See Mike Hetherington by Les Hoy in Full Screen

Mike Hetherington, as depicted here, was every bit the most well dressed aeromodeller you could ever imagine. In addition his model airplanes were always built to an unbelievably high quality.

He was mainly a scale modeller and his Jumbo Vintage Scale reproductions were regularly flown at Old Warden and Middle Wallop but mostly he was ubiquitous at UK indoor scale meetings for many years until he sadly passed away.

I did not know him very well personally and was only familiar with his vintage free flight activities, including vintage scale, as they occurred when we were using the same venue. Once it was known that Mike Hetherington had arrived most modellers kept a weather eye open to see what he had brought with him (this time) for it was sure to be a visual and aerodynamic treat..

Generally it was something new and unusual and you could be sure that a Mike Hetherington flight had taken place, even if you missed it, because invariably a cheerful round of applause accompanied every flight.

Flying Faces No 16 Mike Hetherington

Mike occasionally appeared with a regular vintage free flight model and the most memorable of these, for me, was in 1984 when he produced an immaculate copy of Walter Getsla's 1934 Wakefield as depicted in the above sketch. A remarkable model with a fuselage that seemed to defy any possible building process other than being assembled in free space, it was flown at the 50th anniversary re-enactment of the 1934 Wakefield Cup held at Warwick Racecourse.

That original 1934 Wakefield Cup Contest was held on Sunday, June 24, and as well as Getsla's model flown proxy, other US team member included Gordon S Light and Frank Zaic. The model was also reproduced by Alwyn Geenhalgh and Walter Getsla himself was at Warwick to witness these fine reproductions re-enact their historic flights at that famous venue.

As mentioned, I was not closely acquainted with Mike Hetherington other than to exchange greetings and my reflections don't do full justice to a prodigeous talent. If you have better memories of him than I and care to let me have them, I will append them to this modest essay.

Ramon Alban


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