Jackrells Farm Fly-In 2005 - REPORT #1
Bank Holiday Weekend
August 29th – 30th
By Kevin Brooker
Photos: Kevin Brooker, Charles Brooker (5yrs old!) and Mike Hallam.
available for download in PDF format here (682Kb).
Graham and Sue were of
course first to arrive at the airfield at 0930hrs on Sunday 29th
August. I arrived shortly after 1000hrs.
As I arrived Gra was balancing
a bottle of wine on top of a generator that apparently wasn’t working after 5
minutes in Gra’s company. The wine was on offer to the person that could start
I had a little fiddle (I had
brought a truck load of tools in case anyone needed a spanner after they
landed) but failed, having checked the basics, including taking the carb off
and taking the tonne of earth out of its bowl…. More on the genny game later…
Adrian had already rolled out his blue carpet and was
preparing his “Premier” plane.
Mike arrived by pedal power
and we all set-up shop. Gra and Sue laid out the food “stall”, chairs, wellies,
and wind sock. Gra showed us his Air Marshall’s jacket and home made paddles
(version one and two!), and he even
showed us how to use them... yeah right, like I was listening when I could hear
a kettle whistling it’s head off in the background – the first cup of tea of
the day was about to be delivered by Sue!
We spread out the chairs and
sat down, waiting for our first visitor.
On the Sunday the first
visitor came at 1221hrs. The first plane in was a Rans S6. It was one of the
members of the Rans egroup, that Mike extended an invite to.
As he landed his mate also
in a RANS arrived in the circuit and landed very nicely. Both all the way from Brimpton
near Aldermaston (Reading).
All of a sudden we felt
busy! Sue was like a cat jumping on a mouse with her pounce on the kettle to
power it up for our visitors to enjoy “Jackrells Tea”. Gra was consumed by the
radio talking to people about ground conditions and movements, and Mike and I
were welcoming the guests, and having a good look over the lovely planes.
Amongst the guys that had
just arrived we had a full-on mechanical engineer; that’s to say, “he said, we
listened”. He was guided to the genny correction competition and was keen that
the bottle of wine should be his. We gave him few cues as to what was awry, but
did lend him all the tools he needed.
It took a while, but in
between gulps of tea and gobbles of ham rolls, Adrian (The Engineer, not our
own Premier Adrian) managed to start it with his thumb over the air inlet. It
was not running independently we told him, so it was not a “win”.
Time to strip the carb.
After a while we (as we had all joined in by now – must be a “man thing”)
unblocked the main jet inside the tiny carb with some lockwire and breathless
puffing through the pipes. Adrian
then put it all back together again and it started. It was clearly unhappy, as
full choke had to be applied to make it run without assistance, but it was running.
Carb cleaner was the recommendation.
The bottle of wine was won!
The new Southern Flyers
embroidered clothing was doled out: thanks to Tim GP for collecting them.
After slurps and sustenance
were complete the welly competition got under way. The visitors threw first
with some good grunting. I had never seen a welly competition so I found myself
intrigued as well as giggling at the various methods employed to luzzing a Fire
Brigade issued Wellington boot up a taxiway.
Rules started to be created
as we went. “It must stay on the taxi way”, “Well, nearly on the taxi way will
do”, “We’ll measure from the closest point”, “We’ll measure from the heel”,
“You have to nominate your ‘attempt’ before
you throw”, “You can nominate any throw you think suitable to be measured”…
it was a flexible friendly competition… ;-)
I had a go just before our
first visitors departed, and after two practises – largely to ascertain the
optimum method of “lob” – I threw an underarm one that was to be measured. I
was quite shocked to see that it had gone over 85 feet! Incidentally, I
commented on the use of feet and inches, and was told in no uncertain terms
that this was an “Imperial competition”!
Meantime Richard Folwell
arrived from Frensham in a really pretty KitFox.
My 85’2” welly throw stayed
as leader until Roger and Suzy arrived. After a few cups of tea (I think he had
a supplement in that tea; can we do a post-event drug test?!) Roger threw an
Suzy and Suzi (yes we had
two) started lobbing, along with Richard’s passenger Cati(?). So the girls
competition was finally underway. They were clearly taking it as seriously as
the lads were, because Suzy achieved a 47’ throw!
Neil Harwood arrived on an
epic journey in his Quik – he had come all the way from Hadfold International;
reports that the trip had taken 10 minutes left us all stunned at his endurance
Next we had a guy in from
Shoreham in a well cared for Shadow; they always look odd parked up with the
front wheel aloft. Pilot and passenger stayed for a while, then took an
amazingly early left turn out on their southbound climb out of the field;
methinks he took the “bear left on flight path out” a bit too seriously!
In between all of this
adventure Gra took out his stunt kite. Reportedly capable of 120mph plus
speeds. Iain and I had a go; and boy, was it powerful. Gra had it swooping at
the ground, trying to scare the visitors and the local wildlife; he was clearly
“in the zone”.
Talking about the zone,
later on Monday a few people commented on a flexwing flying quite north of the
field. A quick radio called identified the operator of said flexwing. The
concern was that from where we stood it looked like the pilot had entered the
main Gatwick zone. The pilot shall remain nameless.
Continuing on to Monday we
had a Ban-Bi arrive first thing shortly after 1000hrs. It was such a shock that
someone arrived so soon after “opening” I managed to confuse the poor fellow on
the radio, so immediately handed the radio to “Air Marshall” Gra; he looked
pretty cool in his fluoro jacket. The Ban-Bi approached downwind, then turned
round and landed into wind. He advised the other 3-axis Rasn S6 nearby, to land
uphill and downwind. This proved exciting for Gra as there were flexwings
approaching and they were definitely going to land into wind.
The flexwings approaching
were Dave Baker, Paul Millen and Clive Innocent, shortly followed by Barry
Coombes. Gra ushered our new “heavyweights” to the Welly Tossing Line. DaveB
chucked the welly a huuuuge 92’. His toss proved unsurpassable and he was
confirmed the victor at close of play.
Darren Friel arrived with
his mate Clive and after soaking up some of the ground atmosphere took to the
skies for a while. Great to see him get some hours in.
And then I got to see Tim
G-P P1 in an aircraft! I had started to think his licence was a myth! ;-) He
arrived wearing his lovely new SF Polo shirt. And of course smiling.
Mike finally took a chance
to go flying from his own field in his Rans. His flight gave me an opportunity
to take a photo of him flying towards the sun; the digital camera managed to
deal with the ridiculously high levels of light to reveal what wonderful
weather we had.
Two of our neighbours on
nearby land arrived on foot; Mark has just made his first solo flight in a
Cessna at Shoreham, but was offered a Puma Sprint Flexwing to buy, which he
couldn’t refuse. Adrian was able to offer him his first flexwing experience,
which he was very grateful of. Welcome to the world of microlighting Mark!
The other neighbour arrived
via the fields with dog and family. The two lads piled into my microlight with
real enthusiasm – both at the same school as my eldest lad – they have seen my
plane in the air from the school playground, so were thrilled to actually sit
Their elder sister had a
good throw in the welly competition. Her very quick throw was enough to secure
her second place! I delivered the trophy later that night with Gra’s comment,
“You can tell it’s a girls trophy as the boot points to the right; and girls
are always right!”.
The boys got a motorbike
ride back up the field - this time I didn’t fall off!
By this time the sun proved
too much for the two Clive’s and TimGP – they had to suck on their fags and sip
from their plastic cups of tea behind the hangar door.
Gra was kind enough to take
me up for a spin; I managed to take a good few photos from the air, plus some
video of him taking off and landing. It’s quite nice to be taken for a fly sometimes. You never completely let go of looking
out, but you certainly can appreciate the scenery more from the back seat.
Iain had been in and out all
day with his chums having their first microlight experience. Eventually he
managed to convince his wife that she needed a go. The grin on her face
reminded me what flying a flewing two-up was all about; showing others the
accessibility of the sport, the simplicity, the safety and the amazing sense of
freedom that flexwings afford.
On that note I’ll end this
report. Thanks to Mike for letting us run a fly-in. Thanks to Graham and Sue
for making a huge effort with food, drink, marshalling, toilet construction and
all round entertainment of the masses.
And finally thanks to all
that flew in to say hi – a fly in is not a fly in without people flying in!
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