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Fournier RF4D s/n 4156 formerly G-AYHY, now JA24RF printer friendly version
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Bob Grimstead
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Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2011 @ 11:21 AM  

Fournier RF4D, formerly G-AYHY, now JA24RF

As I understand it, in the early 1970s the guys at Sportair wanted something a bit more aerobatic than an RF4D. Several members had left Sportair at Biggin Hill to join the Tiger Club at Redhill (not far away, and then probably the world’s premier sporting flying club). Their Stampes were then just about the most capable aerobatic aeroplanes ordinary British folk could afford.

The Tiger Club’s associated maintenance company was Rollasons, who started after the war by refurbishing ex-RAF surplus Tiger Moths, but by then had graduated to building new Turbulents and Condors and importing and renovating/rebuilding Stampes from France.

So in April 1972 Sportair and Michael Jones of Rollasons and the Tiger Club came to an agreement to swap newly-rebuilt Stampe SV-4B G-AZSA for the recently-imported RF4D G-AYHY. That gave Sportair their Stampe, which was soon repainted in camouflage colours to represent MX457 – the one flown to Britain early in the war by two defecting Belgian Air Force officers.

Meanwhile the Tiger Club members got what was probably the cheapest aerobatic aeroplane in Britain at £4-20 per hour in 1973 (Stampes were then £7-20ph). G-AYHY was possibly flown by more pilots than any other Fournier, although it did get landed wheel-up by several of them (mostly commercial pilots, Michael always said).

Nevertheless, in the hands of Tiger Club’s highly competent members G-AYHY competed in air races, precision flying and aerobatic competitions, and was flown in air displays all around the country and in northern Europe.

Unfortunately, in the 1980s somebody in the CAA made the arbitrary, sweeping and Draconian decision (there’s no NPRM in Britain, what the CAA says just goes) to set up a new category of aeroplane – the Self-Launching Motor Glider, and lumped our little RF4D into that class. This meant that all pilots had to fly 12 hours per year in an SLMG to keep their licences current, in addition to the 12 hours per year they needed to fly in an ordinary light single. Of course this meant YHY hardly got used any more, so very reluctantly the club sold it on 20/11/1990 to Pete Wells.

Pete continued to aerobat and display YHY for thirteen years; and it had amassed a total of 3,532 hours by 31/12/2003 when Pete decided to sell it in favour of the Twister, of which he became the British agent. Pete says he spent a long time trying to get a reasonable price for it, eventually selling it on 16/04/2004 to Japan where it is now apparently registered to Aero Vision as JA24RF

I will try to dig out from my Tiger Club archives some of YHY’s appearances and achievements, but don’t hold your breath, cos I’m a busy kinda guy.

Yours, Bob

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Tony
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Posted Saturday, September 24, 2011 @ 03:50 AM  

Unfortunately, I had a dubious part to play here helping Pete dismantle and crate this RF4 when it left for Japan....

...sorry :-(

Bob Grimstead
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Posted Saturday, December 17, 2016 @ 01:54 AM  

Hiya Guys,

I have just found out, via my extensive aviation information web (my mate Mike) that this RF4D is still flying in Japan, with the Japan Motor Glider Club at O Tone Airfield. On Google maps go to Kawichi Town, Ibaraki and then down south to the Tone river and you can find O Tone airfield. It is not far north west of Tokyo's Narita Airport.

O Tone airfield is in the top left corner of this map, with Narita and its airport bottom centre and right.

Their website. http://www.jmgc.co.jp

This is not long after it arrived there in 2004, with my buddy Mike in its cockpit.

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Bob Grimstead
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Posted Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 10:26 AM  

Here is an update with photos from my facebook friend Colin Hales who is flying his KR2 around the world but has got stuck in Japan.

'The aircraft is or was a well known RF4 registered in the UK for a long while, reg: G-AYHY. Many people I know have flown it and demonstrated aerobatics in it. The RF4 had a cherished life before being shipped out to Japan. The reason it went in to storage ever since is that a Japanese Airline Pilot has bought it, they are not easy to come by, and he is keeping it for when he retires. Got a few more years left. So here at Otone Japanese Motor Gliding Club storage hangar 5 it will remain until it will be rebuilt and flown by the retired Japanese gent.'

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SteveBeaver
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Posted Thursday, April 6, 2017 @ 09:26 PM    YIM

What is Colin up to Bob? I have been following him via his website and tracker device, but he (or the aircraft) seem to have been stationary for a long time now.

Steve

Bob Grimstead
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Posted Monday, April 10, 2017 @ 07:50 AM  

Sadly, Colin appears to have hit a classic 'ignorant, incompetent bureaucrat impasse'.

The following is from his facebook page a couple of weeks or so ago. There has not been an update since then.

'So the situation is...

When I arrived in Japan I was told that I could not fly my Permit aircraft in Japan or indeed outside England by the Chief of the Japanese CAA or JCAB. That was his understanding of my documents. But he knew nothing as he was completely new to the job. Now it transpires that after four months of wrangling on, and after the JCAB asking our CAA for advice three times as to what to do with my aircraft and our CAA being pretty non-committal, a way forward may be at hand.

At first the JCAB told our Embassy that there was a problem I was causing by not using an agent to apply for flight permission. The Japanese Red Bull air race pilot and super star out here, Yoshi Muroya, offered to help and said I could use his agency and his assistant 'Hiromi', knew there was an application form for such a purpose of asking for a special flight permission. SO then, for what ever reason, the JCAB refused to talk to Yoshi's agency saying they will only talk to or through the British Embassy here.

Meantime my good Canadian friend, who's name I will hold back until this is over, found the said document for application for special flight of Permit aircraft, buried in the documentation held by the Japanese Ministry of Transport, not the JCAB. That may be why the JCAB didn't know anything about it, as they are two totaly different departments..

Our CAA have now written a wonderful letter supporting my flight and recommending the JCAB follow the European Civil Aviation Conference agreement 11-1 (1980) that all Permit Aircraft can fly within the many member states' countries, without restriction.

So the British embassy had a meeting sometime at the end of last week to ask the JCAB to follow our CAA's recommendation to follow the ECAC ruling and also to show them their own application under article 11, that even they didn't know about and to ask if I can use it?

So I am waiting for a response to the meeting today. Surely, surely the JCAB in any normal thought process would agree for me to use their own documentation to do what they said I couldn't do 4 months ago and get a special permission to fly through Japan. But don't hold your breath! I've learned not to...'

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SteveBeaver
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Posted Monday, April 10, 2017 @ 06:36 PM    YIM

Good grief!
SteveBeaver
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Posted Sunday, July 16, 2017 @ 09:45 PM    YIM

Sadly after finally wrestling Japan's bureaucracy into submission, Colin appears to have suffered an engine failure about 4 hours into his fight out of Japan and crashed onto a golf course. He was able to walk far enough to obtain help, but suffered injuries serious enough to require hospitalization. A fund has been started to help pay for his care.
Jorgen
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Posted Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 07:27 AM  

Hi Guys,
Thanks for the updates, I sincerely hope Mr Hales is getting better. Anyone know more on the engine failure? Good thing it didn't happen over water...

Getting back to RF 4 former G-AYHY: I note with satisfaction that JA 24RF (nice reg nr) has the same carbon fiber-frame on the canopy that SE-XST (former G-AVNX) thanks to former owner James Hallam also sports, Pete Wells had (still has?) the company Zulu glasstek and James had him make a carbonfiber canopy for G-AVNX too. G-AVNX flew together with G-AYHY for many trips as Pete and James were flying buddies. It was during one of these trips they saw the Twister that they both bought, built and which eventually made them both sell their RF 4's.

I have been very happy with that canopy, only thing I've been thinking about is if it's stiffer than the original and if that perhaps puts more stress on the four wooden screws that hold the hinges, but I guess probably the same problem exists for the tube-framed canopies as well.

James and I still meet on a regular basis and our meetings always start with an animated, mock(?) discussion on when James can buy "his" 4 back

May the 4's be with you/ Jörgen
:D

[Edit by Jorgen on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 07:34 AM]

Bob Grimstead
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Posted Monday, July 31, 2017 @ 04:52 PM  

We're way off topic here, but since Hoskins buggered up and bent my steel tubular canopy frame the hinge screws have tended to pull out of the wooden stringer. I tried screws the next size up, but when I let a friend borrow the aeroplane, when opening the canopy they inadvertently let go of it before the stay was taut, yanking one of those screws out of the wood again. I have now inserted a stainless steel Helicoil into the hole and reverted to the original screw size, so now all is good again.

I am eventually going to have to remove the perspex bubble, straighten that bent frame, and re-do everything properly, but I need a hot day for that and we aren't getting any this summer.

[Edit by Bob Grimstead on Monday, July 31, 2017 @ 04:54 PM]

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SteveBeaver
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Posted Thursday, August 3, 2017 @ 08:40 AM    YIM

and even more off topic:

Round the World pilot Colin Hales is on the mend…

…and says in a recent posting that he would like the police to release some non-essential items collected at the site of his accident in Japan

‘My teddy bears did not cause the loss of engine power,’ he jests, talking about the mascots that have accompanied him on his flights to the USA, across that continent and then over Russia before his homebuilt KR2 ‘Itzy’ came to grief on a golf course in Japan.

Colin wants to bring home to England the teddies, his clothes and wash bag. Thanking those who have donated such a generous amount of money to help with medical treatment for his serious back injuries, he sheds a little more light on how the forced landing on a golf course did not work out as he had hoped. “If only that fairway was flat, I could have stopped in time,” he says. When bumps threw the aircraft back into the air and prevented Colin from being able to brake effectively, he “had to stuff it into the bank” to avoid crashing into the clubhouse.

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