Vlad The Impaler.

Not a nice bloke at all. Famous in the 15th century for significant carnage and, well, general impaling. Also referred to as “Dracula“, “Ivan Lendl“*and now a mate of mine called “Geoff“. Or Geoff The Impaler as he clearly has a direct dynastic link to Mr “no time for a trial, run ’em through with cold steel” himself.

Today was designated for chucking toy gliders off big Welsh hills. Apparently it was also scheduled for a short – yet still spinally tapping an 11 on the boredom meter – visit to the local garden festival which I’d conveniently forgotten about**. Anyway after a brief yet tough negotiation on proxying child-care, I chucked a whole load of foam, wood and GRP into the love-bus and made haste to Wales.

Where, on trudging to the slope edge entirely encumbered by silly toys, three things became obvious. Firstly I’d forgotten to bring any food (although I do now have a tea flask which makes me feel about 123 years old), secondly the wind had decided to ply its blustery trade elsewhere, and thirdly my pathetic riding attempts from last night had seamlessly transmogrified into rubbish attempts at missing the ground.

After two “arrivals” which charitably could be called landings only because the model was amazingly available for re-use, I wisely kept the expensive moulded rocket entirely un-built on the grounds I’d also forgotten a large black bag to collect the remains. So a third fling of a glider entirely built (and oft repaired) by my own personal fists of ham, enter stage left a post modern Vlad who ruthlessly upstaged a piece of the 3-D world I had been previously minding my own business in.

The result – as any amateur engineering student will tell you – of a large heavy object hitting something rather light and flimsy will be an explosive energy transfer similar to a high velocity bullet splatting a melon. Descendant of Impaler flew on largely undamaged, while “just flying along” had an airborne rekit of his model with the fusalage plummeting vertically in the manner of a GM lawn dart, and the wing spinning away towards some hard bark.

Not much you can do at this point other than try not to blub. Some 150 feet below us were the remains, and it took a while to collect the various pieces. Amazingly – especially since I built it – the fuz was largely undamaged after its’ sub soil examination of the local peat and the wing has another crease which is merely an addition to the many other repairs. Like Mountain Biking buddies, the fellas were very supportive suggesting some kind of electronically operated bilge hook for the next encounter and also softened the blow by agreeing “that was your best landing today”.

Could’ve been worse, could’ve been the garden show. Still at least we stuffed the Aussies at Rugby and saw off the American Part Timers at cheeseball eh?

* for younger readers of the Hedgehog, Ivan “The Count” Lendl was a tennis player of some renown although much of his success was directly linked to a physical manifestation of Vlad himself. Opponents would regularly find themselves exciting eviscerated during changovers.

** Or if honestly was taking minutes, it would read “checked weather forecast, surely no one will risk holding an outdoor festival with a 10mph knob on Northerly with the prospect of stonking thermals later“. That’s the problem with honestly, it ruthlessly outs my inner geek.

2 thoughts on “Vlad The Impaler.

  1. Ian

    My experimentation with model flying ended when I misjudged the height of the fence bordering the ‘runway’. It was then I found out the quickest way of making my dad cry is to force£200 worth of handbuilt aircraft through a leafy colander..

    Cracking photo though Al 🙂

  2. Alex

    I too have those skills. Although generally “trees” and “other people’s expensive gliders” are my things of preference to ram.

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