From 'Aeromodeller, July 1948

By D J Laidlaw-Dickson.

Original heading photo

Heading: Whirling Dervish I The winner completes his flight pattern in a cloud of dust. Below: To the winner the spoils - Pete Cock collects his prize.

In winning the first 'Gold Trophy' Aerobatic Control-Line Contest at Northampton, Pete Cock of Southampton not only put up an outstanding performance personally, but pegged the supremacy of British engines in spite of a notably strong Cyclone invasion. Although sixty-seven entries had been received, the quality of the experts taking part in the elimination round, allied to an extremely tricky wind, thinned out the actual contestants to less than a score.

First off the mark in the morning was P.R.O. Henry J. Nicholls with a polished performance exactly within the framework of the preliminary round, take-off, level flight, climb, dive and wingover and a single inside loop, bringing the model sweetly in to a down-wind dead stick landing. Mike Booth of the Zombies followed with 'The Barge', powered with an E.D. Comp. Special, and treated spectators to the full works, including inverted flying and figure eights in addition to minimum requirements. After this hardly an elimination passed without the entrant putting in some 'extras'. By the time some dozen had been through their paces there was a complete lack of enthusiasm. amongst the outsiders who sadly put away their models confident that.they were outclassed, and sat down at the feet of the masters and, unfortunately, in all too many instances, on their lines in the absence of any official 'line pits'.

The competition proper commenced after lunch when the elimination round was waived in favour of those desiring to take part in the final direct. In spite of this concession there were literally no flights that could not have won with a little more luck of the wind or mixture. Henry J. was washed out with a balky American engine that just would not two stroke, and in spite of two brllliant landings and. hectic borrowing of tools, could do nothing in the ten minute limit. Ron Moulton, flying. the De Bolt. 'Bipe', as his Glo-Plug powered low-wing was off colour, crashed within half a dozen circuits and withdrew. Ted. Buxton did much the same, though he struggled manfully to get going and had three re-starts, but was completely out of form. First sensational exhibition. came from Dennis Allen of the West Essex Club with his Super Cyclone powered 'club model', a slab-sided side~winder (*), wide chord high wing of baslcally simple design, modifications of which seemed the regular West Essex machine.. He went through the set evolutions, including five inside loops and two inverted. circuits, and was ready for his bunts when the engine cut. He could not restart in the limit, but seemed set to win, barring accidents, with 375 points.

Below: The winning model before the contest - note longest spouted filler at the meeting.
Bottom: Dennis Allen - close second - with his model.

Winner Second place

Ken Gregory of the Zombies, now Mike Booth's partner in the Isle of Man, went to town with his 'Mills Bomb', powered with the new Mark II Mills, but the wind proved too much even for his skill and he constantly lost height in evolutions with disastrous results. In spite of running hand-launch starts - about four of them - he could only cover the fringe of the machine's obvious fair weather possibilities. Mike Booth followed to retrieve his partner's honour, but failed to get the revs from his E.D. and had to be content with a performance much below his morning standard, finally crashing 'The Barge' when the handle slipped out of his moist hand. Two more West Essex entries in the shape of Lewis and Taylor put up quite creditable performances but lacked fellow clubman Dennis Allen's ability to cope with the wind, though flying similar 'goat' models - one in a hideous shade of mauve!

Almost at the end came Pete Cock, who gave no indication of his prowess at the start. A shock-headed bespectacled young man, evidently conscious of the crowd, his flying stance was awkward and his E.D. Comp. Special-powered model came in almost at once. Restarting, he came again and seemed to shed his gawkiness with a remarkable display of normal and inverted flying including five inside loops and two outsfde loops from the inverted position. It was noted that his hand was not turned for inversion, but controls reversed with cross lines, a style approved by the best American masters. Marking was difficult as in all he had several stops and restarts, so that it was not till some time after completion of his set patterns that it was realised he had passed Dennis Allen with 385 points, and become the first British Control-Line Champion.

His model is the essence of simplicity, being a solid ply and balsa sheet fuselage, reinforced with ply at the bearers, mounting the engine as a side winder (*). High wings of about seven inch chord and symmetrical section, ribbed and tissue covered, fifty-fifty tail unit and 'yacht rudder' fin, which.he claims is less susceptible to blanketing during the transition from normal to inverted position. His E.D. incidentally was tuned to perfection; unlike the unlucky Mike Booth's.

Below top: Ron Moulton's De Bolt 'Bipe' - unexpected casualty. Middle: Typical West Essex 'club' designs. Bottom: Mike Booth's 'The Barge', Ken Gregory's 'Mills Bomb' and Henry J.'s unlucky biplane.

Models Models Models

A review of the main entries showed eleven out of twelve sidewinders - only Gregory's Mills Bomb being conventionally mounted; eleven out of twelve using Tekni-flo props seven American engines, mainly Cyclones, two Italian Super-Tigres, one a Mk. 16B and very hot, the other an obsolete Mk. 13, two E.D. Comp. Specials and a Mills Mk. II. The British engines occupied first, fourth and sixth places.

We would comment on the high standard of flying generally, with the interpolation that contestants were mainly trade or semi-trade, which suggests that at present only trade or trade-supported entrants have either the finance or spare time necessary to attain a 'national' standard of skill. The performance of the low-powered ligbt-weight diesel entries was exceptional in the prevailing weather conditions, and might have been better had the judges consented to 35-feet lines in lieu of the minimum 40 feet specified. Pit work of assistants in getting restarted was commendable, and the punishment models took and yet still flew is a tribute to the strength/weight ratio of these high performance machines.

* 'Side winder' - a machine where the engine is mounted with Ihe cylinder horizontal to line of flight, with the head facing out of the circle. This is claimed to make for smoother running where model is to be flown in both the normal and inverted position.


Editor and Mrs. Rushbrooke with Bill Dean at the Judges' table;
with the benevolent eye of the law on the pits.

My thanks to Mark Bennett for copies of this material.

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