Mike Evatt started his career in competitive free flight in 1957 when he won the Golden Wings contest for under 16s organised by Aeromodeller magazine. He was a member of the Northampton Club then. Along with people like Jaguar designer Ted Evans, Bert Revell and one time Aeromodeller editor and F1C team member Martyn Cowley. Trevor Payne recalls that he and Mike first joined the Northampton MAC when they were 16; the club had a basement meeting room in Kingsthorpe Hall which was in Thorntons Park in Northampton. They met every Friday, when Mike flew his Cox TeeDee 020 round the pole model with Trevor holding the pole. In the summer the club used to meet on the racecourse to fly free flight models.
In 1975 Mike was a founder member of the Biggles Free Flight Team, which gathered up former Northampton members when that club's main interest became RC. Building and then trimming for maximum performance something that he had designed himself launched him on a lifetime's interest in engineering and design as well as a parallel involvement with competitive free flight.
Mike was a member of the bronze medal winning F1B team at the European Championships in Germany in 1972 and his prime interest has always been in the International FAI classes, rather than the umpteen domestic events which seem to fill the British contest calendar. As a bon viveur who appreciated good food and wine this gave him a good reason to travel in his red camper van to numerous World Cup contests in France, Germany, Switzerland and Hungary. He wrote a column on free flight in AMI and Aeromodeller magazines, as we all reports on contests all over Europe; well written and accurately captioned, they were obviously written by someone with the ability to put his ideas clearly into an English sentence, not all that common today.
Mike chaired the Free Flight Forums for the past 20 years and helped me with the organisation, suggesting topics and people to present papers. He chaired the 2019 Forum at Daventry but sadly died on February 10th before the Forum Report which contained the papers presented there was published.
Mike Evatt was a man of many talents; he lectured on engineering design at Coventry University, and taught at the Open University. He was a competent water colourist, as anyone who received one of his Christmas cards, usually featuring the family cat, will know. He was a talented baritone and directed and starred in several Gilbert and Sullivan productions in Northampton.
Recently he has had some mobility problems which made retrieving models from a mile or so downwind a problem but he was determined to continue to fly as long as possible, with his wife Maggie providing vital retrieving help all the time. His club mate John Cooper, described him very well, saying he was such a nice guy and did things quietly without making a fuss. That summed him up to a tee, and he will be very much missed by the free flight community, whose sincere condolences go to Maggie.