David Tappin Award

Recognition for long service to Aeromodelling

David was an aeronautical engineer by training but ended up with his own company designing, manufacturing and marketing safety and efficiency equipment for the construction industry.  David sold up (for early retirement) in 1996 with the intention of devoting the rest of his life to family, aeromodelling, jazz and travel.  An aim towards which he says he is still working.


An aeromodeller from the age of 12, he says he has had a serious go at everything other than control-line speed in the intervening 70 years. He claims that in recent years, that the older he got the better he used to fly! The competitive lust was transferred into judging when his son Jon began competing in F3A in the early 1980’s and then to jets since being invited by the IJMC to judge at the 1st Jet World Masters at Nu Ulm in Germany in 1995.

From 1998 to 2003 David was UK Team Manager for F3A, an appointment which he now looks back on as a mixed blessing; he says an exceptional experience combining, as it did, holder of poisoned chalice, national pride, unfulfilled promise and world travel (and jazz because the WC in Pensacola, Florida in 1999 provided him with the opportunity to visit New Orleans).David has also served on the committee and undertook the role of Safety Officer for the UK Jet Modellers Association.

A great deal of his time is now taken up with his role as an IJMC Honorary Board member with responsibility as Judge Representative.  This has gone in the past a bit further than sitting in the best seat in the house, in extremes of heat and cold, for a week once every two years. David says that being involved in the organisation of such an event entails quite a lot of work, spread over the two years between events, including the preparation for and conduct of judge training and selection.

The judges themselves also have to make a considerable (and unpaid) commitment to this because the IJMC insists on using only IJMC trained and approved judges at the Jet World Masters.  The IJMC insists on using only IJMC trained and approved judges at the Jet World Masters. 

davids awardDavid’s son Jon says that one of his earliest memories is being terrified by one of David’s control line models and hiding in the car at the time when was very young! Jon also remembers going slope soaring with David in the Hills of Scotland when he was around 7 or 8, David was flying a Veron Impala, which Jon later used when he learnt to fly in 1977. Jon also remembers attending a scale contest in the very early 80’s at Beaulieu where David competed with a SIG Skybolt, which he still has to this day!

As with all very active aeromodellers David has also been a very active club member at WMAC. He joined Wimborne Model Aero Club around 1973 where he has served many years as a committee member, club instructor and event organiser, covering things like club evening talks, scale,/jet and EDF/Memorial Fun Fly events as well as acting as a scale judge for Southern Area Scale comp.

David has only given up his committee post very recently due to increasing age and making way for younger people to learn the ropes but is always available to coach and guide anyone needing help with the wider committee roles. He continues his involvement with the IJMC an honorary members of the board and is still giving talks to other clubs in the southern area and is a very knowledgeable and true gentleman of aeromodelling and a long term member of the Concord (jazz) Club in Eastleigh.

I therefore feel David deserves recognition of his long and unstinting service to the sport/hobby in the Southern Area, as well as Nationally and Internationally.

Peter Willis

Southern Area BMFA Committee Member