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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 2009 – Event Review

Thursday 24th September

This year the weather in the weeks and months leading up to the event was rather more favourable and we managed to use the intended bottom field for the event.

Several people had arrived before even Mike and I landed and shortly after I arrived the marquee rental company turned up and we showed them where to put up the marquee.

Alan, the site owner, got busy on his mower to mark out the flying area, the judges area and a large portion of the field for the spectators to stand in, while everyone else mucked in with laying out the site, putting up ropes for the safety line (which took numerous attempts due to Edders sticking his oar in!) and setting up speaker stands and wiring for the sound system. The pilot and sponsors boards were also made up ready for public display.

Mat (from Midland Helicopters) arrived having been to the airport to pick up Daniel Jetschin and his girlfriend Sarah, and once the rest of us had got the flying site sorted out, and trade stand layout figured out, we went down into Tewkesbury to a pub for some dinner and a drink before returning to the site for a relaxing evening building helicopters.

Funfly Friday – Friday 25th September

Friday morning saw the early arrival of the catering van who we had agreed with beforehand would be there to cook us all a nice big breakfast, and he didn’t disappoint! People started arriving for the funfly quite early, along with the trade stands of Fast-Lad, Optifuel, Traplet Publications, Real Raptors, Skyline Models, Tempest Models, EVO RC, Probuild and JR MacGregor.

The flying was kicked off by one of our special guests; Daniel Jetschin, who put on several superb flights throughout the day. 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 last minute 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.

Sue Woodbridge won the beginners “peer judged” Tail In Trophy, awarded for a best effort flight – although she is obviously not a beginner anymore!

Friday evening was finished off with beers and micro heli fun in the marquee for some, and beer and a laugh in the clubhouse bar for others.

Competition day 1 – Saturday 26th 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 as we set about plumbing in our computerised scoring system and getting power out to the judging tent, along with setting up the sound system. The raffle table was setup and the entrance to the field was manned to start taking the token entry fee from the attending crowd, some of whom turned up very early indeed.

After a good breakfast, and the arrival or more pilots to the flying area we finally got everyone assembled and 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.

The pilots were then lined up and shot… on video!


A short time later, at about 10:30am, 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 was ready in the scoring tent to watch the scores coming in over the computerised scoring system.

Mike took the microphone to introduce the event and the pilots to the audience, and did an excellent job of it too!

First to fly were the Intermediates group kicking off with the newly formatted set manoeuvres round which requires the pilot to fly a flowing freestyle flight incorporating their chosen set manoeuvres. There was a short break after the Intermediates had flown which was filled by demo flights from Daniel Jetschin and Andy Johnstone and then it was the Champions group up for their set manoeuvres round.

We broke for a late lunch and to give the judges a rest while all of our demo pilots for the weekend provided some stunning entertainment for the massive crowd.

With pilots and judges re-assembled, having been fed and watered, the competition got back underway with the Intermediates Flight To Music round followed by the Champions Flight To Music round which were both well received by the crowd, with lots of cheering and support for the pilots.

Demos from our special guest stars broke up the flying day, and the crowd were continuously impressed by the skillful flights put on by Daniel Jetschin, Petr Novotny, the Smith Brothers with their amazing tandem flight, along with Andy who put on a good show too.

As the daytime competition flights drew to a close, the evening session was already starting to get going, with caterers sorting out the food arrangements, including a superb hog roast, and a bar being setup in the main marquee.

Night flying competition – Saturday 26th September

There were a few helicopters being prepared in the marquee ready for the night flying competition, although considerably less heli’s than there were pilots – it was sure to be a fun time, but tense for those pilots who wanted to compete, but were placed later on the flight schedule as there could be no certainty that a model would be left for them to fly!

The final flight order was a joint effort between pilots and organisers, as there were 7 helicopters that were to be flown by over 20 pilots! The trick here was trying to figure out who was least likly to smack it in so as to enable the most people to take part. Having said that, we still encountered “issues” which actually saw one machine being fixed three times before Mike Eddington managed to finish it off properly.

As well as competing, Mike was once again on the Mic but this time there was a little alcoholic lubrication involved which helped him egg on the pilots so much that all of the night flying helicopters eventually met their end. One of which was at his own hands, and it wasn’t even his own heli!

Many model parts were left in the dark field two or three tail booms and tail cases and about 10 sets of night blades. A couple of highlights that spring to mind are Mr Liquorice Allsorts – Bertie “Bob j” Bassett – wearing a superb glow rope outfit, and Petr Novotny flying a trex 700 with just a few chemical glow sticks and night blades to see it by. Unfortunately, by the time he got out to actually fly it, the chemical sticks where barely visible, making for a truly breathtaking night flight in true Petr Novotny style! This outstanding flight would eventually win him the coveted first place trophy in the night flying competition.

The Smith brothers put on an amazing choreographed night flight to music, something everyone should see at least once – truly magnificent! Sadly however, no amount of pushing and goading from Mike on the Mic would make the brothers do battle in the night flying comp. There’s always next year!

The temperature dropped quite cold and with very little if any wind to speak of, the nitro exhaust cloud soon covered the field making it very atmospheric and it seemed to take on a slightly goulish presence but, in the end, the only corpses were the helis that dared to take on the now famous 3D Championship night flying competition.

The night flying competition was complete by about 10:30pm which was perfect timing for most people to retire to the bar for a relaxed night cap or seven.

Competition day 2 – Sunday 27th September

Once again our dedicated team of helpers pitched in to get the equipment setup and ready for the second day of competition. The pilots and judges casually made their way to their places and after a short briefing to everyone involved, the competition got underway once again.

More spectacular flying from both the Intermediates group and the Champions group followed, along with some more superb demo flights from Petr Novotny, the Smith Brothers and Stefan and Andy.

Having got the preliminary rounds out of the way we decided to draw the Raffle so that anybody who needed to leave early could still be there to pick up any raffle prizes they might win. With such a huge raffle table full of prizes donated by our extremely generous event sponsors, the draw seemed to take forever. We eventually wrapped it up though and having worked out all the pilots preliminary round scores, the competition finals could get underway.

The top five pilots from Intermediates and Champions groups went back out to fly all three rounds again, making a very full day of competition flying – and giving the crowd some spectacular 3D flying to enjoy. We managed to quickly get through the 30 flights needed for the two groups of pilots to complete the competition and thanks to the computerised scoring system, and lot of input from Nigel Revill, the final scores and positions were very quickly and accurately delivered.

For us it was superb to see new faces doing so well and the old faces bettering themselves from last years competition.

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, which is a lot of hand shaking! Sadly, Bob wasn’t able to stay for the presentations, so I stepped in to do the hand shaking and trophy presenting.

The final five pilots in the Champions group placed as follows:

1. Duncan Osbourn

2. Steven Gerrard

3. Jack Kessock-Philip

4. Rob Turnbull

5. Adam Turner

The final five pilots in the Intermediates group placed as follows:

1. Richie Clark

2. Matt Gill

3. George Durr

4. Charlie Cave

5. Steve Roberts

After the trophies had been presented, and photographs taken, it fell to the two group winners to continue that hounourable tradion of going out and punishing their helicopters for all the practice they’ve had to do over the last year.

Richie Clark took this task on in his usual fashion and crashed the heli twice. Once again being egged on by Mike on Mic – the first crash was intentional, landing inverted on the head of the heli which saw the crowd completely erupt, it was amazing. The second crash, well, he stoved it in, pure and simple!

The final victory flight was Duncan Osbourn who was doing his utmost not to plant the beloved machine, but he had only taken out his Trex600 so it was fair game and with the help of Mike and Roger, tag teaming on the Microphones, Duncan manage to eventually have a “couple” of instance’s, without actually doing much damage – such is the mans skill. All in all, probably the most fun there has ever been during the victory flights of a heli competition, ever!

With the flights over it was now time to thank everyone for their hard work and the pilots for taking part. Once again the great helpers we had over the weekend stayed behind to help us clear up the site and load up the tonnes of stuff that it takes to run this event into the van and we eventually all set of on our merry ways with great memorys of a cracking weekend.

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
Chris Smith
Mat Watkin
Noel and Leslie Cross
Melissa Aves
Carly, Skye and Cody Eddington
Richie Clark

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
Russ Deakin
Nigel Fraser Ker
Jeremy Morcom
Jon Fox
Simon Brown

Special guest appearance on the microphone by Roger Hamilton.

And although its been a few months since the event we still are in shock at the amout of support we received and have continued to receive since. It has made the 3D Championship the largest helicopter event in the UK which is simply astounding.

Please be sure to check out this years event gallery for some stunning pictures taken by Mat Watkin and Tim Procter over the weekend. Thanks guys!

Anyone who was on site could not help to notice the Cancer Research banners around the venue, which is the chosen charity that we donate profits from the event to, once all the running costs have been taken care of. We are thrilled that this year, not only did we manage to beat last years impressive £1067 charitable donation, we actually managed to raise considerably more than double that amount, with an astonishing total of £2766. It’s is just amazing. Thanks to all who contributed.

Finally, the list of sponsors of this event, without whom we simply could not afford to run the event. This year we had major event sponsors who contributed significantly more than most others in order to help the event work. The marquee was sponsored by FastLad, the Judges were sponsored by Midland Helicopters, the Sound system was sponsored by Real Raptors, the trophies were sponsored by Skyline Models and Align UK, and Optifuel sponsored fuel for the event. These major event sponsors also all contributed significant prizes to the raffle as did the majority of the remaining event sponsors – 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!

Hobby Hangar Evolution RC
Optifuel Blink Trading CSM Robbe Schluter UK Kessock Models
Model Glasses Model Helicopter World Revolution Models Maxpoly Batteries Probuild
Simply Trex Scorpion Power Systems RC Concept RC Heli Spares Tempest Models

So what’s next…?

You didnt think we’d be resting on our laurels did you?

The next event is going to be the first ever UK funfly to take place abroad. Sounds like a crazy concept? Well it will be great fun for those attending believe us! The “3D Championship Spring Break” takes place between the 20th and 27th of April 2010 at the RC Hotel in Corfu. We’re taking over the whole hotel for the week!

Next we have the “3D Championship Grass Roots” Competition aimed at the beginner level pilot who wants to have a go at 3D competition flying but isn’t quite ready to step into the major event just yet. This is also aimed at helping pilots to improve their 3D flying in general.

A small group of people (including ourselves) are also organising the first UK F3N competition at the BMFA Nationals. This is being headed up by the AHA and offers yet another 3D competition to the UK, but this time, being flown under the rules set out by the FAI.

And finally, we’re once again hard at work on the biggest 3D helicopter event in the UK, the 3D Championship 2010 which will be held on the last weekend of September 2010, being the 24th, 25th and 26th.

Bring it on!

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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.