Winter Meeting Saturday 8th February 2020

Once again the Winter Meeting, this time with the theme “Home-building”, was held in the elegant environment of the RAF Club in Piccadilly, London. There was an excellent turnout, partly because the decision to start the meeting a little later than usual enabled more attenders to travel to London on the Saturday morning. The forecast storm Ciara evidently did not deter people from arriving but unfortunately rail cancellations announced during the day caused some of those with far to travel home to miss the dinner and to start their journey on Saturday evening.

We had four excellent presentations, all enthusiastically received by the audience.

Dr Peter Brueggemann: “The Return of the Red Baron”.

Peter is an Air Medical Examiner and member of the BMPA who has built a replica Fokker DR1 Triplane similar to the one flown by Manfred von Richthoven during WW1. Richthoven started his military career as a cavalry officer where he wore a red uniform, hence his choice to have his plane painted red. This also served to increase his conspicuity once his reputation as a very successful fighter pilot with the aim of instilling fear into his allied enemies.

Peter built his planes from plans, making it as close to the original as possible but improving its flight safety by incorporating a better, more powerful (Lycoming 180hp) engine, improved fabric wing coverings and modern communications equipment. He also incorporated an electric starter and propane fired imitation machine guns which make the appropriate noise and spurt flames from the muzzles!

Capt. Mike Newall: “You built THAT … ?”

Mike Newall began flying at the age of 17, later piloting planes for parachuting then, in the late 1980s he gained his Commercial Licence and subsequently joined Thomas Cook in the early 90s, flying mostly the A330. The recent demise of Thomas Cook has precipitated his retirement but, more positively, has given him more time to devote to his hobby. He has a great affinity for Vans RV homebuilt aircraft and has built six examples, including the RV7 (side by side), the ‘quick-build’ RV12 and the RV12 four-seater.

He gave a fascinating account of the history of the home-building of aircraft in the United States (Experimental Aircraft Association) and in the UK (Light Aircraft Association). There are now 10,500 RVs flying, all home built. His enthusiasm for building and flying this wonderful aircraft was self-evident and infectious.

Kate Howe: “Single Seat Aircraft – Flying on Adrenaline”

Kate has flown a wide variety of aircraft and now flies from Breighton in Yorkshire where the Real Aeroplane Club is based. She enjoys aerobatics and at various times has owned or flown a Chipmunk, Taylor Monoplane, a 200hp Steen Skybolt, Evans VP1, Dart Kitten and a tipsy Nipper. Some of these have historical connections, e.g. the Dart Kitten was previously owned by de Havelland and is the sole surviving example of the type.

She recounted several hair-raising incidents that she experienced, e.g. one partial and one complete engine failure. She stressed the importance of practising for such events and discussed the difficulty of the decision-making process in the event of engine failure after take off. This is particularly the case with a partial failure – whether to turn back or whether to make a precautionary landing, where ground conditions permit.

Dr Mike Trudgill: “Building and Flying your own Mustang; an AME’s Tale”.

Mike Trudgill, now the recently-appointed Chief Medical Officer of the UK CAA, recounted some detail from his fascinating and rewarding career. He learnt to fly in the University Air Squadron whilst studying medicine. He now has 100 hours on Hawk jets, flew in the 1st Gulf War and has 5-6 types of fast jets in his log book. Among the less exotic aircraft, he has flown are 100 hours on the Tipsy Nipper and 200 hours on the Rollason Turbulent.

He has had two Tipsy Nippers, the second of which he incorporated an inverted fuel system. He then acquired a partially built Midget Mustang being built from plans which has now completed 30 hours. He concluded his talk with an update for AMEs.

Summer meeting postponed, Virtual AGM 24th October 2020

Fifteen members attended this virtual event using the Zoom teleconferencing facility:

  • Prof J Brown   –   President
  • Dr Andrew Partner   –   Past President
  • Dr Ian G Donnan   –   Hon Secretary
  • Dr Chris Lydiatt   –   Hon Treasurer
  • Mr David Hillam   –   Webmaster
  • Dr Janet Gibson   –   Auditor
  • Dr Stephen Gibson
  • Dr Mark Anderson
  • Dr David Reader
  • Dr Gordon Williams
  • Dr Ian Sibley-Calder
  • Dr Chris Corbin – nominated as President-Elect.
  • Mr David Walters
  • Dr Stavros  Neofytou
  • Prof Mike Bagshaw

The minutes of the 2019 AGM were approved including minor changes to the Articles of Association. In particular, reimbursement of expenses for members flying PRIVATELY to BMPA meetings and membership eligibility for students in the healthcare professions engaged in aviation training.

The secretary reported that 4 new members had joined in 2020 and that he sought an assistant so as to hand over this role at the AGM in Chester in 2021.

Financial data prepared by our treasurer were reviewed and suggested that our bank balance remained healthy. A report from our auditor is anticipated in due course, following completion of the banking formalities in relation to change in association officers and signatories.

Our webmaster outlined the improvements that had been made in our website content in recent years as well as a refreshment in theme to support mobile platforms. A more responsive and less formal multimedia presence has also been established on Facebook.

Sadly, we heard that our secretary, treasurer and webmaster had completed their terms of office – and were seeking to hand over their responsibilities!

Nevertheless, it was very pleasing to complete the process of nomination and appointment of a president elect via email for ratification at the AGM. Dr Chris Corbin received unanimous support for this role and joins the executive committee.

Two further points arose in AOB.

  1. Dr Neofytou asked if the association should limit eligibility for the Guinness cup to encourage a wider field. The president had been considering a parallel contest for those who had won on 3 or more occasions.
  2. Prof Bagshaw gloomily reported that his Beech Duchess had been damaged in an accident on the ground at Kemble (he wasn’t even in the aircraft at the time) and it was unlikely to be repaired in time for the summer. He observed that this may spoil the president’s plans for a parallel contest.

Overall it was felt that the meeting had been a success, and, should the winter 2021 meeting need cancellation due to Covid, opportunities for an online virtual event should be explored for the afternoon of 6th February 2021.