1. Open Cross Country Ran on Sunday, 16th September. See here for result. More. . . . . . 2. Latest pictures for 2018 are available.

WMSA news. Scroll down to see all published articles.

Bristol City Council may ban model flying in Bristol’s green spaces. Currently the proposals are in a consultation phase that runs from 18th January to 20th March 2016.

You can read about the proposals here and download proposed new byelaw here. The BMFA are asking for information about model flying activities in Bristol. You can read about that here.

Peter Evans, our chairman, has requested that we all must give our views to make sure that these byelaws don’t ruin our hobby.

Please Note: This is an informal report of the Annual General Meeting held on the 12th November 2015.

Apart from the Competitions Secretary role, all pre-existing committee members were voting back in for the coming year 2015-2016. Clive Haynes was voted in as Competitions Secretary. Committee member names and contact information can be found here.

Accounts were read and passed.

WMSA club membership fees for 2016 are to remain the same as for 2015 – see here for details. However, BMFA has not yet made public their fee for 2016. Therefore, Bob Flook requested members to delay paying their WMSA membership fee until the outcome of a BMFA meeting in early December is known.

Bob Flook was presented with the Winner of Club Competitions 2014-2015 trophy. Full results are here.

Some of members may be aware that on the 19th July 2015 Alan Perry lost his PIK 20 during a club cross-country competition. Because of Alan position relative to the model, he did not actually see where it struck the ground. It was thought that it could either in the fields on the north side of The Peak or on the hillside bordering those fields. Despite many hours searching by Alan and others the model was not found. This led to the conclusion that the model was either on the hillside – probably stuck in a tree, or in one of three maize fields on that north side. If the former conclusion was correct, it was thought that as winter approached and vegetation died back the model would be revealed.  With regard to the latter conclusion, because of the potential damage to the maize crop, these fields were not searched. However the farmer was informed that the model was possibly in one of his fields.

On the 14th October 2015 the model was found. On that day, the farmer was harvesting the maize crop and saw the model. He moved it to one side and called Alan on the phone. At the same time Bob Flook and Pat Teakle, who were flying off the North Slope, witnessed the ‘find’ and also called Alan.

Alan arrived on site and collected the PIK 20. He has said the model was ‘completely trashed’. Unfortunately, the tractor had run into it! A heavy landing and lying in the open for eighty seven days may have also taken its toll.

Alan took the model home and after lunch decided to remove the radio gear and salvage any other parts. One of these parts was a large elevator control horn. As access was gained there was a surprise – Jammed right at the top of the fin, two field mice had made their home. One ran off, but the other just sat on the ground cleaning itself.

There are two photographs of the event on 'Pictures taken in 2015' page – one shows the crash site and the other Alan recovering the model.

WMSA Members should look for an email from our Communication Officer regarding this meeting. The email provides a voting form for the election of committee members.

The text below is a summary of the agenda for the meeting.

The Annual General Meeting of the West Mendip Soaring Association will be held at 8.00 p.m. on Thursday 12th November 2015 at the Memorial Hall, Congresbury.

A G M Agenda:

  1. Apologies for Absence
  2. Minutes from 2014 AGM
  3. Committee Reports Chairman Treasurer Competitions
  4. Presentation of Club Trophies
  5. Election of Officers [see Note 1 below]
  6. Appointment of External Auditor
  7. Annual Subscription and Insurance
  8. Discussion and Voting on Resolutions [see Note 2 below]
  9. A O B.


  1. Election of Officers: As stated in Rule 16, the name(s) of any Candidate(s) with the names of his or her Proposer and Seconder must be sent in writing to reach the Secretary before 10th November. Nomination forms are attached.
  2. Resolutions: As stated in Rule 20, resolutions must be submitted in writing to reach the as soon as possible. Copies of any resolutions received will be emailed to all members during the first week of November.
  3. Postal and Proxy Votes: As allowed in Rule 23, if Members are unable to attend, the Committee will accept either Postal or Proxy votes or via email tothe WMSA Secretary. Postal/Proxy voting slips are attached to the email and, if one is used, it must be signed and returned before the AGM to the WMSA Secretary
  4. The current Committee members of Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and Fifth Committee member have indicated that they are willing to stand for re-election.
  5. The post of Competition Committee Chairman is currently vacant.

      Updated: 20 November 2015

As some of you may be aware WMSA member Jeremy Mitcheson, who is a very active flyer up ‘The Peak’, had been having conversations with the BBC about a project involving kestrels and our flying over the Mendip hills. From these conversations the idea was born to compare kestrels and our silent flying type of flying.  After some false starts due to weather conditions the day finally arrived for shooting, which was to be on 18th September 2015.

On that day, a few WMSA members (Peter Evans, Pat Teakle and Andrew Davey) met up with Jeremy in the car park and proceed on up to the top of the 'Razor'. A BBC crew were already there preparing for the filming of some kestrel scenes. The crew consisted of Patrick Aryee - presenter, Jo Avery - director, Mat Thomson and Mike Hutchinson - camera operators, Danny Carey - sound recordist, researcher - Billy Clarke, two kestrel handlers from North Somerset Bird of Prey Centre and a kestrel called Paris.  This part of the shooting involved Patrick Aryee introducing the kestrel and the link to our flying of gliders.

The next scenes to be shot involved flying gliders off the West slope. Much of these activities involved repeating the same things several times. For example, there would be a scene giving a distant shot of somebody flying a model and then that same person would have a close-up taken of transmitter knob twiddling. It also involved make innumerable passes with a glider in particular areas.

Unfortunately, during filming on the West slope, Jeremy was taken ill. After consulting with the emergency services, it was decided to evacuate him off the hill. This involved the Ambulance Service, Cheddar Fire Services and the Air Ambulance helicopter. Using a Land Rover, the Cheddar Fire people ferried a paramedic they had picked up on the road below to our position. This was quickly followed by the Air Ambulance helicopter, which landed on the ‘Cross Roads’. Diagnosis of Jeremy’s condition was carried and he was swiftly despatched to the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI). He is currently undergoing tests for his condition.

Update:  Great News! Jeremy was discharged from the BRI on 24th September 2015 and is now home.

Despite this setback it was decided to continue filming. Peter Evans stood in for Jeremy, informing Patrick Aryee about our club, what we do and how we use kestrels and other birds to understand where lift is. During filming on the west side there was plenty of kestrel and buzzard activity, which was filmed by the crew from the BBC.

Filming finally finished at about 17:30. This film article is due to be shown sometime in October so lookout for any information providing date and time of the product of our days’ work.

The title of the film to be shown on the One Show is 'Kestrels On The Edge', with a summary description of: 'A Somerset gliding club takes advantage of Crook Peak's strong air currents when flying their gliders. But the club's members share the airspace with a predator with unrivaled hovering skills. Patrick Aryee heads deep into the Mendips to learn more about a remarkable bird - the Kestrel.'

Update: This film was shown on BBC One Show, Thursday, 19th November and can now be viewed here.

 Photographs were taken during the day that can be viewed here.