UK F3A Team Member

Steve Underwood


Model aircraft have been a part of my life as long as I can remember,  my farther Dennis has always been there with a model of some kind or form. I started out with free flight models , building from plans at a early age held me good stead later on in my flying career, the most fun was trimming a model and seeing what happens when you change incidence on a main wing or tail, back in those days a bit of balsa shoved here and there made the plane fly how I wanted the plane to fly rather than the model doing it’s own thing!  I thank my farther no end for this learning curve.


Later on I moved on from single channel to the ever high end four channel trainer, at this stage I was 12 -13 years of age and was now getting in to the field of aerobatics, however cost was great back in the eighty’s, but after a lot of Saturday jobs the Dave Smith Joker was bought with Rohm air retracts and a long stroke OS 61 on a pipe, now the games begin.


After a lot of practise and coaching from my farther the first competition was at Hastings the home of Ken Binks, first impressions were very intimidating as the models where in another class as were the pilots. The first flight was the fastest schedule ever flown, with my heart going ten to the dozen, after a chat from Andy Nicholls the second flight was slower and more relaxed and promotion scores achieved, and the bug had got me Big time.


After another year I progressed up the classes within the south coast still only 16 and now in master class only a few models had been built at this stage, but the eye for a perfect finish was now built in to the goal of a model plane that flew as good as it looked. More time was taken building now than flying as I could not drive to a flying site, so I focussed my skills on the building and engine tuning, the final result was a great model and plenty of power.


Now working and holding down a apprenticeship, funds where more available so a LA1 from Colin Fretwell was purchased, and then the SUMMIT 3, this to date was my favourite model made by myself and held my status for the competition circuit. This model was also flown by John Tappin so I could see how it should be flown. After much practise I achieved a second place at the centralised competition taking a round off the legend Terry Westrop, the plaque still sits on my trophy shelf, not many people can say that!


In 1995 my self and Phil Williams ventured to South Africa for their nationals, this was a big eye opener seeing the YS four stoke engine used with great success, this was the way to go in the future, so the summit was sold in South Africa! Placing 5 in the comp so far from home was a great achievement. The purchase of the new solution with the YS120ac took me to 5 in the British Nats so all was going well and always learning new tricks to get that little bit more out the YS.


My last comp was to be in 2001 at the Triple Crown at the UK in Kent where I borrowed Richard Christopher’s angle shadow, a stunning model, and we WON! Due to family and work the end of a chapter had arrived ,  to end on a high was magical.

My return was in 2010 as work was now stable my son has grown up and whizzing around on a skate board and scaring me to death! I bought a Comp ARF pattern model and put the good old YS in, after a phone call I hooked up with Richard Christopher and the flying went from strength to strength, in the end the model was sold on, as I was now a electric pattern pilot purchasing the Wind`S` model as a new league of electric pattern models emerged.  The Krill Spark followed and then the OXAI Amethyst , this all happened very quickly and was a pleasure to fly with great people and a learning curve that never stops, the new models for the 2013 World Champs will be the Bruckman `SENSATION` bipe, you never now I may even see my old summit in South Africa!.


I still chat to my father about construction of model aircraft from free flight level to the Sensation biplanes that I am building, and I can say now he still takes me to school on model aircraft, so when you think you know it all , turn the page and keep reading!.


Steven Underwood



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