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Author Topic: Mike Gretz  (Read 2054 times)

Offline BillCalkins

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Mike Gretz
« on: January 16, 2016, 01:23:47 PM »
Melissa Goodell, Mike Gretz's brother, wrote:

Last evening my loving, kind, funny and humble brother Mike Gretz lost his short and very courageous battle with brain cancer. Mike made a lifelong career out of his boyhood hobby, he designed, built and flew control line and radio controlled model airplanes. I do have a heavy heart this morning, but am comforted in knowing that now he is free to spread his wings and soar. Thank you all for the love and support you have shown me and my family during this difficult time.

Offline Mike Keville

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Re: Mike Gretz
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2016, 04:40:05 PM »
Very sad news, indeed.  Mike was a good guy.
FORMER member, "Academy of Multi-rotors & ARFs".

Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Mike Gretz
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2016, 08:35:38 PM »
He was one of the greatest. :( :'(
John E. "DOC" Holliday
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Have fun as I have and is still breaking a record.

Offline dale gleason

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Re: Mike Gretz
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2018, 11:45:36 AM »
I watched a TV Special about Charles Lindberg some time ago and in the credits after the show, there were "thank- yous" given to "Mike Gretz". I had to find out if it was our Mike Gretz so I gave him a call and sure'nuff, it was.

Mike was a Lindberg historian and he had considerable knowledge about his subject. A trunk had been discovered in San Diego and it contained the working drawings for the Spirit of St. Louis, done by the designer. Mike's expertise was sought out to shed light on this historically valuable find.

I seem to remember bringing this up on SH before, but, if I did, I don't see it now, so I've reposted.

Mike's impact on aviation went farther than his SIG years.
 He was a great personality and left all too soon,

dale g

Offline Jerry Eichten

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Re: Mike Gretz
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2018, 11:43:23 PM »
It was a pleasant surprise to hear from Mike a few years ago in connection with his Lindberg research. 

He said a museum near me had a DH-4M biplane on display and wondered if I could send photos.  I think I recall Mike saying it was the type of plane Lindberg had flown on a mail route.

He was connected to a group that wanted to restore a DH-4 and they wanted to know more about this particular airplane, said to the be the last DH-4M with an airworthiness certificate.  I found the plane under the wing of the Hughes Flying Boat at the Evergreen Air Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.  He especially wanted pics of the landing gear, struts, and rib spacing. 

I was happy to help.  Mike and I were both members of the Mankato (MN) Modeleers in the early 70's. I hadn't see him since I flew in the first SIG CL contest in Montezuma, probably around 1973 or so..   
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Offline Dan McEntee

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Re: Mike Gretz
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2018, 09:51:24 PM »
   Hi Dale;
    If you can ever remember the title of that special, let me know so I can try to find it. I had many great "Lindy" discussions with Mike over the years. He would make trips to St. Louis over the winter to do research at our history museum. The have the largest collection of Lindberg memorabilia and other items than even Mr. Lindberg had. Robertson Aircraft played a large part in Lindberg's early career and Mike researched that so thoroughly that he knew more about the Robertson Family than the Robertson Family did! I was born and raised and still live within smelling distance of Lambert Field, and my family had ties to several of the older FBOs that used to be at the field and I'm pretty familiar with Lambert's history. Mike would ask me about how the boundaries and outlines of the airport had changed and things didn't make sense to him when he read period maps. He was in pretty tight with the Smithsonian and was one of the very few people who were on the floor when the Spirit was lowered from the ceiling several years ago for some preservation work. I got to talk with Mike about that a bit and would love to see his photos and notes from that trip. One year at the SIG contest, we were chatting during a lull in the action about the NYP itself, and he showed me a picture of the bare fuselage frame sitting on some saw horses. I had seen this photo many times and asked what his question about it was. He said that the common belief was that the agreement to build the airplane included a 90 day dead line, and it was finished and ready to test fly in plenty of time. Mike asked me," You are a welder and fabricator, what can you tell me about that fuselage frame by what you see in the photo." I had noticed right off years earlier when I saw a really clear photograph that the rear 4 or 5 feet of the fuselage was darker, like it was still in raw metal tube form, and the rest was in primer. I told him that I thought that a longer tail section was grafted onto an existing fuselage. He just smiled and agreed with me. Some people associated with Ryan Aircraft always insisted that it was completely built from scratch, and was just a modified Ryan M-1 Brougham mail plane with increased fuselage length and wing span. Mike's other point was to point out some brackets that were on the bottom cross piece of the fuselage at the firewall. When he was at the Smithsonian, he could see those brackets sticking out from the covering on the Spirit. On the original M-1 mail plane, the landing gear was a cross over suspension style and used bungee chord to shock absorbers, and these brackets were the anchors for that. There is no good reason for them to be on the Spirit, as it used an oleo style suspension, and most are familiar with. Mike reasoned that if you were on a tight deadline, you would do anything you could to meet that deadline, including using anything that you had on hand that was suitable and built up, like a time consuming steel tube fuselage! To him this was proof that they used an existing standard M-1 fuselage and modified it accordingly to the NYP design specs, and I would have to agree. I think this was probably the last time we got to really get into a good BS session before he passed away. I sure would like to have a few more with him, maybe in the here after.  We all sure do miss you, Mikey!
    Dan McEntee
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Offline MikeyPratt

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Re: Mike Gretz
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2018, 11:04:24 AM »
Hi Bill,
I still mis my good friend and flying buddy.  Not a day goes by without thinking of him and the fun things we worked on together.

Mike Pratt