Find out more about Willy Howe Model Flying Club

Although conditions have been difficult in recent weeks as Storms Malik and Corrie left their mark on the area, a model flying club based in the shadow of a neolithic mound on the Yorkshire Wolds is looking to promote the sport to a new audience in a bid to increase its membership.

The Willy Howe Model Flying Club was formed 12 years ago by three local model aircraft enthusiasts, with 30 members currently flying from a field between Wold Newton and Burton Fleming.

Just above the field, where a variety of model aircrafts of all shapes and sizes are flown, sits Willy Howe, a 7.5-metre-high large round barrow, which was rescued and removed from Historic England’s at Risk Register in 2020.

Tony Jadzinski with his Infinity Wing, which was made on a 3D printer.

It’s a picturesque setting for the small, friendly club which is hopeful for a bumper year as it helps to celebrate a significant milestone in the history of model flying in the UK.

This year sees the British Model Flying Association celebrate its centenary and a number of events are planned to mark the occasion, including a world record attempt involving clubs from around the country.

When the Wolds Weekly went along to the flying club last week, the blustery conditions meant flying wasn’t possible, however, members are still able to keep their eye in over the winter months thanks to indoor facilities in Bridlington.

We now have models which have been created using 3D printers, which is something I never thought would be possible, but is going to be the way we do things in the future.

Willy Howe members not only hail from Driffield and the villages surrounding it, but also travel from across East and North Yorkshire to fly their creations, some of which are put together using 3D printers – an advancement in technology that club secretary, Ian Maggs, believes will soon become the norm.

“The club was formed 12 years ago by a group of model aircraft enthusiasts. Originally, there were only three members, but it has grown over the years to a high of 40 and currently 30,” said Ian.

“Most of the members live in the surrounding villages, but also come from Driffield, Pocklington, Scarborough and Malton.

“In the summer months, it gets very busy, but it’s a hobby that is very weather-dependent.

“Between October and March, we can fly indoors in Bridlington, where we use the sports hall and it provides us with an opportunity to maintain our skills, without the interference of the weather, whilst the nature of the hobby means that if we’re not flying, we’re making.

Wolds Weekly reporter James Richardson gets a lesson from club chairman Ian Howard.

“Regulations have changed recently and it is now a legal requirement by the Civil Aviation Authority that nearly every model is registered.

“It is then given a unique model number and if a plane is infringing, it can be traced back to the owner. Larger models go through more rigorous procedures.

“We can’t fly near low-flying aircrafts, which is occasionally an issue, but it’s just a case of looking out for them and being sensible.

“One of the reasons that people take part is sport but also the social element. Our members get together regularly, although there is a core who come along to the club most weekends, unless the weather dictates.

Club secretary Ian Maggs and his Wot4 trainer.

“The bulk of the models we use are electric, however, we do have three avid petrolheads who compete with each other to see who can build the biggest plane.

“And we now have models which have been created using 3D printers, which is something I never thought would be possible, but is going to be the way we do things in the future.”

As it celebrates its 100th anniversary, the British Model Flying Association continues to promote, protect, organise and encourage the sport in the UK.

There are around 780 affiliated clubs and a combined membership of over 36,000.

The Association has a motto of ‘United We Achieve’ and its hoping to live up to this when its membership attempts to break the record for the most model aircrafts flying at the same time.

The Willy Howe Flying Club is also hopeful of being involved in fairs, festivals and fetes in the local area, as it looks to increase publicity.

“We are all associated to the British Model Flying Association and it has been in existence for 100 years,” said Ian.

Eric Cromack with Pitts Python.

“As a result, we are trying to support some of the celebrations and we hope to be involved with a Guinness World Record attempt for the most models flying at any time, which is taking place during May.
“I think the record is 167, so it’s very manageable.

“We will also be travelling to Elvington over the Easter weekend, helping to promote the air museum and model flying in general.

“We are also hoping to take part in other local events, perhaps in Kilham, where many of our members live.”

By getting out into the community, Ian and the club’s other members hope to attract a new cohort of pilots, particularly those who are slightly younger than the current membership.

The club is also open to anyone who would like to give model flying a go, with full assistance from members on offer.

Willy Howe is a large, round barrow which was rescued and removed from Historic England’s at Risk Register in 2020.

“I was fortunate that my father encouraged me to take up sports and other activities that got me outside the house,” said Ian.

“In general, children today don’t have a reason to get out. But if we can get people engaged and show them the fun we get from flying models, there is an opportunity to pull in a younger audience, who can take over from our current members in the future.

“Anyone can come along and have a go and hopefully that will expand our membership.”

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