History of Ayr & District Model Flyers
The original Maybole Club was founded by Thomson Cochran (a WW1 veteran) in 1951 or thereabouts. It was in existence in 1952 when it was represented in the Maybole Pageant.
Thomson Cochran (Pop to the irreverent but not in his hearing) was an interesting character. He designed and built a monstrosity of a control line plane which was appropriately christened “The Pig”. The Frog 500 spark ignition engine had been adapted to a glow engine. Its flights could be numbered on one hand due to the almost total impossibility of getting the engine to run.
The club was very much geared to the youngsters of Maybole. Pop deserved much credit for the considerable and selfless effort he spent on their behalf. The original flying site comprised the first fairway of the Maybole Golf Club. There was no Sunday golf in these days so the modellers had the course to themselves on Sunday afternoons. Rubber powered models and gliders predominated. As the 50,s wore on, power models came into their own with control line and free flight supplanting the gliders and rubber powered models.
The club had premises at Inches Close, Maybole (now Co-op). There was a vibrant club social life with talks, games, darts & cards on Sunday evenings. The odd engine being run in would act as a magnet to the regulars of the adjacent chip shop who would come to see what was afoot. An alternative flying site at The Sheep Park on the road to Kirkmichael was used as the need arose. A site very close to the 1980’s flying site at Meadownay Farm, Howmoor was also used. The annals say that the zenith of the Maybole Club was their expedition by shooting brake (equivalent to a large Estate Car) to the British Nationals at Hemswell in Lincolnshire in 1956. Maybole,s Quinton Wilson won the Free Flight Scale competition with his “Prestwick Pioneer” notwithstanding the last minute application of the finishing transfers the night before.
The club declined in the 60s. The advent of television and National Service took their toll. By the 1970,s it had more or less become defunct. Technology came to the aid of the hobby in the 1970,s with the gradual advent of relatively cheap and highly effective radio control equipment. In 1977, another Maybole Club came into being with the accent very much on radio control. Founder members were John Ferguson, Jimmy Ross, Bob & Bertie Jardine and Brendan McDowall. There was some ducking & diving for suitable flying sites with the eventual fixing on a site at Meadownay Farm near Howmoor and with a back up site at The Sheep Park Maybole. Club premises were procured at the Employment Exchange, Ladyland Road, Maybole. The membership mainly came from the Girvan area hence an eventual change of name to the “Girvan Model Club”.
The old Turnberry airstrip came into use for many years with the Hill Farm near Girvan used by the gliding fraternity. John Walters and Jim Scott joined the club in the 70,s. These two were leading edge fliers & modellers. John Walters competed in every model flying discipline known to the times. In aerobatics, he achieved 3rd in Scotland and 7th at the British Nationals. In class 2 scale, he achieved 4th in the British Nationals with his “De Havilland Dragon” (twin engined bi-plane). The full size plane, from which his model was based, is still to be seen at the East Fortune museum. He also excelled at slope soaring, thermal gliding and pylon racing. Jim Scott achieved 3rd place in the Scottish Nationals Stand Off scale with his third scale Spacewalker.
Jim Scott’s expertise as an engineer served him well in the early days of radio control, when he built / assembled much of his own electronic equipment. A semi-proportional valve transmitter was followed by a three channel “Flight Link” proportional transmitter. Jim achieved the exalted status of being a judge at the F4C scale class at the British Nationals from 2002 and thereafter.
The Turnberry site ceased to be practical in the 1990,s with the increased traffic on the adjacent road and a burgeoning horse population being the major adverse factors. Meadownay regained its place as the principal flying site. Meadownay was sold at the end of 2002 with the new owner unable to continue to accommodate model aeroplane flying.
In 2003 Morrison Farms granted the club permission to fly at a field belonging to them at Howmoor. In April 2004, the tenancy of the flying field changed with the new tenant being Mr Drew Young of Girvan Mains Farm, Girvan. Membership of the club flourished in 2003 and 2004. A membership limit of 55 was set at the 2004 AGM with membership at that time being 53. At the 2006 AGM it was decided that the club should have a new name. Ayr & District Model Flyers was chosen with the membership at that time coming mainly from the Ayr area. Since 2003, ADMF has maintained the access road together with the central gate and drain.
The club started to run an annual “Fly In” in May 2016. If the weather was fine, attendances were excellent. The club’s gazebo is erected and a barbecue is organised.
The Covid 19 pandemic of 2020/21 resulted in reduced flying field attendencies and aggravated the decline of club membership. The membership as at Jan 2021 was 27 of which six were Honorary. The membership average age was 68.