Vintage "Super 8mm" movies from the 1970s

These snipits of the club's history are from Doc's collection of original Super 8mm film reels dating from the early 1970's.
 ugly 71

Upper Great Lakes Yearly (UGLY) Meet - 1971

Highlights of this annual event in the summer of 1971

 ugly 75

Upper Great Lakes Yearly (UGLY) Meet - 1975

Highlights of this event in the summer of 1975.


Seaplanes at Bellevue Park

The first plane featured is a "Thurston T-Tail Teal" - flown is here by the late Paul Butcher, with moral support from his son Grant and daughter Sarah. It may have been built by Art Bondar, from a kit or Art sold him the kit.
The lovely Minni-ha-ha was mine. Its kit was brought from Germany for me by John  Bell (whose name translates into Italian as Nino Campana) an Air Canada pilot. The kit consisted of a fibreglass fuselage and sponsons, two sheet balsa covered wing panels, a balsa hatch cover, four plywood skegs, 8mm balsa rudder, and German instructions. Rudimentary but well done.
I assembled it, waterproofed it (I thought), and doped it chrome yellow. I put on the fictitious registration letters D – ALTE which reads as die alte, the old woman. Water handling was difficult, despite the skegs. It needed a water proofed water rudder. I made one of brass sheet and tubing. It worked well, but may have leaked as there was water in the hull after evry flight. And the radio equipment, though isolated also suffered water invasion.
There was a severe crash that damaged the hull. Paul then passed it through his band saw, front to back, repaired the damage, I repainted the now heavier fuselage and we tried flying it again. It was okay on straight and level flight but not for long. It traded hands two or three times, ending up in Dan Molino’s hands. He never got around to rehabilitating it.
I never saw the kit advertised, nor any reviews of the craft. It may have been a natural aeronautical disaster and was not  long in production. Nonetheless, I had one very fine flight with it on the St Marys River one windless evening.


Paul's Sopwith Pup

I often visited Bud Nosen in Two Harbors, Minnesota during the formative years of his company. On one such trip he gave me a Pup kit. I could hardly wait to get at it, but when I had it home I was disappointed in the quality of the kit’s balsa, and the lack of detail on the plane.
Paul Butcher loved it, so I passed it on to him. He built it in a week or so, installed an early Quadra which began life in a chain saw, and was off and flying. It flew well right from the start. Paul flew that bird for a dozen years, gaining weight with every rebuild. It may still exist in a barn or garage somewhere in Ontario, or Michigan. The crashes were usually attributed to stripped servo gears, radio interference, or one dead cell. Standard servos were geared for models with 60s in them.
Oh...  and Snoopy's flying disk that makes a brief appearance at 1:56 ... The "disco volante" with Snoopy on board was mine, and the easiest plane I ever flew, yet Jim Elgie was unable to handle it! It could hang on the prop, hover, and sink slowly to the ground. Another version of the model had a cartoon version of Mary’s Schnauzer Fritz in the pilot’s seat!


Paul's Fairey Swordfish

Paul demonstrates the folding wings and superb flying qualities of his large scale replica of the famous torpedo bomber that served with the British Royal Navy in WW2.
My favourite Swordfish story is about the day we were at the field for a sunny day of flying. Paul was lazing the hero of the Bismarck story all the way down to the horse barns and ploughing his way back. Just as he completed his turn he observed that something had dropped off the bipe. I asked him what it was and he opined it was the starboard wheel. With my vision I could not see either wheel until he was three-quarters of the way back, and even then I couldn’t be sure.
If you know the Stringbag, you will be aware the inner aspect of the wheels had a shallow saucer fairing that extended from the axle to the rim. Paul’s plane had copied that feature, and now he was approaching a patch of grass at a few feet off the ground. I suggested the fairing might serve as a non-rolling thin wheel. The plane touched ground and came to a straight full stop a few feet away. Paul had great eyesight, as noted in History - The Seventies, and his flying skills were enviable.
Paul carried the plane back to the pit and we started walking to the barns to look for a 4 inch wheel. I gave up after an hour. Eventually he went home for dinner, after which he resumed his hunt till darkness persuaded him to go home. He returned daily for a week.
These scale wheels had been special ordered and it wasn't easy to locate a supplier. I dropped by Paul’s to return a magazine, and he asked if I would join him and his Linda for another session at the barns, Okay. He went to his plane and removed the remaining wheel and off we went. At the field he returned to where he’d been standing at the last flight. He handed the wheel to Linda and told her to walk toward the barns until he shouted to her to stop, at which point she was to hold up the wheel, in profile, at head height and when she heard his next shout she should stop. In a few minutes he shouted and we hustled to her side. We looked about in a five foot radius for a while and suddenly Paul spotted it! I’d never seen him smile so widely. Then he said, “I walked over that spot a dozen times."

b n

Paul's Britten-Norman Islander

As for the Islander, it required two .40 size engines. Paul had a Schneurle ported Webra .40. I loaned him a normally ported Super Tigre .40. He used ‘em. At the field he fired them up and they ran well with their identical nylon props, but he could not get them to harmonise. I don’t think we had a tachometer with which to check them. So he removed one prop and replaced it with a wooden prop with similar specs. When they started, the engines were “on song”. The plane flew beautifully and landed with both engines ticking over.
In April, 1988 I was visiting Jerry Kleinburg in San Antonio and he asked if I wanted to see his club’s Texas field. Indeed I did! It took about two hours to reach it. It was a well manicured piece of ground with many modellers there waiting their turn to fly. When his turn came up a fellow with a large impeccable King Air twin set to work firing up his .60s on his brand new white plane. I do not exaggerate when I say it took 40 minutes to get them running to his satisfaction, but he was meticulous!
He tached and tuned each engine repeatedly, but they were never “on song”. He swapped props. He changed props. He drained his tanks and used a new gallon of another brew. When he got them harmonised, they were not revving in synch. He got a lot of advice but settled on matching revs. He taxied out and made a fine take off. As he flew, he tried to get it to track hands off, but had no success. He decided to land and was at a head height level coming in over the wide open gate.
He did not have Paul’s perceptive talent. The gate posts were a yard higher than the gate top. The nacelle area ahead of the cabin hit the closest post. The wings folded forward and the engines all but kissed.  As we left, I couldn’t help thinking Paul was really special.


Art's Luton Minor

Art Bondar's first RC airplane, flown here by Paul Butcher. We asked Art about this plane:
I can't recall much detail on the Luton Minor except that I enjoyed building it - the type of construction that I like. It was my entry into radio control, and the plane was in a sense, a free flight model with rudder control. It was also my first taste of covering with Micro Film.  I remember cutting the stabilizer and hinging it for elevator control.I think that with the elevator control and lack of experience, I stalled the plane at some point, and cartwheeled it into the ground. I don't remember the engine , except that the gas tank was small and did not allow much flying time.


Art's Spirit of St Louis & Robin Regent

The Spirit of St Louis flew a treat, but it took more than a few attempts to get it unstuck from terra firma. The Royal kit showed a mid-cabin cg and therein lay the problem. We tried shimming the stabilizer (scale size – small), the wing leading edge, lowering both ailerons with no success. Finally we moved the cg to the front of the wing’s leading edge and off the Spirit soared.
The engine was an OS .80 with a rear rotor intake. I see no muffler. The plane in flight was a show stopper; flight was slow and very steady. If I remember correctly I used that engine in the 1/4 scale Camel.
The film shows the Robin Regent's entire flight history. The plane was too heavy for the engine.


Doc's 1/4 scale Fleet Finch Biplane

The Fleet Bipe was from a good quality kit (Concept Models?), available in two sizes, 56” and 84” . I chose the larger. I had good scale drawings from a chap named Don Anderson, an air Canada Pilot and draughtsman for the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. He drew up accurate plans for many early aircraft. I have copies of all of them, in several scales.
One was for that Fleet. It showed many variants. I modeled mine from a BC machine with a rounded rudder, in the same green and cream colours, and black registration numbers.
The model was equipped with an on board starting system, the first in the area. It was large, to turn over the Quadra, and a toothed gear protruded from the right side of the fuselage, over which I placed a shroud. The remote starter was a minor sensation especially when I snuffed the engine in flight, and re-lit it. I occasionally surprised visitors when I left the plane at a remote corner of the field and started the engine while sitting on a bench behind the pit area. When the Bipe started to roll they assumed it was a fly-away situation. The plane was well detailed , complete with rib stitching, and a scale five cylinder Kinner engine.  I don’t recall who bought it from me but believe it found a home in Sudbury.


Doc's 1/6 scale Hawker Hurricane

As for the Hurribus, I built it with close attention to detail of the plane flown by Wing Commander Rupert Robert Stanford Tuck in 1940. It may have been a Complete-a-Pac product.
I threw up my hands when the Webra .60 had finally started. A total surprise that day!
The plane would later crash into tall grass and brush after clipping the branch of a tree behind the flight line. I sold (or traded) it and a modified Kaos with German markings to Bud Nosen. (see below!) Bud really enjoyed the Kaos, which he flew much better than I did!


Doc's Sopwith Camel and Tiger Moth

The Camel was another Royal kit. I flew the plane for only a short while, less than a month. I liked it coming toward me. As I goosed the engine the sudden torque dropped the left wing panels which required rapid correction.
Herman Thiffault was enchanted with it, and when I handed him the tx to try it, he insisted I sell it to him. I liked his offer so he owned it. I understand he "lost it" on take off while flying alone. Herman was a very likeable and generous club member. One of my Unforgettables.
The Tiger Moth was from a British Practical scale it. It spanned six feet. It went together well and it flew like my previous seven Tiggies; the first had been a small Veron rubber free flight jobbie. I flew this one at the Nats where it placed second in static behind Al “Pappy” de Bolt. The flight is best forgotten. Nonetheless, I fitted it with a new (first in North America) Italian brown head Ursus .60. I broke it in gently with a home brew glow fuel using too much Castrol oil. The Tigger flew marginally in the Soo.
A local flight instructor who went by the name of Smith as a CKCY disk jockey offered to fly us to London for the Nats in a rented PA-24 Comanche. We had to dismantle the bipe and its struts and rigging to fit into the Comanche. I got to pilot it for two hours. In London it took hours to reassemble Tiggy. When it came my turn to fly the model,  my pit man was Warren Hitchcock - expert pilot and MAAC president at that time.
Underpowered as it was with the Ursus and its fuel, along with hasty reassembly, I stalled almost immediately on take off, with Warren shouting “Give it down! Give it down!” It dropped on the grassy part of the field buckling the right side of the landing gear. An elderly gent said to me, “It serves ya right! That CF- AGI registration belongs to a Gypsy Moth back home in Halifax!” I was at a loss for words. Flying home we ran into a gale and were ordered to land in Gore Bay for the night, before proceeding to the Soo.
The dealer replaced my Ursus with an updated Testa Rossa Ursus. It was marginally better. I eventually installed a Webra .90 and that solved my engine problems.
At a local event, I had just landed the Tiger when an American visitor flying a Top Flite P-39 Airacobra took off into the side of my still-rolling plane, just aft of the port wing. It was a long repair.  John Meadows bought it from me and later sold it to Hugh Harrison in Sudbury.
I also built the Tiger Moth on display in the Bushplane museum. I sold it to Steve Daily who took prizes with it despite straining it through high tension lines at an older field. As always Steve did a perfect rebuild.


Doc's Aerobats: Ugly Stik, Kaos, and Aeromaster

The Aeromaster was always one of my favourite planes. It was originally built by Stan Lyons around fifty years ago. Stan’s building and flying skills were of an elevated standard. He was particularly fond of this plane and flew it regularly at the former Raco AFB in Michigan. He also flew it at our first “field” a very narrow strip of scrub land beside the CPR tracks. The landing strip was as wide as  a car and was just tamped down earth maybe forty feet long. Stan could take off and land from that.
He had a customer at his store whose name was Urban Payment, but was known as Pogey ,a man in his late 20s who lived on MI2. Pogey was born with not fully developed mental capacities. His father was a local MD who did everything he could for his son, including a fat allowance to indulge his hobbies of modelling and flat boating and fishing on the adjacent St. Mary River. After his father died, Pogey collected giant scale plans as the appeared on the market, and became one-eyed Stan’s pit crew. One day Stan let Pogey fly the Aeromaster. Unhappily he smashed it to smithereens.
They gathered up every piece they could find. Days later I visited Stan who showed me the paper bags full of scraps, not including the smashed Super Tigre bits. I offered to buy it; we actually haggled over price, as it included the Aamco plan and instructions. It was a steal at seventy-five cents. I paid no duty at Canada Customs. Not worth the paper work.
It became a 3-D jigsaw puzzle rebuilt around firm new longerons and spars. I installed a new Webra .60 in it and with my son Rob took it out to our new Strathclair field to fly it. It took a long roll out to take off. The landing was so fast it was harrowing. But it was so pleasant to fly I repeated the experience. I offered young Rob a chance to fly it. He said, “Sure, but is it okay if I take off and land upwind?” The model was later sold, but I don’t recall who purchased it.

For more stories and photos from the 1970s, be sure to visit History - The Seventies
For photos of Paul Butcher's Islander, Teal, Swordfish and other planes, visit Paul's Models
Ahead to Flics - 2011-2013
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