1987 AMA NATS winning Windsong - RC Groups
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Dec 27, 2016, 01:01 PM
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C Robinson's Avatar
Yippee!

1987 AMA NATS winning Windsong


Several of our PASS (Portland Area Sailplane Society) club members including Dave Johnson, Tom Brightbill, Tom Neilson and Tom Culmsee have a long history of attending the AMA Nationals to compete in the Thermal Duration events and enjoyed great success. This was back in the days when Dodson Designs planes were prevalent at Pacific Northwest contests but were still outnumbered by bent winged RES planes at the national level.

In 1986, a Windsong was custom built for Tom Neilson to fly in the Open Unlimited class at the 1987 Nationals. Because these planes required so much time to build and finish, the plane wasnít completed until the weekend of his departure. With just a few hi-start test flights, the plane was packed up and on its way with Tom to the 1987 Nationals in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Back in those days, the Natís was the biggest soaring event in the US. This one had 90 entries in Open Unlimited, 89 in Standard class and 85 in two Meter. The weather over the 5 days of flying would add to the challenge with periods of rain, heat and winds in the 30 mph range to challenge even the best pilots!

On the final day, Tom found himself tied for first place with Ed Burton (also flying a Windsong) in Unlimited and went on to win the fly-off. In addition to his trophy for first place in Unlimited, Tom and his Windsong also won the Hi Johnson trophy for highest score in any class in addition to the Dan Pruss Team trophy for highest scoring team, including fellow PASS members, Tom B. and Dave J.

Being the nice guy Tom is and in consideration of the planes builder (me), he also entered his Windsong in the static display show at the Natís where it was awarded trophies for Best Sailplane, Best Craftsmanship and Best finish.

Having earned a total of 6 trophies at this Nationals, Tomís Windsong has a significant place in PASS club history. I am proud to say that after 30 years, the plane has come back into my possession and I will be the new keeper. My plan is to refurbish the plane and get it airborne again. Since getting back into the soaring hobby in 2006, my only focus has been on DLG. I am very exited to have this project and l am looking forward to getting it in the air again! These really were awesome flying planes.

The plane is currently on my workbench with the restoration process underway. Although still in pretty good condition, age along with hanger rash and contest flying/landings means it needs some serious TLC. I will post before and after photos of the progress starting with an ďas-isĒ photo.
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Dec 27, 2016, 04:16 PM
Afflicted with DDD
Soarhead00's Avatar
Looking forward to your rebuild. I have an old one too hanging in the basement. I fortunately didn't have to build mine. I got it from Byron Blakeslee. Remember that name?? If I can get inspired by your rebuild,maybe I'll work up the energy to finish my Lovesong.
Bob
Dec 27, 2016, 04:47 PM
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jtlsf5's Avatar
Nice Craig. I remember the plane and contest well. The Lincoln Nats gave me a high point value 3rd place (probably Standard class) on my LSF V voucher.

Glad to hear your back to building/rebuilding and hope to see you flying somewhere here on the left coast.

JT
Dec 27, 2016, 05:35 PM
Kurt Zimmerman ≡LSF 4461≡
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That plane looks to be in great shape.
Dec 27, 2016, 09:47 PM
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Thanks for the memories


Hey, I remember the Lincoln NATS. The soaring site seemed to be an afterthought way out in the boonies. I remember also admiring that Windsong. Keep us posted on its return to glory.
Dec 27, 2016, 09:59 PM
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C Robinson's Avatar

Byron Blakeslee


Quote:
Originally Posted by Soarhead00
Looking forward to your rebuild. I have an old one too hanging in the basement. I fortunately didn't have to build mine. I got it from Byron Blakeslee. Remember that name?? If I can get inspired by your rebuild,maybe I'll work up the energy to finish my Lovesong.
Bob
Hi Bob,
I will do my best to inspire you to finish up your Lovesong
I never had the pleasure of meeting Byron but I do have a copy of the November 1987 issue of Model Aviation magazine where Byron covered the Nat's soaring contest. A skillfully written, detailed and entertaining accounting of the event. A great contributor to our hobby for sure.

Craig
Dec 27, 2016, 10:12 PM
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C Robinson's Avatar

Jt


Quote:
Originally Posted by jtlsf5
Nice Craig. I remember the plane and contest well. The Lincoln Nats gave me a high point value 3rd place (probably Standard class) on my LSF V voucher.

Glad to hear your back to building/rebuilding and hope to see you flying somewhere here on the left coast.

JT
Thanks for posting Jim!
I will never forget flying with you at the 93 Thermal search contest and hope we do get to meet again.

Craig
Dec 27, 2016, 10:51 PM
Kurt Zimmerman ≡LSF 4461≡
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I too have a Lovesong in the repair queue. Mine shouldn't take much effort to get back in the air. I have a few quick retrofits, upgrading a 45+ year old gas plane to electric first in my queue. Then the Lovesong.
Dec 29, 2016, 10:58 PM
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C Robinson's Avatar

H Stab Resto


Thanks guys for all of your posts. It's good to hear there is still interest in these great old Dodson planes. Awesome how this sport gives us a lifetime of good memories. Contests attended, friends made and special flights we never forget.

Took a break from paint touch up on the fuselage to refurbish the horizontal stab. Here are a few pictures to show some progress. MoneyKote was sagging, dirty and scuffed. A little heat, window cleaner and polish made a big difference! First two are "Before", second two are "After"

Really enjoying this project,

Craig
Jan 03, 2017, 08:49 PM
Registered User
Nice looking glider. Thanks for the story.

Art
Jan 03, 2017, 09:48 PM
The King Moonracer of balsa.
Windependence's Avatar
...
Jan 03, 2017, 09:51 PM
Balsa addiction since age 3
ScottSails's Avatar
I love to see these old ladies still around! I flew mine about 4 times this year (in winds that were 10mph or over) and was just amazed at how she handled it. Of course mine weighs a ton (I used way too much polyester on the fuse).

Scott
PS (JT has the magic CG location for these Dodgson planes)
Jan 04, 2017, 11:46 PM
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C Robinson's Avatar

Windsong love


Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottSails
I love to see these old ladies still around! I flew mine about 4 times this year (in winds that were 10mph or over) and was just amazed at how she handled it. Of course mine weighs a ton (I used way too much polyester on the fuse).

Scott
PS (JT has the magic CG location for these Dodgson planes)
Thanks for sharing Scott, she looks great!
As I recall, my first one came out around 70 ounces and flew light lift very well. Tom Brightbill always flew his ballasted, even on days with very little wind. Said they were too light otherwise. Tom B. was another PASS club member that won the Hi Johnson trophy. I believe it was at the 1983 Nat's.

Here is a recent picture of my first Windsong, built the year before the Nat's plane. Still in great condition, even after several contest seasons. They were a well engineered and fairly durable air frame. You just couldn't stand on the winch or execute vertical dive spot landings (more than once...)
Jan 05, 2017, 12:05 AM
Glider Geek!
lenci1938e's Avatar
Craig,

Great photos of the Windsong. I was there too and remember the airplane well. Absolutely goregous finish and color scheme. If I remember correctly that was one of the windiest contests I have ever been too. I remember you being one of the premire NWSS builders, always having beautiful ships. That airplane was no exception. Do you know what the monokote trim colors were? It would look great again on a new build. Looking forward to the finished product. Bob's ships will always have a special place in my heart. Amazing birds.

Shawn Lenci
Escalon, CA


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