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Modeling Legend, Don Srull, has passed away.

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.

Here is a biography from AMA:

Here is an article about Don in the Smithsonian Magazine:

from the Smithsonian article.

Form the D.C. Maxecuters – Don and his Westland Pterodactyl

From Model Aviation – Don Srull inpecting Wally Farrell’s Bestetti-Nardi BN-1


Free Flight: Front and Center!

Thanks to Don DeLoach, Rick Pangell, Thayer Syme, and Tom Hallman, I read – oh wow – FIVE FREE FLIGHT ARTICLES in the Nov 2022 issue of Model Aviation!

And, in case you didn’t know, Tom Hallman has picked up the Free Flight Scale banner (column) in MA that Dennis Norman carried for years.

Thanks to the authors and photographers that made this issue possible, BUT it wouldn’t be possible without all of you modelers!


Let’s Talk About JETS, Baby! – Sierra Hotel

Do you fly JetCat?  How well do you fly it?  Are you on the Sierra Hotel list?

JetCat is a fun event.  Well maybe I should say “fun”.  It is an easy event to fly, it doesn’t take much time to prepare, and you can generally fly it in a smaller space than many of our other events.  But it is not easy to fly it well and it can be frustrating.

It is also a pretty simple event:  choose any full-scale jet-powered aircraft you like, build it out of sheet wood, build it in profile, and make a hand-held rubber catapult and go fly!  The sheet wood can be built up, if you like, and you can also do a full body, as opposed to profile.

Personally, I have spent more time on developing and adjusting JetCat plans and models than any other type of model.  I often go through at least two, maybe three or more prototypes before I have a model that flies in a reasonable manner.  I consider “success” to be a model that can fly at least twenty seconds regularly.

Don DeLoach set up an Unofficial FAC Recognition for great JetCat flights.  What is a “great” JetCat flight?  Any official flight over ONE MINUTE.  In FAC circles, one minute (in our rubber categories) is probably a notable milestone for newbies.  But in JetCat is it VERY difficult to hit one minute.  I have been flying JetCat since about 2014 – that’s eight years – and I have hit 40+ seconds a handful of times, and my high time is 57 seconds, but never 1 minute or more.  And I fly a lot – I have 69 recorded 1st, 2nd, or 3rd results in JetCat in those eight years.

Anyway – Sierra Hotel – it is a significant achievement.  Last night, Don sent me the latest entry into the Sierra Hotel group:  Rick Pangell.  Most FAC’ers probably don’t know Rick; here’s what I know.  He’s a long-time and dedicated Free Flighter.  He is the editor of the Magnificent Mountain Men (Colorado) newsletter.  And he has been the AMA Free Flight Nats photographer for many years.  And he’s a nice guy, too!

Don sent along this photo of Rick with his P-59 (a popular JetCat subject) – which is a LARGE JetCat; Don says it has a 20″ wingspan, at least.  He reports that it is a real floater.  Being that large, it doesn’t get up super high, but floats “every bit as good as an AMA catapult glider”.  Rick recorded a 63-second flight yesterday (16 Oct 2022).  Welcome to the Sierra Hotel, Rick!

P.S. you can find the Sierra Hotel list HERE.  Check out those flight times!!!

Rick Pangell and his Sierra Hotel P-59 JetCat (DeLoach photo)


FAC NATS XXII – Registration Now Open!

In case you missed it, the 2022 FAC NATS are a GO!

13-16 July 2022 at the National Warplane Museum Field in Geneseo, New York!

Find your event list and registration package HERE.

See you there!



Pete Azure Passes Away

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.

Pete Azure and a large Stinson from 2016


Simplified Power Scale – Update

For the PROVISIONAL FAC Event – Simplified Power Scale, the wingspan restrictions have been removed.

Rules are HERE.


Eric Clutton, Aircraft Designer and Modeler, Passes Away

Per the online community, Eric Clutton died yesterday after suffering a stroke last week.  He was 93.




The biannual review and update to the FAC Rule Book has been completed and the new Rule Book has been posted online.

You can find the new Rule Book in the same location as before; here is the LINK  (your old links will work just fine).

There are a couple of minor changes, but the major news is the formal addition of TWO popular events to the Official Rules and Events:

BLUE RIDGE SPECIAL and SCALE GLIDER have moved from Provisional to Official Events, based on their popularity.  Note that for Scale Glider, the launch may be acheived by a Hi-Start OR a Towline Reel – even at the same Event/Contest.



FAC Legend Gone West: Dennis Norman

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.

From Dennis’ Obituary Page

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.

Requiescat in pace, Dennis.





New Provisional Event! – Comet’s Nickel Series!

Looking for a challenge?  GHQ has approved the Comet Nickel Series for Kanones!  Fly any of the qualifying 11 models in TOTF or Mass Launch, Indoors or Outdoors for lots of micro-fun!  These 10″ span models make the cutest subjects!

Read the Rules right HERE!

All plans are available for free download on the FAC Plans Page #1.





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