The Boozard Story

Some scene setting preliminaries

Met up with Steve and Mo Marriott at their northern pad the other night. In the course of conversation the Sezanne Boozard story came up again. This was about flying Steve's buzard-airfoiled A2 into the trees at the Sezanne campsite during the 1978 Pierre Trebod contest. A new aspect was that, allegedly, a young Alan Jack was the instigator of the challenge. I have heard that on completion of the nesting manoeuvre:

  1. someone fell off his chair and
  2. someone was heard to exclaim "It's nesting!".

Can you confirm or deny this? Also, some clarification; did more than one protagonist fly? I thought it was just Mario. Is this what you recall? I wasn't there, I was young and innocent and hadn't yet fallen in with the fast crowd. I think we should be told.

- Chris Edge

I think Cooper tuned, Gaz, Pox, and Mario all flew but could be wrong there... Certainly more than Mario flew else the whole experiment to prove the boozard theory would have been invalidated.

No one fell of their chair since before the event we were all dorked out on the grass, during the event the observing scientists where all stood at the fence and (I think) Gaz was flying.

Yes that comment was definitely heard. Some thought it nesting; others that it had swooped onto a vole and become entangled in the tree by mistake; still others declaring that the whole boozard concept was deeply flawed...

- Alan Jack

The Boozard story as told by Alan Jack

We were enjoying a magnificent day in Sezanne by boozing in the campsite. I may not remember all who were there (and its probably one of those events that everyone claims to have been at... like Wembley in 66). But I do remember Cooper (tuned), Barnes (pronounced with a break between the n and the e), Faux (pronounced pox, fox or Nagasaki according to taste), Gazza (GM) and of course Mario. Mario when in his cups (or any other time for that matter) is a jolly bon vivant and keen on a little self promotion and he had been trying to advance the merits of his new booze-ard theory of flight. Ken was leading the debate in determined style with various theoretical points provided by myself and others acting in time honoured agent provocateur mode . It became obvious that theory was insufficient and we needed scientific testing.

A challenge was proposed and I do agree my pursuit of objective truth in the search for true "contributions to knowledge" was amongst the most persuasive (aka I have to own up to the idea in the first place...).

The really surprising thing was that these fine fellows were so keen to find this truth that they needed to settle the matter right there and then. It must be admitted that the venue was perfect. A nice strong afternoon breeze aided simple towing in the adjacent field, suitable judges were on hand (and I was unfortunately pressed into the this role when I would so much rather have been participating....), long razor sharp stubble helped with ground turbulation, tall upwind plane trees seemed appropriate in a noun sense and helped provide extreme turbulence which is NTP conditions for boozards and just downwind there was a very large wood to help provide a soft landing and prevent long flights which otherwise would have been into the town. Hydration of the experimenters was a problem in the extreme heat and anticipating a long tow in the ideal conditions meant that care was needed to take on sufficient fluids.

Fortunately supplies of a non intoxicating amber fluid known from its numbers and (then) low cost was available. Of course some overdosed and were forced to vent some fluid after clambering over the unfortunate barbed wire fence between the debating chamber and the site of the experiment. From memory (and time and the rosy glint of nostalgia at this great moment in science maybe have dulled perception rather) the scientists taking part were Pox (flying his one and only glider I think?), Cooper tuned, Gazza, and Mario. Its always the most obvious things which ruin a well planned experiment and in this case it was of course the wood and the extreme desire of all boozards for food.

The boozard was immediately making spirited attempts to escape on launch and despite the very best attempts of its creator to prevent it (via agitated movement and a weird snorting sound that many mistake for Mario in extremis laughing mode - very commonly observed in those halcyon days) the boozard escaped and dived straight into the wood having spotted, we thought, a particularly juicy vole. Ah well, who said science was easy...