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Don "The Bulk" Knight was a big fellow in three particular ways. He was a big chap, he was extremely generous with his time and was without doubt, the most popular arrival at any flying field in Southern England over a period of several years during the early to mid '80's. Why so? Well, with some official funding from SAM35 he embarked upon one of the first on-field supply initiatives that we had seen. Fuel, dope, rubber, DT fuse, dope brushes, thinners, prop hooks, razor blades, plans and engines were his main stock in trade. It was an essentially non-profit enterprise that kept many modellers supplied with the stuff of life.

However, he did have one failing, his arrival was always, well, in a word, late. Quite often he would fetch up in the car park hours after everyone else had long since put in a fair bit of flying. Indeed, once the word got around that Don had arrived, a queue always formed at his car and flying temporarily ceased until our desire for his wares were satiated. I thought a lot about this tardiness and put it down to one of two things. Either, it took him so long to load, and maybe even overload, his car with all the goodies that it was simply

Flying Faces No 4 Don Knight

impossible for him to arrive anywhere early. Or, he was so woosey from decanting diesel fuel that he was high as a kite and completely unable to drive anywhere the next day until he woke up.

I mentioned three big things about Don, his bulk, his popularity and his generousity. Here is a tale of the latter. I went to my first Nationals at Rissington in '77 with my son Carl and there, met Don Knight. We were camping but had not brought any model airplanes with us because I thought it was for "competition modellers" only. Not so! There was plenty of space for fun flying and we were naturally a bit disappointed. Fear not! Don gave us a model plane and a can of fuel to play with and when he went home to Aylesbury at the end of the first day, not only did he leave his model with us, but he drove home via Bedford to pick up planes from my home and then brought them to Rissington for us to fly the next day. We spent most of the next day flying with him and watching the competition procedings and I was completely in awe of this talented and generous model flyer who later made such an influential contribution to the early days of SAM35. Latterly, Don has been rather thin on the ground as far as model flying is concerned, being an active full size glider enthusiast, but word has it, he is set the make a return to the model flying field. Not before time!

Ramon Alban


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