My name is Tony O’Brien and, as a new member, it was suggested that I introduce myself.
I retired last December after running a guest house in Paignton with my wife for a little over 10 years. Previously, I was a Duty Manager at the Manchester Velodrome for 15 years and, prior to that, I was a litho printer from leaving school.
I had a go at control-line flying as a teenager but after a disastrous start, crashing and breaking the aircraft, I very quickly gave up. I came back to it in the early ’80s and, having met up with a couple of model helicopter flyers near Bury, got the bug and tried to fly the R/c Kavan Allouette helicopter that I purchased off one of them. I have always loved helicopters (rather than fixed-wing) but am proud to say that it was in the air (albeit only 3″ off the ground) for a full 1 & 1/2 seconds before I completely bottled it and put it down in one piece. Moreover, the aircraft was pointing in the same direction as when it took off without spinning around in a circle. The Allouette has a tail construction similar to a Bell 47 and I really didn’t want to have to set about a potentially major rebuild of the tail frame soon after the first attempt to get it airborne. Sadly, I gave up and the helicopter became a loving ornament until I sold it to a much more competent r/c flyer.
Three years ago, I became fascinated with the photographic possibilities of camera-based drones and after a lot of conscience tugging, I purchased a Mavic Air (now a Mavic Air #1). I have about 15 hours total flying time, having had the opportunity to use a rugby field adjacent to the guest house in Paignton but, as you all know, there are a few who have created a situation that may all-but destroy the drone hobby. Having returned to the north-west, the last thing I wanted to do was give up and sell the Air – especially as I live in close proximity to Manchester Airport. I’m really pleased to be able to join the club in order to meet similar-minded folk, give the batteries a good run after far too long and sharpen up my flying skills. And, what a lovely bit of countryside to do it in.
I have no great desire (mainly because I know I can’t afford it) to fly anything else but, if my first visit a couple of weeks ago to the club field was anything to go by, I know I will enjoy sitting back and watching the other members fly their aircraft. It would be a bonus to have more of the weather we had to ‘suffer’ during the recent lockdown.