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  • August 11, 2022, 05:50:46 AM

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Author Topic: Passing of Greg Howie- LA Area CL Flyer-Request: stories & photos for the Family  (Read 1269 times)

Offline Paul Wescott

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VCB (Valley Circle Burners) Weekly Nag 11-23-20

Today is Monday, and this has been the most difficult issue to put together in quite some time.

No further preamble.  Please give priority to reading the article which immediately follows, and be sure to give attention (as if you otherwise wouldn't) to the centerfold.

Official VCB Club Business

Greg Howie: Final Flight

It is painful to have to print this, but Greg Howie passed away sometime during the evening of Sunday, November 8.  According to his big sister, Linda Bullard, death was by natural causes, and Greg apparently passed peacefully while resting comfortably in bed, wearing headphones and listening to music.  Greg was 61 years-old.  He had been dealing with some chronic issues, including diabetes and back pain, for a number of years, but had appeared to be doing relatively well recently, and so his passing was unexpected.

Besides his fascinations with airplanes (He worked professionally as an A&P mechanic.) and cars, plus his eclectic tastes in music, Greg's driving passion was his love for cats.  There were always "enough," often plus a few kittens, around Greg's place, and he was a breeder of a dramatic-looking type.  The photo below is one sent here by Greg a couple of months ago, showing him with one of these cats.

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It has taken us a while to put the relevant data together and confirm everything, but there will be two events in Greg's memory, both of which are imminent.

According to Linda, there will be a "visitation" (including a brief service) and viewing tomorrow, Tuesday the 24th, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the chapel of Pierce Brothers Valhalla Mortuary in Burbank.  This is located on the North Hollywood border, just north of Victory Boulevard.  Viewing will be limited to two or three people at a time, and standard mask protocols are expected to be followed.

A celebration of Greg's life is scheduled for Wednesday the 25th at 1:00 under a tent in the Pierce Brothers parking lot, followed by a gravesite service at 2:30.  Physical attendance at both services will be limited to between 15-20 people total, and will be by reservation only.  Linda has requested that you call her at (951) 522-8522 or contact her via e-mail at lindabullard88@gmail.com if you wish to be there.  Social distancing and mask discipline will be observed at both sites.

In light of the current pandemic, Linda has arranged for remote attendance at both events.  Both will be live streamed on the Pierce Brothers Valhalla Facebook page for those who have accounts.  It should also be possible to access the live stream via the Pierce Brothers web page, but as of press time this option is not working yet.

A third option which will be available is to remote attend via Zoom.  Unfortunately, as of press time, the link has not yet been assigned for these events.  We expect this information to become available in plenty of time for tomorrow's, and will put out a special bulletin as soon as it's available, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Linda has expressed her eagerness to hear from Greg's flying buddies and other friends, and encourages all who knew him to touch bases with her at the phone number and/or e-mail address above.

I am asking that anyone who has a story involving Greg which they would like to share, plus everyone who has one or more digital photos documenting his fleet or just including Greg himself, please send them here this week for inclusion in next week's issue.  I really want to get this done in one shot: not so much for our club's archives, but to put together an assemblage of images and memories for Greg's sister, Linda.

Thanks in advance for your help in making this happen.

Al Hieger
dognosticator at yahoo dot com, or
via phone at 805-210-2011

Unofficial/Fun Stuff

Playmate of the Week

This week, in honor of Greg Howie, we cast our eyes on what turns out to have been the model which he was the most proud of having produced.  We want to thank Ron Cameron for the photos which follow, which we use as a jumping-off point for some thoughts which come, unbidden, to the mind at the moment.  Please forgive the exercise of editorial privilege.

We start with this top view of Greg's Sig Magnum.

Inline image
As Ron relates and that unmistakeable muffler indicates, Greg chose to power the Magnum with a SuperTigre G.51.  The nose profile is "rounded out" by a Randy Smith needle nose spinner.  This latter item shows off well in the side view.

Inline image

One thing which Greg and I shared in common and spent a reasonable amount of time discussing was our appreciation of the models built in years gone by by the late Walt Prey.  I've felt for decades that the paint schemes on Walt's ships made them the CLPA equivalent of the classic California hot rods which the rest of the world thinks cruise "the boulevards," and Greg tended to rock to that same vibe.  It came as less than a total surprise, therefore, and something of a delight, to discover that Greg built and finished his Magnum under Walt's watchful tutelage.

I thought it strange that we'd never seen this ship in the air, or even at the field.  According to Ron, Greg felt that he'd ladled on the paint so heavily (compounding the sin with the clear coats) that he knew the ship to be so heavy as to be doomed to existence as a "pig,"and, as a result, the bird was never flown.  We'll never know for certain whether or not Greg's assessment was accurate, but we can be grateful that the circumstances enable us to gaze at his favorite hangar queen in a pristine state.

I make this comment because a scan of the archives seems to show that we have relatively little documentation of Greg's fleet: surprising in light of his proven craftsmanship abilities.  Those who flew often with Greg were aware that his fleet was prone to a high rate of attrition.  This was largely attributable to his unshakeable faith that the most sensitive control setup possible was where he wanted his stunt ships to be.  There are relatively few of us (mostly drawn from Combat ranks) who could safely fly one of Greg's models, much less do so comfortably.  There is no denying, though, that his fleet was subject to extraordinarily high rates of hangar rash at home, a phenomenon at least partially attributable to Greg's passion for cats. . .

Anyway, his iron loyalty to really sensitive controls was brought home in 2019 when he acquired an nth-hand profile Pathfinder out of Steve Schiff's garage.  The ship was set up to what most Stunt afficionadi would consider normal throws and ratios.  Greg hated the ship from the very first flight, complaining that he couldn't get it to turn.  As the ship had been flying pattern after pattern over a number of years for a variety of pilots, most of us who heard this felt that the setup wasn't really a problem.  Greg, though, could never adjust to flying the ship the way "everyone" advised him to, and eventually he had to change the setup to something which left him less in fear of hitting the ground.  The ship's career was short, but I don't know (someone else in the club probably does) whether that was due to a flying accident or a catastrophic episode of hangar rash.

Two ships were brought frequently to the field by Greg over the most recent few years: a profile Oriental (I think from a Brodak kit.) and a Goldberg Shoestring.  Greg spent a couple of years, on and off, trying to bring the Oriental into trim.  What he'd initially thought was a flap misalignment turned out to be a main-structure wing warp, and I eventually lost track of how many iterations of wrapping in steaming hot towels and then weighting he went through before he finally got it to come out right.  It was another ship that Greg felt came out heavy because of paint, and he would say terrible things about its handling characteristics to me at the field.  The Oriental's base color was the same pearlescent white that Walt Prey used for the Palmer T-Bird which appeared in this centerfold a couple of years ago, so I harbor the suspicion that Walt's support, if not direct supervision, was involved.  Metallic purple trim contrasted beautifully with the pearl white base.  I know I've got a photo of this ship in the archives, but couldn't locate it in time for this article.

The other ship which shouts "Greg" to me was the Shoestring.  The finish was blue over white, utilizing the same "sunburst" motif used by Greg on the profile Oriental.  This one wasn't much of a looker, having taken about the same level of abuse as my own yellow and red beater of the same design.  Greg's, however, was unique.  The kit, as it arrived from Goldberg, contained a fixed stab which had somehow been mis-stamped during the die-cutting process.  Whatever the cause, the result was a deep scallop in the stab leading edge at each tip, resolving into a tip bulge reminiscent of the dynamic counterbalances on some World War One aircraft, but part of the fixed horizontal tail.  Greg shrugged, built it the way it came, and it's flown fine ever since.  It goes without saying the Greg used the stock plywood horn which came in the kit, so the ship had exactly the lightning corner that he preferred.

TTFN
« Last Edit: February 02, 2021, 12:22:55 PM by De Hill »

Offline Paul Wescott

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Greg.  You were a fun guy to talk to.  Say hi to John Brodak, Tom Lay, and all the other legends you’re stooging for now...

Paul

Offline Bill Schwagerman

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Thank you for the notification Paul. I will send a note to Linda and family but will provide a brief note here.

Greg Howie and I were very good friends in the late 1990's into the early 2000's. He was born in late August 1959 and I was born in early September 1959 and our personalities were kind of similar so we just clicked. We both flew at about the same level with regards to stunt pattern quality (lower intermediate level - LOL) yet we both shared our love for the hobby. We both flew Sig profiles at the time and enjoyed the history of stunt and Greg and I traded a lot of stuff related to "classic" motors and hardware. Since I am from Missouri and he was in California we spent a lot of time on the phone or wrote letters as well as sending and receiving stunt goodies from each other. I remember once being on the phone with Greg on a weekend morning talking about all that he was learning from Walt Prey and at the time the subject was using candy color paint. He had the excitement of a little kid with his first toy during that conversation and I couldn't help but think how special this hobby is with special buddies like Greg. He even sent me some candy color samples to have me try them. The phone conversation was eventually interrupted when I heard knocking at his door. He looked out and said Walt Prey was there so he had to go. He valued Walt and his incredibly artistic abilities and I was happy for him to have that kind of mentorship. Control line stunt is a fantastic hobby for those of us wired like we are but it's also a precious thing because of the friendships, the buddies we have in this unique hobby. I'm sad to know Greg is gone now but hopefully we can learn from this early passing Greg had and know time is short. Let's all get through this current state of our society and try to spend more time with our buddies sharing experiences and building and flying model airplanes. It's good medicine.

Bill Schwagerman     

Offline Scott Richlen

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Rest in Peace Howie.

Offline John Lindberg

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We are losing more of the Old Timers, more than new people coming into the hobby, I believe!

Offline kevin king

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Must have been nice to have Walt Prey at your door. I talked to Greg several times on Stuka Stunt Forum. Nice guy.


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