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Fradley Scale Day July 21 2019

Nice day.

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Colin Leighfield21/07/2019 21:52:27
5889 forum posts
2459 photos

3a1a6e85-a082-49e0-a594-f7e8da0f2a31.jpegAlthough 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 54cf5871-80f7-4c22-9310-878f127f327f.jpeg150 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.

Geoff Sleath21/07/2019 22:44:56
3272 forum posts
251 photos

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.


Foxfan21/07/2019 23:01:33
686 forum posts
6 photos

What a beautiful aircraft! I'd heard of it for years, yet had obviously never seen one!


Colin Leighfield22/07/2019 07:33:49
5889 forum posts
2459 photos

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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