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F5J Towner Trophy (first held 1968) 22nd August 2021


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This is an early announcement in the hope we can receive more detailed history and any reports from past years from our readers in advance of this years event.

The history of the above starts with 

HAROLD JAMES TOWNER (1893 to ????) engineer.

H J Towner was the elder brother of professional artist Donald Towner. They are descended from the Eastbourne (Sussex) branch of the Towner family.

He is noted for his particular expertise in the art of scale modelling classic aircraft built to fly. He also possessed considerable skill as a draughtsman. His designs for model aircraft were published in the 1940s and are still much admired and sought after today. Following his death his own high quality scale models (made from his own plans) were acquired by the Royal Air Force museum.

Mr Towner still retains a strong following amongst the model aircraft fraternity and the Towner Memorial Trophy is presented to the best entry in (model thermal gliding) competitions. Some of the things said about him (from blog websites) are : - “exquisite drawings” “highly respected and skilful” “he could make almost anything fly” “lifetime of model building admired by many even today”

The  image is of his publication “Scale model aircraft that fly” (1940) by H J Towner and Howard Boys.

The actual Towner Trophy was presented by the family to the South Eastern Area of the SMAE (now known as the BMFA) and was traditionally was held in Eastbourne at Deanland Airfield. Mr Towners daughter Pam Urquhart used to present the trophy. Norman Cooling from the Eastbourne Flying Club ran the competition and after he passed away Keith Miller from the Tonbridge club and now the Kent Interclub are running of the event.

The first competition was held in 1968 to early thermal gliding rules and is believed to be the oldest event for Thermal Soaring. 54 years on and the rules have changed firstly to F3J then Multilaunch and finally F5J. It has been held on 47 occasions some years missed for various reasons including bad weather, foot and mouth restrictions and similarly last year COVID.

There have only been 29 winners during this time with the all time honours going to Chris Foss with 7 wins, Ricky Shaw and Colin Paddon with 5, Colin Lucas with 3, Geoff Dallimer and Phil Ramsey twice.   

Entry details will follow nearer the event.

Scale Model Aircraft Towner.jpg


Towner Trophy Winners.jpg

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Thanks to Mike Fantham we have a report of the 1st Towner Trophy competition from 1968 Aeromodeller


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  • 1 month later...

Thanks to Jef Ott who thankfully sent me a message allowing me to make the correction above.

Hi Ian,

I love the historic data you have posted on the Towner.

Took part in that a couple of times in the 90s, when I was outclassed and under equipped.

Great fun though.

By the way, 1 win is a 9th, not an 8th, in the all time winning league thingy.

Very best regards,


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Towner Trophy 2021

The winner for the 2nd time Keith Fisher was the youngest flyer and the same age as the Trophy.

2nd place Kevin Beale the winner in 2018

3rd place Colin Paddon the winner 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and2013

6th place Brian Austin the oldest entrant flew in the early Towner events

7th place Graham Wicks the winner in 2005

9th place Colin Lucas the winner in 2001, 2006, and 2007

11th place Ian Nicholls the winner in 2019

15th place Phil Ramsey the winner in 1992 and 1998

8 out of the 26 past winners took part

Eric Friend last flew in a thermal competition 38 years ago

Thanks to the Tonbridge Club for taking back the organisation of this event resurrected and organised by Kent Interclub for a few years.

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8 hours ago, mikef said:

I had a look for the Harvard on Outerzone - it's there - with 55 other HJ Towner designs!




I never knew he had so many plans/kits made available. I presume the Astral ones, were the old kit manufactures one's. Nice looking at the past as the future of the obby does not look great😕

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