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1957 Wakefield

1957 The Forgotten Wakefield Contest

This was the year in which the FAI/CIAM decided not to hold the Wakefield event. Sweden could not afford to sponsor the World Championships in 1957. Some members of the "Rules Committee" of the "Society of Model Aeronautical Engineers" moved to recall the Wakefield International Trophy from the FAI/CIAM. The 1957 FAI/CIAM Sporting Code had "modernized" the Wakefield Event by rescinding the "ROG" rule, the cross section requirement of 10 square inches, and reduced the number of team members from each nation to three for each event. Not stopping there the FAI/CIAM Plenary Committee decided that the Wakefield Contest would be held every two years, bi-annually, instead of annually. The Wakefield International Trophy had been passed on to the FAI/CIAM only after it had assured the SMAE that it would maintain "The Spirit" of the rules of the event, and hold the Wakefield contest annually. The decision to hold the Wakefield contest bi-annually as a part of the "World Championships Free Flight Olympics" further diminished the prominence of this cherished event in the eyes of many Wakefield contestants throughout the world. It was a repudiation of the original SMAE - FAI/CIAM agreement, according to the Model Aviation article in April 1957. A resolution was tabled at the SMAE Council Meeting in London, requesting:

"That the Wakefield Cup be withdrawn from the control of the FAI (CIAM) and the contest run annually under the auspices of the SMAE"

After considerable discussion the following modified resolution was submitted to the FAI/ CIAM Plenary Committee:

"That it is regretted that we failed to inform the FAI Model Commission that the conditions imposed by the donor demanded that the Wakefield Cup shall be competed for annually. In the circumstances we must request that the conditions for the running of the Cup with the World Championships be reviewed."

The editor of "Aeromodeller" Ron Moulton wrote a paper entitled "International Competition and the CIAM, 1949 to 1969", in which he illustrated the consternation that generated the SMAE resolution of 1957. When the FAI/CIAM did meet again in 1958 "...it was brought to light that 'decisions' had been reached within the various sporting committees... which were not on the agenda!" He pointed out "As far as the Championships themselves and their organization is concerned, the Free flight 'Olympic' idea has been maintained ever since that first meeting in 1955 in West Germany. We had a situation in 1957, 1958, 1959, and 1960 where no nation would take on the job (of hosting a World Championship) again until thanks largely to the generosity of the rather well breached Southern German aristocrat with his own castle and airstrip. This was the meeting at Leutkirch..." (1961, where George Reich won the Wakefield contest for the USA). In 1958 there was no Nordic Event at the World Championship Free flight Olympics. Further: the 1959 meet did not include Power, or Nordic, only Wakefield. This was the Wakefield International Trophy Contest held at Brienne Le Chateau, France, on the NATO airfield. Wakefield competitor Marc Cheurlot organized this meet, along with aid of the United States Air Force. The FAI/CIAM Plenary Committee simply ignored the SMAE resolution of 1957 and decided to hold their World Championship Free flight Aeromodel Olympics bi-annually.

My reading of the events that occurred between 1957, and 1961 is that there were many aeromodellers who were dissatisfied with the FAI/CIAM rule changes. The furore of 1957 had not ended by 1996. There was enough animosity left by 1996, for me to receive letters from the last remnants of "Old Wakefield" advocates, who to a person felt that the "spirit" of the event was gone. Who could blame them? The very idea of flying another person's design was an abomination to them, vis-a-vis the 1937 Wakefield Winner, or the attitude about the Ted Evans "Jaguar", in 1948; or purchasing a complete ready to fly Wakefield, and flying it in a Wakefield Contest?

 

MY HEART GOES SOARING

WHEN DID I KNOW
THAT FLYING FREE - FLIGHT MODELS
UPLIFTED ME SO?
WHEN FIRST I SOARED,
WHEN WAS IT, HOW LONG AGO?
 
WHEN DID I FIRST SUCCEED?
WHICH MODEL LIT
THE SPARK BURNING IN ME STILL?
I CAN'T RECALL,
I ONLY KNOW, FLYING FREE ALWAYS WILL.
 
WHAT WAS THE CHALLENGE?
WAS IT DESIGN
OR THE HOW?
I DO KNOW THAT FLYING FREE
THEN, IS THE SAME NOW.
 
WAS IT THE BUILDING,
THE BALSA, THE SHAPES?
MY MOTHER SAID, "...IT'S THE AMBROID,
THE MESS!"
NO MOTHER, THAT IS LOVE - HATE.
 
MAYBE IT WAS THE GATHERINGS,
THE CONTESTS, THE CREW.
BUT FLYING IS SO SOLITARY,
SO SELF - CONTAINED:
THE MODEL, YOU.
 
IT IS THE FLYING.
WHEN I GO ALONE,
SOMETIMES THE WIND IS LOW,
STILLNESS ALL AROUND.
THAT IS WHEN MY HEART GOES SOARING,
IT IS ME, AND MY MODEL,
YOU KNOW?
 
CHARLES DENNIS RUSHING N 6053

I dedicate this poem to Free Flight Aeromodelling, and to all of those who have given just a little back, to keep it alive, if only in their heart!

References

Scatter No.33, Dec 1991 (A 1969 NFFS paper by Ron Moulton, Editor Aeromodeller)
Model Aviation, April 1957, The Wakefield Cup "Review of siutation requested"

Music: "The Turn of the Screw"; Literature: "On The Road"; Cine: "Bonjour Tristesse"; Humphrey Bogart dead

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