The Group

Group Executive Personnel


Jim Smith
Owner of XP345

Mike Fitch

Technical Coordinator

Ray `Mac’ McElwain

Ex President

Alan Beatie

Since it’s sale by the MOD ‘345 has been a resident in the confines of Jim’s car parts recycling business premises (Melbourne Autos) at Storwood near York. Well Looked after but in need of restoration, it was moved and placed on loan to YHPG.

Born in the Lincolnshire fens in 1951, Mike was an RAF Loadmaster 1969-78. Serving  in UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Cyprus and Middle East in Argosy, Hercules and Shackleton aircraft. Since leaving the RAF has worked in the Lighting Industry. Currently sales manager/engineer for an international lighting company.


See obituary below. Born in 1955 in RAF hospital Changi, spent his early years being educated in two forces schools (Bourne & St Johns) in Singapore, , On return to UK his father was posted to Scarborough where Alan became an instructor in the Green Howards ACF. Since then has worked in banking and joined the Dragonfly projecton a passing visit before becoming a founder member of YHPG.


Raymond (Ray) McElwain 1936-2018.

It is with deep regret that YHPG mourn the passing of our former President

Ray McElwain (‘Mac’ to all his friends here).

Ray was born on 6th October 1936 at Isleworth, Middlesex. He was educated locally and on leaving school he worked for BOAC before joining the Fleet Air Arm in 1954 as a Naval air mechanic. In 1957 he returned to BOAC as a ground engineer working on Stratocruisers, DC7’s, Constellations and Britannia’s. Later in life took him to Findus Frozen Foods as a maintenance engineer. Finally, before retiring Ray owned his own silk screen printing business. Around this time in July 1994 He obtained Westland WS51 Dragonfly HR5 helicopter (a type he was well versed with from his FAA days) and moved it from its long-time resting place at Melbourne Autos, York to a nearby aviation museum for full restoration. Four years later, on 27th September 1998 following its complete rebuild a very impressive rollout ceremony took place with a beaming Ray in pride of place in the pilot’s seat. Following this he always took an interest in the group’s activities and visited us on a regular basis at our Doncaster base. WH991 is now owned by the Yorkshire Air Museum where it was restored by Ray and the team and is on display there as a testimony to Ray’s engineering prowess.

Rest in peace ‘Mac’ all at YHPG will always remember your (albeit old) jokes and the cry of ‘stand by yer beds’ whenever you arrived in the workshop.