From 1982, designing scale sailplanes

In 1982 I moved from Liverpool to Wallasey, to a house with a nice brick built workshop at the rear. It was here that I started to design scale sailplanes. The first of many was the W.L.M 1, a Swiss design, with flaps as well as airbrakes and very pleasing lines. This was followed by a ¼ scale Rhineland, a pig to fly, due to the narrow wing tips, it was very prone to tip stalling, ask Ray he flew it. Next on the board was the D.H. 108, tailless P.S.S model, 86ins wing span, (I think it was 1/6th scale). Having never been involved in tailless models, designing and building one was treading virgin ground, as far as I was concerned, so it was a case of suck it and see.

The day dawned when it was complete and ready to fly. Off I went, picked up Ray and headed for the hills. With my test pilot on the box, fingers, legs and everything else crossed I chucked off, closed my eyes and prayed. No need to have worried, there she was soaring like a bird, a bit sluggish on ailerons but other wise O.K. All went well until Ray tried the flaps, Wow! A vertical dive, going like the clappers, the flaps came up pretty  quickly.  Hard back on the elevator stick and up she came. Time to land and have a think about the problem. I had already realised what the problem with the flaps was, the wing section on a tailless model is reflexed at the trailing edge to keep the nose up. Dropping the flaps removed the reflex, causing the model to dive. I should have used split flaps, so retaining the reflex on the upper surface.

As Ray and I intended going to a P.S.S competition at Barrow on Furness the following weekend, a quick fix was required. I removed the flaps and converted them into ailerons, using the two servos on a Y lead, setting the ailerons a few degrees up, restored the reflex. Not only did it cure the problem, it changed the 108 into a very aerobatic model, as Ray demonstrated at our own P.S.S competition a couple of weeks later, when he stopped the show with his performance. It even made the front cover of the model mag: and was later published as a plan.

The 108 was followed by two more P.S.S models, a B36 with a 100ins wing span and all foam construction, apart from the leading edges and two hardwood stiffeners in the fuselage. This model was so light, it would fly when everything else was grounded and looked so realistic in the air. The second P.S.S model was the Martin B57D, 1/12th scale, wing span 106ins (an American Air Force copy of the Canberra, adapted for high altitude flying by increasing the wing span to 106ft) was built in my usual method, using foam wings and plastic engine nacelles. This model was capable of flying in light lift and looked like the real thing in the air, it was later published in the RCME, as was most of my later models, except for one, the ¼ scale Antonov, which  was purchased by the American magazine S&E. I found them too difficult to work with, so I didn’t both again. As most of you have seen or are aware of my more recent models, I will not bore you with any more details

I hope you all enjoy reading my recollections of a Modellers life, at least as much of it as I can recall, the old memory is not what it use to be. You have John Mitchell to thank for having the ramblings of an old modeller forced on to you, it was him that suggested I do it.