SEN 1730

SEN 1730 - Table of Contents

  1. Fuller Auto Bio
  2. FF on the beeb - more to come
  3. KO Results
  4. Dilly on Stafford
  5. Perris Preview

A Life of Aeromodelling

 By George Fuller

The age I grew up in was at the time when the aeroplane really started to be developed and when a new aircraft took to the air, there were doubts whether it would fly. Test pilots were going into the unknown, not like today with computers – they know that the aircraft will fly.

I have always been fascinated by aircraft. I can remember, as a boy, whenever an aircraft flew over, I would look up and shout "Hello, Amy Johnson", who was the hero of the day. I used to make mock-ups of aircraft out of orange boxes, sit in them, and act like a pilot.

As far as I can remember my very first encounter with model aircraft was at our local paper shop, they sold Japanese made, cardboard chuck gliders. The wings slipped through the fuselage and were very good. They cost around ½ penny. I would spend hours and hours throwing them up and modifying them by cutting wings and adjusting to get a better performance, obviously this helped me with learning about the theory of flight and how to trim for best performance.

I was born in Islington, North London, quite a down market area at that time. Things have changed a lot since then as our ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair has lived there in recent times.

Being very interested in aeromodelling I paid a visit to a new model shop which had just opened. In the window was an indoor model. A single-surface rubber model covered in red tissue.
That was it I was hooked. I rushed home to my mother for the money to buy balsa wood strips and tissue, but alas at 8 years old I could not build one and I went through a very frustrating period trying to build models.
My first ‘nearly’ built model was a Megows kit of a biplane. The reason I say ‘nearly’ built was I was so eager to fly it that I tried it with only the lower wing in position and, needless to say, the attempt ended in disaster and tears.
Along came the war and our house got bombed and I finished up in St. Albans, Herts.
Nothing really happened regarding aeromodelling until peace was declared. I then helped to restart the St. Albans Model Aero Club, who went on in later years to organise the famous All Britain Model Aircraft Rallies at Handley Page’s Radlett aerodrome.

I was very lucky, one of my school teachers was a top class aeromodeller and the help and several models he gave me to fly were my pride and joy.
Time went by and restrictions were lifted and model kites and engines etc. started to come into the country once again. One of the kits I built was a Frank Zaic Floater, which was quite a large glider to me.

A top aeromodeller of the time was Ted Buxton and a new member of our club, who was a friend of Mick Farthing who had set the trend in this country with very light, Marquardt S2 wing sectioned, rubber models.

I can remember Ted, who by the way went to work in the USA in the late 40’s and regretfully I have never seen since. He was one of my idols.

I tried to copy one of his models. I shall never forget his look when he saw it – it really brought me down to size!
I gradually improved my building, which was mainly lightweight rubber models and Wakefield (old F1B).  
I worked in a model shop until I was called up for National Service, to the RAF, in 1948. After 2 years service I came out and met up with Ron Hinks, who later represented Great Britain in Wakefield and A2 glider teams.

I worked as his manager in his Luton model shop. Ron was also a partner in A.A. Hales Ltd who later produced Yeoman kits.
I got married and when my wife was expecting our son found that she couldn’t help me with holding my models for winding or launching gliders, I decided to concentrate on power models.

I had gone for some weird designs in the early days, influenced by the continental designs, pendulum rudders etc. which I saw fly at the International meetings held at Eaton Bray Model Sportsdrome.

My first serious, successful power model was designed to be as simple as possible. It was called ‘Stomper’ and was featured in the February 1953 Aeromodeller.
It is still very popular down in Australia and comes within their Vintage class.

From the knowledge obtained from the Stomper came ‘Zoot Suit’, which got me a place in the 1953 British Team. I nearly won, but was pushed into 2nd place by Dave Kneeland from the USA (see November 2008 NEW Clarion).

Just for interest I timed Joe Foster’s winning fly-off flight in the Wakefield competition the next day.

From the earlier designs I eliminated various snags etc. and developed the Dixielander, which seemed to make winning a lot easier. This model worked out just right. At this time I was working for the Yeoman company, who kitted the design around 1959. As it was such a simple model to build and fly, it became very popular in the 1960’s. This clipped my wings somewhat. I kept getting beaten by my own design!

There was an FAI version of the Dixielander built, but I failed to make it into the team. However, one of my fellow club members (the late Carl Simeons) flew one in the 1960 World Championships at Cranfield the year of the ‘stalemate*’. Incidentaly I was our team manager that year.
(*This was the occasion on which 13 fliers achieved five 3 min. max’s to qualify for the fly-off. After 12 rounds, over a 6 hour period, the fly-offs were abandoned with 5 fliers having managed a further 12 max’s! The five were declared ‘joint champions’).

My FAI version was quite consistent; it jointly won one of our FAI comps when we both agreed to stop flying after 10 max’s! Needless to say the rules were changed the next year.
The Dixielander seemed to carry on winning and John West was one of our top fliers and swept all before him with a lighter version.

In 1965 I read that the US Nationals had been won with a standard Dixielander. At this period I had stretched the model in span and length and upped the power to 5cc. I called this version the E-Type Dixielander (E for extended). This version had ‘gadgets’ on it i.e. auto-rudder, VIT etc. It was quite potent, but never as good as the original.

Because of the Dixielander’s success at our Nationals I decided to go over and compete in the US Nationals in 1966, held at Glenview, Chicago.
At that period our motor runs were 10 secs, but when I got to the event I discovered that in the US the motor run was 15 secs.
On my first flight the model got very high and although modellers could still see it, the Naval timekeeper said he couldn’t and clocked it off in the clouds after 3:52 (5:00 Max), so I finished up in 3rd place. That’s life!
A moment I will always remember from Glenview is while I was trimming I had a DT failure and a young lad joined me in the chase. Luckily I got the model back. When we were walking back he enquired if I was English and did I know his grandfather who had shoe shops in England.
I said "I don’t think so, what was his name"? He replied "Scholl"!

I’ve never been too serious with the F1C class. Every time I thought I’ve cracked it another development came along. I did get back into the British Power Team in 1969 for the championships flown in Austria, flying my Trad Lad design. I managed to make the fly-offs, but overdid the glide adjustment and developed a stall which resulted in a 9th place.

A happy moment in my life was when my son Chris won the Open Power event at the 1969 British Nationals. Although I have won the other classes at the Nats, the Open Power had eluded me. I had the PAA class down to a fine art and won that event 2 years in succession, then the rules were changed.

I had a rest from Aeromodelling for a few years to run a business, but the bug started to bite again and I started modelling again. I moved down to Devon in 1985 and joined the Bristol and West MAC.
It took a few years to get back into my stride, but in 1995 I finally won the Open Power event at the Nationals. Not only did I manage that, but I became Nationals Power Champion for that year also.
I was now flying a shoulder wing model, powered by a Super Tigre 5cc engine. I called the model ‘Jazzer’. In my humble opinion this is the most potent Open Power model I have ever flown.

One of the proudest moments of my life was when I was awarded the US National Free Flight Society (NFFS) ‘Model of the Year’ award in 1972, for the Dixielander.
A great honour, especially considering the number of great US designs to chose from.
I was also awarded a plaque, in 1996, by SAM1066, as a tribute to the Dixielander design.

I went to the very first British Nationals in 1947 and exactly 50 years later, in 1997, I won the Slow Open Power event, flying a modified Dixielander – something that can never be equalled and something that gives me a great feeling of satisfaction.
You can tell that I love Jazz and where my model names come from: Stomper, Zoot Suit, Dixielander, E-Type Dixielander, Mini-Dixielander, Trad Lad, Jazzer, Mini-Jazzer, and if my new design F1J flies to expectation I will call it ‘Jazzman.’

My life in Aeromodelling has been so interesting and even helped me in business. Aeromodellers are a type of person you are pleased to associate with, regardless of politics and nationalities etc.
I have found wonderful kindness and friendship throughout the world.

BBC TV Series to Feature Free Flight:

Breaking News for the New Year — I hear that the BMFA has just announced that James May will star in a new BBC TV series covering the History of the Wakefield Cup at the turn of the 1950's and also focussing on the latest developments in FAI Power — the Program will be called "Top Gears".

—  Biggles

King Orange Results

The King Orange was a blow out this year.  The first day, mini-events,
started out at 10 mph and by the time we were schedualed to start, 10
AM, it was up to 12 to 15 MPH with gust to over 20 MPH.  It also rained
lightly twice in the morning.  At least it wasn't real cold.  The
second day was the 3 minute events and was about the same except it
didn't rain but is was cold, in the upper 30's in the morning.  The
last day did have a few hours of flyable weather in the morning before
the wind picked up to 12 to 15 MPH.  Needless to say there wasn't much
flying as no one there was flying for the Americas Cup.

Jim  Bradley, FAI Director

F1G (2 minute Maxes)
Round                        1      2      3      4      5       Total
1. Wade Riley            33     0      0      0     0            33

F1H (2 minute Maxes)
Round                        1      2      3      4      5       Total
1. Jean Pailet            40    95    72    61    77        342

F1J (2 minute Maxes)
Round                        1       2       3       4       5
1. Bob Hanford        120    47    111    53       0         330
2. Gil Morris               52    39      28   110    78         307
3. Jean Pailet             37     0        0        0      0
4. Denny Dock            30     0       0        0       0          30

F1A (2 minute Maxes)
Round                        1      2      3      4      5       Total
1. JBob Hanford       58    47    120  120    0         237

F1P (2 minute Maxes)
Round                        1      2      3      4      5       Total
1. Bob Hanford       120   120  120   120   0          480
2. Mark Troutman     10     83    53    12   10         158

F1Q (2 minute Maxes)
Round                        1      2      3      4      5       Total
1. Dave Sechrist      100  114  101   120  117       552

Round                        1      2      3      4      5      6
7      Total
1. Gil Morris             180  180  180  180   120  120  120    1080

Stafford Screen

Staff and I, as F1C and F1A flyers, teamed up to time and help each other almost from his return to free flight in 1975. We timed each other's flights at every team trials since then, though the outcome for him was usually rather more successful than it was for me. He was in 23 consecutive World and European Championships F1C teams from 1977 to 1999 and represented Great Britain a total of 31 times in all. During those years he took two individual silver medals, was on four gold medal winning teams, one silver and two bronze.

 Stafford also made it his business every year to visit all the farmers and landowners surrounding Barkston Heath, Britain's major free flight venue, to build up a good relationship to allow model retrieving to take place. He did this for around 20 years.

He was an inspiration to the British free flight community, not only with his superb workmanship and thorough preparation, but by sharing his building techniques via published articles. My own memories are of a reliable, level-headed and considerate friend; free flight is the poorer for his passing.

 Martin Dilly

Perris Preview

Next Saturday AM 12 Jan there will be a Sal Taibi Memorial Fun Fly at Perris.  People are planning on flying his designs, taking photos and talking of course.

This is the same day as the AMA Expo that's at the Ontario Convention Center that roughly in the same neck of the woods

Roger Morrell