ACA Woking News by Paul Holden, PRO

23 July 2001

EARLY HISTORY OF FAIROAKS
AND AIR RACES RECALLED


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Ron Paine
talking in front of G-ADGP, the Miles Hawk Speed Six racer in which he won the King's Cup Air Race six times, at a maximum speed of 196 knots.
Ron Paine 17 July 2001
At their July Meeting, members of the Woking Branch of the Aircrew Association enjoyed a riveting talk from Ron Paine, now an erect and sprightly octogenarian, who first flew from an airstrip on a farm near Chobham (which subsequently became Fairoaks Airport) and went on to win a record number of Air Races in the years after World War 2.

After the talk, members of the Woking Branch ACA were able to inspect Ron Paine's original Hawk Speed Six, which is now owned by a retired Concorde pilot and kept at Fairoaks Airport.
Woking members view Hawk Speed Six
The farm was owned by Lt Col Louis Arbon Strange DSO MC DFC (one-time CFI of the RAF Central Flying School at Upavon), who was then the Managing Director of the Spartan Aircraft Company, who frequently flew from his farm to their factory on the Isle of Wight, often taking Ron Paine with him. Ron Paine's family lived next to Sir Sydney Camm, the designer of the Hurricane. After his father's premature death, Sydney Camm took him under his wing, not only making sure that he was apprenticed to Barnes Wallis as an aircraft engineer, but also getting him pilot training.

Air Racing started in 1922, principally as a means of promoting new aircraft and public awareness of flying as a serious means of transport. The King's Cup Air Race all round Britain started in 1922, and did much to prove the reliability of the aircraft developed between then and 1927, when Pylon Racing started at Brookwood, following American practices. Up until 1932, all the aircraft taking part were biplanes. 1934 saw the England to Australia Race, whilst the annual King's Cup event, restricted to aircraft of all British construction, brought the low wing monoplane into being. Miles Hawks were prominent up until the 2-day racing at Hatfield in 1938, which was the last event before the war interrupted racing until 1947.

The narrow single-seat cockpit looks very snug !
Hawk Speed Six cockpit
Miles Hawk insignia on the fuselage
Mile Hawk badge
As new airfields opened after the war, mostly with grass surfaces, airport authorities, starting with Birmingham Elmdon Airport, and followed by Newcastle, Leeds/Bradford and Coventry, asked the Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom to launch National Air Races to promote flying. Ron Paine came second at Birmingham in 1947, and third in the King's Cup in 1948 in a Miles Hawk Speed 6, and earned enough money in generous sponsorship from petrol companies to buy the aeroplane! After this he went on with it to come second out of 85 aeroplanes participating in the Daily Express Air Race from Bournemouth to Dover, and to win the SBAC trophy for the King's Cup Air Race 6 times, at a maximum speed of 196 Knots, allowing him to keep the trophy in perpetuity!

This same vintage aircraft, built in 1935, has been bought in 1999 and fully restored to mint condition by a retired Concord Pilot, Roger Mills, who fell in love with it as a 5-year old, when Ron Paine was racing it. Roger keeps it at Fairoaks and, after the meeting, invited ACA members into the hangar for a detailed look.

Ron Paine (left), current owner Roger Mills (next left) and his maintenance crew
(Alec Dunbar of Woking ACA and Philip Flack) with their pride and joy.
Ron Paine with Miles Hawk crew 2001

Pictures and audio by David Jackson

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