BMFA CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
I can scarcely believe that it’s nearly two years since I wrote in BMFA News at the start of the pandemic reporting on progress with our Strategic Review, outlining plans for a membership survey and flagging up the approaching Centenary. Set against what’s currently happening in Europe this palls in significance and our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine. I am very pleased that the FAI has applied appropriate sanctions akin with other international sporting bodies.
One of the issues that came out of the survey was a shortcoming in communication and that’s something we are addressing. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to write directly to every member to update you all on a number of key developments and, in particular, to encourage you to embrace the opportunities provided by our Centenary. The programme of centrally-organised events has been well publicised in BMFA News and the Centenary website that is now live at https://100.bmfa.org/ is the place to go for the latest information. My aim today is to pick out two or three particular items.
Regrettably I have to start with a piece of news that many will find hugely disappointing. After a two-year absence we were reasonably confident of a return to RAF Barkston Heath this year for a celebratory Free Flight and Power Nationals. Sadly, despite encouraging noises last year, the Cranwell Station Commander has declined our request for both events, primarily on operational grounds. This followed a face to face meeting and subsequent negotiations offering to reduce their scope and scale. We are still hopeful of running combined events over the two bank holidays and are in negotiation with a number of other potentially-suitable airfields. I had hoped to have an answer by now but it was important that those of you planning trips to Barkston were not kept in the dark any longer. We will post a bulletin on the website in due course. If none of the options comes off then the individual disciplines will arrange their own National Championships independently as they have done for the past two years. Some are already in place including Silent Flight at Buckminster over the August Bank Holiday and Indoor Duration at Daventry in September.
On a more positive note there are plenty of other events in which we hope you will get involved. Whilst we’re celebrating a milestone for the BMFA, it is the members who are the BMFA and it’s great to see the calendar starting to fill up with Centenary and Flightfest events at Area and club level. Keep it up and, don’t forget, we’re here to help with support and advice should you need it. I am writing this with Tuesday’s ‘In the Air Tonight’ still fresh in mind. If you didn’t catch Luke Goymour’s enthusiastic and uplifting session that reminded us all why model flying is so engaging and addictive, the spiritual and practical pleasures of belonging to an active club, and the additional benefits to be gained from the challenge of competition then I commend you to look it up on Youtube at https://youtu.be/C4ROcY1uTTo. The Centenary is a great opportunity to spread the joy!
The Scale Indoor Nationals at Walsall are now only a few weeks away and both the R/C on Saturday and Free Flight on the Sunday are great fun and very spectator-friendly. Then we have the World Record attempt on Sunday 15th May. We already have over 30 clubs registered to take part and the list is growing all the time. Remember, it’s open to any type of model so if you’re an R/C flyer and slots are limited at your club on safety grounds why not build something small and light to throw into the air at the appropriate time? It just takes a bit of lateral thought and planning. If you’re normally a lone flyer and would like to take part, don’t despair. We’re keeping a list of clubs that are prepared to accept guest flyers for the day and we’ll try to pair you up with a suitable location.
The Centenary exhibition at Buckminster is shaping up well and our collection of significant, spectacular and nostalgic models and artefacts for display is expanding daily. The exhibition will open formally with a reception for guests, dignitaries, media and press on Friday 15th July. Then for the Saturday and Sunday I shall be inviting clubs to nominate one or two worthy individuals to come along for a buffet lunch and guided tour of the exhibition. It’s also the Warbirds and Beerfest weekend so there will be plenty to see. The exhibition will then be open to casual visitors and pre-booked groups through to the end of August. Why not arrange a family or club day out?
The last thing I’d like to mention is the BMFA AGM and Awards Dinner which takes on greater significance this time and will effectively round off the year’s celebrations. We are moving location to the Voco St John’s Hotel in Solihull, just 5 minutes off the M42 and a short walk into town with its assortment of shops and restaurants. With its clean, modern interior and large dining hall that can accommodate up to 200 there will be plenty of room to lay out our vast array of historic silverware so make a date and put 19th November in the diary. The Centenary is also an ideal time to think about who might be deserving of one of our annual awards. The Vice Chairman can advise on the process and the format for citations if necessary.
The AGM will also be one of the most significant for many years as we look to amend our Articles of Association to accommodate the recommendations of the Strategic Review. We will publish more of the detail following the next Full Council meeting in May but the key outcome will be the slimming down of the Board of Directors and revised constitution for the Areas.
As the recorded message on the HQ answerphone reminds us, the BMFA has come a long way since our inception in 1922. Who dares to speculate what types of model our descendants will be flying in 100 years’ time?
Have a great year everyone and stay safe!