Written by Rick (Clyde) O’Hara

Doc’s article History of Aeromodelling in Sault Ste. Marie brought back many fond memories for Rick (Clyde) O’Hara. He reports:

I was there when all the founding fathers were flying, it was very wild to be there flying with them. 

Jack Mertes
The late Jack Mertes in 1977
(photo by Cec Marshall)

Jack Mertes was like my second father and Mildred was like my mother. I grew up there. Jack’s son, Jim and I were one day apart in age, I was older. It was like we were attached… We thought, dreamt, ate, and slept model airplanes every day. When Jack went to fly so did we, when Jack went to Sudbury, so did we.

I learned a lot from Jack and was always watching everything he did. I would go home and design and build U control planes and with different advice from Jack they came out really good.

Before we were able to design and build them of course we were very young and one day we noticed some fuselages and wings on a car top rack hanging off the ceiling in the basement. Well, Jim decided we should get them down to take a closer look. With a broom handle, we attempted to poke and push them down. Well, you can imagine what kind of shape they were in by the time we got them down! There were holes everywhere!

When Jack found them we were in trouble, but not Jack. He was angry, but he sat us down and talked to us. I remember him saying that those airplanes you destroyed were going to be yours someday. Jim and I were very sad and never did anything like that again, but we did find out what they were. One was an Orion and another was the famous Super Kaos. There was a old Kadet there as well, but we did not get that one down.

So you see…  we were there. Jim dropped out after many years of flying control line combat and stunting. I kept it up and was in the Club for three years 1979, 1980, and 1981 and still have the same MAAC  number today.