In the early 60s I flew mostly free flight and I started to visit contests in foreign countries, mostly in France. Through these “French Connections” I learned that there was a control line contest held in Alsace. Alsace is a government district in France very close to Germany. It is a most beautiful landscape, a famous wine area, plus this control line contest - that’s more than enough reasons to go to this contest. This is where I met Yves Fernandez for the first time.        
At that time Yves flew an airplane in Mustang fashion. I don’t remember exactly the design, but the workmanship was extraordinary. I took a picture of this model. During the contest I saw Yves taking several photos of my model. I seem to remember that somehow it dawned on me that two like minded people have met. There was hardly any conversation between the two of us since Yves didn’t speak much German and my French wasn’t any better.  
A few months later we met again in Switzerland. I was a little baffled to see my model twice - Yves had built an almost exact copy of my design. Now please consider this: he had nothing else than a few photos and from these he had drawn his own plan and created his own airplane. I was really stunned how somebody can do this. Again a few months later we met at a contest in Central France. Again Yves had produced another airplane. It was another copy of my basic layout, but with a few more modifications and another paint sceme. The editor of a French magazine took a photo of the two of us and this appeared on the cover of this magazine.    
Of course Yves’ skills go far beyond copying. During the following years he produced a large number of own designs . He has a very good eye for beautiful elegant shapes, lines, and proportions. He is able to see the “hidden” beauty in an ordinary model .
See left: there is a picture of a very old British Keil Kraft kit for a 15 size model, the "Spectre". A nice model but not very exciting. Yves quickly saw what potential is buried in these outlines and . . .
. . . that's what he did with the "Spectre" look! You cannot help but admit that he has made a beauty out of the original shape: a highly aerobatic 40 to 46 size F2B airplane. A construction article with plan was published in Model Aviation Nov 82. I still rate this design as one of Yves' most beautiful airplanes.  
Yves can easily detect the tiny flaws, smooth out the lines, arrange them in new harmony and then create his own version which will pull out all the stops and free this poor creature into eye opening beauty. That’s why he never shies away from building well known airplanes from other designers. But he always includes his own ideas about shapes, construction, building methods, technology, etc.
For several years Yves was away from our scene. He was heavily involved in doing spray work on motorcycle tanks and helmets. I haven’t seen anything of his work but I’ve heard from other sources that - of course - he did the same excellent work as he did on his airplanes.

In the meantime the both of us had noticeably improved on our linguistic skills; mainly by addition of typical aeromodelling terms and now we can talk in Frengermenglish perfectly. So conversation has become pretty understandable and we got to know each other much better. I learned that he is a design draftsman (working for Bugatti car factory). Of course this background allows him to draw very exact plans. But much more: Yves can do precise metal work, too.
  Whenever you see one of his airplanes you will see a lot of exciting new gadgets. Especially his spring mounted front and main wheel undercarriages, engine parts, shaft extensions, spinners, mufflers, wing joining parts for two part wings, etc . Yves does a lot of engine work, from the simple task of building spare parts to designing and building his own engines. Whatever Yves produces is an excellent example of high precision and has a pronounced appeal of aesthetics. Yves and I have become friends and as I felt right from the beginning: here two ”related souls” have met (as we say in German).
I’d like to add a little story. When I had seen Les McDonald’s airplane at a contest at Winston Salem contest for the first time, I detected that he had put his name on the model. I wondered how he had done this and he explained that it was simply done with Letra Set rub on letters. I found this to be a great idea and I did the same on my own models. Like Les I used a font which is called “Palace Script”; a very narrow elegant font Italic style with fine smooth lines. Obviously Yves had seen this, liked the idea and did the same on his airplanes, too. I saw this feature on several of his models.
After several years I found that “enough is enough” and I wanted to use another font for a change. I browsed the LetraSet catalog looking for another font. It should still be very elegant, but have a somewhat “wider” and slightly more “hefty” appearance in order to make it a little easier to read on the airplane. You know - LetraSet has hundreds of fonts and many of them look very pretty. But I very quickly decided on the “Murray Hill Bold” font.
When I met Yves the next time after a long period he, too, seemed to have had a desire for change. On his new airplane he had used another font for writing his name on the outboard wing.


Enough said !

I have photos of all of Yves’ airplanes ( at least from the time we have met ) plus a few pictures of his extraordinary metal work. If you ocassionally feel you lack creativity and need some inspiration for your own work you may want to see some of Yves' creations. Please click the wheel button to see the photo album.