Old Timers Free Flight Brings Out Yesteryear Favorites
January/February 1963 American Modeler Article
"Old Timer" is a relative term, as evidenced by this 1963 article in American Modeler. Participants in the 2nd Old Timers Meet held by the Northern California Free Flight Council probably never thought that nearly 60 years later people would consider their "modern" models to be old timers. Many of the designs and engines found at the event were from the dawn of model aviation.
January / February 1963 American Modeler
[Table of Contents
Aircraft modeling has undergone significant changes over the
decades - both in technology and preferences. Magazines like American Aircraft Modeler, and American Modeler before that,
were the best venues for capturing snapshots of the status quo of the day. Still, many things never change, so much of
the old content is relevant to today's modeler.
Whether you are here to wax nostalgic, or are just interested in
learning history, hopefully you will find what you are seeking. As time permits, I will be glad to scan articles for you.
All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged.
Old Timers Free Flight Brings Out Yesteryear Favorites
By Dick Everett
Right: Fast flying "Strata-Streak" by Allen Schultz lives up to its name.
Left: Bert Heliot gives his Dennymite powered Playby Sr a critical eye. (Old Timer pix by G. Pond.)
Second Old-Timers Meet by the Northern California Free Flight Council was a tremendous success. Sponsored by the Stockton Gas Model Association, contestants traveled as far as 550 miles for this one-day battle.
A considerable number of "new" old-timer designs included some beautifully constructed "New Ruler" types, realistic cockpit jobs. Ken Freese's flew excellently and placed high. Not so lucky was a "Record Hound" by Tom Prothoroe of Santa Barbara. Also noted: Ocie Randall with a "Strato-Spear," Mrs. Randall and her "Thermal Magnet." This time their son, Carl, showed them with a Sailplane how to take a prize.
The rubber events drew fairly well. The stick event, a last-minute addition, was most popular. A large 350 sq. in. enclosed Lanzo design by Barnett Kernoff proved best by a wide margin. Roger Gregory won the cabin event with a Struck "Flying Cloud" although a fine-flying Korda Wakefield by Bill Thompson of San Diego almost beat him. Bill suffered the tough luck of losing his on its first maximum flight.
Ohlsson .23 in Cavalier 60.
Bill Thompson won beauty event with Ohlsson .23 in Cavalier 60 (see in flight above).
Jim Medsker with new Buzzard Bombshell adjusted at meet; Super Cyke power.
Larry Boyer cranks on Brown Junior engine in his Comet Clipper.
"Record Hound" in hair-raising takeoff was entered by Tom Protheroe.
Takeoff of fine flying Bassett-designed "Miss Philadelphia VI" by Jerry Power-Rudy Thomas team; Ohlsson .60 close.
Firing up the winner of Class II: Jack Ritner, Playboy Sr., OS 35.
New Ruler by Gus Sundberg is one of Henry Struck's best remembered free flight designs.
Bob Fizer releases his "So-Long" cabin job.
Sam Kadelcik's "Thermal Thumber" ran into bad luck on 2nd flight.
Ah, what is better than an honest-to-goodness takeoff like this by Clark Hahn's Shulman "Wedgie" with .049 Thermal Hopper; good flier.
Valley Flyers annual: Clarence Lee's Stormer, front. From left, Mashiro Kato, Yuri Oki, Howard Bonner, Bob Elliott, Ray Downs, Chuck Hayes.
Jack Sparks and his modified Viscount. Had double rudder area, fuselage made deeper to permit receiver to be set on end. Kraft switcher incorporated. Clean job.
Otherwise, the rubber events were dominated by such Wally Simmers designs as "Gollywock" and "Jabberwock" which are still available as kits from some hobby dealers. Rubber thread was the main problem; the varying quality of Perilli made many wish for some old Goldberg MRL rubber. Those using Dunlop rubber suffered even worse luck - the rubber sometimes breaking with less than 50 percent of the turns wound in.
"So-Long" jobs were almost a "must" to win in cabin; these hot flying little jewels proved their last year's wins were no flukes. Al Schaefer (a real old timer) showed how it was done. Except for Jack Bowen's beautiful gliding Rocketeer A, cabin could have been designated the "So-Long" event.
Other events showed the same one-model domination. Playboy Sr. design took most places in Ignition and Class II. An exception was Bill Thompson's Ohlsson .23 powered Interceptor, easily the best of the ignition models.
The contest had all the earmarks of a good class union. It appeared to break-down into five categories: those flying, those who visited to compare notes, engine collectors who gathered to make profitable trades, a multitude of photographers, and spectators who crowded around takeoff areas and pits.
Weather was good and the only factor preventing good thermal flights was the takeoff location. These sites were in a "sink" hole on the downwind side of a down slope. Only the very high climbing jobs were able to obtain enough altitude to drift into the next swale some distance downwind.
Beauty event again was the most popular. No less than twelve qualified. Rules stated that at least one official flight had to be posted by 12 noon to be eligible. W. H. Thompson of San Diego won with an Ohlsson .23 powered Berkeley Cavalier 60. Fortunately for the judges, a considerable number of other gorgeous ships failed to qualify.
Class I was almost over before it started. Early in the morning Allen Schultz put up his Louis Garami "Strato-Streak" for almost three maxes. With only 220 sq. in. of wing area and a hot Hornet .049, this combo had a fantastic climb rate. In twenty seconds from an R.O.G. position, the general feeling was that this baby would have no trouble competing against modern free flights.
Great credit for this unusual meet goes to the Stockton GMA, a charter member of NCFFC. Plans are underway for 1963's Old Timer annual. As the battle grows in popularity, events will be expanded. Look for an old-time glider category, either hand-launch or towline.
Up Rather Late! Just how long can a free flight model fly? During a day-night contest at Taft, California, Al Vela posted 3 max's, then a 4th flight of 10:30. What is so wonderful about that you ask? Well, these all were in the after-dark portion of the contest and that 10:30 was AFTER MIDNIGHT-with lights fastened to the model, that's what! With his A.M.-featured Mexi-Boy, Torp 35 series 61 powered.
Socal's Ukie Regs. Southern California Control-line Association's Combat and Rat Race Committees have new rules for their group representatives to submit to the clubs. If a majority approves, clubs will use only these rules after January 1. While any standard set of rules may not make everybody happy, when we go to a contest everyone will know what rules are to be flown. If successful in operation these regs will be presented to the AMA. At least someone is trying to do something about the rules.
At the Association's last speed contest the NWST (Nelson-White Speed Team) was first in C and Proto, 3rd in B. Bill Wisniewski (as usual) topped A; R. Theobald took B.
George Weeks is secretary of S.C.S.A.; interested modelers can contact him at 20029 Hawthorne Avenue, Torrence, Calif., for copies of the rules and issues of the group's newsletter.
Making False Ends Meet. A warning to R/C'ers using flashlight cells and other dry batteries. Most manufacturers make them today with false negative bottoms. The end which you see is not the end of the cell but is just a plate which must be pushed against the cell under a strong spring load to make contact. This was again brought to our attention when a beautiful multi bird was totaled. It was found that although the batteries had been soldered together and the solder job was expertly done, internal contact between this end plate and the cell had opened in flight. These false ends can be removed and the connection made directly to the cell. It is our understanding that these "falsies" were developed to make the cells "leakproof."
Weak-Sister Cells. Another piece of advice concerns nickel-cadmium rechargeable cells. Do not leave the cells connected between flying sessions so that they can run down completely. One or more cells may reverse their polarity if this is allowed to take place. Apparently one cell is always weaker and will reverse polarity due to its drawing juice from other cells. When this happens and a charge is then put on them, so much internal heat is generated the cells can blow their lid and rupture. Always keep some charge, no matter how little, in the cells.
Radio Ramblings. Los Angeles Radio Kontrollers door prize is now a $20 merchandise certificate that the winner can present to any model shop. Nate Rambo headed up the nominating committee, even volunteered for the job.
Larks' Editor Bill Butler requests the big bad multi boys to give the pore little single channel boys a break. Too many multi flyers make flights up to fifteen minutes, one after the other. Bill says that tiny .010 escapement job deserves as much consideration as a big ten-channel affair.
Southern California Radio Club of West Covina has its own field with some very sensible rules governing flyers and spectators. Mainly ... flying is for insured SCRC members and their insured guests. Parking must be in. the designated lot; spectators must remain in parking lot or in picnic area, Transmitters must have color coded frequency flags.
Sunnyvale's Pioneer R/C Club has its new emblem. Real slick with a modern R/C job sporting engine and swept rudder. Slim Ingalls made a 11,460 mile trip this past summer contacting R/C flyers and clubs from coast to coast and from New England to Florida.
Gafsnaffle Reporting ... Aerial Robots' paper had a report on the last Turlock contest which we reprint ... and you'll see why ...
"Again by special request we bring you Gomer J. Gafsnaffle Robot reporter.
"Yas sir, it shore was one real fine day, this heer Sunday. Jus cool enuf so as a short snort of White Mule felt plum warm. An never did I see so many Radio Control aeroships in all my born days! And gyes from all over heck they was. Portland, Las Angles, Costa Masa, Santa Ana, Oakland, Frisco, Arizona and other-places I never heard about before. National Champeen Jerry Nelson (this ol boy used to be a Aerial Robot and that how come he got so good) he just flew and flew and don't ever miss a trick! And talk about flying, that feller Ted Comerinsky has got him a delta what can do everything cep talk. Dum thing did growl at me once. Any body ever tell you a pilon racer won't do the pattern just aint seen this thing.
"One ol boy named Dale Root is out there all ready and me, I'm breaking my neck looking all over at once, when I seen this Rootang blast off. And right then I swallowed a plum new cud of tobacca! Right while I'm looking this
durn thing ain't got no wheels at all. Now nothing makes me feel any worse than seeing a swell plane get all ground up so I takes another good belt from the jug and holds my breath. (Can't get it for a while anyway after a gulp of that stuff.) An pretty soon after a real nice flight he coms in and I shut my eyes cus I can't stand a crash. Next thing I knows there he comes, taxying in just pretty as can be with three wheels back. Right then I decided to change my brand, soon as this keg is gone.
"Well, friends, I don't usually make no mistakes, but I just found that something happened to all the rest of my notes. I left them right on the role, circular file I think they calls it, and some durn guy must have stole them. So we all will see you all next year for sure down at ol Ballico Airport, the home of the Aerial Robots, in Turlock, Calif."
Radio Control League Turnout. Lloyd Sager received an award from the RCL for his contributions to the club while President during '61-'62. The trophy depicted the "Blip" (their paper) mast-head complete with orange, transmitter and airplane. This was Lloyd's night. No sooner was he seated that they made the door prize drawing for the gallon of K&B 100 and you know who won-Lloyd!
Bob Doell, Nats R/C scale winner, exhibited his A-26 and gave a talk on the contest. Modelers kept Bob answering questions till the lights were turned off.
Digital Pattern. Don Mathes and Doug Sprang had their "Digecon" proportional system outfit at this Radio Control League affair. The transmitter has two separate sticks. Rudder is on left side of box, knob on it is for motor control. Aileron and elevator on the right. System is set up for rapid travel from neutral to full throw like reeds. Four trim controls with serrated edges protrude thru front panel so they can be thumbed if necessary. Receiver is quite small since servos mount separately. It is of modular construction of 5 PC boards connected to a 6th distribution board. As the name implies it is designed along the digital system.
Brighter Days For B.C.? Vancouver Gas Model Club's "Hot Head," Frank Boden, reports that the Richmond Park Board is interested in developing within one of its large parks an area for model aircraft flying. This park already has a swimming pool and washroom facilities. The area is surrounded by crops, highways and houses - but this is the same thing as the modelers have been flying off for years. The area is large enough for 6 U-control circles and a free flight field larger than the whole Pacific National Exhibition grounds. (This sounds even better than the Los Angeles Model Airport - Sepulveda Basin - where a bunch of modelers of mixed interests operate from a swell flying field ... VGMC: better get it while the gettin's good!)
Chuck Hayes with his fine looking original which Everett
figures may touch off a new design trend: midwing,
side mounted Veco 45, flaps coupled to elevator.