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Author Topic: Oba St. Clair - April 5, 1912 - August 14, 1986  (Read 2262 times)

Offline Robert Zambelli

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Oba St. Clair - April 5, 1912 - August 14, 1986
« on: December 18, 2020, 05:49:56 PM »
I remember reading somewhere that Mr St Clair built a control line model that was capable of doing a roll.

If true, does anyone have a photo or diagram of the model?

Bob Z.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2021, 02:34:20 PM by De Hill »

Offline Brett Buck

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2020, 06:23:49 PM »
I remember reading somewhere that Mr St Clair built a control line model that was capable of doing a roll.

If true, does anyone have a photo or diagram of the model?

Bob Z.

   I am not aware of that, although other people certainly did. I think St. Clair's model had aileron control, but was not capable of doing a roll, maybe just slight banks against line tension. Could be wrong, but there was a very extensive write up in a model mag (MB or MA) about it, which should be able to clear it up.  And it was an exhibit in the Walker patent case.

   The drawings I saw about doing rolls looked like a Fireball with the fuse cut into three pieces, a shaft down the middle, and a yoke on that shaft that went around the wing. Release the model from the yoke and it would to a 360 degree roll. It was unclear but I think it had a simple latch and some fixed aileron, release the latch and the aileron rolled the model.

         Brett

Offline Trostle

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2020, 07:19:26 PM »
I remember reading somewhere that Mr St Clair built a control line model that was capable of doing a roll.

If true, does anyone have a photo or diagram of the model?

Bob Z.

In his book, Pioneers of Control Line Flying, Charles Mackey had a chapter on Oba St. Clair that chronicled St. Clair's work to develop tethered flight.  Based on Mackey's research, St. Clair is credited as being the father of control line flying.  There is nothing in the article about an airplane that could roll.

Model Airplane News, August 1050, had an article by Walater R. Wincek and plans for his Flapjack which was a control line model that could roll.  It had elevator control.  There was a yoke attached to the forward part of the crankcase of the engine and behind the tail.  With aileron control, the airplane could perform a roll.

Keith

Offline Gerald Arana

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2020, 07:26:29 PM »
So who's going to be the first to build one?  #^

Jerry

Offline Fred Underwood

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2020, 07:40:33 PM »
Fred
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Offline Brett Buck

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2020, 08:05:43 PM »
Model Airplane News, August 1050, had an article by Walater R. Wincek and plans for his Flapjack which was a control line model that could roll.  It had elevator control.  There was a yoke attached to the forward part of the crankcase of the engine and behind the tail.  With aileron control, the airplane could perform a roll.

   That is essentially the same concept as the drawing I saw (which I won't even attempt to find, I have too much of a mess...) but the yoke ends went immediately in front of and behind the wing, and pivot on a shaft or tube that was holding the fuselage sections together. Otherwise the latch was similar, and had a pull-pin sort of deal just like this one. I have seen a couple of different variants on it.

    Brett

Offline Larry Renger

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2020, 08:39:11 PM »
Ah, but could it do a rolling square vertical eight? Letís set a serious challenge here. 🤣
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Offline John Park

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2020, 04:24:40 AM »
Pete Cock, who won the first-ever Gold Trophy stunt contest in Britain, described going inverted by means of a half-roll with his 1949 Kan-Doo.  Powered (if that's the right expression) by a 2cc ED diesel, it could be made to turn to the right, under the influence of rudder and engine offset, if he slackened the lines by running towards it.  When it was heading in exactly the opposite direction, he would step back, pull on the lines and - bingo - inverted flight.  I never had the nerve to try it with my Mills 1.3-powered Stuntmaster (a 1948 Bill Dean design), but with the slow flight and low line-tension of those early diesel models, I could probably have got away with it.
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Online Dan McEntee

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2020, 08:21:52 AM »
   There was an extensive, two part article , I believe , that was in Model Builder magazine on Oba St. Clair. I'll have to see if I can zero in on which issues, but I think it was towards the end of the magazine's run. Might have been mention of it in Dave Thornburg's "Do You Speak Model Airplane" book also. His model was duplicated by some one and I think is in the AMA museum. The 'handle" that he used to control the airplane looked like something that a marionette puppet requires. The article was the first thing i remember reading about him and tied in with facts about the law suit that Jim Walker brought about against Cox.  It was during this trial that St. Clair's work was presented to the world and that he and some others in England   (possibly the before mentioned Pete Cock  ) had discovered and used the bell crank/pushrod method of control at the same time or before Walker had developed his system. Once I get a few more irons out of the fire to get ready for Christmas, I'll see if I can lay my hands on it and report back with the information. It was a pretty interesting article.
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Offline Fred Underwood

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2020, 11:38:50 AM »
The article noted above is about Oba, Cox and Walker. 

https://www.modelaircraft.org/sites/default/files/files/StClairOba.pdf
Fred
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Online dennyleo

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2020, 02:49:43 AM »
   There was an extensive, two part article , I believe , that was in Model Builder magazine on Oba St. Clair ...

Dan, the December 1981 issue of Model Builder included Tribute to Oba St. Clair - First to Fly Control Line.

I'm happy to give St. Clair credit for "inventing" U-Control, but I wonder how many of us would know of it if not for Jim Walker.

Not to diminish St. Clair in any way, Walker demonstrated it to multitudes and - perhaps more importantly - produced and marketed affordable products that got thousands of us flying.

We're talking about politics a lot right now; I'm reminded of Rule #1: you can be the best candidate, you can offer the best ideas and programs, you can have the means to help the most, you can be completely altruistic - but you can't do a darned thing if you don't get elected.  Walker got it out there.

Dennis,
Forever grateful for the gift of a Firebaby!
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Online Dan McEntee

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2020, 09:50:38 AM »
Dan, the December 1981 issue of Model Builder included Tribute to Oba St. Clair - First to Fly Control Line.

I'm happy to give St. Clair credit for "inventing" U-Control, but I wonder how many of us would know of it if not for Jim Walker.

Not to diminish St. Clair in any way, Walker demonstrated it to multitudes and - perhaps more importantly - produced and marketed affordable products that got thousands of us flying.

We're talking about politics a lot right now; I'm reminded of Rule #1: you can be the best candidate, you can offer the best ideas and programs, you can have the means to help the most, you can be completely altruistic - but you can't do a darned thing if you don't get elected.  Walker got it out there.

Dennis,
Forever grateful for the gift of a Firebaby!


    Thanks for the help Dennis. I did not mean to diminish anyone's contributions to the origins of control line. Walker was surely the Pied Piper or model aviation! St. Clair sounds like the simple country gentleman, who loved to experiment and tinker. I was just trying to illustrate what the courts eventually ruled on, and that it is possible for several people to have an "original" idea at the same time. What is done to act on that idea is a whole 'nother matter! I am a big fan of all things Jim Walker and American Junior Aircraft and have a humble little collection of his products. I also respect all of the pioneers and their efforts. I would like to have been there in St. Clair's shop to listen to his ideas and theories, and the same for Pete Cock, just to see how similar or different they might have been!!
    HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!
      Dan McEntee
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Online RC Storick

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2020, 10:18:41 AM »
I remember reading somewhere that Mr St Clair built a control line model that was capable of doing a roll.

If true, does anyone have a photo or diagram of the model?

Bob Z.

I see it bout twice a year from someone at the field. Just keep your eyes open.
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Offline Steve Helmick

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2020, 05:40:58 PM »
My recollection is that there was an article in Model Aviation about Oba St. Clair within the last 10 years or so. Since they have a good website that's searchable for articles, that's where I would start looking. All I recall is that he did it around 1935 and lived in Eugene, Oregon or somewhere down in that general area. But don't quote me on any of the above...  n1 Steve
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In 1944 18-20 year old's stormed beaches, and parachuted behind enemy lines to almost certain death.  In 2015 18-20 year old's need safe zones so people don't hurt their feelings.

Offline Robert Zambelli

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2020, 03:33:13 AM »
Interesting replies - thanks to all.
As I recall, there was some sort of spherical cage around the plane and the plane rolled within the cage.
I donít know exactly when but I read it quite a few years ago.

Bob Z.

Offline Jim Kraft

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2020, 07:40:18 PM »
Someone built a copy of Oba's first control line model for the AMA display.  It was basically a free flight plane with elevator control. As most of the first control line models were free flights converted to control line they were called goats. The reason being so that they would be able to fly in a smaller space without having to chase the plane.

By the middle to late 40's the smaller purpose built control line planes were being built for mild aerobatics. The Walker Fireball was one of the most popular of the day.

I spent many of my early years in the park after the war watching guys cranking ignition engines to fly control line. I also remember messing up the windows at the hobby shops staring at all those wonderful spark ignition engines in the window display. I remember going into one hobby shop where they were running engines out in the alley behind the shop.

My own first experience was in about 1951 with an OK Cub and several Scientific hollow log jobs and one Half-Pint race car. I built a couple boats, one kit and the other an own design hydroplane. Both of those were powered by a Johnson electric outboard.

I spent many hours in our basement dreaming up stuff to build when I was not working on my motor scooter. It was actually a Doodle Bug for you old guys that remember those.

I soon graduated to Whizzer motor bikes, the Cushman motor scooters, and by the time I was 14 I was on my first Harley. A 1942 Harley "45"flat head. Hand shift foot clutch.

Wow, I kind of got away from the topic. My fingers get carried away. Just a lot of wonderful memories of my misspent youth. Happy Days.
Jim Kraft

Offline Steve Helmick

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2020, 10:58:15 PM »
The article noted above is about Oba, Cox and Walker. 

https://www.modelaircraft.org/sites/default/files/files/StClairOba.pdf

Thank you for the link, Fred Underwood! I actually read it. I was interested in finding out where "Richfield, Washington" is, and there isn't one, according to Google Maps. Google Maps does know where "Ruby, Washington" is, and it doesn't really exist anymore. I've been there. I suspect the author meant "Richland, Washington". I would also note that the Walker and Cox mentioned in the article are NOT Paul nor Chris.  ;) Steve
"The United States has become a place where professional athletes and entertainers are mistaken for people of importance." - Robert Heinlein

In 1944 18-20 year old's stormed beaches, and parachuted behind enemy lines to almost certain death.  In 2015 18-20 year old's need safe zones so people don't hurt their feelings.

Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Oba St. Clair
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2020, 12:14:01 PM »
If you think about it there was probably a town with that name.  So many small towns being taken into bigger cities and others that the people just quit having a town.  Here in my area I had a hobby shop in White Church, KS,  we had a post office in Bethel, KS( still have plans with that address.  Then Welborn Ks where I attended 6th grade.  Pomroy, KS where I attended 7th and 8th grade before graduating to Washington Rural High School in Bethel.  I lost count of the towns that the government wouldn't let them rebuild because of floods or weather like Tornados.

If some one could find a map of that period of time the town is probably there.   Which reminds of our first trip to Denver for a contest we made a long week end to see a few things and on the way home we came to an intersection that the map showed a town.  All we seen for miles was prairie and mountains in the distance.  D>K
John E. "DOC" Holliday
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