Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Light Aircraft Association Annual Rally at Sywell Aerodrome

Stummelflitzer Z1R

(watercolour and ink)
This is a stunning wood framed single seater. It was recently completed after a 7 year build by Dudley Pattison who runs the Swindon Aircraft Timber Company. It runs a Rotec R2800 seven cylinder radial engine. The roots of this aeroplane are in 1920s biplanes and the shortened training planes used by the Germans to train their pilots in WWII. To find out more about these planes visit Dudleys website and

1933 DH83 Fox Moth

(watercolour and ink)
I only just caught this one before it left again. This is a small biplane passenger aircraft, it was great to see this there at Sywell as these did fly out of there in the 30s. Only 98 of these were built in the UK, and 154 of this type of plane were built so this was a rare opportunity indeed. The plane was built by de Havilland from 1932 specifically for short hop flights with the pilot on top with up to 3 passengers below in the fuselage of the plane. A beautiful machine indeed!

Percival Mew Gull E2H (Replica)

(watercolour and ink)
This is another very recently completed self build by a very talented and meticulous engineer called David Beale. Unfortunately when I actually saw him he was donning his parachute and climbing into the Mew Gull to leave. At the event I had a chat to a man on The Vintage Aircraft Club who said apparently this replica is more accurate than the real Percival Mew Gull that resides in The Shuttleworth Collection, I need to find out more.

The Mew Gull was designed by Edgar Percival 6 were made between 1934 - 38 during the Golden age of British Air racing. They typically ran de Havilland Gypsy 6 engines ultimately reaching a top speed of 265mph. They were used within handicapped air races of which the Kins Cup was one of the premier races, the Mew Gull design won this race 4 times.

Verhees Delta Prototype

(watercolour and ink)
Well this was the most unusual and striking aeroplane of the weekend. It is a delta wing shape and apparently very stable and comfortable. Well I guess it is as it was flown to Sywell by it's owner, designer and builder Bart Verhees, all the way from Belgium. I hoped to see it leave but I must have been too busy sketching to realise as it left as stealthily as it looked. 

For more information on this incredible machine please CLICK HERE to visit it's webpage.

Taylor Monoplane

(ink sketch)
John Taylor of Ilford is my new hero and inspiration for the ultimate home build. I will let these Pathe News Reels tell the story.... Now how do I get the bedroom window out??


 Pietenpol Air Camper

(watercolour and ink)
A beautiful monoplane based on a 20s design. It was built back in 1992 by Alan James and has done over 1100 hours flying since completion.

1977 Jodel D9

(ink sketch)
This was another great small build utilising a VW Beetle engine. Apparently the only tweak is to add twin ignition as a safety measure. This particular D9 has been flown by it's present owner for the past 18 years.

Miles M3A Falcon

(ink sketch)
It was mainly the challenge of the sloping front screen that attracted me to this plane. I later found out that this is part of the Shuttleworth Collection.

1977 Volksplane

(ink sketch)
This is a true home build design I love the all out simplicity of this aeroplane. Designed by an American called William Evans, the design was first flown in 1968. The plane is of such an easy construction and design that it was meant for anyone to be able to build it at home and the wings are detachable so that the folded size is easily transported by road. It uses a VW Beetle engine like the Taylor Monoplane but it's aerodynamics mean that it does need more power than it should in order to fly. Apparently 6000 plans have been sold, I wonder how many made it to completion?

1980 V-Star SA900

(ink sketch)
This is a homebuilt aerobatic plane. The kits for these apparently take 1800 hours to build.

1941 Waco UPF 7

(ink sketch)
A lovely 40's American trainer. I had to sketch this from the front to exaggerate it's size, and to get an idea of the gentle curve that runs down the entire length of the fuselage.

1989 Yak-52

(ink sketch)
First flown in 1978 the Yakovlev Yak-52 was a trainer for civil and military pilots in the soviet union. 1800 have been produced to date and they are still being produced in Romania by Aerostar. Since the early 90's and the fall of the Soviet Union many Yak-52's were exported and now fly in many wester countries

Well you can see I've got a taste for drawing planes now too. After drawing some planes at Sywell last year, I got chatting to someone at the Bike Shed Event II about light aeroplanes (I was showing him my sketchbook). He recommended that I go to the L.A.A. Rally at Sywell. Ever since then I've had the date in my diary and I'm so glad I went. After going to so many car and bike rallies I never thought you would have the equivalent for aeroplanes, and of course this was it. Over 3 days people flew in and out of the airstrip parking their planes up and with an airside pass you could wander right up to the visiting machines. This was perfect for sketching and as you can see over 2 days I sketched 12 aeroplanes. The range of machines was vast from modern light aircraft, through to vintage aeroplanes, even home built machines with VW beetle engines!

More Photos...

Unknown Italian I think?
1999 Avid Flyer
(got away before I could sketch it!)

Here are a few examples of my one of my favourite aeroplanes the Pitts Special. Developed in the 40s this small biplane is still a favourite for aerobatics. 
In fact it was at Sywell in 2013 when I saw the Trig Aerobatic team in a pair of Pitts Specials that I fell in love with this little beauty.

These things are light!
1948 Percival Proctor
Morane Saulnier

Another Taylor Monoplane

Great Lakes Sports Trainer
Unknown German
1986 Plumb Biplane


  1. I've enjoyed your coverage of Sywell so much! I hope I can get to the rally next year, these are my kind of planes. As always love the artwork too!

  2. thanks ed I will be there next year for sure!