History of Dudley Pattison
Dudley Pattison was born on D Day, 6th June 1944, hence his mothers choice of name. By the age of seven he was building balsa chuck gliders and built many free flight and control line model aircraft until he left King Alfred's School at Wantage at the age of sixteen to take up a carpentry apprenticeship in his fathers building company. At this time a few hormones woke up and girls and motorcycles took the place of model aircraft.
Dudley married Jane (they remain married to this day) in 1966. Coming up to the first Christmas break of their married life he wondered what he was going to do with three days holiday when Jane suggested that he should take a trip into the Swindon model shop and buy a model kit, 'you used to build models didn't you?' she queried.
An hour later he was back home with a 33" span free flight Mercury Tiger Moth under one arm. Well, that started it. He quickly became obsessed with aircraft again and ten years later left the building trade, in which he had achieved the position of contracts director, and started Flair Products. During the next twenty years this company went on to become one of the UK's leading model aircraft manufacturers and distributors.
One of the attractions for visitors to Flair was the opportunity to see the progress being made on Dudley's full size Isaacs Fury II being built in the factory buildings. This aircraft was started in September 1983 and had its maiden flight on the 12th June 1998. Yes, just short of fifteen years, but the business was very time consuming and a bit of a bump at the Badminton Air Day stopped progress for a year.
You really do have to enjoy building if you are going to finish the project. The Fury (K8303) went on to win four PFA awards including the Pooley Sword for best replica at the Cranfield rally of 2000. Dudley's most treasured mementos arising from that aircraft though, are two letters he received from John O Isaacs praising the results of his efforts.
Also in the year 2000 Dudley tried his hand at air racing, winning the Schneider trophy in Robin DR400 G-DUDZ on his first outing. Barry Conway (of WAR series FW 190 repute) was his 'course advisor' for this event. Barry's RAF fighter pilot background and Dudley's experience of R/C model pylon racing both proved useful.
Dudley and Jane had sold Flair products in 1997. Jane took up charity work and Dudley started 'Dud's Building and Flying School'. However, the vagaries of the British weather made the model flying school a very frustrating pastime.
Dudley built an RV4 which was a real pocket rocket and a delight to fly but sold that in 2007 keeping the Robin Regent as it was rather more grandchildren friendly.
When he is not flying his Robin, Duds will be found in his home workshop building a Stummelflitzer Z1R, a beautiful design by Lynn Williams for the Rotec R2800 seven cylinder radial engine. It was when this project was started, and Duds had a little difficulty in sourcing materials, that the Swindon Aircraft Timber Company was born.
To summarize, if you cut Duds in half he would have 'Aeroplane' written right through him like a stick of Blackpool rock!