Month: September 2020

Russ Brown – Gone West

We received this from Rich Weber last evening:


Stork Squadron – the End of an Era

Greetings fellow Free Flighters,

It is with a heavy heart that I bring you the news that Russ Brown has gone west.  I received a note from his granddaughter late yesterday informing me that Russ passed peacefully, with members of his family by his side.

It is not too much to say that Russ was the backbone of the old Cleveland Free Flight Society for many years.  He was the fellow who made all of the flying field arrangements with the folks at LCCC, got the AMA sanctions, submitted the contest dates to Model Aviation for posting on the calendar, did the FAC Scale judging, tabulated the scores, made up the contest forms, sent in the contest reports, and handled the kanone reports, not to mention hauling tables, chairs, and a big pile of plans to the field and home again in his trusty Saab.  He was probably the longest serving of a long line of editors for Crosswinds, and certainly the one with the most distinctive “flat hattin'” style.  As an early convert to the FAC style of flying, he brought the local club around to embrace the FAC, too, and created the Stork Squadron as the third official squadron in the national organization.  He was a regular volunteer at the FAC Nats and Non Nats over the years, usually serving in the capacity of a Scale judge.  Russ was rarely seen on the flying field without his camera in hand, which is a practice that carried over from his days at the Cleveland Air Races in the 60s and 70s.  Some of his photos show up in Reed Kinnert’s air racing history books.  He was a quiet guy, with a wry sense of humor and a twinkle in his eye, never very comfortable in the spotlight, but he always wore his Blue Max with pride.

Compared to many of you, I came into the CFFS late and got to know Russ after he had essentially stopped modeling.  He was the guy at the contest who would always find a way to get the new kid into the game and offer encouragement.  And that big pile of plans was a treasure chest for me.  I think one of the most remarkable things about Russ was his willingness to lend his incredible aviation history expertise to any and all.  It was almost comical when he would overhear me mention some slight interest in an obscure aircraft, and a month or two later, he would drop a large pile of documentation on the type into my lap.  Those
were the beginnings of many modeling projects for me.

Due to the current public health emergency, there will not be a wake.  I will send along more information as I get it from the family.

Use the good wood!

Wingnut


As Rich says, Russ dedicated himself to the FAC and the CFFS.  By the time I found the Cleveland group, Russ had already stopped flying.  He stopped at 45 kanones, but he was the CD for every monthly contest.  His boxes of free plans were an inspiration to me, too.  Who knew there were so many airplanes to build?  He gently and quietly encouraged me to build and fly.  And he encouraged my plans; he was a tough editor, as he had me rework the Falcon Special II plan for the Crosswinds about five times until it met his (or came close enough to) his standards for the little racer.

I miss those Cleveland contests in the late 80s and early 90s.  These were my only contact with Free Flighters and the FAC, and it took me about two hours to get to a contest.  So, I had no meetings, no building buddies, nothing – except driving north to Lorain County Community College (LCCC) and flying with Russ Brown, Gordon Roberts, Del Balunek, Dennis Norman, Jim Hyka, and – eventually – Rich Weber.  Of course, there were several others, but Russ Brown, the Blue Fox, was the leader and a mentor to me.

This was in the late 90s, I think. This had to be in Lorain, Ohio, as I don’t recall Russ ever traveling to contests other than Geneseo.

ALL HAIL the NEW FAC Ace of Aces!!!

I received this contest report this morning – an historic report for sure:


Maxecuters Scramble, September 24th, 2020; Rose-James Field, Unionville, VA

George,

Attached is the Kanone Report from the (so far) one and only Maxecuter’s contest of 2020.  Even given the appalling paucity of Maxecuter events lately, this would not normally be of particular interest.

HOWEVER….

…It should be noted that on a cool day in late September, on a damp Virginia cow field ripe with fresh pies, gopher holes and disinterested bovines, ’neath cloudy skies with a just hint of drift,  Wally Farrell scraped out two meager wins against a depleted field of contestants and has thus, through a lifetime of hard work, attention to detail and clean living, at last overtaken the late, great Gordon Roberts as the FAC Ace of Aces.

For a man so accustomed to regular competition, it was clear that the pressure of the moment was weighing heavily on Wally during the meet; a slight film of rust had formed on the well-oiled machinery of his practice,  and the vengeful FF gods were watching his every move.  A broken motor strand in the finals of the Golden Age ML kept him from near-certain victory.  His Dimers were recalcitrant, his timed events…untimely. A great third flight in Modern Civilian ended with 15 crucial seconds (and the model) stuck in the treetops, costing him a win (and the model). A 30 second, early-DT-aborted Embryo Endurance flight nearly sank him.  He wavered; he wobbled; but he did not accept defeat. With his trusty aide-de-camp Julie urging him on, he girded his loins, grit his teeth, and persevered. Is it not fitting that in clawing back to win the Embryo event, he gained his place in Free Flight history with a Kanone in that most humble yet keen of events? For what is Wally Farrell if not humble, and keen?

Being similarly humble, I would be remiss if I didn’t call attention to my crucial role in advancing this man’s grand achievement.  Over the years, had it not been for my willingness to wind just a little less; to go just a little less hard in the paint; to launch my models like a hamstrung T-Rex; to be, in short, a glad stepping stone to his ambition, that he might enjoy more fully the fruits of his labors, then who knows where he would be today? Eh? Broken? Dispirited? Perhaps even destitute.  But this is not the case.

Let the full, throaty roars of the FAC community rain down upon him!

WALLY FARRELL:  FAC ACE OF ACES!!

Cheers!

Dave Mitchell

PS in all seriousness—WHAT AN ACCOMPLISHMENT!!!  It boggles the mind.

2020 WAWAYANDA is ON!

The 2020 Barron Field Air Races is ON!  Tom Hallman and Mark Houck are hosting the contest on October 3rd and 4th, but with some minor changes.  Here is what Tom and Mark have sent out:

In light of Covid-19, we’re having duplicate contests on Saturday and Sunday, so that you can pick your best day, and treat it like a day trip, and avoid an over-night stay. These will be two complete contests.  Starting and ending on the same day.

For those who want to be there both days, hotels are open and camping is permitted on the field.

***Please note, depending on the ever changing Covid-19 impact, things could change, so we’ll make every attempt to keep you updated as the contest date nears.***

We ask that you practice social distancing and wear masks when in close proximity to other flyers.  Bring your own pen or pencil for entering scores. Hand sanitizer and wipes will be available at GHQ, but certainly bring your own.

To honor our late flying friend John Houck, we’ll have a special tribute both days by flying a few of John’s models. Ships that we’ve all come to know, love, and…fear!!  I’ll miss his enthusiasm and dedication to free-flight.

Hopefully the Weather Gods will give us a beautiful event, along with future days of great weather. It’s all about flying, time with friends, and taking in this special hobby that we all share & love.

Please share this with friends who might be considering Wawa this year.

Tom Hallman
Mark Houck

Check the FLYER HERE!

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