|Keep your head low and eyes peeled if you are in the Ditchford area on Sunday mornings. For unless you are very careful, a skimming glider or hedge-hopping Hurricane is liable to give you a free haircut.
But if you can keep out of the way, and have an appreciative eye, you can share with enthusiastic members of Wellingborough Model Aero Club the joy of seeing the skies brought to life by many colourful winged creations hovering in the wind.
"Ditchford Aerodrome" is the official club flying field and it is there that members’ many tireless hours working on intricate models is put to the test. The club, known as the "Monks," is one of the few model aero clubs Britain to have its own clubroom. Members build and discuss their planes at Broad Green, Wellingborough. And while it can be difficult for the layman to appreciate the complexities of aeronauts, aerodynamics and aerostaticsit even sounds impossibly involved even the technical ignoramus can appreciate the beauty of the finished product.
Dave Arbour (Rushden) spins the prop to start his scale model Avro 504K - Picture by Stuart Walters
But the model aeroplane is an exact miniature of the real thing and since they are working models in the true sense, all these things have to be applied to bring each product to its enchanting Completion.
Few modelling fanatics rely on their own skills as much as the aero men. Weeks of effort, concentration and a considerable amount of hard cash are at stake when a new plane takes off at Ditchford. Fortunately, the hardened enthusiast has learned to merely grit his teeth when his pre-cious plane loops-the-loop perfectly only to suddenly plunge to destruction on the ground below. An inquest follows, but the member knows that somewhere he went wrong.
It is these hard facts of life that make the aero modellers unique in the world of handymen.
They are skilled men and take as few risks as possible. Many of them have actual experience in building and flying real aeroplanes. Boy Burdett, of Irthlingborough, worked for many years in the Aircraft industry and in the RAF before moving on to other pastures. But the fascination of aircraft and flying have kept him in trim.
Charles Boddington, of Wellingborough, is a pilot of some distinction. The club is well-known in the aero modelling world and Charles' brother, David, is a nationally-known figure. And one member, Wellingborough's Mr. Bill Bailey, was once selected to fly with the British A2 glider team in Yugoslavia. As with air flight, aeromodelling knows no international boundaries.
At present the club is busy preparing for the British National Championships to be shortly in Wiltshire.
But behind all the problems of competition there is the one overriding attraction which kept Besnier keen with his "Flapping Carriage" 300 years ago the magic of flight which has captured man's imagination and gives extra drive to the Concord scientists of today.
Whether it be a child with a simple kite or a jet pilot at work, the air holds a sort of freedom which man can never achieve and yet a freedom which he must keep trying for.
The man associates his own feelings with the glider which has the unrestricted liberty of the skies and he is with the glider in soul at least as it rolls and soars and skips over hedges. But only the aero modeller can appreciate this sensation as it really is.