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Editor Profile

Model Helicopters have always fascinated me. And one of the many highlights was first seeing 3d, performed by Curtis Youngblood, nearly 20 years ago at the 1994 Sandown Model Show. That was a spur which saw me learn all I'd seen over the next 12 months - culminating in pirouetting flips with mechanical (non-heading hold) gyros in 1995.

I now regularly contribute to the new RotorWorld magazine - with both articles and photography. Expect to see my 2004 3d Masters Photographs in the next issue.

But I do have many non-modelling interests. Photography has always been a passion, and in September 2003 I started a Lifestyle Photography Business. This took a lot of time intially (and continues to do so).

I have worked in IT for many years, mostly the publishing arena, as artist and consultant, pioneering the DTP revolution from 1987 to 1989, when pre-press 4-colour seperations were first bing output from desktop computers (Apple Macs). But I have worked in the business IT area's, designing website both graphically and the backend database structure.

Away from work, motorcycling is another passion, which included a 16 day trip through Spain to Gibralter. I bought my first bike June 2001, a second hand BMW R1150R - for some reason considered a pipes and slippers motorcycle ;-). It had taken me since 1987 to get the courage up to risk riding one on the roads, I had an early lesson in 1991, but was so scared I didn't try again for 10 years. But now I have already put 21,000 miles on the bike.

I am a member of the Solent Advanced Motorcyclists, an IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) club. I passed my Advanced Test 2002, and am now considering becomming an observer to help pass the skills I was shown onto others. I arrange some of the group ride outs, and for my sins have been voluntered to take on the SAM web site and give it a make over.

The IAM scene revolves around voluntary help, whereby a new club member is taken on 5 to 10 observed rides (2 hours each) and given advice on improving their riding with an aim of passing the advanced test. These observed rides only cost a nominal sum towards the observer's fuel (currently £5). I know the tremendous value I gained from my training, and how much safer (and surprisingly quicker) it has made me, ultimately making me enjoy riding the bike far more. SAM also arranges group rides and trips away - this year 13 of us went to France for a 4 day weekend, 11 of us were equipped with bike to bike radios, which are both a great safety/training aid, and a lot of fun to boot.

Photography doesn't go well on a bike, unless using a compact digital. Other interests include; travel, french food and Bernese Mountain Dogs. More will follow soon. In particular far more pictures will be published on this site, including my shots from the 3d masters - I'm hoping to get some large prints made of these, and if good enough could donate some to AHA and 3d Masters for raffles next year.

In the meantime, here is the list of helicopters I have enjoyed to date, and the things I learned with each.

Helicopter Kits

I started with the following helicopters, excluding my first heli which was 'borrowed' from my father. An electric SkyLark EH-1 dating from early 1980's.

1. Original Shuttle 1985, with OS28, JR Apex 7, Morley Pilot Authority Gyro
    Learnt hovering, including nose in, tight hovering figure 8's in the front and back
    garden, plus Stall Turns. I can remeber my first circuits like it was yesterday.

2. Concept 30 SE 1989, with JR X347 Radio, Futuba 153BB gyro
    Learnt faster circuits, spiral dives - got my first scale body (Hughs 500E).

3. Kalt Space Baron 30 S, 1994, with SC engine, Futaba 153BB gyro
    Learnt to hover upside down, and my first auto when the SC needle fell out. Did my
    first inverted hovering, using 1989 Futaba 153BB gyro (mechanical gyro).

4. Shuttle ZXX, with OS32SX, 1994
    Learnt backward loops, rolling auto's, flips etc. Plus started crazy club competitions,
    like slowest auto down wins, and first auto to 'slam-on-the-pad' wins, losers finds
    an alternative spot to land. Always ran with a Futaba 153BB, with modified springs
    which were reduced by 2 loops, and the damping increased by using tiny foam
    inserts placed inside the springs - even today these gyro's still work a treat.

5. X-Cell 60, OS61SX, Bergen Frames and Upgrades, JR 120BB Gyro, JR PCM 10 S
    Learnt pirouetting flips and loops, first demo'ed May 1995 after Sandown at club field,
    then at Scottish Nationals that year, and later at Charmouth. I beleive it was
    another 6 months before another UK pilot performed them. To this day I wonder
    if I was only second person to do them in the World, the first being Curtis.
    The JR 120BB gyro was a mechanical gyro, and it was unmodified.

6. Shuttle ZXX, with OS32SX, 1994
    Bought as a backup when working to get the XL going reliably. To give the XL it's due
    once I'd sorted the issues it was my most reliable heli, doing over 50 hours without
    a crash. Did some backwards auto's but the slipper clutch was a waste of space and
    hindered auto's unless set to slip excessively.

7. Robbe Futura SE, with Rossi (modified by Bob Johnson), using JR 1000 gyro
    Performed Chaos with this, in May 1996 between 4 and 10 foot altitude.
    This was on the Sunday evening of Sandown, at my local Portsmouth club, what
    I would give to get a copy of the video taken by a Southampton Model Boater. It
    was my best flight, as everything had come together by then. Shortly after I retired
    from flying with a brief return in 1999 but I still wasn't fully motivated and didn't get
   
back to my level in 1996 - however the 3d Masters in 2002 was a turning point, as
    I got the urge big time!

8. What's came next - 3d Masters 2005, and some F3C practise;
    
I had a number of routines planned, dating back to 1996. I had
    intended to show some at Sandown that year, but alas it wasn't to be - a shame really
    as the weather was perfect the weekend of '96, light winds and blue sky ;-)

Updates always coming, including many out of box machines, along with my thoughts and views.

My flying needs to transition again, as I dabble with a little smack 3d style - I'm not as practised as I once was ;-) and need to re-learn a number of skills with lots of practise to regain my former level. Simple things like remebering to put more fuel in after a flight are high on the list.

   

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