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Author Topic: Riley Wooten Designs  (Read 9556 times)
Larry Fulwider
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« on: November 14, 2009, 07:53:56 AM »

Walter’s Sneeker kit got me trying to remember. Does anyone remember all of Riley Wooten’s combat designs? The first one I built was a Quicker (in ’57 or ‘58), but seems like there was a predecessor, Pirate or some such. Did the VooDoo precede the Sneeker?

How many designs, and their names (with correct spelling – Sneeker vs Sneaker)?

Dates introduced and / or published?

   Larry Fulwider
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2009, 09:53:19 AM »

First one I saw, in 1955 (I think), was the Pirate. Many after that, too many for me to remember.
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2009, 10:02:47 AM »

This link should be helpful: http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/museum/bio/Wooten.pdf
Also Black Hawk Models kits Wooten's Demon. See it here: http://www.blackhawkmodels.com/demon.html]

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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2009, 10:29:49 AM »

I used to buy things direct from Riley at his shop in Lubbock, during my tour of duty there, 1971-72.  At that time CL was in a slump in the area and I was the only person flying.  Riley's shop was about 20% retail and 80% manufacturing.

I won a Demon kit at some contest. In 1973, I was based in Orlando, FL, living in a small apartment with no builiding facilities.  I was able to find a few CL guys in town.  I proceeded to assemble the Demon, basically with my bare hands.  It was a very simple kit, a good thing, because I wasn't tooled up for a challenge.

One of my  new friends told me I was wasting my time building a Demon, that the IN thing now was the Motivator, which had a bigger, thicker wing and would thus, turn inside a Demon.  I told him if I had a Motivator kit, I'd assemble that, too, but I have a Demon.

At The Tangerine in Jacksonville, I lost in the second round, but ended up loaning Demon to the guy who scoffed at it, and he took second place with it, destoying it in the final match.

I think the current Black Hawk Double Demon, powered by the OS LA 25 would be a good bet for Speed Limit Combat.  Nothing is easier to build.
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2009, 10:36:50 AM »

Voo Doo came before the Sneeker.

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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2009, 11:10:59 AM »

This link should be helpful: http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/museum/bio/Wooten.pdf
 . . .

Robert

Thanks! That is a great source! I did find an error -- I happen to know for sure that Riley's foam wing did not win Open Combat in '65!

Glad to get double confirmation that I didn't just dream the Pirate. Anyone have a picture? Also, would like to see a Quicker pic for comparison?

       Larry Fulwider
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« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2009, 11:37:08 AM »

I might be able to find a Quicker pitcher, given time.

The wing was exactly like a VooDoo.  The engine was vertical with the tank on top of the wing.  It had a box boom leading to a conventional stab and rudder.

I think the VooDoo was a refinement of the Quicker, eliminating the broken mounts on inverted landings.

Riley won about half of his six Nats under the much-maligned "points" systems.  You only flew TWO matches, total points is your score, no finale'.   To win, you needed to be matched against two guys you could beat really big.   If your opponent does the chicken and checks the turf, he loses and so do you.
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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2009, 11:58:57 AM »

Didn't Riley have a foamie out called, "the Vampire"?  I seem to remember it from the late '70's.
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« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2009, 12:44:33 PM »

Let's not forget the Whatsit from 1958.  I probably built half a dozen of those before the VooDoo came out.  It worked very well for its time and was another of his easy to build ships.  I don't know if it was ever kitted or not.
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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2009, 02:18:14 PM »

There was a "Nuthin'"  in Flying Models; as I recall, a Quicker with the elevator on the back of the wing.  Also a 15 size "FAI Com" in Flying Models.
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2009, 05:16:21 PM »

Let's not forget the Whatsit from 1958.  I probably built half a dozen of those before the VooDoo came out.  It worked very well for its time and was another of his easy to build ships.  I don't know if it was ever kitted or not.
Will
Cleveland kitted the Whatzit and Super Whatzit.  Late 50's.
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« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2009, 06:22:08 PM »

Attached is the Bio.

* Wooten.pdf (137.32 KB - downloaded 257 times.)
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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2009, 09:04:12 PM »

Vampire...one of the earliest foamies.  Wing in two halves, no through spar, just a 6" splice piece; it tended to fold up in hard maneuvers.  Covered with white tagboard applied with contact cement at the factory. Flew really well as long as it held together. Even the tough ones developed wrinkles early on.
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« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2009, 09:35:41 PM »

Paul, I remember the Motivator. It was Bernie Varnau's design, Cincinatti early 70s. He took first or second in Sr. Open with it at the Nats about '72 or '73 or so, using a highly modded ST 35C. I still have one of the heads he gave me.

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« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2009, 11:35:12 PM »

I met Riley Wooten at "The Last Bladder Grabber Ever" (two or three years ago). I hadn't expected he'd be 6' 6" or so, and would never have guessed that he was as old as he is, tho I remember the MAN article for the Quicker. Nice fella. Read the bio! My first combat match featured me flying a Voodoo, that I not only didn't own, but hadn't ever flown, and I won by a clean kill. I never did own one. I did have a Sneeker, and currently have a Sneeker II kit, with the long tail booms. I'm wondering why WU didn't opt to kit this version? Tho, to tell the truth, until I saw this kit in a swap meet, I'd never heard of the long boom Sneeker.

I'd fall all over the checkbook to get a kit for his "Texan" (aka "Slick Stunt Ship"). I've been trying for several years, to get somebody to draw the plans for it. The model still existed when I met Riley, but dunno now, after that fire at Lone Star.  Hoff Steve
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« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2009, 08:12:04 AM »

Hey Steve same plane, just cut new booms.

I wish Riley was a couple of years younger as I think he could put to shame those that thought he picked on the easy guys.  I remember in 64, Junior combat a young lad was attending his first NATS.   His Dad kept telling him to fly level and not take out his opponent.  Needless to say his opponent took hisself out. 

If I remember right Carl Berryman had a match against Riley for the first place award.  Rilely had trouble and didn't get air borne.  Berryman called for a rematch and from what I heard they went at for most of the 5 minutes before Berryman killed him.

And this can be deleted if too harsh, but, Paul ought to know him self that there is no easy pickens in combat.  80% luck, the rest pilot and equipment.
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« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2009, 09:30:37 AM »

And lick was on my side Doc!
Wouldn't have survived childhood other wise! Layingdown

What I remember of my Dads fleet of Quickers from digging through the attic and asking questions.....

The first Quicker from plan had a "reflex"(?) in the airfoil.( he had one of these)
The kit Quicker did not and is same as VooDoo.(had about 5 of these)
Somewhere stashed here I think some plans of an elliptical wing quicker show this reflex airfoil.

The Quicker M.M. also were the tail booms for the Stab/Elev.

I think the wing tips on the Quicker were slightly larger than the VooDoo(in Span.)

My first combat airplane was a VooDoo and my second.
Third was Dads Shark design using Red Wing Senior wing kit.(Dale do you remember that one ?)
Then a winder.(fold-a-matic)
Then Spectrum's(about 10 of these.)
Then my own design using a modified Red Wing airfoil for next 5 years or so.
Some where in the middle of all this would be a warped Sneeker covered with silk, and another one built from 3 trash can finds.
Finally designed one that took a forest of balsa and a week to build--not a good thing for a combat design.
Fantastic flying airplane and the end of combat for me.

Those were the best days of my life!!!
I love it when you all make me remember them.!

The 1/2 fast was a Wooten design? or was that Netzband?(spl?)

Have kits and or plans for the above and a Guillotine.

David
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« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2009, 09:45:41 AM »

I remember seeing in one of the mags back in the fifties when Riley flew both stunt and combat at the nats. I think he won combat that year with a two second kill. Don't remember the year.

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« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2009, 06:17:01 PM »

There was a "Nuthin'"  in Flying Models; as I recall, a Quicker with the elevator on the back of the wing.  . . .

Yeah, one of the guys in our club built several Nuthins (spelling?). It looked as you describe, but I don't think it was a Wooten design. Anyone know for sure?

     Larry Fulwider
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« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2009, 07:39:27 AM »

Riley's "Guided Missile" was in M.A.N. It had a diamond airfoil.

As to luck, there are a few combat flyers that won/win very often. That is much more than luck.
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« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2009, 07:57:12 AM »

Just a few notes to clear up some items in this post.  First Paul, all nats I flew in were one on one matching just as we do it today.  Single elimination, usually over 150 entries, 32 person brackets, final 16 or 32 finals flown on Friday.  It took a minimum of 7 wins for first - "one and done on losses".  You just tried to avoid any "bad luck"... We even had the collision tag at one point... You had to hit between the kill tag and the collision tag to win.  Too much or to close and you were gone..

I believe Will Rogers won open combat in Pa. at the 1965 Nats.  I was not there but he told me he used a Vampire and I think that is what the records show. That's only 44 years ago....time flies!!

Doc, there has been much said about the match with Carl and I.  Not all correct.  Carl and I were flying buddies and went to most contest together.  I met Carl as he was just starting combat and he wanted plans to the Quicker.  I helped him and we went to 8 straight meets in 1958 where I won first and Carl won second.   The match at the Nats.  We said it would be won in the air, not on the ground.  Carl blew a plug on starting so I waited for him to replace it.  Trouble is I forgot to disconnect batt.  I had a blown plug and time ran out.  Carl had started but would not go into air.  We started over, both with new plugs and had a very good match in which I killed him.  It is something we would both do again..                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
 
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« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2009, 02:06:37 PM »

. . .
I believe Will Rogers won open combat in Pa. at the 1965 Nats.  I was not there but he told me he used a Vampire and I think that is what the records show. That's only 44 years ago....time flies!!
. . .

The records show A VooDoo with a Super Tigre won in '65. However, it was actually a (or several) VooDoos with Johnson .35s. If you check the records you will see that I am correct  Wink

Now, for us oldtimers, how about a picture of that Pirate? And, is it correct that the Nuthin' was not one or yours?

Your and Carl Berryman's flight is, as you know, legendary. Thanks much for getting the real story out -- Few people would have shown the character you both demonstrated!

          Larry Fulwider
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« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2009, 02:21:23 PM »

Larry is to modest. He won 1965 . I was flying with him today
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« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2009, 04:40:42 PM »

Thanks for the correction Riley.  I can say I have flown against both of you gentlemen during my days in combat.  If we could get Carl to tell the story of flying against little Wayne Meriwether at Wichita way back then.  It sounds comical and I bet was comical to watch.  He was not even close to being a teenager and was not very tall. 
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« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2009, 06:05:26 PM »

I flew against Carl Berryman once, as a teen, in Tulsa I think...he had about 8 or 10" of height on me.  Very gentlemanly, held his hand down around his shoulders while at the top of the circle so as not to use an unfair advantage...course he didn't need an advantage anyway.

I'm sure I don't have to tell any of you guys who won the match, nor how quickly it was over.  Come to think of it I flew against Riley once too, similar result. Both very nice guys, very accommodating to a neophyte.
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« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2009, 06:19:23 PM »

I was just a wet-behind-the-ears teenager when my folks took me to my first combat contest.  The National Capitol MAC at Andrews AFB just outside DC.  My bro and I had just flown a year or so and pretty much solo in our back yard.  The nearest club for us was 35 mi away.  When we got to Andrews I for one was totally awed by the flying, the flyers, and in particular the Texans.  I was too timid to enter.  I vividly remember Riley and his Pirate.  Full box fuselage, upright engine, I think it was a FOX.  I think plans were published within the next year.
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« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2009, 09:06:28 PM »

Some times I feel like the youngest one here! Layingdown


How many of you can still Comfortably keep up with Mid 70s AMA fast?( a top level one)

I only try 1-2 flights every 5 years or so and its hard work.

Glad I can fly sitting down so I can rest during a longggg 3min flight. mad-wife

Fun though.

To those that still do it Hoff Hoff Hoff Hoff

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« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2009, 08:24:43 AM »

The records show A VooDoo with a Super Tigre won in '65. However, it was actually a (or several) VooDoos with Johnson .35s. If you check the records you will see that I am correct  Wink

Now, for us oldtimers, how about a picture of that Pirate? And, is it correct that the Nuthin' was not one or yours?

Your and Carl Berryman's flight is, as you know, legendary. Thanks much for getting the real story out -- Few people would have shown the character you both demonstrated!

          Larry Fulwider
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« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2009, 08:34:31 AM »

Back in the late 60's I built a plethora of Demons and Sneekers from plans. Here are a few.
One wing=Sneeker in cheap silk from Italy. Several wings =2 Sneekers, 3 Demons. I reversed the tips just for variety, no other reason. I also learned painting combat ships was a total waste of time and dope. Layingdown

* Scan_Doc0001.pdf (330.95 KB - downloaded 180 times.)
* Scan_Doc0002.pdf (340.72 KB - downloaded 177 times.)
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« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2009, 12:35:28 PM »

I tried to ask Larry some questions about 65 nats, Will Rogers and etc. but must have screwed up and all that was on post was Larry's quote.  Anyone know how I can find my post and resend??
RW
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« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2009, 01:21:27 PM »

I tried to ask Larry some questions about 65 nats, Will Rogers and etc. but must have screwed up and all that was on post was Larry's quote.  Anyone know how I can find my post and resend??
RW

Of course, I don't know your specific questions. However, I don't remember a Will Rogers being there. Being a fan of "the other" Will Rogers, I would likely have remembered the name.

The results, as posted in the American Modeler ANNUAL (1966 Edition, page 92, pic page 8 ) don't list a "Will Rogers" in the top three Combat placings in any age category. We are talking about the Willow Grove Nats in '65. Will Rogers might have been a different year?

The best combat flyer I ever flew against was the guy who finished second that year. Unfortunately for him, he killed himself in the process of working me over.

People sometimes ask me if I have met you. My answer is, "Thankfully, no"  Grin

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« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2009, 02:53:07 PM »

I never attended a Willow Grove Nats but they were held in 1957, 1961 and 1965.  I believe Will is from Conn. or Mass.  Who won 2nd in open that year?   The Nuthin was mine - Quicker wing with elevator on back - if I remember correctly it even had the Quicker rudder.  In those days mags wanted any design we would do (had them fooled)..
RW
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« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2009, 04:29:51 PM »

I never attended a Willow Grove Nats but they were held in 1957, 1961 and 1965. . . .

Yes, thanks again for '65!

Who won 2nd in open that year?

The AM Annual lists Richard McGarrigle of Arkport, NY. Although the Vampire was not among the top 3 in any class, Combat was a clean sweep for your designs (all three classes) in ’65.

The ’65 NATS was overall a great one for our team, Tom’s Plop Dodgers (we practiced in Tom’s cow pasture, which made us literally “plop dodgers”). John McCollum won first in Rat Race (his first national level win), Howard (The Arm) Weaver would also have been in the final with a little less (disqualifying) arm.  Tommy Stucker won Senior Rat Race. The NATS was kind of proof (to us, at least) that in racing having a good team that flew together, practiced together, and had the same equipment was a winning combination not just at the local level, but at the national level.

The Nuthin was mine - Quicker wing with elevator on back - if I remember correctly it even had the Quicker rudder.

OK, I stand corrected on the Nuthin. Thanks!

In those days mags wanted any design we would do (had them fooled)..
RW

Ahh, in those days both combat and rat were advancing by leaps and bounds. Everyone was looking for the latest and greatest in engines and designs. Yeah, your stuff was at the top of the “most wanted” list for sure.

What we need now is for someone to post a pic of the Pirate. I vaguely remember the Quicker style rudder, boxy “fuselage”, and (someone said) optional flaps?

     Larry Fulwider
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« Reply #33 on: November 18, 2009, 05:06:45 PM »

  Will Rogers is from New Hartford Conn.  Last I heard from him a couple of years ago he was still doing well and still flying some combat.

  Bigiron
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« Reply #34 on: November 18, 2009, 11:14:58 PM »

I ran into Will at a Nats since 2000..  He was still flying combat and did pretty good.. It has been many years ago but I know I was told he won open with a Vampire.  Maybe someone was pulling my leg.....RW
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« Reply #35 on: November 19, 2009, 12:03:32 AM »

I know he won, but I forget what year. 
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« Reply #36 on: November 19, 2009, 07:21:11 AM »

Larry     You should have just asked me as I have plans for the Pirate. Since I lived in Binghamton NY  I flew in many contests in the North east during the 50's and early 60's. Family and extensive travel pretty much stopped my contest flying by 1963. I do not remember a Will Rodgers but do remember a Richard McGarrigle that I flew against at Ithaca NY about 1959. The little town of Ithaca was a hot spot for contest as it was central to a lot of contest flyers. The contest were held right at the end of Cayuga lake in Alen Treman park. Just a little history for you guy who like that stuff.Also Jerry Hickey was the hot combat Pilot from Binghamton in the 50's. I flew at the 57 Nats with him.
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« Reply #37 on: November 19, 2009, 11:08:06 AM »

Larry     You should have just asked me as I have plans for the Pirate. Since I lived in Binghamton NY  I flew in many contests in the North east during the 50's and early 60's. Family and extensive travel pretty much stopped my contest flying by 1963. I do not remember a Will Rodgers but do remember a Richard McGarrigle that I flew against at Ithaca NY about 1959. The little town of Ithaca was a hot spot for contest as it was central to a lot of contest flyers. The contest were held right at the end of Cayuga lake in Alen Treman park. Just a little history for you guy who like that stuff.Also Jerry Hickey was the hot combat Pilot from Binghamton in the 50's. I flew at the 57 Nats with him.
Ed

Ed --

You and I ought to get together and chat every now and then  Roll Eyes Hey, bring your Pirate plans out to the field some time -- I'd like to refresh my memory.

     Larry Fulwider
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« Reply #38 on: November 22, 2009, 06:15:44 AM »

I never attended a Willow Grove Nats but they were held in 1957, 1961 and 1965. 

I flew combat at the Willow Grove Nats.....
In 1969! y1
Watched the moon landing on the TV!
Flew a Demon, powered by a Fox "Blackhead Special". Missle Mist fuel and large "hot rock".

Was also a Regional Champ and had a "free ride" at the Nats.
Afterwards, the Navy took all the Regional Champs to Pennsacolla, FL for a week.
Never forget the hail storm in the C-118!!! Layingdown Layingdown
First kid to ask about the little brown paper bags was always the first one to use it! Layingdown

Great memories!

Thanks!

"Tight Lines!"

Wes
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« Reply #39 on: November 23, 2009, 07:46:07 AM »

Paul,
The wings on the Voo-doo is not the same as the Quicker. The Quicker had less cord which also made it smaller.
I had several of both.

Gordy
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« Reply #40 on: November 23, 2009, 07:55:28 AM »

Paul,
The wings on the Voo-doo is not the same as the Quicker. The Quicker had less cord which also made it smaller.
I had several of both.

Gordy

I remember gathering in a friend's basement where several of us were building up a "batch" of Quickers.

George
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« Reply #41 on: November 23, 2009, 02:23:01 PM »

Gordy;
There were actually 3 different Quickers.  The original 9" cord for a K&B green head, the 8-1/2" cord for Johnson and 8" cord for Fox...  All were 36" from outside rib to rib plus tips.  The original MAN (56 winner) was my favorite.  It was the 9" and had a reflex (polywog) airfoil but was hard to cover so it was changed for the Voodoo. Other than that they were same, except the Voodoo had 1/16" sheet trailing edge and tips added.  The 8-1/2" (Johnson) version was the kit by California Models.. In the kitting process it lost about 16 sq. in due to tip change.
RW
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« Reply #42 on: November 23, 2009, 06:57:35 PM »

. . .   The original MAN (56 winner) was my favorite.  It was the 9" and had a reflex (polywog) airfoil but was hard to cover so it was changed for the Voodoo. . . .
. . .

RW

Ha! So for the non-pollywog Quickers we built back then, we "cheated" apparently!

Anyway, Howard Shenton brought mini-plans of your whole series to our club meeting Saturday. Start with the Pirate, a fairly conventional box fuselage "fast stunter" -- with movable flaps, yet Shocked.

Right behind the Pirate, we have the Quicker -- In many respects a "modern" combat design, and several generations ahead of the Pirate.

What triggered such a dramatic change in such a short span of time?

     Larry Fulwider
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« Reply #43 on: November 24, 2009, 05:53:44 PM »

I think going from box fuselage upright engines to side mounted profiles was a method of saving engines in an inverted crash.  Profiles being a lot easier to build too!

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« Reply #44 on: November 24, 2009, 07:18:01 PM »

When I started flying combat in mid 50's everyone was flying Ringmasters.  I was new and could not outfly them so I needed to out plane them. First trys were slimmed down and lightened RM and Clowns.  This helped but was not the answer so I started to design and build  "the plane of the week."  They needed to be light, tough and "Quicker" to build.  This very "quickly" evolved into the "Quickie" (the balsa center ribs became a box boom) then the "Quicker" where the motor mounts became the boom and made it "Quicker" to build. Remember this was long before CA glue and plastic film.  Carl Berryman coined the phrase at the time..."If it's Quicker than a Quicker it's a Quicker Quicker"  The Voodoo  and many other designs were a takeoff and/or refinement of the Quicker.  Hope this helps with history, and yes I know this was all well over 50 years ago.
RW
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« Reply #45 on: November 25, 2009, 02:35:15 AM »

Riley, somehow I thought you had flown combat much earlier than mid 50s! I started flying competition combat in about 1962 and you were already legendary by then.  People used to say you virtually invented modern combat--"He wrote the rule book."   

Exciting memories of watching you and others in the same league battle it out, myself occasionally drawing a match against one of the "elite" and getting a good lesson from them.  I especially remember the Chicago Nats in, umm, 65?

Thanks for your considerable contributions to the sport.
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« Reply #46 on: November 25, 2009, 09:22:53 AM »

Reading this again and remembering reading about the Nationals and some of the people, I too wondered if I would ever meet them, let alone fly against them.  This was mid 50's with my McCoy Red Head and Ringmaster.  It was early 60's before I could even think about contests and then it was local.  64 was my first NATS with custom built Johnson Combat Special on a Big Iron.  Sure enough got Riley in the second round.  Next NATS was 70 and didn't even get airborne.  I know Riley probably has a lot of designs that we don't even know about.  I haven't read his article yet.  Computor won't bring it up.
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« Reply #47 on: November 25, 2009, 04:02:30 PM »

. . .   Hope this helps with history, and yes I know this was all well over 50 years ago.
RW

Hey, thanks a lot for all your contributions to the sport, and for the contributions here also -- fills in a lot of gaps for many of us.   Hoff

Surely, surely, it wasn't 50 years ago!

      Larry Fulwider
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« Reply #48 on: November 25, 2009, 04:11:14 PM »

Riley,
Thanks for the info. I only knew of two of the Quickers which had the smaller cord. I do remember a Quicker in the mag. which had a very sharp lead edge. My friend built one and the take off was really a hand full. I also remember talking to you at the 59
Nats.That was the first Quicker I ever saw that had the engine mounted on it`s side. After that all my Combat planes had side mounted engines. You were truly the leader in the event.

Gordy
PS It`s always nice to see you at VSC.
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« Reply #49 on: November 28, 2009, 03:54:17 PM »

Riley
I have had a number of Voodoos dating back to the sixties.  I still have one and it still has the Johnson .35 (hopped up by Lee Strickland back in the sixties) and they still fly great.  Just ask Larry Renger he is co owner of the plane and we have a gas of a time with it.  You were my hero then and you still are, come to VSC next year and the beer is on me.
Andy Borgogna
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