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#1 aracer Dec 23, 2012 04:27 PM

James May's Flight Club
I hope this is the right place for this thread - currently watching a TV programme on BBC1 in the UK called "James May's Toy Stories: Flight Club" which is about an attempt to fly a free-flight model glider from the Devon coast to Lundy, a distance of 22 miles (I did wonder about http://www.rcgroups.com/free-flight-64/ but given their aircraft is only free-flight in the sense that it has no radio control - it does have moving control surfaces and an auto pilot, oh and apparently also back-up RC control, which was presumably required for air certification - here seemed more appropriate). The original plan was to cross the English Channel, but apparently French beuracracy got in the way.


Anybody else watching this programme? I'll put up an iplayer link so you can watch it online when that is available (in theory iplayer only works from the UK, but you can get around that with a proxy ;) ).

#2 aracer Dec 23, 2012 04:48 PM

Here's an iplayer link - as I mentioned above this will only officially work if you're in the UK, but there are ways around that by using proxies (I'm hoping somebody else will chip in with details of that - it's something I know is possible, but not all the ins and outs).


#3 Woodstock 1 Dec 23, 2012 05:12 PM

Just been watching the program. Some nice photography. Not so sure about the "free flight" designation...


#4 BatLaw Dec 24, 2012 08:39 AM

I don't think we got the full story. The 'toy' plane (very irritating) was obviously trimmed out before they cast it off (it had radio on board apart from the auto system). As he has a pilot's licence I thought May's over exuberance slightly false and the side visit to the old school building more than irrelevant. Still, at least Clarkson wasn't involved so I was able to watch the programme.
In the end I suppose we ought to be grateful that 'aeromodelling' did make the main tv scheduling.

#5 Thermaler Dec 24, 2012 09:49 AM

It is available to watch here:


Go full screen to get the ad out of your face.


Edit: After watching it, Pretty Cool!!! Except for calling it a toy . . . . . . . . .


#6 Garvey Dec 24, 2012 03:37 PM

Great show though clearly dumbed down for the wider audience. I'd have liked to see more detail of the preparations for the flight, particularly the autopilot system and no use of the word "toy".

#7 awilmunder Dec 24, 2012 07:11 PM

With a show named 'Toy Stories', the use of the term 'toy' should come as little surprise. A 22-mile flight on only the second attempt was rather impressive.

#8 Colonel Blink Dec 26, 2012 02:22 PM


Originally Posted by awilmunder (Post 23612776)
A 22-mile flight on only the second attempt was rather impressive.

...if it genuinely was the second flight. I suspect there was a lot of poetic licence involved as ever within TV.

However, that is not to take away from the achievement of a 22 mile flight by a balsa glider without outside directional control (except the landing, I would suspect). And also (like others) I am pleased to see aeromodelling being watched by non-modellers. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the programme.

May has in general been an excellent advocate for private pilots (of which I am one), aeromodellers (of which I am one), plastic modellers (of which I used to be one) and for many other engineering based toys [sic].

#9 Woodstock 1 Dec 26, 2012 02:28 PM


Originally Posted by Colonel Blink (Post 23624922)
May has in general been an excellent advocate for ....... aeromodellers (of which I am one), ............

Yeah I'd agree in general; the only bits in this program that jarred in that respect was the deliberate crashing of the small heli and the red Cub-like little fixed wing plane :o...


#10 Jim Deck Dec 29, 2012 03:51 PM

Great entertainment. Thought the sly dig at ARFs was clever. Maybe we should invite James May to the AMA/LSF NATS?

#11 Manonthegrassyknoll Dec 29, 2012 04:04 PM

Great program.. I was quizzed about it by some non modellers who were very impressed, maybe even sparked some interest..

#12 awilmunder Dec 30, 2012 01:07 AM

I looked for contact info for James May and since I don't watch Top Gear I didn't know that he was one of the three main hosts. I thought it would be fun to invite him out for a cross-country event, but I think that it will be a challenge to get in touch with him.

#13 Manonthegrassyknoll Dec 30, 2012 03:21 AM


you could try here..

He has done a "toystory" series, it's worth tracking it down and watching..very entertaining...

#14 awilmunder Dec 31, 2012 11:26 PM

Message sent...

#15 walrus1 May 13, 2015 05:36 PM

A journal documenting the development of the modified glider has now been published: "An aerial deployed unmanned autonomous glider for cross-Channel flight", International Journal of Unmanned Systems Engineering, Vol. 3, No. 3, 1-20, 2015. A copy can be downloaded freely from the journal website - http://www.ijuseng.com/#/ijuseng-3-3...015/4589235982

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