Saturday, April 05, 2008


The most successful South African FAI free flight power model was the "Ultimeter", a 60 inch wingspan model designed by John Swallow in the 1960's. This design was used by both John and Robby Rowe as members ofthe RSA team who attended the 1965 World Free Flight championships in Vaase, FINLAND.

In spite of atrocious flying conditions, the team, consisting of Pete Visser, Swallow and Rowe acquitted themselves vary well considering that they had just flown A2 Towline Glider, and FIB Wakefield rubber powered events on the two consecutive days prior to the power event.

In 1993 I was fortunate to obtain Pete Visser's Orbiteer FAI power models which I am now restoring. I am looking for plans of the Ultimeter to complete my research. Robby Rowe gave me the fuselage of his model, plus the Cox 15 MkII special motor, which Jack Lemkus Sports had specially ordered from Leroy Cox in the USA. It was one of the first production models and performed exceptionally well on the hot fuel loaned to the RSA team by the Canadian and US teams. But for a dubious timing decision (the motor run was timed twice over the 10 second limit) during two attempts the the first round resulting in a zero score, Robby Rowe would have had a much higher placing and the team score would have advanced to 13th place.

In a worldwide nostalgia revival via the Internet, a website called is bringing together world famous design of this period. I would like to present the Ultimeter as the best South African FAI Power design. So if any of you out there have any information on the Hey Day of South African Free Flight, and the Ultimeter in particular why not contact me with your information

Best wishes
Sean McCullagh
021 799 5921

PS John Swallow's own designed A2 glider placed 15th at the 1965 champs, the highest placing of any South African at any World Free Flight Championships.

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