Our Club in the last Millennium

Just for the record:-

North Anston Society of Aeromodellers was named by the second club Secretary during the early seventies.  John (can anyone help me with his surname please, I think he lived in the Chesterfield area).  He was enthusiastic to tell me as we opened the gate to the field one Thursday evening that our initials mirrored that of the American Space Agency which was enjoying its hay day.  I don't think I ever heard any one refer to our club by any other name.  So we had a name!  

Cyril Slater was the force behind obtaining the field for our use.  Our land owners had farmed in the Bradfield area before moving to North Anston.  We should consider Cyril as our first Secretary, although in 1967,  he was the Secretary of the original group of  aeromodellers in Sheffield who were known as Sheffield Aeronautical Radio Control Society. (to this day we should remember that if it was not for those negotiations between Cyril and a vary sympathetic farmer NASA might not have existed). So we had a Flying Field!


But let me take you back to where it all started:-

The first formal meeting of the original group of casual Sunday/Thursday afternoon flyers was held at the Millhouses Hotel, Abbeydale Road, Sheffield (Photo).  Present at that first gathering were: Cyril Slater (voted as Secretary), Alan Gillvrey (voted as Treasurer), Ted Newsum, Edger Myers, Dave Hanson, Ken Appleyard and myself. (The Second and more permanent meeting place was the  Robin Hood just a few hundred yards further up the road)  (Photo)  We met each Sunday Morning and Thursday afternoons to fly at Blackamoor, sometimes referred to as Strawberry Lea, close to Fox House, south of Sheffield, and as an alternative, we flew off the Ringinglow Road, we used the first lay-by at the top of the hill as our pits.  Cars were few a far between and models were hand launch away from the road.  Radio Control in those days was home made, single channel, carrier wave, large components with valves which took high voltage, 67.5v HT and 1.5v LT for the receiver, 4.5v bell battery for the actuator, 90v HT and 1.5v LT for the transmitter. All this meant most of the flights were free flight, even if the radio worked the vibration from the engine often made the actuator skip, the winds on the elastic band drive were wound down and the model was free flight again, several were lost, but most crashed, radio control was still a dream but we persevered. That was until Graupner produced the Variphone system, (a conversation with Terry Tippett recently reminded me that if you looked carefully at the transmitter case there was evidence of a speaker grill mounting and it was obvious that the case was originally made to house a Grundig Radio) .  The transmitter was eight channel, with a receiver, and for each two channels, plug in blocks of receiver modules were added with the appropriate actuator up to eight channels, Ted Newsum had this equipment in a White Cloud powered by a Veco 19, at the same time Edger Myers flew a Frog Jackdaw equipped with three channel Metz equipment, they both worked very well but the price took it out of reach for most of us.  (click for photos) (if my memory serves me right I don't think there was much difference between the cost of this equipment and a decent second hand car. I didn't even have a car!).

With the development of radio equipment, although many home made systems were still in use,  and several home constructed 10 channel reed sets were being successfully used, we moved to the Dyche Lane flying site at Coal Aston.  We used the Dormer Drills Sports Ground with permission to use the pavilion, for those who remember, Harry was the groundsman, he appreciated us being there early on Sunday mornings to light the coke burning stove in the middle of the pavilion.  

This was an interesting time as far as radio development was concerned, reed superhet equipment was the order of the day with Bonner servos as standard.  Terry Tippet was a member of the club at that time and he was developing his galloping ghost system, the first step towards proportional control.  The characteristic wagging of the tail of his Cox TD powered aircraft as the rudder and elevator deflected from side to side, continually, with control being applied by the single transmitter stick to bias the action in any one direction, the actuator was a modified Mighty Midget motor.  Terry went on to be a manufacturer of one of the most successful British radio equipment lines,  you will still find his adverts in the RCM&E under Micron Radio Control. 

For those who could afford it, F&M Midas and Matador, Orbit, Kraft, Min X were the reliable reed sets available with Bonner servos being the standard servo.  Bonner produced a proportional set and there was one in the club,  well rather buried in the flying field most of the time,  it wasn't very reliable, (any body remember Bill Hall and family).  A short time later however another set produced by Micro Avionics proved that proportional was here to stay.

Monthly club meetings were held at the Princess Royal Hotel at Crookes and later at the Robin Hood Hotel, Millhouses, then the Barracks Hotel, Apperknowle.  We used Graves Park as an alternative flying site to Dormer Sports and we also made trips as a club to Gamston, Ossington and Wigsley airfields.  The development of housing around Dyche Lane made things increasingly difficult for us to fly.  Eddie the adjoining farmer with his shot gun was always a threat, he did not like model aeroplanes, but in the end it was the encroaching public that ended a memorable period of club flying, and by the late sixties we had to move.  

North Anston was were we settled, although several members made sure the original club survived and to this day they fly from the Castle Dyke field at Ringinglow, only a mile or so from one of our original haunts. 

The runway at North Anston was cut with a push type lawn mower and enlarged slowly until we had a main runway.  A caravan was used as a club house and it was agreed that membership would stay at ten as a maximum.  Within a short time the caravan had been the subject of an arson attack and the exploding gas bottle and a large amount of methanol stored there made sure only the axial was left, the molten bits were scattered far and wide. At about the same time (1973) the runway was increased to provide a cross wind runway. 

Cyril bought a chicken hut as a replacement for the caravan, it was self assembly and there was much evidence that the chickens had left in a hurry.  We stored a string of less than perfect grass cutters and tea making facilities, however Roy Neil had taken over as Secretary and Tony Woodhouse was Treasurer.  Francis Neil, Molly Francis and Shirley Outram made sure that soup, tea and coffee was available at a small cost, moral was high in the club with a wide spread of interests, models were developing at a pace.  Our monthly club meetings had by this time moved to the Punch Bowl Hotel on Gleadless Common.  

Our club badge was designed by either Tony Frances or Don Turner. (I will amend the records when the correct information is confirmed).  

I had took over as Secretary at the AGM in 1978/79.

A grateful member of the club arranged for the evidence of the previous  residents of the club house to be covered with plaster board and emulsion which made our club house quiet cosy.  It is worth mentioning that the lock would be considered none existent today and anyone would have needed little effort to enter, however there were no problems in those days, at least not until fire destroyed the facility beyond repair on the 13 December 1981.      (club house pictures). 

 The club was already in negotiation for a new club house. We had already been offered by Stan Bell and Howard Brown (life member) the option on a large wooden building some 60 feet by 30 feet in dimension.  There was no floor or roof and it was in Manchester at that time, but transportation was negotiated and the club agreed to use our second insurance payout to provide the roof and floor materials for a half size building.  The other half was passed onto our landowner in our negotiations to erect a building 30 feet by 20 feet on the flying field.  These were the best facilities we had ever had with a tiled kitchen area and modern kitchen units, a separate equipment storage room, the main area was artexed and decorated.

In 1980 we became  BMFA affiliated club.  Our rules were also officially changed to allow membership to grow to 55 members.  (We have averaged 30).

Our monthly meetings had moved to Biggles Restaurant at Swallownest, but by the late eighties interest had waned and the facility was lost.  

We decided to move our main runway lower down the field to help keep models away from the road on climb out and approach.  This provided us with a T runway arrangement rather than a cross.   

Neil Brayshaw took over as club treasurer in 1986.

Just three years to the day since loosing our last club house, on the night of the 12/13 December 1984 we again lost our club house to fire.  We used four ninths our insurance money to provide the shipping container club house facilities we have today and five ninths were invested to start our flying field fund or our Phoenix Trust Fund as it has been referred to.  It is the work club members put into building the three club houses which lead to our unusual graduated arrangements for club fees.

The roof of the container is insulated with blue form lined and "kitchen units" fitted, we even make use of the settee dumped on us. Fluorescent lights work though inverters and a 12 volt battery with generator backup provides the lighting. Calor gas is used for cooking and heating.  The 36" sit on mower is maintained by members and the runways are cut most weeks though the summer,

We sand blasted and repainted our club house in 1998.