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Memory Lane
Updated 29-May-2021
One Of The Greats Has Passed On-Al Grell - by Bruce Augustus, with assistance from Bob Stalick and the Grell family
Flying North (Re-print, cover view), A Record of the Models and Achievements of Jack North, Price and Contact Details
Tandy's Life of Model Airplains - (Posted May2021, 58 pages)
The Wonderful Years 1906-1910, by Ellery Lanier, published MAN Feb 1959, from Charlie Reich (5 pages).
Herb'y Greenberg's 1993 Story-A classic Old-Timer-by Ned Nevels (pub.here Mar.2009)
Wakefield Gold Challenge Cup 1911-2011 Centennial Postal Contest-history updated - (Originally taken from a History from 1911 by Charles Dennis Rushing pub. prior to Dec 2008 for the SAM website)
The Comet Models Story Sourced by Dave Harding. Also see link to web site about a Historical Documentary called The Comet Model News
Dick Korda's 82nd birthday bash November 1997 Sam Speaks, story by Bucky Walter, (pub.here Mar. 2009)

Hank Sperzel and the late Ted Dock with their freeflight Kerswaps.

A Note from Hank Sperzel.
Last spring, before the flying season started I did an “Annual” on my Kerswap.  It failed, Grounded until Recovered!  Yesterday I started the recovering.  The Kerswap was covered with red and yellow silk and Nitrate dope and it has been on the airframe for over 12 years.  I used the Acetone in the “garbage bag” method and it worked like a charm to remove the silk.  I was able to save the silk on the front of the fuselage with careful use of Acetone on a rag and sandpaper.  Stripping the silk off the wing was simplicity its’ self.  I covered the top and bottom half of one wing with paper towel, inside the bag, and poured on about a cup of Acetone, closed the bag and had a cup of coffee.  When I opened the bag it was a simple matter of cutting a slit in the silk, to get my fingers in to pull the covering off.  The stab was much the same.  If you have never tried this method give it a try. (But not if you used Ambroid as you will end up with a bag of sticks!)
Inspecting the bare bones for damage I came across a fond memory.  The left wing was repaired about half way between the root and the poly-break.  I remember that break well.  The late Ted Dock and I were in a fly-off at Muncie, it was the close of the days flying and a large black thunder storm was moving in fast.  I went first and drop short of the max.  As I was retrieving I saw Ted’s Kerswap going up like a rocket as it passed me.  As I was picking up my Kerswap I saw Ted riding by me on his bike in pursuit of his airplane that had landed in some very tall weeds a couple hundred yards away so I went to help him find his airplane before the rains came.  The weeds were so tall that I couldn’t ride my Honda 110 through them.  I started to fall over and I couldn’t get my feet off the pegs.  I’m not a good rider and I know it, so I carry my airplanes on a rack on the luggage carrier on the back of my Honda leaving both hands free.  Remember OLD BONES HEAL SLOW!   As I started to fall over I heard a CRUNCH, yep broke the left wing.  After we found Ted’s airplane I was congratulating him on his win, he said he had an over-run so I had won after all.  Ted is no longer with us but he was a great SAM competitor and I think of Ted every time I fly the Kerswap. Hank Sperzel from a SAM Talks post.

From Hank Sperzel via SAM Talks

I bought a kit and an engine sight unseen from a guy in Lincoln.  The guy said the kit was a Playboy Sr and he said it was complete.  When I got it home I found that the wire L.G., plywood firewall and all the hardware is missing as well as the dual motor mounts.   The engine is a pre war Forster 29 and it was frozen.  A little heat and WD-40 loosened it up and it runs well. I think my kit was produced about 1941 – 42 time frame.  The copyright on the plans is dated 1940.

Forster 29

Fun to Make; you bet! Remember how much fun it was to cut out all those 1/8” sheet ribs from print wood with a razor blade?  My first gas model was the Playboy Junior and I remember using a coping saw to cut the wing tips and the stab parts.  The lay-out of the print wood was definitely in the interest of saving wood and those print wood gussets shown sure wouldn’t add much in the way of strength to the wing, the grain of the wood runs the wrong way.  The print wood in my particular kit isn’t very good but the pre shaped LE and TE isn’t to bad.   Think how far we’ve come, no print wood to cut, no die-crushed parts, today we have lazar cut parts that fit and plans that are well presented.  How about the adhesives we use today?   Today when we glue something together it stays together and the firewall doesn’t come unglued either. By the way,here is a picture of the Forster 29 that was a part of the Playboy deal. The price on the Playboy box is $3.95. I think the Forster 29 sold for $14.85 didn’t it? I paid what the seller asks and I am a little concerned about the price, $35 for both; did I take it in the shorts again?


Lanz'o "PUSS MOTH" some unknown facts about this model.
by Tom McCoy

This story really begins at a spring get together at Bucky Walters (SAM 39 president) home in 1989. Our spring contest was a blowout, windy and rain, so we all ended up in Bucky's basement talking models. Somehow the conversation turned to Chet Lanzo's "Puss Moth". Bucky claimed the Moth had an undercambered wing and I said it didn't.
Well, we chewed back and forth for a while. Then, who came down the stairs but the tiebreaker him-self -Chet. This argument was happily ended when Chet declared we were both kinda right. Chet pointed out that Bucky was thinking of the small "Puss Moth", which was published in Model Airplane News March 1939. It had a 27" wing span and did show an under cambered airfoil on the plans. The model featured an 8" freewheeling prop. This was a full size plan which took four pages.
  It was a little tougher to clear up my side of the argument. I had built the large "Puss Moth" with which most of us are familiar. This is the model Chet has been most successful with and which had won the AMA National twice. It was a real flyer!
After building one myself, I was sure it had a flat bottom wing. I had lost my Moth at the Lawrenceville SAM Champs the year before (1988). Chet was with me and helped pick the good air. This model was built from the plans published by Air Trails in the forties. There was a re-do of the plans by Hal Cover in the December 1985 Model Builder which was just a copy of Chet's original plan.
This Moth was a big model. It had a 51" wing and was about 300 sq. in. Both plans showed a flat bottomed wing.
"The flat bottom wing was a mistake", said Chet. "I sent all my plans, which were on shelf paper, to the Air Trails Editor and he had them drawn up nice and pretty for the magazine. The airfoil should have been an RAF 32. The article appeared and it had never been corrected. I can prove it. I still have the model!"
We all looked at each other, ex-claiming, "You still have the model, a 45 year old rubber job?" - "Yep", says Chet. "I'll bring it to the next contest and show you guys."
SAM 39 had its July club contest at Shelby, Ohio airport. What a great place to fly models. Just like the old days, with grass airstrips and a group of spectators who came out to "see the models fly". And they brought their kids. Small town America. Just Super! It was a warm July day in a little mid-America town with a bunch of old kids doing what we loved!     Chet showed up with the "Puss Moth", a tattered 45 year old rubber job. Sure enough, it had an RAF 32 airfoil!
A side note to this story: the international letters on the undercambered wing are on backwards - should read left to right, as viewed from behind. However, my new Moth will have them on Chet's way as far as I am concerned. A big "Puss Moth" should have the RAF 32 airfoil and the letters as they are in the photo below.

The Shelby, Ohio meet was bitter sweet memory for me. Chet died on August 14th, 1989, just three weeks after the contest. Shelby was his last model meet.

SAM Historian, Gene Wallock, with his Lanzo Puss Moth
Originally from SAM Speaks #104 March/April 1992 page 9 and recently repeated on SAM Talks

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