It was a brisk and blustery Sunday morning when the BMFA examiners arrived in Oldham and were welcomed with cups of hot coffee….
Oldham Model Aero Club are looking to the future. The club has the vision that all members should gain as a minimum the A-test flying Certificate by the end of the year, in either of the fixed wing or helicopter disciplines. This will improve flying standards and promote safe flying practices within the club, and be the measure for a member to fly solo at club sites.
The first step towards achieving this goal was to get as many members as possible prepared for the first round of A-tests through both flying practice and a club night where the theory questions were practiced.
As the club does not have an examiner in its membership the club contacted the BMFA to arrange to have examiners come to the club. Kevin Watson (BMFA Achievement Scheme Coordinator NW area) got in touch with the club and it was arranged that two BMFA Examiners (Kevin Watson and Chris Boardman) attend the Oldham Greenhills flying site on Sunday 17th February.
The proceedings began with a briefing from Kevin Watson, it was explained that the club members would each have the opportunity to work with an examiner through preparation and practice flights for familiarity and to establish exactly was expected of them before taking the test. There were seven candidates participating, resulting in five fixed wing A-test certificates, two helicopter A-tests certificates and one fixed wing B-test certificate being awarded on the day.
All the members present agreed that although challenging, the day was enjoyable. The examiners were strict and looked for a high degree of skill and detail but took the time to explain what was required and were patient and fair throughout the tests. The examiners were a credit to the BMFA and the club thanks them for their time.
The club currently has over 30 Active members flying at its two sites in the Oldham area of North East Manchester and its slope soaring site in Saddleworth, flying a variety of electric and I/C models, and have vacancies for new members.
The club was originally formed in 1945 by three 18-year olds. The types of models flown then were gliders and rubber-powered free flight models.
The club’s very first flying site was at Bell Fields in Oldham, but then due to the building of a new school in that location the club moved to Breeze Hill fields near Lees.
Sometime later that site was also selected for the building of another new school and the club almost foundered as membership dropped to about half a dozen model aviators. In 1957 Peacoats became the new club flying field, located in Beal Valley behind the old Seddon Atkinson factory this was to remain the home of the club for many years until in the late nineties, the local authority decided that this would be the location of a new golf course.
As a result, the club flying field moved to Snipe Clough before moving once again, to the current flying field at Greenhills in Alexandra Park, Oldham.
The club has a second flying site for electric models at Beal Valley, Oldham.
The club also has a dedicated flying site for slope soaring gliders at Nont Sarah’s in Saddleworth.
Since its formation, the club has had a number of notable achievements including representing NW England for the British indoor duration record and winning the BARCS national cross country.
In 2016 the Club was awarded the Roger Bedford memorial award by the BMFA for Being a Club that was working actively to raise the image of the hobby and for working with the Local 220 Oldham Squadron Air Training Corps.