Jim Chambers, MBE has been a popular figure at Ivinghoe Beacon for many a year.
My first introduction to aeronautics was the antics of my grandfather who made props on sticks and spun them up to great heights at a local market up north.
Evacuation to Dunstable (1939) to escape Hitler took me to Mr & Mrs A.R Weyl who was designer of the Kitten and Pup light aircraft and owner/director of the Dart Aircraft Co.
One day I saw at close range a Junkers machine on its way back Birmingham, gunning the High Street. So my parents took me back to London, only to to have V1's and von Brauns V2's pointed at me.
After the war I read the "Aeromodeller" avidly, then the only magazine available. As a junior member of Northern Heights club, I met the great Copland of Wakefield model fame, with those huge rubber motors and fantastic climbs. Other members included Henry Nichols and Max Rippon (Ripmax). All were gods to the more humble members. All my paper round money got siphoned into Keilcraft Co. - their Ajax's, Achilles and Jeep gliders. All flown at Hampstead Heath.
An obligatory 2 years with the RAF saw me at CFS Rissington Glos. Flew in recently rebuilt Harvards, Proctors and Lancs, hoping the radios - my area of interest - did not fall out. Aerobatics taught one not to leave tools or dirt in airframes!
Getting the Bug
After a long gap I visited the Beacon in '73, a fatal step. I then rushed home to by an Amigo kit. Thanks to Tony Noel for his kind tuition - I shall never forget his rescue of the model from scraping the spinney trees to gently bringing it up to the top in very light conditions. Magic indeed!
Amigo, Vertex, Suzy-Q, Impala, Wildflecken, Electric Chopper, Ridge Racer, Phase6, Aeolus, Graupner Mosquito, Algebra Hybrid, Delta Lady, Fred Thomson Gaftone, Freds Spitfire, & Concord, Flinger HLG, Electric Viking, Multiplex Alpina Magic and finally an Ellipse II.