The Loch Insh Watersport Centre in the Spey Valley of the Scottish Highlands was the waterplane enthusiasts' dream for two days during September. Encouraged by the promise of the Area's most famous product, known to the locals as "The Water of Life", over 25 models came to the calm Loch for two days.
Elgin Club transmitter control had to work hard as Londoner Ken Marsh got off to his usual smooth display starting a rush for pegs, at one point 17 models lined the shore.
12 year old Brian Weaver (Alloa) didn't allow his Dad's large scale Sopwith Baby steal his thunder. Len's well known, three times Scot.Nats. winner, in its real element at last, drew applause with perfect flights.
Colin, an invader from Leisure Lakes, (Southport) pushed the leading-edges of his Wot 4 under the veneer a wee bit with a vertical "landing" under full power but it was flying later with turbulated airfoils.
The recovery boat "Biddy", a fine clinker built salmon boat, was in demand as varying types milled and wheeled around each other.
A Middle-stik converted itself to a Dipstik, a Rumpler Taube (Balsa U.S.A. kit) did high speed 90° turns at take-off point when the ventral air-rudder (with a couple of notches of right trim) dipped into the water at rotation. A Mighty Barnstormer sedately avoiding an equally sedate Puppeteer in the air.
Magnattilas in British and German markings dog fighting, even a helicopter whirring out with training (?) floats to kiss the water. It was magical. The knowledgeable gathered round the Lake Buccaneer of Stephen Semple (Renfrew) expecting the usual teething troubles with a new model. After a quick taxi trial for water tightness he headed the little Pilot kit into the light breeze, it hopped onto the step and left a narrowing ripple on the water as it shot into the sky. We should have known that this experienced flyer would have "sussed-out" all the angles, he normally flies a Ju.52 trimotor complete with corrugated litho-plate skin. Wonder if he is planning floats for that?
Ken from Dunns of Perth had a Buccaneer too, but must have had another angle when he chose Grampian Police livery ... only thing missing was the blue flashing lamp.
A vintage Ben Buckle Buccaneer got off the water after some fine tuning and a little nitro in the fuel.
Sunday brought a different wave pattern which encouraged Dennis Martin to bring out his stable of thoroughbreds, a Supermaring S.6, a Jiant Jabberwock and a venerable "Antic" for Mrs Martin to fly. Dennis, from Stone in Staffordshire, is well know as the force behind the Aqua-Nats and in spite of a two year lay-off from actual flying gave a very impressive display with the Schneider Racer at low level ending with a victory roll.
A little F/F "Seal" Flying Boat, converted to radio, was borrowed by a Committee Member of the S.A.A. and top aerobatic specialist, another convert?
The "Happy Haggis" award went to the two Kens, who picked the same spot at the same time to make perfect landings, Perth Ken under London Ken on top. The Piggy Back pair bobbing on the water drew ribald comments from the shore as the two pilots waded out discussing custody of the offspring of this Anglo-Scot union.
A quick Fly-off for the prizes was a formality, the flyers had already enjoyed the best fun-fly in a long time. Unanimous decision by pilots and officials gave the well-earned bottle of 12 year old Glen Moray Malt Whisky donated by the Distillers for "Most Meritorious Performance" to recovery boat owner and driver Farquhar MacBain.
Results? Well everybody got a half bottle of whisky, non-drinkers got something suitable. The English got Scottish propaganda and more whisky that night! All said they would be back next year.
Roy Tassell, President of B.W.A. approved, by his beatific expression, S.A.A. officials nodded wisely, so if you're a connoiseur of the nicer things in life come to Spey Valley .... and we will add just a little water.