The passing of an AP maestro
I first met John just before he retired from Hawker Siddley (by that time British Aerospace) when he was flying RC floatplanes from the sea on the Isle of Wight. A real gentleman in an important top post, yet he was keen to answer questions from this upstart "oik" from the drawing office!
He introduced me to Aerial Photography in 1985, following his successful completion of the Daily Telegraph photo assignment with which he had been challenged. The photos they asked for included: The M25 orbital motorway under construction, Henley Royal regatta, Leeds Casle in Kent and the QE2 sailing from Southampton. To meet these challenges, he had designed an AP aircraft that would serve him well for many years. The camera was side mounted in the nose with shoulder mounted wing of around 6ft span. He experimented with a pylon mounted engine above the wing, which could be rotated up to give vectored thrust. Later, he fitted a variable pitch prop to explore steep approaches without high lift devices. Always ready to talk matters aeronautical, his home in Bookham was full of reminders of his career in aviation and his ongoing modelling activities. My favourite memory was at the conclusion of his AP slide show, when he declared that the one thing which you really need to succeed is one of these..the last picture was of him arm in arm with his wife!
He was an inspiration for my model and AP activities to come..John, I salute you, may you rest in peace!
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