All about ChopperAddict



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Why would you want to know about me ? - I give up, but I have added this page as some people have actually asked for more information about my background.

The picture on the right shows me with my wife Olwen and my two grandsons in 2009.

I was born way back in 1944 in St Annes on Sea, Blackpool, Lancs, the son of a soldier serving in the Regular Army, but moved to Egypt when I was three years old as my father had been posted there.

I learned to speak French while in Egypt as I went to French convent school, so had no options really.

(I hope that neither my wife Olwen or myself are really quite as "fat" as the picture seems to indicate) 

I then returned to the UK, and over my formative years until I was 11 we moved around to different army bases around the world, my father being reposted about every 9 months or so, so I had a pretty mixed up schooling.

I managed to get my 11 plus exam despite this, and ended up for the whole of my secondary school career at a grammar school known as Lord Williams's School in Thame, Oxon.

I got my "O" and "A" levels, and also as a member of the RAF section of the Combined Cadet Force at the school, I was awarded a flying scholarship, which resulted in the RAF paying for me to learn to fly at the Oxford Flying School back in 1960.  I learned to fly on those wonderful old string and cloth Tiger Moths, and had to qualify within 30 hours of flying, which happily I did.  As a side comment, I got my PPL on my 16th birthday, which is as young as you can be, so I am still ONE of the few people who can say they have held a pilots license for as long a period as they possibly could, and it is still true today that nobody can qualify for a PPL at a younger age.     As a secondary part of winning a Flying Scholarship I was also guaranteed a place at Cranfield to train as an RAF pilot providing got the necessary "O" and "A" levels, but I never did take up that offer - perhaps strangely, but that is an altogether different story !

That was the start of my love affair with aviation of all types, which is a love I still have today just as strongly as way back then. Over the years I have managed to amass around 1500+ hours P1 (Pilot in charge) time on various types of single engined General Aviation aircraft, and have even got a couple of hundred hours logged as a parachute drop pilot, throwing both students and experience jumpers out from heights anywhere between 3000 feet and 12,500 feet.  I also flew various parachute demonstrations flights, and several professional photo sorties at very low levels around the Cornish coast.

I spent some time in the forces myself and on leaving, I went into motor engineering, ending up running my own garage and also a business building various types of competition cars from Rally cars through AutoCross, RallyCross, and even circuit racing, which were mostly saloon style racing cars.

Quite naturally as a result of this, and to generate new business, I raced some cars myself, in all the forms of racing mentioned above, and was reasonably successful over several years until the costs became totally prohibitive.

Sadly, that stage of my life ended after a supposedly simple operation on my right foot went wildly wrong at St Bartholomews hospital in London, leaving me in a wheelchair for about 6 years.  I finally managed to get the operation redone, and as a result of that second operation, I was able to leave the wheelchair behind me.

However, during the time I was in that unenviable position, I went back to college/University in Plymouth at 40 years of age, and got myself a degree in computer science, as this was something I could do despite being in the wheelchair at that time.

This was the silver lining I guess because it led to me joining an American software company called Ashton-Tate at the age of  39, mostly because they offered "training" in California!. Over a few years with them I worked my way up to European Technical Director.  This company developed and sold the well known (then) dBase database system that was actually first database invented to control the computers on the original NASA Mars probes....

It was at time time that I first tried flying RC helicopters, starting with a Kalt Baron gasser that was definitely overkill, but great fun to learn on.  I built my fleet up slowly by adding a Concept 30 nitro, plus a Schluter 60 nitro that ended up in a large (very) Bell Long Ranger fuselage.

Back then we had little notion of how to set a  helicopter up, so I guess we were just lucky basically, as we managed to get them to fly pretty well.

On leaving Ashton-Tate, I went into computer consultancy, working for many large and small organisations both in the UK and across Europe.  I finally decided to pin my colours to the mast and start my own software development company, which started off designing and developing an advance email client for Windows back in the days before Outlook had ever been heard of, and DOS based software was in the majority.  That was quite successful, and I followed it up with an Email server system for corporate networks.  That was a great success, and led to me moving the Florida in the USA for 9 years as that was where the real market was for such products.  I finished up developing a networked Fax system called NetCFax that sold very well indeed in the USA and Canada, who use faxes extensively.

I have now retired to all intents and purposes, and spend most of my time working on and flying Radio Controlled Helicopters (no surprises there !).  The challenges I find they offer are so satisfying, as it is such a great feeling to receive a helicopter in all sorts of poor conditions, and be able to sort it all out, set it all up correctly, and then fly it successfully.  I really do feel that there is no better hobby in the world to be involved with.

Equally I regularly frequent many of the forums that are available on the Internet today that are so much help to newbies entering this hobby, with endless good advice available instantly, which makes it just so much easier for newbies today to get going without too many of traumas we went through when we started many years ago.

As you may have noticed elsewhere on this site, because I am now retired, I can  offer a really LOW COST Helicopter repair service for collective pitch helicopters of any type.  I do this simply to help other pilots out, especially new pilots, and from doing it I also get endless hours of pleasure.  For more details of this service please CLICK HERE...

I also offer full helicopter setup service, full radio setup service, and I can supply & fit both Alien Command and Helicommand stabilisation systems to your helicopter.

I also offer totally 1-on-1 training days, where you can learn exactly how to set up your helicopter correctly (and quite a bit more) or you can spend a day with me and I will do my best to teach you how to hover safely and successfully. For more details of this service please CLICK HERE... 

Finally I also offer totally FREE 1-on-1 teaching sessions using the multiplayer feature of the Phoenix Helicopter simulator.  This means you can sit at home on your PC and take part in a true one on one flying lesson, as with full voice chat available, We can talk exactly as we might down at the flying field. For more details of this service please CLICK HERE...


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