View Full Version : Tipsys

25th Apr 2003, 19:18
Does anyone recall the Tipsys? A Belgian E.O. Tipps(??)

In the early 1930s, there was "The Tipsy Aircraft Company of Great Britain".

Any models still extant? Anyone even heard of this tiny little aircraft?


wet wet wet
25th Apr 2003, 19:29
I believe that there is still a Nipper operating with Tayside at Dundee. The excellent restaurant at nearby Fife (Glenrothes) is named "The Tipsy Nipper" in it's honour.

25th Apr 2003, 19:32
Yes of course - they are well known.

We had a delightful Tipsy Trainer in at Old Warden last week. There are also some Belfairs - pretty much the 'fixed head' version of the Tipsy Trainer 'cabriolet' (!) around.

They are small low-wing aircraft with side by side (slightly staggered) seating, usually with an invered 4 Walter Micron.

The Tipsy Nipper - a single seat aerobatic machine is popular too - Nick Bloom, deputy Editor of Pilot - has one and featured it in the magazine. Power plant is VW.

You will find pictures of them on the web.

Get yourself along to the PFA Rally or The Great Vintage Flying Weekend at Kemble 10th-11th May.

You are likely to see examples of all of them.


25th Apr 2003, 20:37

Get onto the CAA website and look in the aircraft register. You'll find some 17 Tipsy Nippers registered in the UK.


25th Apr 2003, 21:18
I think Slingsby built a batch of Nippers at Kirbymoorside in the late 60s afore the disaterous fire...

25th Apr 2003, 22:49
Tipsy Aircraft Ltd started up at London Air Park, Hanworth in 1937/38 and built 15 Tipsy Bs/Trainers/Trainer 1s before the war, and a further three in 1947/8 at new premises at Liverpool Road Trading Estate, Slough. Three incomplete cabin model Tipsy BCs were shipped from the Belgian factory at Gosselies to England and finished at Sherburn-in-Elmet in 1957 as Tipsy Belfairs, bearing the 'foody' registrations 'OXO, 'PIE and 'POD. Six Trainers and two Belfairs still exist in the UK.

25th Apr 2003, 23:14
Hairyplane: Thanks, I have not been to Old Warden for many years. My late father was known to some there in his time.

Aerohack: :ok:
Tipsy Aircraft Ltd started up at London Air Park, Hanworth in 1937/38
Yes, I know ... I have photographs of the man who ran that company, standing with a Tipsy and E O Tipps. The man was Brian Allen and he was my grandfather... He was RFC on SE5a and totally involved in flying and motor-bikes between the wars. Many exploits could be told - not least having the franchise for BSA and selling bikes to Lawrence of Arabia! Too old for second time around, two of his sons flew. He (and my grandmother) were killed by a V2 in 1944 and so I never knew them.

26th Apr 2003, 00:15

Tipsy Belfair
Blackbush 1971

Mr. G.

26th Apr 2003, 00:27
PAXboy: Ah, now that is interesting, and apologies for telling you things you must already have known. I was going to mention Brian Allen Aviation Ltd, but thought it might confuse the issue. There is a very famous photo (I'm looking at it now) of E.O. Tips flying the prototype Tipsy B at Heathrow in May 1937. He's making a very steep turn around a group of spectators that I imagine included your grandfather, and no more than a couple of feet above their heads. Your grandfather flew one of a formation of three Tipsy Bs during the Royal Aeronautical Society's garden party at Heathrow the following year. I'd very much like to hear some of those tales of your grandfather's exploits, as I'm sure would some aircraft restorer friends, one of whom owns a Tipsy Trainer. My first memory of Tipsies is seeing a pair of them (post-war Slough-built Trainers) flying at the old naval airfield at Gosport circa 1950.

Mr Grubby: Remember that at the 'bushe, PFA Fly-In, wasn't it?

26th Apr 2003, 01:27

Yes, you are right.
The event was marred by the crash of a visiting French
Jurca Tempete returning to France. It crashed near Le Touquet
killing the woman pilot. I think she may have been the wife of the designer Monsieur Jurca. Not sure about that though.

Mr. G.

26th Apr 2003, 02:23
Mr G: I remember there was a French contingent at that Blackbushe fly-in. I'd just started contributing to the PFA magazine 'Popular Flying' then when Stuart McKay now head honcho of the DH Moth Club was its editor, and I think that event was the first that I specifically covered for PF. I hung around until dusk trying to shoot a moody sunset landing shots of a chequer-tailed Aereonca Champion ('ATHK?) doing circuits.

26th Apr 2003, 05:02
Aerohack. MANY thanks. No need to apologise for not mentioning my grandfather's company. I deliberately said nothing in my first post!

Well, yes, I have some stories from him, via my father. These were part of one chapter of my father's memoir that was published a few years ago. I assisted my father with the manuscript and so have the original, prior to editing. My grandfather was intimately involved in the flying scene. He was a good friend of 'Smithy', who used to keep his aircraft in my grandfather's hanger.

Also, to quote my own father, "Probably my Father's greatest friend was Leslie Irvin, the American parachute designer who had come over to England ..."

When we lived in Cambridge (1959~1966) we were regulars at Old Warden but I have only visited once or twice in my adult years. Although I did accompany my father for a visit there in the late 1980s. My father gave some of his photographs and things to Old Warden.

... E.O. Tips flying the prototype Tipsy B at Heathrow in May 1937. He's making a very steep turn around a group of spectators that I imagine included your grandfather, and no more than a couple of feet above their heads. Your grandfather flew one of a formation of three Tipsy Bs during the Royal Aeronautical Society's garden party at Heathrow the following year.

I think that this was adjacent to Heathrow? I have just moved flat and the book that details this is still in a box. The air display that, I think, you refer to, is mentioned in: Heathrow: 2000 Years of History by Philip Sherwood?

The field to the south of Hatton Cross was used as Heathrow had not yet been laid out. That happened only in the war???

The field was at the back of the Fairy Aircraft Factory and had another name starting with 'H' but not Hendon! The Fairy Factory is, of course, now Lufthansa Sky Chefs! My father worked at the factory at the start of the second war, before joining up for the RAF on his 18th birthday.

Spot 4
26th Apr 2003, 06:18
A quick recce at Google suggests that they are still very common.

26th Apr 2003, 11:54
G-INFO has 33 Tipsy Nippers registered in the UK although how many are airworthy is anyone's guess.

The Belfair looks like a lovely aeroplane, pity there are so few of them around.

26th Apr 2003, 14:32

The airfield you refer to, by Fairy's, was called Heston.

My Grandma lived close by and almost under the flight path. I recall the Lancastrian and other larger types going in there after the war.

I also recall turning down the chance to fly the Nipper at Biggin in the 60's. I thought it was FAR too small! Yeah yeah, I know :{

26th Apr 2003, 19:42
PAXboy: Yes, of course it wasn't Heathrow as we know it now, but a 150-acre site bought in 1929 by Sir Richard Fairey for flight testing, previously conducted at RAF Northolt. It was known formally as Harmonsworth Aerodrome or Great West Aerodrome and colloquially as Heathrow after the village. It was renowned for its bowling green-flat surface of 'Hunterised' turf. Comparing the photo of the steep-turning Tipsy with a contemporary aerial shot of Harmonsworth, it was clearly taken there, the group of bystanders gathered on the grass adjacent at one end of the Fairey flight hangar and apron. The Air Ministry requisitioned the site in 1944 under war emergency powers, ostensibly to develop it as a RAF Station for launching Tiger Force raids on Japan, but with an eye to a post-war 'super airport' for London. Fairey decamped unwillingly to Heston (and weren't compensated for Harmonsworth/Great West Aerodrome for more than 20 years!), but it wasn't suitable and they later moved flight testing to White Waltham.

26th Apr 2003, 19:53
Thanks Aerohack, yes that is the story and names that I am familair with.

The book on the history of Heathrow, I bought by chance during a delay at T2 some years ago, when I was working in MUC and back and forth all the time. When I discovered the page with a facsimile of the display event with my grandfather's name in it .... :D :D :D

vintage ATCO
27th Apr 2003, 23:46
The Tipsy Trainer that was at Old Warden the other week. . . .

(sorry about the antenna!)





28th Apr 2003, 04:25
My thanks also to CamelPilot for verifying the name of the field used by Fairy.

Vintage: Great pics!!! :ok:
I particularly like (in the third pic) the legend 'Off' and 'On', so helpful for simple minded pilots after a night on the razz ...

28th Apr 2003, 08:57
A long time ago (in my Air Force days) a colleague on the other squadron had a Tipsy Nipper. He got it out of the hangar one day and swung the prop with no chocks or brakes. The Nipper set off, he grabbed the wingtip but was thrown on to the concrete and broke his collar bone. The Nipper ended up buried in his new car.
Not really what one would call a good start to the day!

28th Apr 2003, 19:47
Tipsy Belfair - G-APIE is still around and was at the VAC Daffodil rally at Turweston a couple of weeks ago - I have some pictures of her there looking very tidy. (not sure how to post one here though although www.jetphotos.net will have it)

There is also a Tipsy Nipper at Lee-on-Solent.

1st May 2003, 05:53
Thanks VERY much for all the info, folks. Looks like I had better get myself up to Old Warden during the summer and recall going there in 1964, when I was eight years old and seeing the Avro 504k and the others do their stuff.

Sir George Cayley
2nd May 2003, 05:42
For all the Tipsy Nipper history can I recommend Raymond Cuypers book 'Tipsy Nipper Story'

Published in 1996 Ref is D/1996/2322/01

Belgian Nipper Club
Lange Slachterijstraat 86
B-2060 Antwerpen

Sir George Cayley

2nd May 2003, 16:39
Tipsy Nippers and Heathrow reminded me of one Sunday morning in '65 I was on the roof at Heathrow and a silver Nipper landed on 27L. He appeared to fly flat out down the runway and then landed right at the end.

I seem to remember that the same aircraft came into Dunstable and the pilot told me that he was building hours for his ATPL and this was the cheapest way to do it.

2nd May 2003, 18:09
Hi Chaps,

I wonder if anyone can answer this little question.

The Tipsy B was an aerobatic version of the Trainer, It looked the same but had a beefed up wing. I flew many times in G-ASIA in my youger days. Does anyone know if any of the pre war trainers were in fact 'B's? G-info lists them all as trainers - even the post war aircraft that I know are 'B's.

Just discretely trying to find out some information... ;)


8th May 2003, 19:47
My copy of the history of Heathrow has now surfaced..

The flying event to which I referred, was of the Royal Aeronautical Society, at the Great West Aerodrome, on May 14th 1939. Just on 64 years ago!

17:30 - 17:38 Tipsy Aircraft Ltd., 3 Tipsy's with Walter Mikron engines. Pilots Brian Allen, A.D. Ward, Capt. J Youill.

Imagine ... I was making a routine return flight from T2 to MUC on a Sunday evening LH flight, in 1999. I had bought the book in Smith's, thinking it was a bit pricey at 9.99 and, browsing through it in the cruise - I see my grandfather's name ..... :D

Quite a few photos have also now surfaced and I will scan them as soon as I can and post them for you folks. Thanks for the feedback.

Hap Hazard
11th May 2003, 18:29
Paxboy, heres a little bit more info on Tipsy's that I gleamed a few years ago when I was trying to see if any drawings existed for what was the lovely S2 single seater that never gets mentioned.
The S2 in my opinion was a very pretty little A/C that preceeds the more commonly known Tipsy B and was first aired its wings in 1935 and was powered by 600cc Douglas Engine. (underpowered no doubt, but then what ultral light wasnt at that period?)Later models were fitted with a 32hp Sarolea and it was the S2 that lead to the Tipsy B trainer.
In 1937, Aero Engines Ltd of Kingsdown Bristol, built 9 Tipsy S2's under licence.
They were also advertised in 1937 through Tipsy Light Aircraft based in Middlesex(tel Haynes 400!)...see attached pic.
I was looking at the possibility of building a replica a few years ago, but alas all the drawings seemed to have been destroyed during and after the 2nd world war. :{
All is not lost though as 2 Tipsy 2's still exist, one in Belgium at the aviation museum in Brussels (British built S2) and another in Sweden...click below
Also I managed to get through some Belgium enthusiasts a lot of diamentions of Belgium S2, so one day when I get the time I may very well take the plunge and get some drawings done?....expensive.
If you want to know more, let us know

:ok: www.algonet.se/~claes-j/kfs/index5.html

Sorry Folks having problems loading in the image...beats me:confused:

13th May 2003, 19:19
Thanks H.H.

The reason that you cannot post the image directly is that any images have to be 'off-site'. The link you provided works and is the best way to do it as it keeps the traffic levels on this site down and that keeps the crew happy!