Jess Nicholls and I (Chairman) were at the slope (topically Morgans) over the weekend.
Mr Cooper was visiting (owns Retro-Modeller). Although now living in Boston, Lincs, he did originate from the area, indeed, his Father was one of five Council tenant farmers (White farmhouses visible from the slope) The 5 farmers had communal grazing rights on all of White Sheet Down
One of the Farmers was Rob Morgan, who did originally object to Model fliers but was persuaded to the contrary by Mr. Cooper’s Father in around 1970. Thus model flying got the official go-ahead and also explains to me why the slope is called Morgans even though it is now farmed by Mr Neish. Of course, Spencers bowl is named after the Spencer family who farm below the SW bowl, whilst Cowards bowl is farmed by the Coward family near Mere.
Thanks to Jess.
Memories of White Sheet RFC 1966 -1976
Following my initial visit in 2019 and on my return to flying at White Sheet in 2020 after 30 years absence I was encouraged by the warm welcome I received from the Chairman David Bradfield and members present. It also was apparent that the club was thriving with an active membership and a busy calendar of events.
In conversation I was asked by David if I could write a few words on the history of the club to which I readily agreed and said would get in touch with Keith Thomas the founder of White Sheet RFC.
Well here goes with some happy memories of flying at White Sheet.
Good slope soaring locations like Crooks Peak, Win Green and the White Sheet downs have been the preferred local flying sites for many years and for those modellers who can recall the 1960’s and 70’s will remember the likes of Eric Poole, David Bond, Pete Slater, Brian Cooper, Slim Sear, Pete Fell, Robin and Chris Saunders, Rowland Hackett, Dave Pederick, George Chambers and Alan Brocklehurst from the Westland Aero modellers club based at Yeovil.
However, more importantly the local group of modellers namely Keith Thomas, Bill Gibbs, Derek Stone, Pat Haxell ,Mike Cooper, Ken Herridge, Pat Suter, Harold Lidbitter, Chris Wynn, Chris Williams, Vic Grist, Tony Doman, Chris Morton and Jess Nicholls to name a few were also regular flyers at White Sheet during the 1970’s.
Current and past members who were active the 1970’s will recall the days of 27 MHz Radio, CB Radio and sharing the flying sites with the new sport and potential hazardous hobby of Hang Gliding!
The inherent risks of flying model aircraft using the same airspace as Hang gliders was a great concern to the model flyers which resulted in the formation of the White Sheet RFC in 1975 lead by Keith Thomas who gave the club an identity and created the acclaimed Ghost club logo.
Having established an identity and a working relationship with the National Trust and local farmers the club steadily gained recognition and popularity with modellers in the surrounding area and beyond.
Initially Slope Soaring was the primary activity of the club however there was a need to provide some structure and encouragement to fly safely and members were encouraged to take part in the friendly competitions that had been developed by the Westland club to provide a personal challenge, discipline and achievement for members who wished to advance their flying skills.
The local Red Lion Pub Kilmington was also a welcome retreat from the wet and windy slopes and provided the perfect base for Club meetings and post flying sessions chat with Beer and refreshments on tap.
Social events for members and family were also an important part of the club activities with Bungee flying, Bonfires and BBQs hosted by Brian and Wendy Cooper (Proprietor of the Digi Hangar Model Shop, Yeovil.) at their home near Blandford Forum.
Jess had his own flying patch on his farm where members could either fly motor gliders or aero tow using the J3 Piper Cub built by Cliff and hosted the annual club aero tow and BBQ event.
The annual Christmas Dinner and prize giving at the Butt of Sherry in Mere or the Grange at Oborne was the norm for many years.
As previously mentioned friendly competitions were a regular occurrence on the slope which included Loops and Spot, Pylon racing, Nominated Manoeuvres, Slalom, Somerset Trophy (Loops and spot), Time and spot and latterly the Woodstock Flying Wing challenge.
For those windless summer day’s members and their families retreated to Lower Barn Farm to enjoy some relaxing flat field Thermal and Multi Task flying.
Participating member’s achievements from each of the many varied competitions were accumulated towards the prize of winning the prestigious Keith Thomas “Tallis” trophy presented at the annual club dinner with family and friends.
Building and flying Scale Gliders was also a keen interest to members and the White Sheet club has attracted the skills of some of the best Scale modellers in the UK namely Pat Teakle, Chris Williams, and Cliff Charlesworth who have all been an inspiration to many members.
Initially, the Scale Competitions were limited to club Members however in 1980 the event became an open event and attracted many visitors and I am pleased to say it still continues today under the leadership of the prolific Scale Glider enthusiast Chris Williams.
How many members remember Sean Walbank the very keen and competitive member who being a talented School teacher at Sherborne School had the skill and dedication to produce the famous White Sheet Magazine which was produced solely by him and attracted a worldwide circulation!
To conclude, I would like to thank Keith and Rowland for their memories and contribution and hope members present and past members have enjoyed these vintage ramblings of the early years at White Sheet. However, if you feel there are any inaccuracies or omissions please don’t hesitate to contact me.
BMFA COVID LEGISLATION & RC Flying 06/01/2021
England — TIER 4
The legislation relating to COVID-19 restrictions in place from January 6th has been published.
All areas of England have now been placed in to Tier 4.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 have also been amended.
Whilst outdoor exercise is still allowed, either alone or with one other person, we are now no longer permitted to leave our homes to visit public outdoor places for the purposes of open air recreation. The definition of public outdoor places has also been amended and now no longer includes outdoor sportsgrounds or sports facilities.
Outdoor sportsgrounds or sports facilities (which includes model flying club sites and BMFA Buckminster) have also been added to the list of venues that must close.
Guidance relating to other areas of the UK remains the same as in our update of 22/12/2020 seehttps://bmfa.org/News/News-Page/ArticleID/2707/COVID-19-Regulations-Update-22-12-2020
BMFA insurance remains in place when flying lawfully and the personal accident cover is in place should you do something untoward to yourself in the workshop. The day to day work protecting model flying and assisting members and clubs is ongoing and the BMFA office remains manned and open during the lockdown period.
British Model Flying Association
The Society of Model Aeronautical Engineers Limited T/A
From the BMFA …..
The Government have released updated guidance that comes into effect from 2nd December when local restriction tiers will replace the current National restrictions in England.
Based on this guidance, and subject to Parliamentary confirmation, Model Flying Clubs in all Tiers can re-open; however, you are expected to operate in a Covid secure way. See https://clubsupport.bmfa.uk/6-steps-to-covid-secure
The rule of 6 also applies in all Tiers and you should not organise gatherings of more than 6 people. However, should more than 6 people independently attend a flying site this does not appear to be a breach of the regulations provided that they do not mingle.
Members should avoid travelling in to and out of Tier 3 (Very High Alert) areas.
White Sheet Down is currently in Tier 2. All Tiers will be reviewed on 16th December apparently
This one runs to 31/12/20 when it should be replaced with a new Euro one
Revised Level 3 Flying Restrictions from 14/9/2020 until further notice
Your Committee have reviewed updated BMFA advice and advise the following for members and visiting fliers. This is in addition to the advice already supplied about ensuring your fitness to go to the Down and fly.
It’s a game of two halves, everyday flying and competitions/events
We cannot provide a person at the slope at all times to ensure compliance with social distancing with the result that the default number of people from different households allowed to fly at any one time is 6. In order for this to happen it is important that you email name, date, time in and time out to our track and trace email database at:
We will keep an eye on it and if it is looking busy we will try and let you know.
This data will be kept for 21 days for NHS use if there is an outbreak. It is also important that you also email the above address if you develop symptoms after visiting the Down so that we can inform NHS.
Some members (actually, just Midweek Mike and me) have volunteered to be covid policemen at the time they are at the slope, so it may be possible to run two groups of 6 providing track and trace data and social distancing happens.
Given that social distancing is required at all times, we suggest a flight-line max of 4 people as this should ensure clarity of communication between fliers over the 6 metres
Competitions and Events:
We will do a number of things before hosting an event:
1/ Risk assessment
2/ BMFA questionnaire
3/ Provide a volunteer covid policeman/woman for the duration
4/ Make use of the email@example.com provide registration and track and trace address.
Once again, we will opt for a flight line max of 4 people and ask that any covid positivity post event is reported to the above email.
Please do use the WSRFC WhatsApp group to let other fliers know of your intended visit.
Please do look and follow the advice given by BMFA on their interweb, our advice, and of course the national orgainisations (Government/NHS/PHE)
Finally, as with any prospective flight, if in doubt – Don’t
6 Person Group – Changes to Regulations
Whilst we await further clarification from governing bodies, BMFA etc, it appears that we will have to adapt to a 6 person maximum Group on the slope from 14th September.
The obvious questions arise, including, is that many groups of six or just one? How does this affect F3F/Open Slopes etc? Only time and work will clarify these points.
The good news is that it is extremely rare for there to be six of us together at any one time, but for now please follow the various (if conflicting) guidance which has bought us back to where we were immediately after lockdown, i.e. the slope is open but keep to 6 person maximum and wait to set up until someone leaves if there are 6 there already.
We can use the White Sheet WhatsApp group to inform others if we intend to visit the slope. This will give everybody a heads-up. If you are not already on it, text me with your name on 07711 824484 and I will add you to the group. We also have a Facebook group that could do the same thing White Sheet RFC.
Our covid advice is on our interweb and is in addition to the latest social distancing and cleanliness advice elsewhere.
|In this Newsletter:- Open Slopes – 6th September|
– Scale Day – 13th September
– English Open – Report and Pics
– Awards 2020 – Can you do any better?
– AGM – 21/11/2020
– “A” Tests – a game of three halves
– Avon – update
– RC Hotel – Corfu
Here goes …….
|Open Slopes – Sunday 6th SeptemberSubject to a weather and Covid call on the 4th or 5th, we will be running this, the second, Open Slopes since lockdown|
|White Sheet Scale Day – Sunday 13th September. Subject to a weather and Covid call on the 11th or 12th, we will be running this, the first, Scale Day since lockdown|
|English Open – 23rd August 2020The Club purchased some new timing gear which worked well. Thanks To Nigel and Graeme for running this event – Really difficult for them to run and compete in the same event – Well Done! Report from Co-CD – Nigel Witchalls -Well, that was a good comp to start us off, though not the easiest introduction back into timed flights. The forecast rain delayed the start till 11.30, but gave everyone a good chance to catch up. The wind was westerly all day, so was 15-30 deg crossed on the far end of the NW slope.The first round started sluggishly, but then picked up by the end to give the later group of pilots a flying start. Mark Redsell set a time of 43s, well ahead of the others. This trend of one or two fast times per round continued across the day, with round wins by Mark Redsell, Mike Evans, John Phillips, Mike Shellim, Mark Treble (twice), Mark Passingham, and Dave Rumble. These were all in the low to mid 40’s. The spells of very poor air meant that all except JP scored times in the late 50’s or early 60’s at some point. There were many flights where conditions changed partway through the flight. JP flew very consistently and was only edged into the 50’s a couple of times.The standard of flying was good across the whole field, especially considering the long lay-off,, and 15 of the 20 pilots finished with more than 900 points. The top 3 had made their dominance clear by round 5, with JP’s lead only being really challenged by Mark Treble’s FTD of 40.69 in round 6, and only 30 points separated the top 3 in the end. The rest of the field was extremely close as well, and continued to trade places all day – there were too many ups and downs to pick any out. Any cuts or missed opportunities had their cost.|
Graham Woods has a fantastic video of highlights of this event on BARCS.
|Club Awards 2020 These are traditionally awarded at the AGM. Still time to enter with current leaders being:|
Land-Out – Graeme – with his 28 – a long way away at the NE slope
Catch of the Year – Nigel Witchalls – F3F – (where is last years’ winner! Come on Tim!)
New Award – FreeFlight – Pete Cushion – Ahi – disconnected RX power lead
Tech Support – not claimed yet
|Annual General Meeting 21st November 2020 Definitely an early reminder on this. Andrew will no doubt be sending out the required documents in due course, but if you want to have your say, be on the committee or anything else, you have time!|
|‘A’ Tests – a game of three halvesMike Bleathman (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been sorting this and will make a proper announcement on dates. However it’s looking like:|
– First half – A Midweek test day with Midweek and the examiner – please let him know if you can make it in the week
– Second Half – A Saturday session
Oh, and the third half? Jamie passed his A – fixed wing – at the RC Hotel in Corfu last week ( Yes it had a spinny thing on the front) Note the new White Sheet Cap (£10, incl. £4 to Air Ambulance)
|Avon HGPGCThe club were kind enough as usual to offer us the sole use of the rifle range for the English Open if we needed it. We didn’t as it turned out. I have had no further reports of difficult interaction with Avon since my last note. Please do make contact with me or Vice if there is anything worthy of note|
|ProjectsMembers projects seem to be a bit thin on the ground recently, even CW is uncharacteristically quiet!|
Both Russell and I are upgrading the radio gear on Alpinas. Midweek has built and flown a Dream which is superb. He has just finished a new pina 2501 and is contemplating the fit-out of a Stormbird.
There must be more out there ….
|RC Hotel CorfuWorth a brief note to recommend this fabulous vacation. Whilst predominantly for electric power aircraft we were also to fly Electric Gilders from the RC Hotel Fleet into the booming thermals. Aero-towing is possible using the fleet glider and tug. Any questions? drop me a line|
A return to the skies
Under Level 3, White Sheet is open for members to return to airborne operations.
Please keep in mind and adhere to all government rules relating to the coronavirus, social distancing and use of PPE etc
Further to this, WSRFC recommends a flightline maximum of 4 people at two meters apart to ensure continual communication amongst those flying.
Stay safe, stay well and enjoy flying again.
We suggest that members use the BMFA to comply with regulations, it is available at https://rcc.bmfa.uk/rcc Copy and paste the link to the browser on your interweb and away you go
To do the test you will need, your bmfa number, your bmfa portal email address and your postcode
1/ access the above link and take the test if you do NOT have BMFA A / B test certificates (or equivalent LMA etc)
2/ take the on-line competency test via the above link.
3/ The on-line system gives you a list of any incorrect answers together with suggested corrections.
4/ Once passed, an email will be sent to you with a copy of your pass certificate.
5/ Download the certificate and then upload it onto your BMFA portal under the achievements section
If any members are experiencing difficulty, or can’t, do the online test, please let me know and we will do our best to assist.
We will have also to do two online opt-ins on the portal at some stage so that the BMFA can upload our data to the CAA.
Then pay your £9 registration fee to the BMFA together with your membership renewal, which remains unchanged from this year.
Mike Bleathman will send out a mailchimp email later to announce the dates/plans for the ‘A’ test day(s) to be held at White Sheet. Whilst we won’t get this done before the competency deadline of 30th November, it should obviate the need for repeat on-line test in the future.
Mike can be contacted at email@example.com
After much sterling service, Chris Lamming stood down as Chairman at the AGM, with Mike Bleathman now fulfilling the role of Vice Chairman and me picking up the Chair position. (contactable at firstname.lastname@example.org)
We are extremely fortunate that Chris Williams, Den Larking, Ian Duff, Jess Nicholls and Stu Wallace offered themselves for re-election in their existing roles.
Full AGM minutes will be posted on the WS interweb in due course.
In other AGM news:
- the 2020 calendars were available and given to members at the meet
- The Ahi prize for 5 event attendances was won by Jeff Crew, who kindly put it “back in” and the next name out of the hat was Pete Cushion
- Some beanies and caps were also raffled
- The 2019 Vice awards were as follows:
- Launcher of the Year – Jeff Crew
- Land-out of the Year – Richard Edmunds
- Fastest Time /F3F award – William Fourie
- Last man standing – Andrew Beaven
- Catch of the Year – Tim Brocklehurst
- Bacon of the Year – Mike Bleathman
- Cake of the Year – Mrs Mike
Last but no means least – Tech Support 2019, at the request of members, the Tech Support was awarded to Graeme Mahoney for the help and knowledge that he gives to all fliers.
One allows registration via the BMFA membership and portal. The other allows exemption from proficiency tests if you have passed BMFA ‘A’ or ‘B’ tests.
Registration & Test
New regulations regarding all Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)’s 250g -20kg come into force 30th November 2019. Please refer to latest BMFA news for updates
- Everyone wishing to fly model aircraft will have to:
Pass – Register – Label
- Pass an online (or offline hard copy) test to get a Flyer ID if you want to fly a drone or model aircraft.
- Register for an Operator ID if you’re responsible for a drone or model aircraft
- Label any drones and model aircraft you’re responsible for with your Operator ID
Tests – Flyer ID
- CAA DRES Test is now live. http://register-drones.caa.co.uk/
- Tests are free.
- Every three years all USAV operators (Unmaned Small Aerial Vehicles) need to sit, and pass, an online test to qualify for a Flyer ID
- Minimum age: None, but children under 13 can only register with a parent or guardian present.
- For those without internet access a hard copy of the test will be available. (Details yet to be confirmed)
- Exemption from the Test for those holding a BMFA proficiency scheme “A” Certificate has been agreed.
Important information for BMFA members
- BMFA members will not be required to take the DRES test with the current online system. With permission an alternate online DRES test will be offered through the BMFA direct at a later date. (Details yet to be confirmed)
- For those without internet access a hard copy of the BMFA DRES test will be available at a later date. (Details yet to be confirmed)
Operator Registration – Operator ID
- CAA Operator Registration is now live. http://register-drones.caa.co.uk/
- Operators must be 18 or over to register.
- There is an annual fee for registration as an operator of £9.00
- Operators will be issued an Operator ID
- Label any drones and model aircraft you’re responsible for with your Operator ID
Important information for BMFA members
- BMFA members are not required to register as an operator with the current CAA online system. With permission the BMFA will administrator Registration and the annual £9.00 p.a. fee for its members. This will take place initially by 31 January 2020
White Sheet Members
- You may choose to register and take the test independently with the CAA online system but please be advised, your membership of the BMFA is a condition required by White Sheet RFC to maintain compliance with the National Trust.
As it stands today, as members of the BMFA you can choose to delay your DRES registration and test process in favour of completing requirements through the BMFA with your annual BMFA membership renewal. (Full details of this service are yet to be announced)
- Full responsibility for safe operation remains with the person operating the UAV.
- It is up to individual operators to assure themselves of the accuracy of the data and comply with all UK drone rules and regulations.
Please check the BMFA & CAA websites for updates…
You may find the following safety apps useful
Download NATS Drone Assist app free…
Download Airmap free…
Rule Book ChangesThe new club rules and associated version of the club handbook were discussed and the matter of accepting the new proposal, to allow electric assisted flight, was voted on. The motion to accept the new handbook and rules was carried, with a unanimous vote for at the meeting, plus 21 further votes for and 1 vote against by proxy . This change has immediate effect and is simply a continuation, in permanent form, of the trial that has been running for many years. Please be extremely considerate and conscious of the fact that electric-assisted flying is permissible for height gain only and in general terms for the allowance of soaring when the lift is very light or when it is not on the slopes. What we as a club must avoid, is giving the impression to visitors and other non-members that e-flight in general is allowed at Whitesheet – which it is not. The club committee (and also the club membership) will continue to monitor the use of e-soaring in 2017 and the matter will be reviewed again at the 2017 AGM. Minor tweaks or rule changes can then be made if necessary. I very much hope that the changes will allow more soaring to take place at Whitesheet, more of the time. I also hope that these changes will encourage greater membership and better participation in future events at the hill, as our flyers will be encouraged to make the journey and meet up, knowing that the weather conditions have a lower impact on whether or not they will get some flying in. Let’s all make the most of this opportunity in 2017. Please note the new handbook which is now in effect is available to download here: http://whitesheet.org.uk/club-rules-constitution/
Club FundsThe club remains in a healthy state, financially. On the 7th November, the closing balance of the main club account stood at £5346.21. The balance of the road funds account stood at £392.87. It was agreed that in order to simplify the accounting burden on the Treasurer, the funds in the road repair account will be transferred to the main account. The road fund account can then be closed. The fund in the road repair account will however be ring-fenced in the club accounting documentation, to reflect that the source of this money was from donations specifically for the repair of the road. Should road repairs be funded by the club in future, this money will remain available for this purpose. The club had made more effort in 2016 to spend the money it received from subscriptions. This had taken the form of gratuities for land owners, stickers and posters for members and prizes for the competitions. Ignoring BMFA fees (which come in and go out of the accounts in equal measure) the club expenditure was £824.95 against an income from membership fees of £860. Some of the expenditure in 2016 (sticker materials, vagabond prize for example) will roll over to 2017 and these costs will not reoccur next year. The committee will continue to think of ways of using the club funds to benefit the membership in 2017. Anyone with good ideas are encouraged to get in touch. With the aim of avoiding further excess accrual of funds in the club account, it was generally agreed that the club was spending at around the right level, along with setting appropriate fees for the membership.
CommitteeThe following committee was proposed and voted for at the AGM:
- Chairman – Chris Lamming (I’m afraid you are stuck with me for another year!)
- Vice chair – David Bradfield
- Secretary – Julian Yelliah
- Treasurer – Ian Duff
- Membership Secretary – Den Larking
- Competition Secretary – Stuart Wallace
- Scale Secretary – Chris Williams
- Additional Committee Member – Jess Nichols