Micro Rocket Motor and Model Jet Resources
Designers Hall of Fame


 Dick Twomey

Dick Twomey's claim to Jetex fame rests in the first instance on his convincing win in the inaugural International Jetex Contest in 1949. The design which won for him the ICI Trophy was Firecrest. The contest was held at Fairlop Aerodrome and "after a flight of almost 10 minutes on 28 seconds of fizz", Dick recalls that he "had to run down many Fairlop streets (there were a lot of buses) to find it again."

       Dick's plans on the website include:
           Firecrest (1949) for Jetex 200
           Twizzler (1951) for Jetex 200
           Stiletto (1951) for Jetex 200

Aeromodeller rightly called Dick "quite a child aeromodelling prodigy"; by the time he reached the age of 15, he had no fewer than three dozen designs under his belt. Most of his designing had taken place at Ampleforth College, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, where he admits that school work – and even girls – came a poor second place to his activities with the local Model Aero Club, of which he was the founder and first secretary.

His design #37, 'Cobra', a sailplane which achieved a UK handlaunch record in 1947, was the first of many to be published. The massive 103 inch wing span 'Leprechaun' became the most famous of his designs; one of his flights with it, in July 1949, covered 22 miles and remained airborne for 2½ hours.

When Wilmot Mansour, in 1948, offered a new means of propelling models aloft, Dick began to add Jetex-powered free-flight duration designs to his repertoire. So successful was he in this fresh field that, as noted above, his Firecrest carried off the newly introduced ICI Challenge Trophy. Further successful Jetex designs followed, with his Twizzler winning the R.A.F. Championship in 1950, after Dick had signed up as a trainee pilot.

In the 1953 I.C.I. Challenge Trophy Contest, flying in less than ideal conditions and in a field of 33 finalists, Dick gained a fourth placing with version 2 of his 'Stiletto' design, beating out formidable competition from Ian Dowsett, Bill Henderson and Larry Conover (the last two flying by proxy).

Though initially favouring low pylon mounted motors, in his later Jetex designs (such as 'Stiletto') Dick moved to high pylon mounts. Bill Henderson, a fellow designer and competitor, recalls that they "had many discussions about Jetex model design, but we had very different viewpoints and could never agree on what was an optimum design", with Bill favouring a longer moment arm and a smaller stabiliser.

On completion of his service with the R.A.F., Dick took to civilian airways flying, training and management. His civilian flying has taken him to Cambrian Airways, BEA, BA, Berlin European Airways and Air Mauritius. Semi-retired, he lives with his wife in Mauritius, while acting as consultant to a number of airlines. His aeromodelling interest remains alive with regular visits to the UK for vintage meetings in the summer months.
R.A. Twomey … holding his winning model as he receives the magnificent I.C.I. Challenge Trophy [1949]
- Aeromodeller, Nov. 1949 (p. 706)

Ampleforth MAC – founder and secretary Twomey arrowed
- Aeromodeller, Mar. 2000

Designer Twomey and Twizzler will be a pair to watch at the Jetex contest [1951]
- Aeromodeller, Oct. 1951 (p. 593)

Dick Twomey dwarfed by his own Leprechaun
- Aeromodeller, Mar. 2000



Articles and personal recollections from Bill Henderson


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