Ivel Model Aircraft Club
Model Aircraft Flying near Bedford UK
Our members are mainly from Bedfordshire and West Cambridgeshire
© 2017/18 Ivel Model Aircraft Club
A (Very Brief) History of the Club
Way back around 1968 a small group of like-
Radio control in those days was predominantly single channel 'bang-
Early meetings, with the odd pint or two at the White Horse and later in The Bell, in Sandy, saw the beginnings of what we now know to be the Ivel Model Aircraft Club (Ivel MAC). We became officially affiliated to the BMFA and were now able to join the list of some 700 other clubs in the UK. The BMFA not only provided us with advice but gave the club its public liability insurance. Following an advert in the local paper for other model enthusiasts, more people started appearing. Initially, membership was small but over the following months, it steadily grew. As seems typical with all model clubs, many members were ‘armchair modellers’ and it was seldom we ever saw more than the hardened regulars. Lady Astell liked her ‘Boys with their Planes’ and her gift of champagne at Christmas always went down well!
Biggleswade Common was still used, as it continued to be for some time, but this was mainly as an evening venue and on Saturdays. If you could distract the resident cows from their inquisitiveness, it was likely that you would have a good flying session. During our years at Tempsford, members also met at Waterloo Farm, just over the road from the airfield. Sites at Gamlingay, Houghton Conquest, Wilden, Willington, Riseley and Colmworth had also seen their fair share of flying.
Ivel MAC used the Tempsford 'Drome' for over 30 years. The marked-
We have always had several other secondary grass sites over the years. A field at Houghton Conquest which though ideal, was difficult to police reliably and eventually failed due to its use by outsiders. There was the field at Gamlingay through one of our members that would occasionally have to compete with gunshots from the nearby traveller site!
Lady Astell, the owner of Tempsford, died in the mid 90’s. The new owner was keener on rearing pheasants than entertaining the local model club and, after 30 years, we found ourselves having to look for pastures new -
Ivel MAC has been proud to have had many national champions through its register of names. We have had Paul Careless, Les Knott and Dave Timberlake at National Pylon Race level. Geoff Dallimer and Dave Dyer were Glider and Soaring champions, Ross Donovan and Dave Timberlake were with Aerobatics and Tony Francis and Ian Contessa were our champs in the Helicopter scene. Around 1995 the club was proud to have Paul Gray who featured regularly in the Ducted Fan and Gas Turbine arena.This class of model was only suitable at Tempsford and after a couple of trials at other sites it was agreed to restrict their use elsewhere for safety reasons. More recently we have a national champion in a free-
Ivel MAC was probably one of the first model clubs in the country to fly a model ‘On Screen’ via video telemetry, -
Sadly not with us any more, we had John Drake who pioneered and proved much of the initial control techniques of model helicopters now taken for granted by most of the world. Chris, still a member of the club, pioneered the use of Opto-
The club is now managed by a chairman and committee, oveseen by a group of four independent trustees.