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About the ISA

Ivinghoe Beacon

Ivinghoe Beacon is our hill for slope soaring. It is set in beautiful surroundings, approximately 40 miles north-west of London near Dunstable Downs. The area is owned and managed by the National Trust, and is open to the general public.

Earliest days

Flying of RC model gliders from the Ivinghoe Beacon hills has taken place since the early 1950’s and there are also reports of slope flying (non-RC!) in the 1930’s... As the popularity of slope soaring increased in the 60’s and 70’s it was decided in 1977 by two flyers, Peter Stevens and Graham Woods, to form the Ivinghoe Soaring Association (ISA).

The middle years

Membership of the ISA grew rapidly and peaked at around 300 in the late 1990’s but fell back significantly after the major foot and mouth disease outbreak across the UK in 2001 which prevented access to the Ivinghoe Beacon hills and other flying sites around the UK.

The ISA today

As of 2021, the membership of the ISA is around 140, making it perhaps the largest silent flight club in the UK. Many live a long distance from Ivinghoe and are infrequent visitors. However, a small group of regulars are often to be seen flying when the conditions are right.

World and National Records

Since 1957 when the first record was set, Ivinghoe Beacon has been the site for several UK National duration records for Radio Controlled gliders. In more recent times Ivinghoe Beacon achieved fame as the site for the world duration record of over 36 hours set by Nick Shaw on 8th September 2001 and the record stood for over 9 years.

BMFA and National Trust

The ISA is an  affiliated club of the British Model Flying Association (BMFA), who are the governing body for UK model flying.

The ISA holds and pays for the licence from the National Trust Ashridge Estate to fly model gliders on the Ivinghoe Hills.

Our motto is ‘Safety Is Paramount’ and whilst visiting flyers are welcome it is vital that safe and considerate flying is maintained to ensure all can enjoy the future use of this excellent flying site.