On Home Made Wings

 

 

On Home Made Wings

- Two Pots and Thirty -Seven Horses over England -

by Arthur Ord-Hume

 

...being a personal account of building and flying your own aeroplane in post-war England at a time when home-made aeroplanes were officially discouraged!

"if they wont let me fly it, I can always use it as a wheelbarrow!!'

This is the story of the Luton Minor, one of Britain's most successful amateur aircraft designs, and how it was re-introduced by aviation enthusiast Arthur W. J. G. Ord-Hume in the 1950s. Through his largely-pioneering work in home-made aircraft design and construction, virtually anybody can now legally build their own 'plane.

Home-made aircraft gained notoriety in the mid-1930s after the affair of the Henry Mignet's Flying Flea and several accidents made the authorities wary of anything not factory-made. When private flying re- started in 1945, there was no longer any procedure to cope with home-made aircraft. Ord-Hume wanted to fly and knew that the only way to get into the air was to make his own single-seat aeroplane. First, though, the official attitude had to be changed.

In this story Ord-Hume describes how a small number of fellow enthusiasts formed the Ultra Light Aircraft Association (forerunner of today's Popular Flying Association) and set about this delicate task. The authorities relented slightly, saying they would allow the repair of pre-war registered and flown machines. Ord-Hume bought a derelict aircraft for its documentation. But the official definition of 'repair' was far exceeded by the work needed to make it airworthy. 'I had to jack up the registration letters and fit a new airframe' he says. Then there was the matter of an engine, for the only approved motor turned out to be one which wouldn't run properly...

In this tale Arthur Ord-Hume tells how he finally managed to build an aeroplane at his parent's house, and eventually obtain authority to fly it - but only after brushes with the local Police, the Air Ministry and Ministry of transport and Civil Aviation - and, not the least, the exclusive private housing estate from whom his father rented their home.

'and this bit goes....'

The author tells his story as it happened and introduces contemporary events, describes the private flying scene and its key people and, along the way, comments on the extraordinarily rewarding experience of building you own flying machine.