|Colin Leighfield||21/07/2019 21:52:27|
5969 forum posts
Although we had a decent turn-out and reasonable weather, we aren’t seeing the numbers we used to a few years back. One plane that really caught my eye though was the beautiful Heston Phoenix, but I stupidly forgot to ask the name of the owner/pilot. There were only six of these built and this one was finished as the single example sold to someone in Australia, sadly destroyed in a fatal accident. A forty ft. wingspan four seater that did 150 mph on only about 200 hp from a DH Gypsy. A clean design with undercarriage retracting into sponsons to which the wing struts were also attached. The model flew really well and looked great against the changing cloud-scape.
|3523 forum posts|
The designer and builder of the Heston Phoenix is Derek Martin of the Rolls Royce (Hucknall) MAC (though as the airfield has been built on the club's moved, I believe, to a field near Annesley). I had a long chat with Derek at Cosford a couple of weeks ago and asked him about the Phoenix, which was the first aircraft with a retractable undercarriage.
Derek has just turned 90 but has designed and is working on, with some help, a very large biplane (near half scale, I think but I can't recall which one - civilian and US, I think ) but hasn't flown himself for a year or two. I remember when he was designing it the first thing he did was the retracts (on a worm drive IIRC) because he said if he couldn't get them right it wasn't worth doing the rest. Obviously he succeeded.
I think Derek had a few of his designs published in either RCME or RCMW. I remember closely examining the covering on one of his builds looking for a hint of a wrinkle or crease; I was unsuccessful He was one of my early instructors and a fine modeller and gent.
848 forum posts
What a beautiful aircraft! I'd heard of it for years, yet had obviously never seen one!
|Colin Leighfield||22/07/2019 07:33:49|
5969 forum posts
Thanks for that Geoff. Foxfan, I recognised the plane and as I remember there was a feature on it in Aeroplane magazine a while ago. There had been an incident with the Australian plane that was considered to have possibly over-stressed the airframe and it was later destroyed in a fatal accident with the possibility that the previous concern was a factor.
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