The Jersey Model Aero Club was formed by a small group of enthusiasts who met over a pint at the Cosy Corner pub in 1960.
The club has grown over the years and its current membership of 80 or so pilots embrace every aspect of this enthralling hobby. Our flying site is at Les Landes in St Ouen and flying takes place there regularly every weekend.
In July 2010 we celebrated the club's 50th anniversary and staged one of the largest model flying displays ever to be seen on the island. Models owned by members range from trainer aircraft to jets, gliders and helicopters. These range in size from the delicate lightweight indoor models powered by tiny electric motors, to the larger 1/3rd scale aerobatic aircraft powered by 150cc petrol engines.
Radio Control - So Much Choice!
You may be surprised to learn that there really is a very wide variety of disciplines within this wonderful sport, and indeed many of those are practised by members of the JMAC.
Fixed Wing Power
Most people associate our hobby with flying radio control aeroplanes with fixed wings and "glow" engines for power. There is a huge diversity of fixed wing flying with a variety of methods of power, and these will range in cost from a total ready to fly package of a couple of hundred pounds through to several thousands. Fast, slow, fun fly, trainer, aerobatic, jet, scale, and more besides all fall into this category making up very different aspects of the fixed wing power discipline.
An active discipline within the Club, which takes full advantage of the Island’s geography, is radio control slope soaring or gliding. Although most of the glider flying takes place at slope sites around the Island, we do fly from Les Landes using either a winch or aero-towing to altitude with a large scale model.
All of Jersey’s slopes are sea facing cliff sites. With the wide selection of sites available, we are fortunate in that we can fly in almost any wind direction. The latest craze is known as EPP Combat; using flying wings, made of a particular type of polystyrene, that are near indestructible. Trying to knock one another out of the sky is easier said than done!
Electric power is a rapidly growing area of the hobby, and once again you choose between a budget model or a more expensive set up. You might be surprised at the capability of modern electric powered models. Club members fly small lightweight electric models made from injection moulded foam, called "foamies", through to traditionally constructed higher power models for sports, high speed and aerobatic flying.
This is where the big bucks are spent. With the development of model turbine engines and associated equipment it is now possible to own and fly a really true likeness of some of the world's most famous jets. Not only do they look like the real thing but they operate and sound in a similar way too. Complicated on board computer systems control the operation of the turbine safely and there is something special about saying “I fly jets on my day off !!"
The JMAC has started flying indoor radio control models in the last couple of years. Extremely light weight designs running on tiny electric motors and micro radio control enable you to have fun indoors both with aeroplanes and micro helicopters. Generally, the club has made use of sports halls and similar venues to enjoy this facet of the hobby, although they can all be used outdoors on calm days.
The JMAC has been into and out of helicopters over its history, stretching back to when they first became commercially available in the 70’s. These days helicopters are powered by glow engines, electric and even gas turbine and petrol motors. They range in size from just a few centimetres rotor diameter up to 2 metres and more. It is without doubt one of the most difficult of the disciplines to master but in the right hands some of these machines can do things that are beyond your imagination!
F3A Aerobatics (a category of fixed wing power) is sometimes referred to as “precision aerobatics” or “pattern”. Pattern is about flying your radio controlled model airplane through a defined series of manoeuvres with precision and consistency to scribe a pattern in the sky based on various competition schedules.
A competitor performs the series of manoeuvres as a continuous schedule in front of judges and is scored on precision and grace which is then multiplied by a difficulty factor. It is considered to be the pinnacle of the sport and represents to many the purest form of radio control flying skill.