Right, for the uninitiated – and noticeably unwashed from those of you who I’ve met – in all things silly modelling, this is the business end of a glider than thinks it’s a proper aeroplane. With the sort of low cunning we’ve come to expect from marketing types, they offer up a flighty solution to days when you’re short of time/wind/appropriate hillage.

Fire it up, chuck it, make it a speck up in the sky somewhere, shut the engine off and glide for a bit. Run out of height, lean on the noisy stick and start again. Great idea, and absolutely necessary for me to add such a niche to the ever expanding mass of winged foam in my workshop.

But this one is special because it has been on fire. A late night chuck should have brought twenty minutes relaxing stick twirling, followed by a cushioned landing in the field of wheat a nice farmer has provided as my makeshift runway.

What actually happened was a perfect launch, a fast climb and then… well… nothing. The motor turned off, the transmitter was no longer talking to the receiver, and my frantic twiddling had all the effect of asking a ten year old to finish their homework. Unlike recalcitrant children, the glider was blissfully serene at this point – merely heading off downwind from a height of 100+ feet, and destined to crash into some poor innocent minding their own business in a spot of cow tipping. About four miles away.

A gust of wind changed that and gravity rapidly brought on terminal velocity, which thumped the model hard into the crop and cartwheeled previously attached parts to all corners of the field. This crashing been happening rather a lot lately, but in this case it wasn’t my fault.

Not that I was much cheered by such thoughts, as I trudged through waist height wheat heading for the scene of the accident. After some searching I found that the model mostly undamaged due entirely to the springy, vigorous crop cushioning the impact. Honestly we’re taking a vertical dive at high speed followed by significant deceleration trauma, and most of the bits were still the same shape.

They should make airbags out of this stuff. Anyway things were not so good up the front with the small, yet eye wateringly expensive, motor controller on fire and – until I took swift action – in danger of setting alight thirty acres of uncut crop. The smell was terrible, and that was just from my shorts after they’d be on the arse end of a thought process that ran something like “How the fuck am I going to explain setting fire to a field?”

Anyway it’s easily fixed. When I get time. Which I have none of, and even should some magically be presented, it’ll be eaten up by pond dredging*, removing broken forks, hammering the transmission straight on the cross bike, peeking inside the budget spreadsheet and fixing myself. With a large G&T.

It’s nice to know my “skills crossover ” from MTB to models is so seamless. Crap building? Check. Excuses? Lots. Rubbish ability? Oh yes. Crashing? Big sodding tick.

That’s a comfort of sorts.

* This weekend I’ve been up to my armpits in smelly, rank and sticky mud. I’ve had terrible flashbacks to riding in the Chilterns.

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