• What Happened To Claudio?

The Mystery of the Waspair Tomcat HM81

We're putting together the events around Curt's final days and the tragic accident in the microlight (or ultralight in US) that killed him.


Curt loved his Tomcat HM81. He'd bought it in the May of 1981, possibly after reading this article in this flight magazine:


Editors reservations

You can see that the press release that's published in this edition comes with quite a critical introduction from the editor (Ed):



The company that designed it were called Waspair and it was run by 3 brothers, John, Robin and Terence Haynes. Although a delivery driver with no qualifications or experience Robin was chosen as the designer.


The company operated in the UK from 1974-1979 when they declared bankruptcy possibly down to legal claims or low credit ratings. This wasn't the end of the runway for Waspair though.


Terence Haynes said

"I’d come across some American magazines that had pictures of the latest California craze – ‘Sky surfing’ on delta kites skimming a few feet over sun-kissed sand dunes with adoring bikini-clad girls looking on.


More interesting to John [Haynes] was that it seemed there was no inspection or permissions needed – ideal!'


Waspair moved operations to America and sold the ultralights through a distributer named Mid-West Microlites.


We've spoken to Chip Erwin, who was the American distributer of the Waspair Tomcat and he said he hasn't spoken to Robin Haynes for 40 years, which must have been shortly after Curt was killed, coincidence? We're looking into it.


When asked about the safety of the Tomcat Chip told us:

'Ungainly maybe, unstable not really. Unsafe? About as many ultralights were in that era. Every brand had accidents and the majority of them were pilot error.'


We want to speak to Robin Haynes, we know that Curt spoke to Robin in 1981, asking technical advice, probably on the assembly of the Tomcat. They seem to have known each other well. In the newspaper article of Curt's death Robin is quoted as saying that he will review the wreck and provide an accident report on it. We have yet to find this report.



From The Argus newspaper December 24th 1981


We know that Curt paid around $4,000 for his new Tomcat that he bought from Chip Erwin of Mid-West Microlites in April/May of 1981.


Here is some original footage of Curt flying it in San Jose around May 1981. Curt had flying lessons you can see that Curt was a competent pilot:



His family and friends were worried that the microlight wasn't safe.




Today Robin Haynes runs the company Haynes Aero who's website sells many things from CBD oils, YouTube Subscribers and hair restoration products.


He is also looking for investment for his Skyblazer flying car


We'd like to talk to Robin Haynes and ask him what happened with his crash investigation and report. The family, friends and everyone involved in this project are interested in Robin's response.


We've reached out to Robin but so far he hasn't responded to us.


If you know Robin or have any more information on the Waspair Tomcat, Mid-West Microlites or anything else, please let us know.


Contact us at info@findingclaudio.com


External sources:

https://haynes-aero.com/the-people/

http://www.british-hang-gliding-history.com/flyers/haynes-brothers-waspair.html

https://www.bmaa.org/files/FL_8103.pdf







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