Category: Memorial

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.

JOHN HOUCK, Sr – Gone West

This just in from Tom Hallman:

Sad to report that yesterday morning, we lost a dedicated FACer and a great friend, John Houck, Sr.  Over three years ago, the doctors only gave him a few months, but he wasn’t hearing it.  Too much on the build list, is the story I heard.
Here is what his youngest son and fellow FACer Mark Houck wrote:
“My dad, John Houck Sr, passed away early this morning.  We had all of his children and my mom with him over the Memorial Day Weekend.  He was in good enough health to continue building until four or five days ago.  The last few days, the sickness and the meds got the best of him.  He is, without a doubt, in a better place now.  Building and flying models was his favorite thing to do, which made you all family to him.  What a family it is.  Cut and glue a piece of wood while thinking of him today and as he always used to say, “Keep ’em flying”.  Mark”
So yes, use the good wood, put some sticks together today in John’s honor.  Big John was a good one, the best of what the FAC has to offer.

Here is a photo that Tom included and one I took a few years ago.  John was certainly a fixture at the FAC Geneseo contests.

Another Legend – Bill Warner – passes

Frank Scott reports that Free Flight Legend, Bill Warner, went into hospice last week and passed away last evening (12 March 2020).  Frank also says “Jeanie wants us to keep encouraging kids!

Personally, I give Bill a large amount of credit for helping me (indirectly) get into and learn Free Flight.  I was picking up Model Builder magazines about the same time he was writing his “Hey Kid…” articles.  They helped me tremendously.  I didn’t know him personally, but we had a very brief email correspondence a few years ago and I found him to be a very kind and generous person – you could just tell in how he was writing and what he said.

He was a member of the NFFS and FAC Halls of Fame.  You can read his AMA biography here:  https://www.modelaircraft.org/sites/default/files/files/WarnerBill.pdf

Gone West – Larry Coslick

Another legend is gone.  On January 1st, Larry Coslick passed away.  Many FACers probably do not know Larry, but he was an excellent Indoor Flyer and flew enough outdoor to earn a Blue Max.  I believe he was on the 2000 World Championship team (F1D) and many probably know of his “Hobby Shopper” EZB design.  He was elected into the NFFS Hall of Fame in 2011.

Larry Coslick with his FAC Blue Max, presented at the 2018 AMA Indoor Nats in Rantoul, IL.

Gone West – Mike Nassise

Today, we learned that the long-time editor of the “Tailspin” newsletter, Mike Nassise passed away in late November.  Tailspin newsletter subscribers received a letter from his widow informing them of the sad news.  I found his obituary online, if you care to read it:  http://hosting-6751.tributes.com/obituary/show/Michael-D.-Nassise-107810810

Besides editing the newsletter, Mike drew dozens and dozens of plans for the issues.  He certainly has many, many admirers of his plans as they build well and fly well, too.  He was elected to the FAC Hall of Fame in 2006. We certainly have lost another giant.

Mike Nassise – photo from his obituary page

Gone West: Jane Schlosberg

This comes from Bob Schlosberg and Tom Arnold:

“It is with sadness that family, friends, and the FAC has lost Jane Schlosberg, the first woman holder of the Blue Max. Jane, husband of HOF member Bob Schlosberg, built and flew scale models for years in the Southern California and Arizona contests and regularly handed us our heads on a plate. Her aircraft
were the equal of Bob’s and flew better as far as I was concerned. If you saw her entered into your event, you had better be playing your A game as she would take that Kanone in a heartbeat if you didn’t.  Jane’s wins were all against men—there were no powder puff events against just women. Her qualifying Blue Max win was in a WWI Mass Launch in the days of endless rounds down to the final two. HOF
member Dick Howard was her mentor in flying twins and her Arado 240 as an FAC Scale entry was magnificent on the judging table as well as in the air. That building and flying ability put her at the FAC rank of Brig. General with 26 Kanones. While she might have been a fierce competitor on the field, at the banquets and gatherings she was a warm and gracious friend that made you feel good just to be around her. It was no mystery why her husband had been chasing her since the 9 th grade. Their long and happy marriage was an inspiration to all. Jane’s flying was slowed by severe arthritis but then stopped abruptly by a stroke and she was in a nursing home for the last few years. She was visited faithfully every day by Bob until she finally slipped away. We will miss her terribly.

—–Tom Arnold”

photo from her online obituary

Gone West: Phil Thomas

From Roger Willis:

We have lost a wonderful guy, a great builder and flyer…..PHIL THOMAS has passed away in Albuquerque New Mexico. He had recently had heart surgery and never truly recovered from that surgery. He was a Veteran with four Purple Hearts.
Phil had attended most of our Nationals and every WESTFAC. He was the WESTFAC Historian and the artist for all of our trophies and T-shirts.  He was the Squadron Leader for the RIO GRANDE Squadron. He will be missed by all who knew him. Rest in Peace Phil…….
The picture below shows Phil on the left with some of his Squadron members.

 

John Donelson – California – Gone West

Roger Willis reports that California FACer, John Donelson, has passed away.  John was a charter member of the WESTFAC Working Committee.

Orv Olm – Gizmo Geezer – 25 Sept 2018

As we gathered in Muncie last Wednesday, several of us received an email from Marcy Green letting us know that Orv Olm had passed away.

Orv was known, if only by his nickname, throughout the Free Flight world.  He changed the way that many, many Free Flighters prop their rubber planes and adjust their thrust settings.

He suffered in the last several months with what turned out to be some sort of cancer, with lung cancer being the secondary cancer (he chose to stop research and treatment when they realized there was “more”).

I don’t know what to say…I’m sure most are already aware of his passing, but I feel we need to acknowledge what he meant to us – which was a lot.

Thermals, Orv.

(photo from his website)

MIke Zand – Gone West

Sad news out of the Cleveland Squadron late last night:  Mike Zand passed away.  Here is a note from Rich Weber.

“It is my sad duty to inform the club of the passing of our old friend 
Mike Zand. I received this message from Irene earlier today:

> To our friends, brothers, sisters, and classmates,

> Michael entered into hospice care on Fri. and I am deeply saddened to announce his passing at 5:30 PM on Aug. 27th. Michael may now rest in peace.

> Further details will be announced on Cleveland.com and buschcares.com. Please feel free to share.

> Peace be with you,  Irene

Mike was a member of the Cleveland Free Flight Society since the early days, and served in every capacity as a club officer over the years. He was the club’s secretary/treasurer for as long as I’ve been associated with the organization, ably keeping our club records and finances on track. I never knew him to miss a meeting in all those years, until health issues prevented him from participating recently. He was also a top notch modeler in every respect, with 125 kanones to his credit over his modeling career. As a side note, Mike was the first CFFS fellow I met, and he introduced me to the joys of FAC style building and flying.

He will be missed…

Wingnut

I knew Mike as part of the influential (to me) Cleveland Free Flight Society – the Stork Squadron.  He was one of the friendly and supportive members that got me started down this Free Flight path.  He was always made a point of saying “hi” and asking about my family.   He would ask about Costa Rica and talk about his international travels and his music.  Here is a photo I took of Mike at one of his last visits to Muncie.

Mike Zand launching a Jimmie Allen Parasol at Muncie in 2014.

Here is a link to his obituary and visitation times:  http://buschfuneral.tributes.com/obituary/show/Michael-C.-Zand-106377122

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