Model-maker's labour of love in flames

A DEVASTATED model-maker is today coming to terms with the destruction of his £15,000 labour-of-love.Simon Steggall, 45, spent hundreds of hours dedicated to perfecting his remote-controlled 16ft replica of a Vickers Valiant plane, but when he took it up for a flight at the Bentwaters Park airfield, near Woodbridge, it lost power, crashed into trees and exploded.

A DEVASTATED model-maker is today coming to terms with the destruction of his £15,000 labour-of-love.

Simon Steggall, 45, spent hundreds of hours dedicated to perfecting his remote-controlled 16ft replica of a Vickers Valiant plane, but when he took it up for a flight at the Bentwaters Park airfield, near Woodbridge, it lost power, crashed into trees and exploded.

Mr Steggall, a model plane fanatic from Manningtree, said: “It lost an engine on take-off and then when it was up it looked like it sucked something in, maybe a bird.

“With the wind like it was I lost control and unfortunately it flew into a group of trees.

“It looked like a real plane crash there were bits of lit tree and charred metal parts everywhere.

“It was so hot aluminium parts melted.

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“I kept trying to get close to try to get the hardware out because I could see the equipment going up in smoke but I kept being pulled back by the examiner who as with me because it was too hot.

“It was awful. I was so upset because I'd spent so much time and effort on it. People told me it was an obsession.

“It had been up for several flights before but on this day it just wasn't to be. It's always a risk.

“But this was a particularly special plane. Each engine cost £2,500 and they just melted.

“And the Valiant is a special plane because it dropped nuclear bombs during testing on the Christmas Islands.”

Mr Steggall, a BT worker, said he now planned to concentrate his efforts on more manageable projects, especially because the plane wasn't insured for the crash which meant a large amount of his money had gone up in flames too.

He added: “People have been asking me to make another one but I think I'm going to stick to smaller models now.

“This one was too expensive and big. If I'd got someone to make it for me it would have cost almost £15,000.”

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