This is a notification that another Squadron 17 member has passed away. Curt Sanford, on February 2nd, 2023. he was an inactive Blue Max holder (38 kanones) from Dallas. He was my flying buddy for many years. He and I grew up together building model airplanes, since nobody’s dad knew anything about it. We taught ourselves. Here is a link to his obituary: http://obituaries.localcremationandfunerals.com/o/sanford,jr./59895/
The D.C. Maxecuters report that Don Srull died yesterday. What I report today about Don is woefully incomplete, as I am sure that Don had significant contributions in his professional career and is clearly known as an outstanding designer, builder, and flyer of model airplanes.
Don was an inductee into the AMA, NFFS, and the FAC Halls of Fame. He was an early adopter of electric power for Free Flight Scale, starting the Hi-Line company.
Sad News – Long time Cloudbuster and friend, Pete Azure, passed away yesterday. He had been fighting cancer for many years, probably 10 or more. Pete was a mountain of a man, and was always bringing new – and big – models to the flying field. The last few years had been rough on his flying, but he still showed up to the occasional meet and almost never missed a picnic, bringing many family members to the field. He always had a dry wise-crack for those around him.
Pete served the Cloudbusters (past newsletter editor) and the Flying Aces Club (past Council Member). Of course, he held the FAC Blue Max – with a total of 40 kanones earned on the field. Condolences to his family, including his brother and fellow Cloudbuster, Ray Azure. Pete will certainly be missed on our field.
Yesterday, many of us received word that FAC Hall of Famer, Dennis Norman passed away on the 22nd. Dennis had been in deteriorating health for several years, but still wrote an article on Scale Free Flight for “Model Aviation” (AMA magazine) – you can read his AMA writer’s autobiography here.
I first met Dennis when I started out in Free Flight traveling from central Ohio to participate in the contests hosted by the (now defunct) Cleveland Free Flight Society – the Stork Squadron of the FAC. Dennis was always very friendly and helpful and always interested in my young family. Dennis pushed the boundaries of what Free Flight Scale could be by building many rubber-powered twins and multis, with a landmark construction article published in MAN in 1966 of his twin-propped single-rubber motor 24″ span Mosquito. You can tell by reading the article that successful rubber-powered twins were virtually non-existent: “Flights in calm or slightly breezy conditions average 40 yards or better with the model seldom rising higher than ten feet.” (You can read the article and download the plan on Outerzone.) His B-24, in 1990, has been immortalized by Tom Hallman’s video:
He also built and flew an Avro Lancaster. Dennis’ work was surely the inspiration for Chris Starleaf and his multi-engined models, which took Free Flight Scale to new heights and which is now carried on my Wally Farrell, Tom Hallman, Vance Gilbert, and virtually anyone who dips their toes in the multi-engined rubber powered arena – Dennis dared to show what “could” be done.
Dennis was always developing something. I remember in the early-90s he developed an early method for transferring markings to tissue. If I recall, he used “Chart-Pak” artist’s markers. He would put white tissue paper over an appropriately-sized 3-view of whatever model he was working on and then color the tissue with the Chart-Pak pen. The solvent that carried the ink would dissolve the xeroxed markings and transfer then to the tissue. This would require pens of many colors – and this was long before we could print on tissue paper. For example, here is a photo (taken today) of his Peanut BF-109 that he gave to my son, Jack (Jack was in grade school at the time). You can see how he would have to do each color of the camouflage – and even the blue under side was done the same way.
Dennis continued to innovate. When I last saw him at the Toledo Show (about 3 years ago?) he was still selling pre-printed tissue for several models. You could always find Dennis at Toledo paired up with Roger Wathen – this was mentioned in his last AMA article just a month or so ago.
One thing I observed about Dennis’ models – they always seemed to be built heavily. The Peanut above is built with hard balsa and has a ton of clay on the nose and, because of all this, is powered by a loop of 3/16″ rubber. Regardless, he built them and he flew them – and he was an inspiration to all of us.
Today I received news that Bob Gourdon, the long-time and second owner of Superior Props passed away in early September.
I didn’t know Bob well, but I had met him a couple of times when we purchased Superior Props from him in January of 2014. He is in the kanone database with two kanones. Here is a photo of Bob with my dad and me when we went to pick up the business in 2014. Bob is on the right.
the 12 Comet “Nickel” plans are now available for download in the Library (on the bottom of Plans Page 1)! These were smaller than the “Dime” plans, about 10″ or 11″ wingspan and even simpler in detail and construction. Build ’em for fun! Thanks to Doug Griggs for providing the files and the inspiration to post them.
thanks to an FACer, I have reworked the Kanone List; Our friends who have gone west are no longer removed from the Kanone List. The “Active Roster” is now the “All Time Roster” and will remain in descending kanone total order. This will be a constant reminder of those that flew with us and their accomplishments. We will still maintain a Memorial List in alphabetical order. Gone, but not forgotten.
here’s another reminder – if you are a local Contest Director, please submit your upcoming contests using the Contest Form. The event will be added to the Contest Calendar and all FACers in your local area will receive an email reminder of your contest.
Jim was a member of the Cleveland Free Flight Society and was a gregarious guy – always smiling and joking and having a great time. He’s one of the last of that old CFFS crew that helped me at the beginning of my modeling. Here’s what Rich Weber sent out earlier in the week.
Greetings fellow Free Flighters,
Once again it is my sad duty to report the loss of another Stork Squadron member. Jim Hyka went west last Thursday.
Jim was an active member of the Cleveland Free Flight Society from it’s earliest days. You could count on him to be in attendance at nearly every club function, always willing to lend a hand. He became Russ Brown’s “wing man” at the contests in later years, helping out with hauling all the equipment and paraphernalia required to run the show. He especially enjoyed the Saturday club building sessions, and rarely missed one. He was a frequent participant in the FAC Nats at Geneseo over the years, and a proud recipient of the Blue Max. Jim’s smile lit up his whole face. I’m going to miss him and that smile a lot.
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!
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.