This annual weekend extravaganca at South Gorley, near Fordingbridge on edge of the New Forest Hampshire ended it's 25 year run on a high. Over the past 25 years the event has raised over £250,000 for local and National charities. Elaine and Campbell who been the organisers and hosts of this regular New Forest event are standing down after 25 years and everyone there present gave a great applause for their efforts.
The event features vintage and classic vehicles including military, civilian and agricultural exhibits. Also steam traction engines and static versions for agricultural and industrial use, these machines bringing efficient methods to industrial output and to farming. During the day the Hyde Band played associated music to entertain and give atmosphere to the event. The big attraction for many visitors is the full size flying display of vintage, classic and aerobatic aircraft backed up by a grand static plus flying displays by local aero model clubs such as us, WimborneMAC and Salisbury MFC.
Bygone Days 2015 covered the whole weekend as it always had. Exhibitors would have been setting up the previous few days before. WimborneMAC's team visited the site to ensure the temporary airstrip was suitable for models and plan the layout for safe flying. Saturday morning saw the pilots and support members are up bright and early to set up the static display which as seen in the photos was impressive. A partly sunny day with intermittent cloud cover but a gentle breeze from the South West and fairly warm. After the pilot briefing by Steve Morris, flight director it was time to get some flying done. In the first slot was helicopters, glow and electric. After that came fixed wing in alternating slots of WW1 models, sport and WWII warbirds. As usual Salisbury MFC sided on scale models whereas WimborneMAC preference this time round was aerobatic flights.
Jon Tappin usually covered aerobatic flying on the Saturday of Bygone Days and duly put on a good mix of aerobatics and 3D flying with a relatively quiet electric model. Later in the morning Jon, Jason and John Ireland put on a three identical model flight display with Jon calling out the manouevres but as many RC pilots know, it is not that simple! You can see some highlights of this in the Video section.
Later in the afternoon Stuarts new EDF warbird was given a flight by Jon Tappin. Due to the rough terrain of meadow grass it was deemed easier to hand launch it. Steve Morris volunteered for this job and in the video you will see his excellent throw, although to be fair it sort of just left his hands on it's own. With owner Stuart acting as timekeeper or save my Lipo packs, Jon gave a brilliant display to the public for a few minutes and then Stuart called time up. Circling round Jon lined up with the grass strip and then the power packs died, leaving Jon to glide it gracefully to ground in the next field, not quite making it back by just a few metres. Just a couple of seconds more and it would've made it. EDF's eat amperes! The audience applauded and we all had a good laugh.
The full size aircraft displays were excellent and especially for a fairly newcomer to the aerobatic circuit was Lauren Richardson in her bright red Pitts Special. Lot's of growling engine and smoke trials!
The scheduled Piper Cub failed to appear but another awesome display by the Yakovlevs Team with their wing tip to wing tip flying. A Tiger Moth showed that you don't need power to perform, it just does it more slowly and gracefully. A Spitfire Mk IX from Biggin Hill also gave an impressive flight although was delayed at Biggin Hill due to an issue with another Spitfire at it's base in Kent.
Sunday, a much more brighter start to the day and becoming very warm indeed. WimborneMAC and SalisburyMFC again put on a good static display along the length of public viewing area. Although Wimborne were a little bit thin on the ground with regards to pilots. Although Dave Bright did an excellent job of filling in the missing places with his flying skills. Some of the models flown in typical Dave B style were the Editor's Ripmax Mustang EP followed later by the EFX Racer which really does keep going vertical. As usual it landed with just 2% in the 1600mAh 4 cell pack. It recovered though with no ill effects. Dave also flew his big Sukhoi (Red Bull) to great effect followed by big applause from the public assisted without doubt by the commentary by David Tappin.
From the full size aircraft we again had the Pitts Special, Yakovlevs Team and WW1 replica biplanes and triplanes battle enactment as the finale. The Hants and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance visited again for th epublic to come and view but was called away an hour later. A Westland Wasp helicopter also made an appearance and wasavaialble for the public to view this classic Navy aircraft. The Wasp later did some flying demonstrations in the paddock.
This was the last Bygone Days as we have known it over the years but hopefully there are plans afoot to create a similar event elsewhere, possibly at Moyles Court, former home of the HQ of RAF Ibsely until just after the war when it was closed down or possibly at another venue in Dorset.
Many thanks to all members of WimborneMAC and SalisburyMFC for their gratefully accepted displays of static and flights and giving up their weekend to support this charitable event.