National Flying Club


Report by Cameron Stansfield,

L-R - Section L Committee rep Brian Stansfield, President Fred Sharman and Ginger McCain.

Fanciers from around the UK were at Drayton Manor Park in Staffordshire on Sunday to see Grand National-winning racehorse trainer Ginger McCain unveiling one of the National Flying Club’s two new transporters. Ginger, who raced pigeons as a boy growing up in Southport, commented on how pigeon transportation had changed since his youth, describing the NFC transporter in front of him as ‘fantastic’.

The gull wings.

As you will see from the photographs, the transporter looks an absolute picture and I would go so far as to say that when it is travelling up and down the motorways of the UK and France, it will be the finest-looking heavy vehicle on the road. In fact, I can picture people going past it in their cars, doing a double take and asking, ‘What is THAT!!?’


However, the priority in the design of these transporters was not that they looked good but that they left nothing to be desired in terms of bird welfare – hence the grilled floors, the 8ft length of drinking troughs around each crate and the controlled ventilation system which ensures that, at full capacity, there will be around 3 air changes per minute in each container. Nor have the long-neglected convoyers been neglected. Here they have been provided with bunk beds, a sink and a microwave.Those involved in the development of these two transporters should feel justly proud for what they have provided for fanciers in this country. They have left a legacy which thousands of other will benefit from for many years to come. And also remember, those who have been instrumental in seeing this project through to its completion have not done so for financial gain (in fact it has cost them their own money – and time) and nor have they sought any plaudits. They have done it because they have wanted to see the National Flying Club go forward.We all expect great things of our birds and these vehicles will enable them to fulfil their potential.

The following is a summary by Peter Kettlewell of ADAS & Roger Hoxhey, of Birmingham University penned in May 2006 which summarises the ventlation system on the transporters…

Controlled ventilation system to optimise on-board thermal conditions for racing pigeons during transport and while awaiting release.

5,000 pigeons carried on a typical vehicle have the potential to produce a total heat output (at 5 Watts per bird) of 25 kW (kilowatts).

Studies with poultry suggest that around half of this heat will be ‘lost’ as latent heat (that is heat used in evaporating water from, for example, respired air).

Failure to remove this heat (and moisture) will result in localised conditions within the container that are markedly different from the ‘external conditions’.

These conditions may impose an additional ‘thermal load’ on the pigeons, requiring them to expend more effort in maintaining their ‘normal’ body temperature.

When a vehicle is moving, the resultant air movement around and within the vehicle will disperse some of the heat. However, when the vehicle is stationary, and especially on still days with little wind, the consequent ventilation may be inadequate.

The instillation of fans on the vehicle ensures that there is adequate air movement around the pigeons at all times – irrespective of vehicle movement.

Fans have been installed in the roof of the vehicle along the centre line enabling air to be extracted from the central service corridor.

Air is drawn in through the perforated gull wing sides, across the pigeon containers, into the central corridor, then extracted out through the roof.

Though there is no legal requirement for a ventilation system, the new system provides over 6 times more ventilation pro-rata than the mandatory requirement when transporting red meat animals on journeys over 8 hours.

A simple control strategy ensures that as the ambient temperature rises, more fans are automatically switched on.

At full capacity, there will be around 3 air changes per minute in each pigeon container.

This novel ventilation system represents a significant development in terms of improving the welfare of racing pigeons throughout the transit period.


Inside the convoyers' compartment.

The watering system.



The National Flying Club welcomes members from all corners of the UK so if you are not a member but would like to see your birds travel in comfort, please give secretary Sid Barkel a call on 0191 521 1810 and he will pop you an application form in the post.