Ringing in the 80s

Originally published in the Soo Modeller Monthly, February, 1980, photos by Christian Moes

The Soo Modellers were well represented to mark the beginning of the flying year. Several members as outlined below were in attendance at various times of the day (January 1st, 1980) namely Jack Mertes, Cec Marshall, Lou Barreiro, Jim Elgie, J.P. Gendron, Russell Bateman, and myself. The weather was very mild with moderate winds which presented no problems for the aircraft we were flying. Each of us had at least two flights with no major crack-ups, although a number of minor problems were encountered.

Glow engines of the day were not always willing to start in the cold. BRRR…

Elgie flew his 15-500 with skis and had a good time of it until he encountered a number of irregular manoeuvres on his third flight which were not produced by the hand of man. Anyway, Jim managed to make a reasonably good landing in the boon docks to the relief of all present. Later in the day, Jim mentioned that after investigating the circumstances, he found a bad cell in the airborne pack.

J.P. seems to be up to his old tricks again of trying the near impossible – an inverted landing, as did Elgie in Wawa last summer. Anyway, J.P. apparently made a low inverted pass but found himself applying full down elevator with no more in reserve. Being at such a low altitude and unable to roll for fear of creaming the 15-500 all over the map, J.P. didn’t have much choice but do the inverted landing bit. Fortunately, the snow was soft, and only minor damage to the tail assembly was incurred.

Mertes got away Scot free…  his tireless Kaos managed to stand up to several touch-and-goes on the field with skis on. Takeoffs were straight down the icy ditch, and then…  oh boy: hold your breath! All in all, Jack had a good time of it.

I would not say for sure, but probably Lou has a “first” in so far as takeoffs in the snow with wheels are concerned: yes, he really did it! His Smith Miniplane was the one that did the trick: down the runway, up and away. Lou also took a shot at the expert pattern and managed a breath taking eight point roll in the sequence, even if he started at 400 ft (120m) and came out at 100 ft (30m)! You’ll never get the best crash award that way Lou (Ha! Ha!)

In those days, we put our MAAC# on our planes. Looks like this one belongs to Cec.
(as launched by author Tom Bateman at Bellevue Park)

Cec flew his Kavalier: goes like a bat out of hell. Myself, I flew my Orion with the regular O.S.40 on it. Don’t let the regular engine fool you Dave, it is also fast. On Cec’s first flight, he just about had to put that pair of Pampers on, as the plane veered to one side so bad that he had to come down very shortly after takeoff. After checking things out and making adjustments to the rudder (which was the culprit) he put in a second flight with no  problems. I put in a total of four flights – did lose a stud out of the head of the engine on the last flight, but managed to complete okay.

Russell flew our beat up 15-500 with the Fox .45 on it. He put the Quickie through four good flights and, finally, upon landing on that last one, either plunked it down hard or hit an icy area, because the whole nose section back to the leading edge of the wing fell off! It looked like a dead fish that he was carrying back across the field! It wasn’t all that bad to repair, as we redid the weak area and it is now flyable once again.

Honourable mention must go to the two gentlemen who also flew early in the New Year, but on St. Joseph Island. Chris Moes and Greg Farish came out of hibernation and flew off the ice of Hilton Lake. Although Greg put his own machine to rest in the fall, he did manage to log some flying time with Chris’ Barnstormer. Chris tells me the ice was completely free of snow. Neither of them had to worry about going off the end of the runway, that’s for sure! Our “presidante” and C.D. were both out of commission for the day as other matters were more pressing.

A very good time was had by all those who came out and I’m sure we can use this as an indicator to the possible successful up and coming flying season ahead. Tally-ho until next year.

Tom Bateman, Secretary