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Archive for July, 2014
Posted by rdstarwalt | Jul 25, 2014 @ 04:23 PM | 4,909 Views
...that I attempted to use an old fashioned medium to contact the family of Jack Headley? I based the attempt, so far with no reply, on his solicitation for ideas and discussion regarding RC Autogiro models.

In the November 1981 issue of Model Aviation, Jack Headley discussed many aspects of autogiros and why they can be a difficult subject for RC modeling. Today there are several successful examples of RC autogiros but, in the early 1980's it was a niche subject. The 'unusual' was a common theme for Jack Headley's modeling subjects and autogiros fit his need quite well. In fact, RCM published a design of Headley's. 'The Rotoruta' was seen in the January 1978 issue (you can find the article mentioned in other places here on RCG).

Getting back to my attempt to contact his family some 31 years after his passing... in the Model Aviation article, Jack Headley provided his home address for sending letters and other correspondence. What!?? Someone didn't try to hide from contact other than email or by other social media? Those of us who were alive before 1981 know that none of what we consider essential for communication today existed then.

I know of only one attempt by the oldest daughter, Lisa, to reach out in the modern world of today. The fellow that runs the Airplanes and Rockets website was contacted by her, thanking him for running a copy of one of her dad's articles. Here is a clip from the site:
9/9/2011 Update: Jack Headley's daughter, Lisa, just sent me the
...Continue Reading
Posted by rdstarwalt | Jul 19, 2014 @ 11:49 AM | 4,532 Views
...I am not superstitious regarding the number 13 but, it is interesting that this past week, another Jack Headley design made its way to the Outerzone website.

This design was originally from Model Airplane News, June 1973. The Focke-Wulf FW-47D was another of J.W.H.'s rubber powered scale models. Recall that Jack was a member of the Flightmasters club there in California? Jack Headley begins his article with an interesting statement:
There was a time, I must confess, when I wouldn't have been caught dead with a Scale Rubber model. Scale was the lowest of the low, and the only true rubber model was a frail boxy structure, consisting mainly of lightly doped tissue, enclosing a monstrous rubber motor, dark and shiny.
This brings to mind some recent emails with Bill Hannan (yes, that Mr. Hannan) regarding the possibility he met, knew, or recalled interactions with Jack Headley. I do not know Mr. Hannan personally but have read thousands of words he put to paper in Model Builder. There were several references to the Northop Flying Wing contest in his "Hannan's Hanger" column and through a series of web searches and some email outreach, we were able to correspond. (Thank you again Bill for your time!)

Bill admits to doing some light searching for some of Headley's work and found an article in Model Builder, referring it to me (I knew about it previously). At some point, he started reading over the article and was impressed with Headley's sense of humor and sent...Continue Reading
Posted by rdstarwalt | Jul 11, 2014 @ 04:13 PM | 4,672 Views
...Jack Headley published a set of plans for a Piper Cub and they were given away free? It is true! The January 1979 issue of Aeromodeller featured a restored military version of the Cub, an L-4. Check out the attached files for the details. If you look around on the net, you can find a pdf of those plans. I have both the original from the magazine and the pdf version.

Piper Cubs seem to be a right of passage for many sport model designers and builders. I enjoy flying one in simulation form in Phoenix 5 (Hovering one is a challenge for me and having an infinite crash budget in a sim encourages aberrant behavior - like hovering a Cub).

From a commercial perspective, the large amount of work by Jack Headley would not be considered a success. There are very few super successful designers like Nick Ziroli Sr, Joe Bridi, Dave Platt, and others I am sure to miss. On the other hand, I don't think a lack of commercial success would have bothered Jack Headley too much. What designer wouldn't want every builder of model airplanes to buy a dozen sets of their plans and put their idea into the air? After reading hundreds of lines of text by J.W.H., I am of the opinion that he did what he did out of pure love of things that fly. Perhaps one day I will list his free plans compared to his magazine sold plans to get an idea of his 'passion quotient' for wanting people to enjoy model flying and building.

I only wish he had lived long enough to see the state of the technology today. There is no doubt in my mind he would have an FPV setup on a slope glider. Also, I am certain that he would have a second set of RX goggles for his grandchildren to enjoy the experience of flying along the California coast line from the glider's perspective.

Thank you for the Cub plans, Jack Headley. Thank you for your passion that had you provide us, who are still here, with the internal spark of desire to see the craft of our hands take flight.

Posted by rdstarwalt | Jul 04, 2014 @ 11:24 AM | 4,534 Views
...that Jack Headley was published in 5 July issues of commercial magazines? One reason this is significant is that the July 1983 of RCM was Jack's last appearance in that magazine. Of course I am exploiting the July 4 holiday here in the USA and this is another attempt to bring to the light of today's hobby world the work of J. W. Headley.

Here are (as far as I know at the time of this writing) the July issues and articles:

July 1970 RCM&E "Das Ugly Glider" BV-40 plans article
July 1971 RCM "Photo Enlarging 3-views" coauthored with Gus Morfis
July 1975 RCM "Ace Plug-In Radio Installation"
July 1979 Model Builder "Percy" plans/build article
July 1983 RCM "Blue Bottle" plans/build article

The photo enlarging article with Gus Morfis and the Ace Plug-In article are victims of time and technology. Good luck finding a working Ace Single Channel radio system today and the article was specifically about rubber escapement systems (look it up...). Photo enlarging is still done today but in the case of the article, the tech used is long outdated.

On the other hand, the two articles are full of Headley pencil work. This is another featured talent of J.W.H. I discussed on the last post.

Happy July 4 America!