Last Saturday, as a token gesture to launch us into downsizing mode for 2019, I offered to give away a Thimble Drome P-40 Flying Tiger model airplane from my collection, to the person who could make the best case for adopting it.
Got some great entries. Choosing was a challenge. And the winner is — Steve Chmara!
"Hi Laurie, when I was 10 or 11 (now 60-something), I received a Cox .049 powered Stuka.
"For fear of crashing it, I could never muster the courage to actually fly it. A neighbour, a glider pilot, offered to conduct the initial flight for me. I was thrilled. My family, his, and a few local folks gathered in the field behind our house to witness the event. I started the engine, held the Stuka up and, as instructed, let it go. It went straight up, straight down and buried itself in the ground. I stood there stunned, and as I picked up the pieces, I started to cry. The only thing worth recovering was the .049 engine, which I still have. A life lesson learned from that unfortunate event was that adults do not always possess the skills they say they do, and if you really want to do something, trust your own skills and do it yourself! Should you choose me to receive the P-40, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Thanks, Steve."
I delivered the P-40 personally on Wednesday morning. Steve is a happy boy.
Almost every entry had an interesting story to go with it. Enjoy an excerpt or three...
Brian Falco, who moved with his mother from England to Canada in 1959, had to leave behind a model he was building that was too large to bring with him, but he did bring the motor: "If I am not lucky enough to win the P-40," Brian says, "I would be glad to donate the engine to the new owner with the one provision, that I get to witness the plane’s inaugural flight."
Brian, I’m sure Steve will invite you regardless.
And, another entry speaks of the perfect place to make that flight...
Paul Gittel: "Hi Laurie. I enjoyed your article... the Cox P-40 control-line model airplane pictured brings back many memories of my own distant youth, flying numerous Cox ready-to-fly models, along with ones I made. The control-line hobby has continued well into my adult life.
"I am a member of, and the secretary to, the Winnipeg Perfect Circle Flying Club. We are a group of control-line enthusiasts, and our club (16 members) is registered with the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada. We have a City of Winnipeg designated flying space, in an open area of Kilcona Park, on Springfield Road."
Great! Who knew? Steve, your "tribe" awaits.
Entrant Paul Gillespie recalls his very memorable inspiration for flying model planes: "It started as a kid when my dad told me stories of learning to fly in the Second World War in the U.K. His tales of Tiger Moths, Harvards and Seafires (he was in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm) became my dream. I worked hard mowing lawns and shovelling driveways earning money to spend on model airplanes."
Paul also has his full-size plane pilot’s licence, and has actually flown a real Harvard, a real Spitfire, etc. Congrats on making those dreams come true, Paul. Bravo.
The final entrant I’m going to mention today is former Winnipeg Blue Bomber, Ron (Pepe) LaTourelle, who tells me he "used to do acrobatic flying with models... until the motor fell out. I’m very interested in your plane."
My good buddy Ron will just have to console himself with having participated, between 1955 and 1964, in four Grey Cup victories. Wow.
So, there you have it. See the fun downsizing can result in? Get at it!
Comments or feedback, love to hear from you!