James May's Flight Club - RC Groups
Thread Tools
Dec 23, 2012, 05:27 PM
Registered User

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 https://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 ).
Last edited by aracer; Dec 23, 2012 at 07:15 PM.
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Dec 23, 2012, 05:48 PM
Registered User
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).

Dec 23, 2012, 06:12 PM
Woodstock 1's Avatar
Just been watching the program. Some nice photography. Not so sure about the "free flight" designation...

Dec 24, 2012, 09:39 AM
Registered User
BatLaw's Avatar
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.
Dec 24, 2012, 10:49 AM
Balsa breaks better
Thermaler's Avatar
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 . . . . . . . . .

Last edited by Thermaler; Dec 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM.
Dec 24, 2012, 04:37 PM
Garvey's Avatar
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".
Dec 24, 2012, 08:11 PM
Good for what ALES you
awilmunder's Avatar
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.
Dec 26, 2012, 03:22 PM
So I'M meant to be in control?
Colonel Blink's Avatar
Originally Posted by awilmunder
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].
Dec 26, 2012, 03:28 PM
Woodstock 1's Avatar
Originally Posted by Colonel Blink
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 ...

Dec 29, 2012, 04:51 PM
Registered User
Jim Deck's Avatar
Great entertainment. Thought the sly dig at ARFs was clever. Maybe we should invite James May to the AMA/LSF NATS?
Dec 29, 2012, 05:04 PM
four candles
Great program.. I was quizzed about it by some non modellers who were very impressed, maybe even sparked some interest..
Dec 30, 2012, 02:07 AM
Good for what ALES you
awilmunder's Avatar
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.
Dec 30, 2012, 04:21 AM
four candles

you could try here..

He has done a "toystory" series, it's worth tracking it down and watching..very entertaining...
Jan 01, 2013, 12:26 AM
Good for what ALES you
awilmunder's Avatar
Message sent...
May 13, 2015, 06:36 PM
Registered User
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

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Contest Club contest scheduled for Saturday May 19th mdennis Kansas Soaring Society 0 May 18, 2012 03:54 PM
Discussion Club Contest - Saturday May 19th mdennis Kansas Soaring Society 6 May 09, 2012 05:07 PM
Discussion May join the club azflyingguy Arizona Model Aviators 8 May 02, 2012 02:41 PM
Discussion T.U.F.F. Club of Tyler 4th anual Big Bird May 25-27th kolederacer USA - District VIII 0 Apr 20, 2012 01:02 PM
Contest Richardson TX RC Club Heli Fun May 20th txcombatguy Fuel Heli Talk 1 Apr 09, 2012 01:02 AM