Looking back over our 6 week holiday while waiting in the lounge at Bangkok Airport to board our flight back to Australia, I was weighing up the pros and cons of the plan to take two or three planes with me to fly and keep up my flying skills while travelling around the planet. On the whole it turned out to be a good decision as I got to fly and meet other modellers in Singapore, France, UK, Canada, Hong Kong and Thailand with no real Issues along the way. In hindsight I probably didn't need to take 3 planes, just the FunFighter would have done. The only thing that was a bit of a worry was running out of foam safe glue and kicker. I learnt a lot about the different ways that the various flying clubs along the way did things, and they did vary a lot. About the only thing that was constant was that the number of members in each club was about the same as ours.
I decided to take the largest plane that would fit into my biggest port. The P-51D FunFighter was the final choice. To keep it safe I packed most of my clothes around it. The DX6i, mini radjet, micro critical mass, tool box and heli plus transmitter in another port. The P-51D was OK in one piece but the other two had to be taken to bits to keep them from breaking en route. The batteries had to go in my carry on bag as your not allowed to put them in your check in luggage.
Before we left I had a look on google to try and find flying sites and clubs along our route. I came up with a long list of clubs and contacts to carry with me.
Our first stop was Singapore. On the web I found a park just 4km from our hotel where people had seen models flying. We took a taxi from the hotel to the park to have a look. It is situated close to the Costa Rhu Condo's. Taxis aren't expensive to hire in Singapore (about 2.50au down and 1.20 au/km). The taxi driver was intrigued by our plan to fly in that park and he decided to have a break and stay to watch me fly. The park seemed to small to fly the funfighter so I had a go with my micro radjet 420. It was a little bit too windy, but it went well and after two flights the taxi took us back to our hotel. I came back the next day but had a bit of bad luck. Managing to get the "Critical Mass" stuck right on top of a big tree, and I couldn't retrieve it. (one down an two to go). There is an industrial area in Singapore where people sometimes fly but I didn't find out about it until it was too late to go there. Whilst in Singapore we visited a shopping complex that had three hobby shops downstairs. They're located at 150 South Bridge Rd in the city.
Rod Green: Around the world in 40 days
On to Paris: We had a few dramas on arrival with somebody taking one of our bags off the carousel and then leaving it unattended outside the terminal. Due to language difficulties they were unable to contact us immediately so they shut down the terminal until we finally were able to respond to their announcements and claim our bag 3 hours later. At one stage I was locked out of the terminal and Jeanette was locked in. Not a great way to start our French holiday experience.
France is a Mecca for rc plane enthusiasts with over 90 districts or provinces with their own list of clubs. There are literally 100's of clubs. The national body (FFA) has a great web site with links and directions to most of the clubs. Around Paris there is about 10 clubs within a 50 km radius. We only had time to visit one. The club was called "Wissous Modelisme" and was south of Paris about 18 km from our hotel.
Driving around Paris is a real challenge, not only are you driving on the wrong side of the road, but you have to contend with French drivers and riders who are always seem to be in a big hurry going nowhere at a snails pace. It took us almost a hour to cover the 18 km and much longer to come back during peak hour. The club's outdoor flying field (a lot of French clubs have both indoor and outdoor facilities), was situated right on the edge of suburbia with houses on one side and open fields on the other, their strip is a fabric one, something I hadn’t seen before. It was next to the local tip (a very tidy one by our standards). Unfortunately it was starting to rain and it was way too windy to fly, so we just took a few pics and headed off. Our next stop was Avignon, and we took the TGV (very fast train) from Paris. We hired a car for the week to make it easy to get around and look at the sights.
At Avignon: There are about six or seven clubs around Avignon. We visited or tried to find four different ones. The best one was on one side of the Avignon-Pugaut Aerodrome, (a small airport for gliders and light aircraft, it is also home for about 500 sheep). It has a bitumen and a grass strip, plus a heli pad. It was only about 8km from the hotel so it was my favourite. The only trouble was the wind, there was only the odd time when the wind was light enough for me to fly, and I tried to make sure I was there to take advantage of it.
We visited another club near Avignon but once again it was way too windy for me to fly. The club “L'Aéromodel Club Pernes les Valayans” Situated outside the village of Vaucluse, it had a small field with a “compacted earth” strip