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Sep 02, 2015, 03:45 AM
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Buzz Averill Passed Away

We lost a good man this weekend.

It is with heavy heart that I let everyone know that my good friend and consummate RC soaring pilot, Buzz Averill, passed away in Albuquerque from a massive stroke Friday, August 28th. Buzz leaves behind his wife Deanna and 3 daughters.

Many of you know Buzz as an F3J and thermal competition soaring pilot and former president of the Albuquerque Soaring Association but you may not be aware of the extent of his involvement in all things aviation related.

I first met Buzz when I moved to Albuquerque from Dayton, Ohio in 1979. I had been active in RC soaring in Dayton and was looking for the local RC Soaring Club in Albuquerque. The local hobby shop referred me to Buzz. I called Buzz and learned that he was trying to restart the local RC soaring club and invited me to join him at an organizational meeting where I met a number of the local modelers including Steve Work and Dave Thornburg. One thing led to another and pretty soon the Albuquerque Soaring Association was established.

Steve, Dave and Buzz introduced me to a number of local soaring sites. I didnít know these guys from Adam but, it soon became apparent to me that these guys were all pretty competitive. If we went slope soaring, there was some sort of competition to see who could go the fastest, in thermal duration, who could stay up the longest, and eventually we even got into cross country soaring events roaring across the New Mexico country side in the back of a pickup truck.

Buzz was probably the most competitive of the group. He was a consummate builder and had a strong interest in aerodynamics. Prior to taking up RC soaring, Buzz, Jim Taylor, and John Davis, all from Albuquerque decided that they were going to get on the US free flight team. In order to get a technical edge on the competition, Buzz soon became an expert in model airplane engines and propellers. In fact, they actually experimented with single blade propellers with some success. All three pilots made the US free flight team which was successful in winning the World Championships. As a result of his experience with propellers Buzz and another friend, Dick Roberts, decided to get into competitive hydroplane racing where they met with a modicum of success. Another one of Buzzís Albuquerque acquaintances, John Sharpe, was into full size Formula 1 airplane racing. Buzz was able to provide some propeller design expertise that enabled John to squeeze a bit more performance out of his airplane.

He had a background in full size soaring. He was an avid pilot and one of the founding members of the Albuquerque Soaring Club. He owned a DG-400 and loved to fly RC cross country on Saturdays and full size cross country on Sundays. To Buzz, a 600 km triangle cross country flight on Sunday afternoon was no big deal. Local glider pilots would often seek Buzz out for his thoughts on soaring technique, sailplane performance, and sailplane systems. Buzz was never one to hold back! I can recall a number of interesting conversations over lunch with George Applebay, designer of the Zuni and Zuni II, the only American produced, composite sailplane or with Bob Carleton regarding the installation of a jet engine in his Salto sailplane for airshow work.

Buzz went on to fly F3B and F3J. We went on to dabble in F5B/F5F and even did some Speed 400 electric pylon racing. As always, Buzz was a competitor Ė he hated to lose. The advent of electric sailplanes really caught Buzzís interest. Buzz saw this as a way to eliminate the winch and encourage more flyers to compete. Initially we were focused on getting as much power into the glider as possible in order to climb as high as possible in order to maximize the power off gliding time in a ten minute window. It soon became apparent that this was a rich manís sport - the more dollars you brought to the table the faster/higher you could climb, the better your flight time. In Buzzís mind, this was counter-productive to bringing new competitors into the sport. As a result, he and several others around the country, proposed a set of F5J rules, which set an altitude limit on launch height and established a 30 sec window for the motor run, thus minimizing the need for high dollar power systems.

I could go on forever. I am proud to have had Buzz as a friend. He could be a bit grumpy at times but, he would always reach out to the new guy and draw him into the sport. Our sport is a little bit richer because of Buzz.
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Sep 02, 2015, 07:56 AM
Registered User
concreteman's Avatar
Sep 02, 2015, 08:14 AM
Daryl Perkins's Avatar
Thank you for the post, Phil. His enthusiasm for our sport was unmatched.

The soaring community has lost a good one. I'm going to miss him.

Sep 02, 2015, 08:17 AM
Oleg Golovidov
olgol's Avatar
Very sad news...

Buzz, and you Phil, and Don Sciegel were my first mentors in F3B a long time ago, in the 90s, when you invited and sponsored me as your helper at the team selects. I am very grateful to Buzz and you for that. He was certainly a very devoted RC aviation person. I did not know about his full scale soaring involvement, and prior free flight success.
Sep 02, 2015, 08:26 AM
Registered User
I hadn't known him long but I knew he was a good friend. RIP Buzz
Sep 02, 2015, 08:46 AM
Registered User
pocket rocket's Avatar
Thanks for the great tribute Phil

we were flying F3J against Buzz only a couple of weeks ago in Abq

you neglected to mention his DLG flying, he flew in the Blue Skies over Arizona in 2008 when he was the oldest pilot, but success was denied him as his launch height couldn't match the young guys, as he would often tell us !!

a great guy, RIP Buzz

Sep 02, 2015, 08:53 AM
Jeff Carr
Thanks for letting us know Phil. Although I did not know Buzz very well he was on top of all the rules when we would have our conference calls for the district meetings.

Gods speed Buzz

Sep 02, 2015, 09:21 AM
LSF303-AMA Fellow
tkallev's Avatar
Wonderful post, Phil. Knew Buzz for many years and had been talking ALES setups with him just last Spring ... our community is diminished with his passing.
Sep 02, 2015, 09:29 AM
dnbarrie11's Avatar

Great guy

Indeed a wonderful person. Forget the modeling. He was just a great guy.

Big loss for everyone. It was a pleasure knowing you Buzz.

Darwin N. Barrie
Chandler, AZ
Sep 02, 2015, 10:33 AM
Registered User

Great tribute to a Great Man. Buzz will be missed.


Pat McCleave
Wichita, KS
Sep 02, 2015, 10:36 AM
What's wrong with heavy?
dephela's Avatar
Very nice write up Phil. Buzz was still involved with free flight, having CD'ed their team selection event a few years ago. Really great guy!
Sep 02, 2015, 11:53 AM
The Bag Lady
oldbagladyal's Avatar
Great write up Phil, Thank You.
Mr. Averill you will be missed. Rip Buzz!
Sep 02, 2015, 01:21 PM
Hot Dawg Glider Pilot
schrederman's Avatar
Thank you Phil. That was a fitting write up. I first met him when I moved to Clovis, NM a few years back. I was looking for some local competition, but they were 4 hours away. I went many times to fly in their monthly gigs. I considered Buzz to be one of the great ones. God speed, Buzz. I miss you already.
Sep 02, 2015, 01:28 PM
Registered User
Larry Jolly's Avatar
I first met Buzz as a result of running with good friend Taylor Collins. Buzz was a gentleman, and truly loved Soaring. I will cherish the times we talked soaring and will miss him. His shoes will not be filled soon.. Buzz wherever you are I hope you can see the clouds. Larry
Sep 02, 2015, 01:32 PM
Registered User
Dyno Don's Avatar

My Friend

Thanks Phil for your write up!
Buzz was my good friend ...
You could call him at 10:00 PM at night and say "hey Buzz,, I need your help,meet me in the field out back with a shovel and some plastic bags and he would be there for ya..
A real friend a guy you could count on as many of us knew and luck to have as his Friend!!
Some good thoughts,,,
Having Buzz as you teammate and coach was always fun..! If you were flying way -out getting pounded from sink ,you would ask " Hey Buzz,where should i go ?" this typical answer was " go farther out!".. this was usually followed by your comment such as " Buzz I can hardly see it now ? " yea I know its further out! Try a bit further out !!
Found menories ..
In our next contest when we are sinking out I'm sure we will hear is voice again, saying " its further out" .

We will miss you Buzz!

Dyno Don

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