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ANGUS DUNDEE MCTAVISH

Angus Dundee McTavish

Angus Dundee McTavish, born Feb. 14, 1893 in Lowenbraughbegorrahootman, Scotland was an engineers engineer. His mother, Iris and Father, Ian Whitcomb-Smyth McTavish provided thoughtful encouragement and fostered a creative environment for the lad. Basically they pitched the boy naked into a field one day and are reported to have said “Thar neye yo brravid laddie now yosa madeit yoorselv” or some such Scottish babble. McTavish was then on his own to fashion all manner of clothing and mechanical devices. These ranged from items to harvest wool to weaving tools and kilt suspenders. Fascinated by the automobile, Angus invented the first known bumper jack, and the tire wood (this failed however due to lack of strength and replaced by the tire iron). He is also reported to have been the first Scotsman to smash his hand on the block of an engine while changing spark plugs. Entranced by electricity he would rub two sheep (male and female) together at dusk, set them at opposite sides of the flock, then time the interval till the characteristic blue spark and thunder clap filled the night sky. Although self taught, his genius was legendary in the Highlands. He did not attend any formal school of record. 

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"Pinkie" Heep and "Scottie" McTavish enlist
Angus experimented with flight for the first time during the fall of 1910. It was evening and time for the above noted sheep rubbing. He had loosed the male and was about to set the female free when an electrical arc lit the evening sky and one Thomas Edward Heep was flung across the meadow in a ballet of convulsive motion. Shaken and smoking Heep was unhurt but dazed. Angus rushed up to the ozone reeking lad and made his apologies. Heep, still dazed thought, he was speaking directly to god and exclaimed his disbelief that god was Scottish. Angus, under- standing Heep’s confusion, used it to gain a friend by telling Heep that while god was not Scottish, he only wished to be. Some how this made sense to the dazzled Heep and the two became fast friends.
The friends dabbled in the infant science of aviation. McTavish would charge varying numbers of sheep and record how far Heep could be flung. Air density and humidity seemed key factors in the launching of Heep and careful records were maintained. These studies were ignored by Edinburgh University much to their later regret. This launching information would later be invaluable to the Lost Squadron. They in fact pioneered instrument flight and the runway locating system used in today’s world. McTavish, dubbed “Scottie” by Pinkie was an inveterate tinkerer . He loved light, mirrors and sparks. He once fashioned an elaborate array of mirrors for one of Pinkie’s “High Teas” such that every kilt and skirt worn at the tea was seen from below. Many a reputation was made and lost that day as information on the viewing made its way throughout the community. This was, however, to be their last tea in Scotland. They were immediately enlisted in the military by the local recruiter who had lost in the viewing scandal as it was then known.

Accepting the challenge and desirous of warmer climes, the two vowed to go east and try their luck. McTavish had of heard of a place where the humidity was low and static charges in wool were enormous. Thus Egypt seemed the logical choice and they put in for that arena of military service. Posted to the command of Maxwell, they entered service in 1914 and began an enormous chapter of creativity and invention. The chapter was never printed and lost in 1919. However some fragments survive in Heep’s diary.

Most notable was Scottie McTavish’s inspired system to launch aircraft in sandstorms and low visibility. Using electrical charges from Camel hair and an elaborate system of mirrors, Angus could project an angled stream of light to guide the departing airmen to safety. Many the grateful pilot would cry the never to be forgotten epitaph: ” Scottie…beam me up !”

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