See Brian Yearley by Les Hoy in Full Screen

Lets be clear about one thing, Brian Yearley did not acquire his place in Les Hoy's portfolio of Flying Faces because he was courting and eventually married Dave Bakers' younger daughter, Alison. He is a very competent Vintage Wakefield builder and flyer and in the early days when these sketches were published he was a leading Sam35 exponent of ROG using his "Flying Minutes" Wakefield depicted in the drawing. I have a photo of him "practising" at Chobham.

Note also the traditional stopwatch hanging from his neck. He was always available for help and timekeeping and in this respect I recall being on the receiving end of his valuable assistance on the occasion of my very first Vintage Wakefield competition at RAF Watton near Norwich in Nov '84 at the prestigeous "Bob Well's" Wakefield Day. Early fog gave way to a light mist on a near windless day and I was in conversation with Brian about my reluctance to get involved in the competition due to me being a rank novice, let alone never having flown my KK Gipsy off the ground. Obviously my extrovert tendecies had not yet emerged. Blame Brian!

Flying Faces No 8 Brian Yearley

Pressing me he asked, "What did I think the wheels were for, if not for taking off?" My lame, reply was "to stop the prop getting broken when landing!" It didn't wash and he marched me off to enter the comp, supervise my prep and time my first competitive ROG. He was then on hand for my next two flights whilst also competing with his "Yankee IV" to claim 5th place out of 21. I came in 14th. This was a mark of his patience and generosity which continues to the present day. On a more recent occasion he timed my flyaway "Challenger" for 19 mins, seeing it down when I had long since lost sight of it. His pinpoint accuracy of the landing zone saved the day.

For obvious reasons he provided sterling assistance for David Baker's efforts at the emerging Sam1066 EuroChamps at Middle Wallop. Most importantly though, he was always available to help organise the competitions and particularly the fly-offs. When the going got tough, Brian was on hand to apply his calming influence to these frenetic events. Some might say that flying model airplanes helps develop a person's tolerant character as they grow older but I think, in Brian's case, his natural born demeanor flowed in the opposite direction and there would be many other recipients who reaped the benefits of this gentle mans' talents.

Ramon Alban


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