The Bard’s weekend at Winterton.A report and photographs by Vince Raia.
Twas on a cold winters day in late April during the rein of Chairman Johnson, that I arrived at the land of Winterton.
Yes, here I was on Friday 28th pulling into the North Linc’s club site at Winterton after a four hour journey from Kent, and was duly greeted on arrival by that roving gentleman pilot Mike Standing, whereby I was then directed to my pitch by the camp Komandant, ‘Herr’ John Evans, complete with riding crop, Jack Boots, polished peaked LMA cap, monocle, and his Eindecker tucked under his arm! He said, “Park exactly by zer peg und put a bucket undzer your carafan or you vill be taken to zer back of zer marquee und vill be severely dealt vith!! (“Hmmmm”)
I was parked directly behind the ‘Aviators’ caravan, who was not a happy bunny, as he had been ordered to park with the other pilots instead of behind his commentary van where he normally parks, so not a good start to this weekend!
Once settled and the caravan watered and sorted for the weekend, I ventured out to look at the flying site, and I must say the runway was superb, and long enough to get anything off there.
Unfortunately, there was a strong crosswind, which deterred all but the bravest! It was typical, as I had brought a couple of models to fly on this Friday before the show, so I settled for a visit to the local town of Brigg with Colin Hammond and the Ogden’s in their car, to seek out the local model shop and see what goodies were in store!
The Winter Cometh!
Saturday dawned, and it was freezing, so I was wrapped up to the hilt, even wearing my fur lined leather-flying helmet, members were saying I looked like an Eskimo from the North!!
There was a bitter cold wind blowing from the direction of the Humber Bridge, and across the runway, which made life difficult for our pilots again, except one person you just can’t keep down, in the form of Doug Rigby. This guy must have more flying hours on his logbook than the Arc Angel Gabriel! Doug lives to fly and what a performance he puts on with his lovely 60% scale Rearwin Speedster. This model just oozes character, is so realistic, you feel you could just climb in and fly her. Doug is also campaigning a new jet this year, an albatross, which is in the French air force colours.
The first models to take to the air proudly displaying the LMA banner are the LMA training models the Greenly, with such distinguished owners as our only lady pilot Emily Hooper, plus Robin Woodhead, Colin Hammond, Gordon Whitehead and designer John Greenfield to name but a few. These Greenly’s are very popular among the members, as they are quite stable and cope with most weather conditions which makes them ideal for a large model trainer, plus a lot of fun too.
That old stalwart Roger Bale was here with his huge version of the R.N.A.S. Yeovelton’s Fairy Swordfish, or as designated, ‘The Stringbag’ and I must say that I admire and applaud Roger’s tenacity to transport and display this huge aeroplane at his tender years to many of the shows around the country, which is a pleasure to watch and behold, well done Roger.
Another chap who is in this league, although of younger years is Ian Turney-White with his gorgeous Bristol Bulldog, not only does it look realistic, it even sounds like a full size version, the closest I have ever heard a model sound to the real thing. Ian has a magical touch with these old timer’s, his attention to detail is stunning, and all done by his own fair hand, just like his lovely little Ponnier racer that Ian had also brought along to fly, that also looks so realistic. I said little, but it is ½ scale, nice one Ian.
Now lets have a look at some of the ‘Club’ size models that members had brought to fly. One of our recent members, Steve Spittal, had brought along his newest acquisition a Svenson Fieseler Storch, which I am pleased to have helped him with, by providing him with the correct C of G position from the plans I have of the model. These are lovely rare old models, I know because I have two in my hangar awaiting renovation, so it was great to see Steve’s models airborne and he flew it superbly considering the less than ideal conditions.
Steve has been having great fun experimenting with the aeroplane’s STOL characteristics, which was such an important a part of this type of aircraft’s roll in it’s wartime career, just like our Lysander, to be able to take-off and land from the smallest field. Steve also brought along his well-flown Flair ¼ scale Tiger Moth that he also flew over the weekend.
Now on to another Steve, Steve Ogden, he of ‘Top Gun’ fame who’d brought along two models, his Helldiver and his newly built and finished (1/9th scale) B17. Steve did not fly the B17 due to a few issues that needed sorting, but put in some superb flight with the Helldiver with some great beat-up’s of the runway.
That other old gentlemanly seadog whom despite his physical condition these days and always turns up to support the LMA shows is Dick Whittington, usually Dick brings along a diverse couple of models, and so had brought along a newly acquired model from the stable of the late Jim Kirkham, a Bowers ‘Fly Baby’ biplane, which is 1/3 scale and is powered by a Zenoah 38. Dick flew the aeroplane superbly, and what a cracking model to own! Although lacking a pilot at the moment, which Dick’s has on order from AH Designs. His other model was his faithful old Piper Cub, which Dick flew in slots with other similar models over the weekend.
The WW1 team were there in evidence, with a gaggle of mainly Flair ¼ scale Tri-plane’s, and Magnatilla’s including our John Evans and new show pilot Dave Dowling, who was flying a Tri-plane he bought from Henry Cooper of “Henry’s Hangar” fame, plus there were a couple Hannibal’s, and Se5a’s etc. Which were chasing round the sky like a flock of angry Geese whilst Colin Hammond was trying to direct them into a dog fight scenario so as he could use his Roy Hill designed ‘machine-gun-box’ for a shoot-up sequence to the music of “Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines” “Blinking hilarious!!”
Another famous group of chaps who put on a display of varied aircraft are the Y.O.F’s or for the unenlightened, ‘The Yorkshire Old F**ts” (I’m sure you can work that one out!!) consisting of Harry Harland, who was flying a Stinson Reliant, The 120 year old Tony Woodhouse, (only joking Tony) who was flying a Monocoupe, and not forgetting Paul Crawshaw who was flying a Laser 3D model. Colin Hammond has been made an honouree member of their team, and can be seen wearing a Y.O.F. sweatshirt!
Our Chairman Dave Johnson was getting his Edwardian flights in with his gorgeous ex Roy Salter built Vickers Bleriot. This model oozes character, and looks even better after it’s winter overhaul and re-varnish job by Dave’s team mate ‘little’ Dave! Dave really displays this aircraft to its full capacity with lovely long on-the-stall touch-n-go’s, stall turns etc. Certainly one I’d love to fly and have in my hangar, “if I had the space!” Dave did his displays alongside Ian Turney-Whites Ponier racer, which I mentioned earlier, the two looking quite diverse in the air, the slow graceful Bleriot, with the little Ponnier racer buzzing along in front, as it was designed to do.
WW2 was equally well represented in the shape of aeroplanes from the USAAF team, Colin Hammond’s ‘Phoenix’ Dakota, the two Steve’s already mentioned, Tony Hooper with his lovely ex Fred Jackson built ME 109, Phil Robertshaw with his trusty old Heinkel 111, Andy Johnson with a FW 190, George Shone flying his Grandfather Fred Jackson’s old Spitfire, and Dave Johnson with his war weary B17 that still fly’s like a dream.
Tony Hooper put in some lovely flights with the ME 109, and I must say that Fred Jackson sure built some lovely models in his time, like this superbly realistic 109, and other models that are now flown by his grandson George Shone, that really look and sound the part in the air.
Phil Robertshaw’s Heinkel is another old stalwart of the shows, and another realistic model that just oozes lots of character and has that lovely authentic sound associated with twin-engine aircraft. Phil also brought along a Spitfire that he flew alongside George Shone flying his Spitfire.
John Greenfield had brought along some different models to fly, due to a bad back which interfered with his bringing his trailer with his WW2 fleet. Instead John flew his beautiful turbine powered glider, flying a graceful routine to the music of Pink Floyd’s ‘Crazy Diamond’. This huge model by Modelbau of Germany, in its (Cub) Yellow livery is simply stunning to watch on its roller-coaster ride around the sky, expertly executed by master pilot John.
John had also brought along his humongous Cobra helicopter, which is another very realistic model, and because of its Zenoah 62 cc engine and eight foot rotor blades, it sounds just like the real thing on a mission in Vietnam!
Moving on to the Sunday, the bitterly cold wind had subsided a bit, which enabled more of the scale aircraft to get airborne. One such model was the lovely A340 Airbus of Dave Johnson decked out in smart KLM livery this aircraft is very impressive. Once out onto the active runway, Dave opened the throttles of those super sounding turbines and in no time she was gracefully lifting off the runway to the music of “Coconut Airway’s” which Colin has specially selected for Dave’s airliners flight. The Airbus looked absolutely realistic circuiting the airfield with its bright landing lights very prominent in the overcast weather conditions.
I sure am looking forward to seeing this Airbus fly at Cosford this year together with Steve Ricketts Comet, and Ali Mashinchy’s Concorde, a sight and a photographic opportunity not to be missed!
John Rickett, who son Steve owns and fly’s that gorgeous De Havilland Comet 4C, brought along a De Havilland D.H.86B aircraft that is similar in looks to a to a Dragon Rapide (D.H.89) but was actually up rated from a D.H.86A by the addition of stabiliser fins to the ends of the tailplane to aide aileron and rudder authority. Johns model is in a camouflage livery and has four Laser engines powering it, and he flew the model extremely well considering the effect the blustery conditions have on a scale models.
There were some novelties flights over the weekend, which consisted of Arthur Searle’s “Yellow Submarine” aeroplane, Colin Hammond’s “Only Fools & Horse’s” Greenly, and a “Thunderbirds 2” are go, but in this case it was no go!! By that ultra super pilot, Andy ‘Big Ears’ Johnson, so named because he usually flies the ‘Noddy’ plane with Dad D. J. Flying Mr. Plod, but as hard as they tried the T. bird model never had enough “Ooomph” to get airborne. (Suppose Lady Penelope will have to go on a diet!)
Some of the other lovely models there did not fly due to the poor weather conditions, such as Mike Eccles superb Junkers JU52, a model that I love to see fly due to its very realistic appearance and the lovely sound of those three engines throbbing away.
Colin Hammond managed to get his Dakota airborne after a good shove to stop it ground looping in the cross-wind conditions, and I must say this rebuilt aircraft fly’s superb, which is a credit to Colin’s brilliant building skills from his past carpentry training.
The highlight of the weekend had to be the appearance of Keith Mitchell’s 33% scale Hawker Hunter; this aircraft is a stunner and credit to its builder Keith. The Hunter was only brought along for taxi trials but had everyone scurrying for their camera’s to get some good shots of this superb model, which was so lifelike in its bare aluminium skin. The fast taxi trials began and this aircraft was itching to rotate but that had to be done at a private venue away from the public as per CAA regulations, but wait we will for its exciting inaugural public flight.
Monday turned out a bit of washout with heavy rain till lunchtime, Mayday was a wet day, which put the dampeners on all but the very brave, (or fool hardy!) popping out between showers to get a flight in, and with only a handful of spectators and most of the traders packing up their wares, it was time to do the same for the long trip home. As S**s law would have it, as we were leaving the site, it brightened up and the sun was coming out! Next time I’ll bring my Long Johns and my welly’s as well as my sunglasses!!
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