Started modelling in 1943 with an Airyda Blackburn Skua after first smelling doped fabric and ply and proper aromatic high octane fuel coming from rows of Whitleys and Hotspur gliders at RAF Hartford Bridge. Joined West Kent MFC and SMAE in 1948; flying in competitions ever since. Joined Croydon & DMAC in 1949, flying C/L aerobatics, speed, combat, a little R/C (bang-bang rudder), flew early R/C slope soaring in 1960s, moved on to concentrate on F/F, mainly international class F1A gliders.
Learned to glide at Detling, 1951 and to fly at Redhill and Croydon on Magisters and Tiger Moths in 1953 via a Flying Scholarship. RAF 1956-58 on ground radar, just missing Suez.
Having several expatriate New Zealanders in the Croydon club led to a long involvement with the NZMAA, first as proxy flyer and team manager at F/F World Champs, starting with Kauhava in 1965 and as NZ delegate to CIAM since about 1970. I was made a life member of NZMAA in 1987. Other CIAM work has included chairing the Information & Education Committee and serving on several International FAI juries at World and European Championships. Managing the UK teams at World and Euro F/F Championships from 1980 to 2003 with a couple of years off makes me probably the next most experienced of the species after Viktor Eskov of the USSR and Russia.
In parallel with this has been a lot of BMFA work, with an emphasis on the public relations side and the removal of inter-disciplinary blinkers, and work since 1970 towards Sports Council recognition of model flying, finally achieved about 25 years later. Despite 35 years as a TV cameraman for the BBC, Dilly Towers has always managed to avoid having a resident TV set, which may account for finding the time for it all. ‘All’ has included writing the Free-Flight and Foreign Flyers columns in Aeromodeller magazine for a period, co-founding Free Flight News, serving as BMFA PRO for two periods, editing and producing the SMAE newsletter, doing part of a TV series on modelling that still gets shown 20 years later, much to peoples’ amusement, representing BMFA on the Royal Aero Club Council, producing, editing and marketing most BMFA Free Flight Forum Reports annually since 1985, organising the Free Flight Forums, writing a couple of books on model flying, serving as London Area PRO since 1965 and as Council delegate since 1970.
I was also heavily involved in the landmark Bromley public enquiry on model flying at a local park in the early 1970s, and in drafting the Home Office Code of Practice on Noise Limitation for Model Aircraft in 1970s. I was elected a Fellow in 1977 and received the Royal Aero Club silver medal in 1992. Current flying activity focuses on F1A, where the building of some carbon bunters and ‘Russian rod’ line has led to far more consistent towing and helped to compensate for the possible lack of launch energy at the bottom end of the towline. Other interests include jazz, baroque music, Eastern Europe and food.