Micro Rocket Motor and Model Jet Resources
Designers Hall of Fame


Bill Henderson

For Jetex enthusiasts, the name of Bill Henderson will be forever linked with Vindskreenviper, his whimsically-named winner of the inaugural SMAE Jetex Challenge Cup in 1951. However, Bill's contribution to aeromodelling and Jetex flying in particular goes far wider, extending to innovations in such fields as Jetex helicopter design. Many of his designs were published in Aeromodeller and the Zaic Yearbooks.

       Bill's plans on the website include:
           Vindskreenviper (1951) for Jetex 350
           Firebird (1952) for Jetex 350
           Whirlygig (1952) for twin Jetex 350

At the young age of 16, Bill was on the organising team for the first post-war British Model Aircraft Nationals. Entering the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough as a student-engineering apprentice in 1948, he joined the Grange M.A.C., and was a member of the Club team that won the U.K. National Club Championship in 1952.

Bill's Jetex achievements had begun in 1949 with a third placing in the first International Jetex contest held at Fairlop, with Puff-Adder. After his 1951 SMAE triumph, he again gained a third placing in the 1952 Fairlop contest, with Firebird.

Having emigrated to Canada in 1953 to work on the (full-size!) Avro Arrow supersonic fighter, Bill began competing at the US Nationals, in HLG and Jetex events (read more). In the 1980s, he turned to model rocketry, along with his younger son, Ian, resulting in Bill's becoming 1982 Canadian National Senior Model Rocketry Champion and Ian's becoming Junior Champion. Both repeated their feats the following year.

Bill's continuing participation in international contests throughout the 70s and 80s culminated in 1989 with placings in three events at the United States Indoor Championships (USIC) and a new Canadian record in helicopter duration. As an adjudicator, Bill sat on international juries, including the F1D World Championships in 1990, a year in which he also established four Canadian indoor duration records and won Limited Pennyplane at USIC.

Since 1980, Bill has been closely involved in indoor flying, an interest retained from his first ventures into aeromodelling in London at the age of 13. From 1996 to 2002, he held the position of MAAC's National Chairman for Indoor Flying.

Aeromodeller's advice to Canadians in 1953 to "look out!", warning of Bill's departure for Toronto, has been well justified – Bill continues to hold four national records. All this aeromodelling activity has taken place in the context of an intensely busy career as a advanced composites specialist and consultant of international standing. In the aviation field, besides his work on the Avro Arrow, Bill's career includes such projects as the McDonnell-Douglas DC9 and the Canadian Navy FHE 400 Hydrofoil.

Recently, Bill has revived his interest in Jetex modelling and flying. Inspired by acquiring John Emmett’s version of the Jetex 200 and Jetex 350, he has embarked on a project to reconstruct Puff Adder and Vindskreenviper II. With over 50 years’ aeromodelling experience gained since the first flights of his contest-winning models, Bill has re-thought their designs and incorporated a number of improvements, while still remaining faithful to the original configurations.
Read more about this project >>


Bill Henderson, winner of the S.M.A.E. Jetex contest, awaits the extra power of the second and third charge in his 350, before releasing 'Vindskreenviper'.
- Aeromodeller, Dec. 1951 (p. 731)

Bill Henderson with his twin Jetex 350 'Whirligig' at the 1952 Northern Heights Gala
- Bill's personal collection

W. Henderson (Grange) used a "350" unit on this latest version of his A.P.S. design.
- Aeromodeller, Dec. 1952 (p. 729)

Bill with his 'Hot Turkey' swing-wing, C Rocket glider, Canadian record holder, 1983
- Bill's personal collection



Aeromodeller issues, personal photographs and notes from Bill Henderson


  Terms of Use
Queries? Corrections? Additions? Please contact us.