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The Peterboro Files

This year (2005), for the first time in many years, the Peterborough Club have decided to run another of their C/L extravaganzas. In some ways, the previous incarnations of this event (the 'Cabbage Patch Nationals') have been kind to me and I have won numerous times. Many people have made remarks to me, such as, "See you at P'Boro" and so on. Despite repeatedly telling them that I will not be there, they ignore, or forget, this and go on making the same, or similar, remarks which annoy me intensely. I'm sure that some of them know that and are just being perverse.

OK, lets get this clear, there is not enough money, or wild horses, on the surface of this planet to get me to another Peterboro meeting. Here's why:

Following an appearance in the OTS event at the 1985 US Nats with a borrowed model, the C/L bug started to bite again and I built my first model in many years, an Ambassador (the Alan Hewitt design). For quite some time, the only C/L event that I had entered was the UK Nats and the model was built in my usual 'leave-it-to-the-last-minute' manner for the 1986 event. Thus, I missed the Peterboro event that year, which I believe was the first.


Although advertised as 'the Embankment', this has since become the Eastern Embankment (the vastly better Western Embankment lay far in the future). The surface was very rough and undulating, but the Ambassador had a take-off like a Bloodhound missile, so this was not a problem. The motor came loose in the model at the end of the first flight. This was to be a continuing problem with this Ambassador and another that I built later. I was using what I regarded as my number two motor which had a broken crankcase that had been welded many years earlier by Gig Eifflander. Fortunatrly, this didn't prevent me from making a second flight.

At this time we were able to park on the flying area, although we were later made to move cars off the grass. We were allowed back on at the end of the day to collect our models. In later years, parking was to become a major issue.


This year there was an area of fairly short grass although it was in a hollow. We were not allowed to park on the grass area and had to trek backwards and forwards. It rained later in the day and I had to land through a very large puddle, which arrested the landing nicely!


Another wet and windy day with much trekking back and forth to the distant car park.


The event was still being held on the rough surface and it was necessary to hunt down a take-off spot but it had been mown so this was not difficult. I had a brand new Barnstormer which had benn finished just before the contest (my usual 'deadline' job) and had not been flown because the weather had been very windy.

The day of the event it was even more windy and I had no intention of flying the Barnstormer. In mid-afternoon I was approached and informed that the model had won the Concours, but I must fly it to qualify. I flew the model in a screaming gale and discovered that it was tailheavy and very twitchy. It barely survived. Come the prizegiving, someone else had won the Concours!


This had the typical windy day with everyone having to trek backwards and forwards to the parking area trying desperately not to lose their models.

After the first round of Vintage I was leading by a considerable margin. I then spent some considerable time waiting for the Nostalgia judge to appear so that I could make a flight. It was clear that there was to be very heavy storm in the near future. One of the other judges went in search of the Nostalgia judge (yes, I know who you are) and returned to tell me that "he just doesn't want to judge you." I continued to wait, the heavens then opened and I got absolutely drenched in rescuing my lines and model.

It appeared that there was little chance of the meeting continuing (it was now about 3 o'clock, still raining, and the ground was saturated), so I went home to dry out. I later learned that, late in the day, conditions cleared enough for four people to have second flights. The result was decided on the total of the two flights and I dropped to fifth! It's worth noting that the judge for those flights was the aforementioned Nostalgia judge. Does anyone see any logic in this?

There was a new event for .8cc models (Mini Stunt). It had been widely advertised that the winner would receive a PAW 80. I built a 60% size Barnstormer for the event (Hutstormer) and powered it with a TeeDee 049. I actually flew the model for the first time on the way to P'Boro at our R/C club field. There were problems (tail heavy) but I was prepared to fly it.

As it turned out, I was the only one who wanted to fly in the conditions so the event was postponed to the Rolls Royce Vintage C/L meeting. Fine by me, it gave me a chance to sort the model!

At the RR meeting I managed to win the event. At the prizegiving I was actually presented with the PAW 80 and then had it taken from me because they 'remembered' that the PAW 80 was to go to the highest placed person who used a PAW 80! He now had two, while the winner had nothing. That was NOT what was advertised and the whole thing was done with an air of vindictiveness which I could not ignore. My old friend Sam Skitt was almost incandescent and never attended another P'Boro event.


Following what had happened at the previous two meetings, I solved all of the problems by simply boycotting the event. I felt much better and I didn't miss it at all.


One point about avoiding the previous years meeting was that I had missed the new Biplane Stunt event that had been introduced. I had always intended to build a model of the Yates/Palmer Stearman (actually, since I saw the article in a 1950 'Air Trails'). So, here was my excuse on my 'return' to P'Boro.

At this point, we were still using the Eastern Embankment with its rough surface and long grass. This had been quite thoroughly mown, but all of the cuttings had been left to trip models up and to blow everywhere. By P'Boro standards it was almost calm, with a brisk breeze.

I flew four models that day and the constant trekking from and to the car park was very wearing. It was also hot, which didn't help.


I believe that this, or the following year, was the first year that the Eastern Embankment was used. This had a vastly better surface and a control tent situated close to a road. It was clear that certain priviledged people were able to park close to this tent while the rank and file had to commute from the carpark which was located on the other embankment. It almost goes without saying that the control tent was located just about as far as possible from the car park. Queries about joining the priviledged few led to threats of Police towing away.

From the flying point of view, this was a near repeat of the previous year with more walking.


I had severely injured my leg in a fall at work and could only walk with some difficulty so only flew in two events. Parking, etc were as before and this was an ordeal. More pleas, more threats of Police towings.


More trekking, more appeals, more threats, etc. There was no Biplane event this year so I flew the Stearman in Vintage. I also entered the Phantom Trophy which I won. This meant that I had to return the Trophy the following year (I hate trophies).


I had decided that I would travel to the event to return the Phantom Trophy and that I would then return home if the parking situation was as previous. There had been a steadily growing crowd of cars in the area where the Police were supposed to be towing. Having made the trek across the field with the Trophy and made the usual appeal with the usual response, I was about to depart.

At this point, I was amazed to overhear a member of the club explaining to another competitor how to get into the parking area behind the tent, with no warnings or threats. I'm not paranoid, they really are out to get me. I headed back across the field and followed the directions. No problems, no towing.

This was a very windy day! I flew my Box Car Chief in the Vintage event and was asked at the end of the first round whether I wanted another flight as no-one else wanted to fly again. I enquired what the positions were and was told that I was leading. Obviously there was no point in risking the model again. I then fllew my Nobler in the Golden Age event and barely survived due to the turbulence off the nearby embankment. I did some damage to a wingtip when the model was blown end over end on landing.

Late in the day, I was approached by Tom Hughes and informed that the scoreboard had been changed and I was no longer leading. I checked that this was so and requested my second round flight. I was informed that this wasn't possible as the judge (John Lynch) had gone home.

I rarely suffer from migraines but I had a massive one on the way home involving something like two thirds of my vision, which meant that I had to stop and wait for it to dissipate. Fortunately, I don't have the accompanying headaches that some people suffer. I had another one later that evening, plus another on the following day and another on the Tuesday. I don't think I've had that many since!


This was another windy day with calm patches. On arrival, I learned that there were to be no model bonuses in the Vintage event. I have always believed that a club, or individual, can run an event to any rules that they like provided that they advertise those rules in advance. In this case, the change meant that I had brought the wrong model. To be fair, there were others in the same situation.

The Golden Age event was flown in the same circle as the Peacemaker event. All the GA flyers made their flights in the changeable conditions, followed by the Peacemakers. Very late in the day (actually after the supposed time of the prizegiving and after many people had gone home) a prominent member of the home club put in a GA flight in dead calm conditions. Fortunately, I didn't find out until some weeks later, but it was the last straw!

In fairness, I have to point out that these meetings do have bonuses. On the site, there is a brickbuilt pavillion with toilets and changing rooms. The ladies of the club put on a catering service with decent hot tea and home-made cakes and sandwiches. Everyone appreciates that and it makes a big difference.

1987 - 1988 - 1989 - 1990 - 1991 - 1992 - 1993 - 1994 - 1995 - 1996 - 1997 - 1998

Place Model Motor Class Best Score Date Comment
2 Ambassador Elfin 249 Vintage ? 31/5/87
1 Ambassador Elfin 249 Vintage 282 10/4/88
10 Ambassador Elfin 249 Vintage 192 9/4/89
3 Ambassador Elfin 249 Vintage 283 8/4/90
6 Kombat Kapers AM 35 Nostalgia 156 "
? Barnstormer ST 35 Concours
5 Barnstormer ST 35 Vintage 308 7/4/91
1 Hutstormer TD 049 Mini Stunt 252 14/7/91 Event held over from P'boro
1 Stearman ST 46 Biplane 284 6/6/93
2 Box Car Chief ST 35 Vintage 331 "
4 Rascal Frog 150 Nostalgia 251 " Only flew in 1st round
4 Hutstormer TD 049 Mini 192 " "
1 Box Car Chief ST 35 Vintage 702.5 (2 flights) 5/6/94
1 Stearman ST 46 Biplane 593 (2 flights) "
2 Rascal Frog 150 British Nostalgia 617 (2 flights) "
2 Hutstormer PAW 80 Mini 544 (2 flights) "
1 Box Car Chief ST 35 Vintage 319 4/6/95
1 Stearman ST 46 Biplane 311 "
1 Stearman ST 46 Vintage 325 2/6/96
1 Stunt Queen Frog 500 Phantom Trophy 641 "
2 Rascal Frog 150 Golden Age 228 "
6 Nobler 40 Merco 35 Golden Age 300 1/6/97
2 Box Car Chief 2 ST 35 Vintage 477 "
5 Box Car Chief 2 ST 35 Vintage 328 (no bonuses) 31/5/98
3 T'Bird II/2 ST 46 Golden Age 201 "