The Ramsey Model Aero Club (RMAC) was originally started in the early 1970s by Richard Meayers with a number of school boys attending the Ailyn School in Ramsey following a kindling of interest in aviation during their school science lessons. Richard developed the club until about 1975 when a chance meeting between a small group of aero-modellers and a certain Group Captain John Long at RAF Upwood. John Long was flying an R/C model from inside the aerodrome whilst the aero-modellers were outside the perimeter fence on a dispersal pan in an area now returned to farming. Bearing in mind that in those days we only had six frequencies on 27 MHz and a hurried meeting was convened resulting in the club re-forming under the guidance of John into the club we know today.
John Long, then on the point of retiring, quickly arranged for the necessary license and the club, now affiliated to the SMAE, established itself on the airfield where a short a stretch of hard runway remained. With these facilities now available and with use of a building as a club hut the membership grew quickly to 60 or 70 and John, as secretary and treasurer, ran the club as a self styled benevolent dictator. All went well and the club went from strength to strength until the early 1980s when the USAF moved in to Upwood, building a medical centre on the site and bringing with them a full size gliding club, space was now at a premium and safety was becoming a major concern so we had to move out.
Through personal contacts we were able to use a small patch of concrete on the now disused Warboys airfield but this soon proved to be too close to the village and noise complaints made it necessary to find an alternative. The farmer who was now farming the old airfield came to our recue with the offer of strip of land in the middle of the airfield which had been a part of the runway but had long since been broken up for hard core leaving the area resembling a bombsite. However, we set to work clearing the rubbish and an enormous amount of stones and rubble but with the generous help from the farmer and his machinery the area was levelled, seeded and we moved in during the summer of 1985. Since then the farmer of the adjacent land has offered us the use of an adjoining strip (which was accepted without question as the original area was proving to be too narrow with models getting larger) providing the club with the excellent facility that we enjoy today.
Recently one or two other local clubs have experience site difficulties and this has increased the demand for membership of the RMAC to a point where we have had to put a cap on membership numbers resulting in the creation of a waiting list. This is not an ideal situation but with some of those waiting having found other clubs and a number of members not re-joining most of the waiting list is cleared at the beginning of each year
Our 7 acre site at Warboys is open 24/7, with the exception of three days each year when we host BMFA national competitions, and is kept in first class condition by a dedicated team with our veteran David Brown tractor and a set of triple gang mowers. The majority of the members fly fixed wing including glider aero towing and a limited number of helicopters, also drones have recently arrived and there has been the reported sighting of a control line flyer. As a club we try to embrace as many aspects of model flying as possible the exception being free flight as we are surrounded on all sites by arable fields and our landlord prefers not have members walking through his crops.
The club is fully supportive of the BMFA and every year for the past 30 plus years has hosted an annual scale contest on behalf of scale technical committee and has added to this an F3A aerobatic contest and more recently an F5B event. A training scheme, controlled by a dedicated training officer, has brought many new flyers to our sport to the “A” certificate level and beyond. The achievement scheme is promoted and club rules require at least an “A” certificate before a member may fly unsupervised. Taken all round the RMAC is a very successful club going forward into the 21st century although it is now over forty years since that first meeting with Group Captain John Long but it will always be remembered by the few of us who are still members as the beginning of the Ramsey Model Aero Club as we know it today.
Robin I Gowler FSMAE March 2019
President Ramsey Model Aero Club