Club History

The Club originally catered for a variety of operational models including Boats, Cars and Aircraft but its activities, have centred mainly around Aircraft since its formation over sixty years ago.  The roots of the club go back even further than this almost to the early attempts at flying in this country.  Press records show that the Nomads were born out of The North Kent Gliding Club which used to fly full size Gliders in Danson Park Welling Kent during the 1920's.  When the full size activities ceased in 1933 the North Kent Club continued using this venue for a number of years, the presence of the lake encouraged the members to develop the specialist skill of Model Flying Boats for which the club became well known and subsequently held the World endurance record for this discipline.

At this time the motive power for the models was provided by a twisted skein of rubber driving the propeller. Later in the Thirties the club moved its flying activities to Dartford Heath where some of the earliest flights using miniature petrol engine powered aircraft were recorded, but at the same time their abilities with rubber powered aircraft were not neglected.  Two members of the club represented the UK in the United States at the Wakefield World championships, for rubber powered models, held in Akron Ohio in the summer of 1936.  The British team were successful in wrestling the Cup from the Americans and were given a true Champions welcome home when they arrived aboard The Queen Mary from New York.

World War Two took a number of our members into the Armed Forces and all competitive flying ceased. Almost as soon as hostilities ceased flying on Dartford Heath continued, and again the ingenuity of our club began to show when a member developed and manufactured the worlds first model diesel engine.  The weight saving and simplicity of this prime mover over petrol engines made this development an immediate success and opened up model flying for the many.  At this time models were free flying in that after launching they went wherever the elements took them and, as a first step towards having more control over their flight paths a system known as control line flying became popular.  The model was attached to two lines terminating in a U-shaped handle which the operator held and by means of altering the angle of the handle was able to make the model perform manoeuvres at will as the model sped around himself.  Better and more sophisticated control was desired and as a result the late forties and early fifties saw the introduction of crude and sometimes not always effective Radio Control.  About this time the Club  took the name North Kent Nomads and established the Constitution which has ensured the longevity of the Club.

Initially the equipment was bulky and heavy, both at the operators and more importantly at the model's end. Again, Nomads members developed some of the first hand held equipment which became a commercial success; later to be further developed into a much more sophisticated and reliable system operation whilst still enabling the enthusiast to build his own Radio Control Gear at home.  Record breaking continued to be part of the Nomads thinking and in the early sixties a team assisted in building a radio controlled model, which flew, non stop, from Lympe airfield on the Kent coast to Sidcup to achieve a World distance record of some 70 miles using a diesel engine and about half a gallon of fuel. 

 Remcon Twelve                Geoff Chapman's Remcon Electronics              proportional Quantum Six advert. RCM&E Oct 74 Remcon Twelve converted to 2.4ghz
Remcon Twelve pictures courtesy of a group for Single channel and vintage R/C enthusiasts.

At about this time the club had grown to about seventy members and it was decided that Dartford Heath was not really a suitable venue.  Control of the viewing public was not easy and the new A2 road was about to be built. We moved to our current site at Long Reach Dartford, where we enjoy one of the best model flying fields in the country.  There are no comparable sites within 15 miles of London or Dartford and there is no doubt that the location is perfect for flying model aircraft, the site is considered second to none in Kent.  The club maintains a close mown ‘patch’ approximately 200 feet (60 Meters) in diameter for take off and landing.  The absence of trees generally flat terrain surrounding the site and remoteness from residential property is ideal.  The dykes that cross the land form a natural and effective barrier to people who might otherwise wander on to the flight line.  Good relations with our neighbours and the public are ensured by the club rules and guidance on the operation of models.  Third party insurance is arranged for all members with an indemnity of five million pounds. The policy is recognised by the MoD and Crown if flying is required on their property.  A self imposed restriction on noise levels and awareness of public and members safety is of paramount importance to us. We fully co-operate with the Environmental agencies and conservation organisations interested in the area.

The hobby has seen enormous strides in technical development and recognition.  Today we use equipment which employs state of the art computer techniques resulting in models which can perform exactly as their full size counterparts and with similar reliability.  The hobby is now formally recognised as a sport by the Sports Council.  The club is also one of an association of model clubs in Kent with whom we enjoy competitions throughout the year.  The current membership of the Nomads is limited to 140 members with up to 10 juniors who enjoy reduced subscriptions.  Whilst the development of equipment is no longer part of the clubs activity, members are using their skills in producing sophisticated models such as multi engine aircraft, jets and helicopters.  The Nomads have for over 25 years been linked with a model club in Dartford's twin town, Hanau near Frankfurt and Riggisberg in Switzerland. All three clubs take it in turn to host visits from their European friends each year.

Over the years we have developed a set of rules to enable us to enjoy our hobby in a safe and responsible manner; new ideas are discussed at monthly meetings.  The club's motto is 'Absit lnvidia' – literally ‘let there be no envy or ill will’ and although competitive at times there is much help and encouragement between fellow members.  Many members regularly represents the UK in Pylon Racing F3D,  Helicopters (recently the US open champion) and in F3C & F3N.

The Nomads are fully inclusive, we have female members who fly models, and the Club meets monthly in ’accessible’ premises in the Glentworth Club in Dartford and we will do our best to give every assistance to any member whatever their disability.