Hugh Pritchard’s Fairey Battle.
Hugh is a retired? farmer, living on the farm at Rhydyclafdy. He first became
interested in aero modelling as a schoolboy. I’m not saying how old he is, but he
is probably the most experienced builder and flyer in the club. He has tried most
types of model flying spending quite a lot of time on Free Flight. He also likes the
slopes and probably spends more time than anyone at the power field, some of
the time cutting the patch. He has made two Fairey Battles – this article is about
the second one – I don’t know what the first one was like but I’m sure Hugh has
had an attachment to the Battle since childhood, living close to Penrhos where
they few from.
One of Hugh’s earliest memories of the Battle was when his
Father took him to see the wreckage of S 2026 which
crashed on 24th. of May 1940 taking off from Penrhos. The
crew of three survived. There were Fifty Battles based at
Penrhos, belonging to “ 12 Observer Training Corps” from
RAF Benson.
These are the drawings that Hugh worked to. They are 1/72
scale. He converted them to 1/12 scale giving the plane a 54”
Wingspan. His original idea was to build a scale slope soarer
and his construction method will be appreciated by the PSSA
flyers. He started with a balsa box section core running the
length of the fuselage. To this he glued Polystyrene foam which
he labouriously shaped to the contours of the aircraft. The wing
is one piece, also carved foam. The foam was covered with
1/16 balsa and finally finished with dope and nylon.
Hugh couldn’t find suitable
1/12 scale crew, so he carved
his own out of solid balsa.
The detail of these and the
canopy and the “aged” paint
finish are superb.
As I said, the original intention was to build a scale soarer,
but while he was adding weight to the nose, (the finished
model weighed four and a half pounds) he thought he might
as well fit a motor, so he “electrified” it. Flight trials didn’t go
so well – it suffered a similar fate to the original S2026 –
crashing on take-off from Penrhos. Hugh doesn’t think that
the proportions help powered flight (the surface area of the
tail section is too small.)
So, it was repaired and converted back to slope soarer and, I understand, flies very well. Thank you Hugh for
bringing the Fairey “Battle” back to Penrhos. Anyone fancy doing the same with another model? If I ever get
round to it, I would like to build a Westland “Wallace” biplane.