BMFA National Centre Visit
NMAC Visit to the BMFA National Centre On the 25th March, thanks to some negotiation by Roy Bricknell, members of NMAC had a sneak preview of the BMFA’s new National Centre, located at Buckminster, on the border of Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, and just a few miles from the pork-pie town of Melton Mowbray.
On a sunny, but very cold, Saturday morning some 32 NMAC members assembled at the Buscott’s Lodge field to await Jeff Wills and the coach that would take us northwards up the A1 to our destination. Jeff was bang on time, and at 8:45 am a very cold, grateful bunch climbed aboard the coach.
Amazingly, given the average age
of the occupants of the “Prostate Express”, there were no “comfort breaks” necessary on the journey! The BMFA’s Manny Williamson met us for the final few miles along narrow roads to the Centre (although Jeff was more than able to find his way I reckon!).
First impression as our coach pulled in to our parking area was that we had arrived on a building site! Indeed we had, as work on Phase 1 of the Centre is still very much in the early stages. We disembarked and gathered in a steel-clad building which is to be the Events Building. Manny, his wife and Jim from the BMFA very kindly had arranged some impromptu tea, coffee, biscuits and doughnuts. All very welcome! Facilities are, as yet, almost non-existent on the site, so we were lucky I reckon! After a presentation and Q and A session with Manny in the Events building we turned out into the bright March sunshine for a rather muddy walk across to the area which will be the site for all flying activities at the Centre. Two airstrips are planned, at right-angles to each other, in a rough “L” shape, similar to the NMAC field, though a little larger! At the time of our visit, the strips had been ploughed and were awaiting drier weather to allow machinery on to the soil to break it down to a tilth ready for seeding. One thing most members noted with some envy was that pilots stand on the south side of the strip, so all flying is done with the sun behind the pilot – a luxury we don’t have at Buscott’s Lodge! After a further short chat from Manny it was down to some flying! Those members who had brought models had a bright blue sky and a light to moderate NE breeze to enjoy. Those of us who were mere spectators stood and shivered! For the next hour and a half or so the sky above the Centre was filled with everything from slow, gentle gliders to manic funjets beating up the strip at Mach 1! Even a quadcopter. Thankfully, there were no serious crashes. After the flying activities the group split into two, with those energetic types taking a tour around the flying area with Manny, while the sensible ones returned to the Events building for more tea and coffee! Walking around the flying area certainly brought home how large an area is available and there will be no excuses for not landing on the strip! What is also very useful is that the farmland surrounding the Centre’s 43 acres is owned by the same Tollemache family who are leasing the Centre to the BMFA, so flying (and landing!) outside the Centre’s bounds isn’t so much of a problem as it could be. The nearest houses are some way off too, so noise shouldn’t be an issue. It is intended that most disciplines within the hobby will be catered for, so free-flight and control-line will be possible, as well as R/C. The two groups re-joined back in the Events building for a final summary and round-up before boarding the coach once more for the short drive to the Tollemache Arms, where a very pleasant and enjoyable meal made the perfect end to the day.
Considering that NMAC virtually took over the pub the staff seemed to cope very well! Thanks are due to Roy Bricknell and the NMAC Committee for organising the trip and to the BMFA for allowing us to visit at what was a very early stage in the Centre’s development. Thanks also must be given to Jeff Wills, who made sure that we had a very comfortable and safe journey there and back.