Models at Yeovilton

Bob Partington’s Spitfire never ceases to impress.
The late winter model show at RNAS Yeovilton tends to be one that R/C enthusiasts don’t usually attend and to be honest, if it wasn’t on my door step, I probably wouldn’t have bothered after looking at the advertising, which stated that it is predominately supported by scale plastic modellers. However the BMFA southern area were putting on a flying display so off I went.

The day was blessed with near perfect weather, just a bit on the cold side, and after arriving I found I had a couple of hours to kill marveling at some of the displays. If you’re into these miniature scale models, there was something there for most tastes including approximately 60 different 1/72nd scale Harvard/Texans from the Harvard Modellers Society and displayed beneath the museum’s own Harvard,  

A major plus for me, and those of our club members who came along is that all the trade and display stands are squeezed in under and around the museum exhibits. This is very much a hands-on museum and most of the exhibits aren’t cordoned off so the public can, if they wish, get as close as possible (including on their hands and knees) to the aircraft. On that basis alone I would heartily recommend a visit if you should ever find your self in East Somerset or West Dorset. I could discuss the pleasures of strolling around this museum all day but go check it out yourself and you’ll not be disappointed I promise.

The allotted time for the flying display approached so I made my way to the spectator line and secured a good viewpoint. What followed was brief (a mere 90 mins) but most entertaining. As it was essentially such a short display Stuart Simpson (BMFA Southern Area delegate) had kept the pilot numbers down so they would all have a reasonable amount of air time.

Chris Gould and his Fairey Hendon.


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So the planes and pilots were; Bob Partington with his amazing 72″ YT Spitfire Mk14 powered by an Axi 533024 and sporting an incredible sound system that replicated the Griffin engine superbly, right down to the sound of the starter motor, and a typical starting splutter as the motor turned the prop over. Even the sound of the gun firing was realistic.

This was followed by Chris Goulds’ most exquisitely detailed Fairey Hendon which at 144″ is an impressive bird and all his own design and construction.

The Hendon is powered by twin Axi 41s with a 3700mAh 3S Li-Po each and boasts a stunning sound system similar to that in Bob’s Spitfire. 
Chris also fetched an immaculate Hawker Fury biplane.
Following Chris, young Adrian Smith gave a heart stopping display of heli 3D with his T-Rex 800. Adrian’s brother Stuart was also there and between them we were treated to no less than six 3D heli displays and to be honest no one could judge either to be the better pilot such was the quality of these two boys who, by the way, are the sons of our local hobby shop owners, the veritable Hobby Hanger of Yeovil.

The only disaster of the day followed as Oli Ladyman attempted to fire his Yak 54 up and one of the twins cylinders failed to fire. Not to be beaten though Oli swiftly had his Saito 82 powered Extra in the air and gave us his usually stunning display with some very very high ‘g’ flicks following a high speed low pass. That airframe must be amazingly strong.

Tony Butterworth with his EDF Eurofighter

Tony Butterworth followed this with an airing of a Graupner foam EDF Typhoon Eurofighter before we were bid farewell with a classic fly past from Chris Goulds’ Hendon rapidly followed by the spit of Bob Partington.

The quality of flying by these six pilots was some of the best I’ve seen for a while and the scale way in which both Bob and Chris flew their respective kites really was a sight to behold and many a complimentary comment could be heard from the crowd who on the whole seemed very appreciative of the effort these few had made to entertain them.

To finish off I would like to point out that despite the lack of R/C aircraft distributors at the show, most of our club members said what a good time they had. Also I have it on good authority, from Jon Jeffries, the museum’s marketing and development manager, that every attempt will be made to get more scale R/C involvement for the October, and subsequent shows.

He also asked me to pass on his thanks through these pages to the lads at the BMFA for their support over the last few years. I would also like to take this chance to recommend that if you fly and are not a member of the BMFA then please join as it’s the unstinting effort of these boys that often ensures our freedom to enjoy our hobby.


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