Roy Pitts, aged 89, passed away on 26th August 2014. A Service and committal was held at the Llanelli Crematorium on 9th September 2014
Memories of my friend Roy Pitts by Geoff Dallimer, Sept 2014
I first met Roy when he was setting up a small factory unit to manufacture a model airplane kit of a radio controlled sailplane that he had recently designed. At the time I was a contributor to the RCME magazine, and I was very intrigued to see the many jigs and fixtures that Roy had designed to facilitate manufacture of the model kits. The design featured one of the first lightweight glass moulded fuselages. It was the start of ‘RadioSailplanes’ and the ‘Wildflecken’ story.
Later, I was able to fly the design of that name with great success at many competitions around the UK and across Europe. Together, we also visited the village of Wildflecken which at that time was close to the East Germany border. The nearby hills were a very popular slope soaring centre which Roy had often visited with his many German friends.
Roy was a practical engineer and gave considerable attention to detail and the use of machinery to produce kits of great quality. He often told me that tight joints need less glue. Advice that I found difficult to follow! He built a beautiful fifth scale model of a K-13 sailplane, using stainless steel tube carefully welded just like the full size original. Just right for his two year old son Mark to sit in the cockpit!
A regular flyer at many soaring events throughout the 70’s and 80’s, Roy was a sponsor for one of the first international soaring events held at RAF Benson. He was also a very early member of BARCS and supported many of their activities whilst camping at the venues.
I also came to hear of Roy’s interest in classic cars, and to see the many classic cars that he re-built and restored. He was very good with a paint spray gun, and was often the man behind the fine finish on many a top competition model!.
We had many great times together. Later we discussed these, and swapped ideas for the future, such as airbrakes and tow hooks, that could be moulded from plastic. We talked in his workshop, sipping Rum and Coke with his wife Paul, late into the night, whereupon I had to sleep over on the settee, before leaving early morning for work! Roy and Paul also build up a thriving plastic moulding business which employed local staff, from these small beginnings.
I remember…….travelling to European competitions…….
We had spent the day flying at an event in Italy, now we were heading back to one in France. It was night time. Roy and I were both asleep. I woke up with a start. Our car was travelling north on a French motorway, ten feet behind a very large lorry. And I was the driver!!
We couldn’t find anywhere to stop over, so Roy took over the driving. I settled down to sleep in the passenger seat. I was awakened abruptly when I was rolled sideways as the car pitched and rolled.. It’s OK said Roy, we’re back on the road now!
After late night working in his workshop, we had taken an early morning ferry from Dover. We had driven down from Calais towards Milan. The weather was fine and very warm. At a small town in the Italian foothills we pulled up at the red traffic lights. They changed from Red to Green, then from Green to Red. We didn’t move. I looked across to the driver, he was asleep again!
We drove up this mountain track that on the map looked like a road, in reality it was a track used by walkers. They waved their walking sticks angrily at us as the dust from our car enveloped them. On arriving at the mountain top there was hardly room to do a three point turn to get the car down again. But it was a great place to fly our models. Lift from all directions!
Our flying was watched by some friendly Italian locals. That’s a great sport they said. Roy turned up the demonstration. He did a loop, Oh My!! they said, He rolled the model inverted….Oooo and, ….the battery and receiver fell out!!! We searched the slopes without success!
Roy was a very modest man, he suffered a disability with little complaint. He was always ready to help others. He was an enthusiast modeller and was never idle, be it constructing models, workshops, converting loft space, building a glazed annex, or working at his many machines.
I’m sad that he is no longer with us, but he has left his family and friends with so many great memories of happy times together.