About the builders…

“I know my place” – Rick

David is a life-long flying enthusiast.  He has built and flown hangliders, microlights and light aircraft.  He is the chairman of the BMAA and was for 15 years the editor of Microlight Flying Magazine.  He lives in Shropshire with his wife and divides his time between working and flying (not as evenly as he would like).  The Bristol Scout is a project that has been brewing in his mind since the discovery of the original parts in Grandad’s workshop in 1983.

Rick is David’s younger brother and long-time collaborator. They first flew hang gliders together in 1974, and their first aircraft build was a Mitchell B10 flying wing, started in 1980 and flown in 1982. Since then they have always shared flying experiences, and currently share a hangar at an airfield in Shropshire.

Theo comes from a similar background, having started with hang gliders in the 1970s, and they met through the Mitchell B10, which he had also built and flown. Since then he and David have built a couple of other microlights, and Theo’s built a couple more on his own – from which you’ll gather that he’s probably more enthusiastic about building than flying.

We all share a love of WWI aviation, and this will be the culmination of a lifetime’s dream for each of us.


24 thoughts on “About the builders…

  1. Pingback: About the builders… | The Auster Diaries

  2. Do you know anything about the manufacture of propellers in Bristol? I am writing an article about propellers, and wanted to connect it to Bristol. Thanks. I’d love to feature what you are doing. I know about Hercules Propellers, but would like to learn more about propeller making in Bristol. Thanks.

    Nick Gibbs
    British Woodworking magazine

  3. Steve

    I have a copy of Barnwell’s 1917 booklet ‘Aeroplane Design’. If you would like me to send you a copy then please get in touch.

  4. Frank Kennedy

    Hi – I’ve just seen your story just days after I have pit an original Gnome Scout propeller into auction at Bristol. It still has the green/gold Bristol & Colonial Aeroplane Company logo on one blade. If you want more info please contact me.

    1. Fantastic! I’m always amazed how many propellers still survive. It’s not appropriate for us, of course, because we have the le Rhone engine, but I hope you’ll let me know if it goes. One thing that might be worth thinking about is to get it measured by Hercules propellers, so that if anyone does want a Gnome Scout propeller, he can make one as he did for us.

  5. Antoni Vidal Nadal - from Catalonia - Spain

    Fantastic job.

    I am very interested in building 1/3 scale radio controlled model from Bristol Scout.

    Your work will be of great help.

    Can you tell me how to get the factory drawings?

    Thank you very much and sorry for my English

  6. Sopwith Baby aircraft propeller with visible damage from machine gun fired without interruptor gear. On display at the National War Museum Edinburgh Castle.

    1. Jona Williams

      That is from my grandfather’s plane donated by my mother and aunt! We have a picture of the pigeon he sent off with a message when he was shot down! He went to become Air Vice Marshall Graham and retired to the Isle of Arran the cottage still in the family.

  7. David Bruzas

    Hello,congatulations to you all,what a fantastic project. I am building a 50% model of an M1c,it is just like your Scout build just smaller,I have cpies of original Bristol drawings.I would like to forward some photos of the build,but have no contact details.keep up the great work, kind regards david

  8. A wonderful project, I am full of admiration at what you’ve achieved and look forward to your talk at Neen Sollars on May 28th. One minor pedantic point, if I may: it’s a radial engine, not a rotary.

  9. Afternoon gentlemen. A superb project and a beautifully detailed account. I found your site while researching the finishing touches to an illustration of a Bristol Scout. If you’d like to contact me I’d be delighted to send you a print as a thank-you for the help and entertainment your site has given me. I also have an idea that might add a weight to overcoming the media apathy you’re currently encountering. Thank you again for a superb restoration account and congratulations on enriching the precious world of vintage aviation.

  10. Bjorn

    I have a Short&Mason altimeter. Mark Va luminous no; 23824A .Can you tell me year and what value.

  11. Peter Cowlan

    David, it was great to meet you and the team at Yeovilton yesterday. For your information my Grandfather’s name was Sylvester Louis Cowlan.

      1. Peter Cowlan

        Just a thought David – if you need any more info re Sylvester or the Ark you can contact me via CCI.

  12. Mike Palmer

    Hi David
    It was nice to meet you and Theo today and an interesting chat, I gave you my email address if you would like to contact me I will send you a picture of the BR2 and the Triumph

  13. Bill Radigan


    My daughter and I just saw your video from “The Great War” series. Her comment, “What a life he’s made for himself, I want to be him”

    Best to you.


    1. That’s just the sort of response we like to get. I hope it inspires her in whatever she chooses to do. If you’re able to come and see us at any of the events we’re doing this year, please do come and introduce yourselves. Perhaps she’s like to sit in the cockpit and have her photograph taken!

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