (only 7 ended up not competing that had entered), which is a lot of hand shaking!

Top 3 Intermediates

1. Brian Nicholas

Brian Nicholas

2. Pete Ayriss

Pete Ayriss

3. Mike Eddington

Mike Eddington

Top 3 Champions

1. Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard

2. Trevor Burley

Trevor Burley

3. Adrian Smith

Adrian Smith

Night flying competition winner

Stuart Smith

Stuart Smith

After the trophy presentations and thank you’s were finished, Duncan Osbourn took his Trex600 out for a demo flight which was then followed by the winners victory flights. Brian Nicholas flew his Trex700 first as the winner of the Intermediates group, and then Steven Gerrard took his Trex700 out for his victory flight as the winner of the Champions group – that poor heli was destined to not come back in one piece! And Roger Hamiltons final piece of commentary was helpful towards its demise!

All in all, the event was hugely enjoyable to organise, compete in and to be a part of generally. Everyone seemed to have a fantastic time, including the non-helicopter people who were staying on-site as normal holiday guests of the event venue.

3D Championship is not a money making venture, so after the costs to put the event on have been paid, we make a donation to the Cancer Research charity, which this year amounted to a whopping £1067! We’re really pleased with this final figure, which beat the previous years total nicely.

Please be sure to check out this years event gallery for some stunning pictures taken by James Robinson over the weekend. Thanks again James!

With a special mention for Mark Ayriss who once again ran the flightline supremely well, keeping all the pilots in line and ensuring the competition ran smoothly, we would once again like to pass on our huge thanks to the whole of our fantastic team of helpers, without whom there would simply be too much to do on the day and it just wouldn’t happen! These guys are amazing and deserve a pat on the back next time you see them.

Mark Ayriss

Pete Ayriss

James Robinson

Katie Walker

Steve Boothman

David Drew

Sue Woodbridge

Kevin Ayriss

Vicki Ayriss

Droid (Andy Bennett)


Colin Nadin

We also have our esteemed list of event officials who help to make the event work, and they certainly do a great job of that!

Nigel Revill

Paul Lision

Roger Hamilton

Russ Deakin

Nigel Fraser Ker

Jeremy Morcom

Jon Fox

Simon Brown

Thanks must also go to Alan, the owner of the superb Croft Farm Waterpark which hosted the event. He was very accommodating to us onsite and we’re grateful to him for everything he did for us over the weekend!

Finally, the list of sponsors of this event, without whom we simply could not afford to run the event – please take your business their way whenever possible as their input into this event helps to promote the hobby as a whole, which is a winning situation for everyone!

Budget RC Evolution RC
Optifuel heli.me.uk Blink Trading CSM Model Glasses
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Event Sponsors

If you would like to be an event sponsor this year, please contact us.

Trade Stands

If you would like to bring a trade stand to this years 3D Championship in September, please contact us.