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Gordon Whitehead

Do you remember me?

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Steve Pounder28/08/2019 16:55:29
4 forum posts

I used to fly single channel from Bispham, all of those years ago. Name of Steve.

I was living with mum and dad, you had your own home in Bispham. You moved away and joined the RAF.

I remember your Micro Robot.

You helped me tremendously and I have sometimes wondered how you are getting on. If you remember me

Gordon Whitehead 128/08/2019 21:38:23
312 forum posts
120 photos

Hi Steve

You bet I remember you! Who could forget all the glorious fun we had flying our single channel rudder-only models on that pond-riddled field by the Bispham Tech? Way back around 1970! We were so lucky to have that flying field so close to our homes, especially as it eventually became absorbed into a large housing estate

Was it Barry's model that went awol and flew round the back of the college tower, re-appearing on the opposite side still in a right-hand turn to arrive back at our launch area?

Then there was the time we were both aerobatting our micro-robots and we ended up, quite by accident, in the classic WW1 combat pose of both planes flying directly at each other nose-on. The planes met and each lost one wing panel. However, your model also took off mine's tailplane whereupon my plane went into autorotation in a flat spin with the DC Dart still howling and landed quite softly like a helicopter. Your model's tail was more firmly fixed, stayed on the model, and rather unkindly stabilised it like an arrow flight so that the model arced into the ground in a series of fast consecutive rolls, again with the engine still on full chat as we had no engine throttling.

I wonder if you remember my rudder-only Merlin-powered pusher delta with which I accidentally entered a loop with too little airspeed, the model stopped whilst pointing vertically upwards, and then proceeded to fall backwards torque rolling, well before we'd ever heard of torque rolls.

Then there was Bill with his beautifully crafted scale single-channel models, one a Mercury Aeronca Sedan, another a very complex Armstrong Whitworth FK-3 WW1 bipe which he gave to me. Bill's attention to detail and total mastery of construction and finishing of these and several other scale models had an enormous influence on my future modelling aspirations.

I also remember a Galloping Ghost Topflite Schoolmaster with Elfin 1.49 and Rand actuator, as well as a single-channel Elfin 1.8-powered P E Norman Gloster Gamecock which I brought with me from Leeds where I had built it on the 10th floor of a 14-storey block of flats and which I think ended up in your hands with an OS .15.

These, and many more wonderful memories.

Email is on its way!

Kind regards


TJ Alexander11/09/2019 10:51:44
105 forum posts

Hey, Gordon & Steve, I enjoyed your reminiscing too! Great to meet up with old friends.

Alan Gorham_11/09/2019 11:00:45
924 forum posts
98 photos

What a fantastic hobby we've got! Some great accounts of flying exploits.

Steve Pounder11/09/2019 21:28:19
4 forum posts

It was not always so much fun, it was sometimes heart breaking. My first model that actually flew ended up in a swamp. I spent hours looking for it and never did find it. There was some very strange large flying insects in that swamp. I was about 17 and loved the hobby. Single channel and a escapement powered by a rubber band.

Many respects to Gordon, he taught me so very much.

Alan Gorham_11/09/2019 21:33:24
924 forum posts
98 photos

Surely the heartbreaking failures made the successes all the sweeter. They did for me when I was teaching myself to fly and build!

Steve Pounder18/09/2019 21:01:56
4 forum posts

Success with single channel was limited especially when I did not have much money. And yes, when I became proficient the successes were sweet.

Robert Putley 119/09/2019 04:55:22
182 forum posts

I had a School Master powered by an OS Pet R/C. A nice looking model for its day. Flew really well too.

Steve Pounder19/09/2019 16:05:22
4 forum posts

Was the School Master a kit? I seem to remember it. I think that I gave up on kits due to the poor quality of the balsa.

Many years ago I got a Super 60. The young lad, as I was, was moving away and offered it to me for £5. I was astonished at how cheap, he said okay, £7. I bought it. It was the first single channel model I ever had that took off from the ground in a very rough field. It was great to see it just sit there in the sky. I can't remember what happened to it, I suspect it was the inevitable.

And Gordon Whitehead, you were my hero. If you are reading this, send me an email.


John H. Rood19/09/2019 17:43:25
187 forum posts
250 photos

SCHOOLMASTER -- that brings back early 1970s memories for me. Yet another friendly design from the prolific Ken Willard. I built mine from the Top Flite kit, my friends and I were teenagers struggling to get a used Min-X "Galloping Ghost" and Rand LR-3 actuator radio system to actually work, get the engine to start, the tail surfaces wiggling to and fro like some sort of mad fool's invention. Meanwhile all the grownups out there at Sepulveda Basin (Van Nuys, Californina) had all kinds of success with their "multis" as we called them. Steerable nose gear, brakes, electric fuel pumps in the pits, the works. Not much R/C aero-success for us kiddos until we were able to buy proper digital proportional radios. Then we got the hang of things... then came girls, college, the usual.

Alan Hilton19/09/2019 17:47:02
93 forum posts

I grew up in Bispham and flew control line on a field near the site you describe in the early 60’s .A teacher from Montgomery called Ken Casswell and several others who’s names can’t remember also flew there . I was away at uni at the time you describe .


John H. Rood19/09/2019 21:39:02
187 forum posts
250 photos

SCHOOLMASTER -- that brings back early 1970s memories for me... Correction: Late 1960s!

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