Paul demonstrates the folding wings and superb flying qualities of his large scale replica of the famous torpedo bomber that served with the British Royal Navy in WW2.
My favourite Swordfish story is about the day we were at the field for a sunny day of flying. Paul was lazing the hero of the Bismarck story all the way down to the horse barns and ploughing his way back. Just as he completed his turn he observed that something had dropped off the bipe. I asked him what it was and he opined it was the starboard wheel. With my vision I could not see either wheel until he was three-quarters of the way back, and even then I couldn’t be sure.
If you know the Stringbag, you will be aware the inner aspect of the wheels had a shallow saucer fairing that extended from the axle to the rim. Paul’s plane had copied that feature, and now he was approaching a patch of grass at a few feet off the ground. I suggested the fairing might serve as a non-rolling thin wheel. The plane touched ground and came to a straight full stop a few feet away. Paul had great eyesight, as noted in History – The Seventies, and his flying skills were enviable.
Paul carried the plane back to the pit and we started walking to the barns to look for a 4 inch wheel. I gave up after an hour. Eventually he went home for dinner, after which he resumed his hunt till darkness persuaded him to go home. He returned daily for a week.
These scale wheels had been special ordered and it wasn’t easy to locate a supplier. I dropped by Paul’s to return a magazine, and he asked if I would join him and his Linda for another session at the barns, Okay. He went to his plane and removed the remaining wheel and off we went. At the field he returned to where he’d been standing at the last flight. He handed the wheel to Linda and told her to walk toward the barns until he shouted to her to stop, at which point she was to hold up the wheel, in profile, at head height and when she heard his next shout she should stop. In a few minutes he shouted and we hustled to her side. We looked about in a five foot radius for a while and suddenly Paul spotted it! I’d never seen him smile so widely. Then he said, “I walked over that spot a dozen times.”