03/31/2008. Remarks by Wayne Gilbert: "Victor Hutfield, a relative of mine, was involved in the construction of the aircraft pictured above. The following extract is from his own account.
'I started to build flying machines round about 1909 to 1910 but the Frenchman Blériot beat us to it, being the first man to fly the English Channel and receiving £1,000 for doing it! The Daily Mail then offered a prize of £10,000 to the first person to fly from London to Manchester. The race was on, but the prize was eventually won by Louis Paulham in 1910.
The R.A.S. Aeroplane Co. Gosport was formed. The company consisted of three London men, Mr Reader, a barman; Mr Allen, a bricklayer; and Mr Sheffield, a chauffeur. We built the first hangar on Grange Field, Gosport.
I built the monoplane from tubing; the wheels were set into bicycle forks. The dimensions were:- span 32 ft 4 in (9.86 m), length 28 ft 6 in (8.69 m); the chain driven propeller had a diameter of 7 ft (2.13 m). Of course in those days you could not buy an aeroplane engine. We fitted a 24 hp Lascelles radial engine and a Weirs propeller.
In July 1910 experimental runs took place, trials were conducted on Grange Airfield (Gosport, Hampshire, England). During the trials the machine lifted from the ground and flew across the field but crashed and broke its propeller. The field was not level, with several large potholes in it; lots of water had laid there, these conditions contributed to the plane nose-diving on landing. A replacement propeller was ordered and after many months it was delivered, only to find that it had been turned with the pitch at the wrong angle and was no use.
Winter months passed and a young lad by the name of Lywood, who was very interested in flying, decided that he would fly the machine. He took the controls and again the plane lifted and flew a few hundred yards; mainly due to the lightness of this young lad. This lad later became Air Vice Marshall Lywood.
After about 18 months we gave up testing the machine at Grange Field, we then put it on show in my garage in Brockhurst Road, Gosport (Reekies) where it was a great attraction. On 5 November 1910 it was offered for auction, along with large new hangar, benches, vices, tools, with complete camp outfit for four persons. Free use of excellent flying ground with no extra expense, was also included in the asking price. It was put on offer for £600 or nearest offer.'
A letter dated 29th November 1964, written by his nephew Cecil Hutfield, states that fortunately they are still in possession of the original aircraft. But what happened to it since then? Do you have any knowledge of it? Please contact me. Also visit my web site devoted to Vic Hutfield."