I have been following a thread on Twitter, about Drones (not the bee kind). There are strong feelings both for and against. I come from the position that Drones, per se, are harmless. It is the people that manipulate them that are the cause for concern.

In the 1980’s I was a member of the Skelmersdale Model Aero Club. I built, and flew a good many model aircraft, call them Drones if you will.

This one:

had a 6ft+ wingspan, was so heavy that I needed a CAA exemption certificate to fly it. It was powered by a £200 four-stroke engine, that made a beautiful, distinctive, sound in its, slow revving, flight.

I flew it competitively (didn’t win) at a model aero competition at Holker Hall, Cark. It was a superb slow flier. It’s biplane format kept it airborne, despite its weight, at very slow speeds.

One of my favourites was this WWI like model similar to the famous Focker Eindecker. This also had an inverted four-stroke engine, that was half the size of that in the model above, because this model was so much lighter, despite also having a 6ft wingspan.

It could take off at speeds only slightly faster than walking pace and could putter, majestically through the air at a snail’s pace.

The difference between flying models like these, and Drones, is the number of hours that you devoted to building and decorating, them. Many years later, since we moved to Whittington, I gave all my model aero kit away. These two, together with an F1 competition acrobatic model, with retractable undercarriage and all the frills, were intact. However, I admit to returning home on several occasions with models in more bits than when I left home in the morning.

Ah!! – Those were the days.

John Keegan

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