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2019 Awards

Scale Staffel Aero-Modeler of the Year - 2019

The 2019 Scale Staffel Aero Modeler of the Year is Bob Hodes !

                                                  Bob Hodes' Bio 

          I grew up in Ft Worth, Texas. We lived not far from Carswell airfield, so there were often airplanes overhead.   All kids in those days were airplane nuts, and we spent a lot of time looking up.

           I built my first model at about age 9.  It was a dime-scale Fokker D7.  The finished model did not look like a D7, nor did it fly.

           My family later moved to El Paso, where I attended high school.  A neighbor at that time built and flew free flight models.  I watched his models fly, and was hooked.  My first power free flight flew out of sight very early in its career.  I had never seen this happen before and spent the next couple of days searching the desert in vain for the model. 

           After high school came the Navy and then College.   I graduated with a BSEE in 1967, and went to work with a defense contractor now known as Northrop Grumman Mission Systems.  The job took me and my family abroad.  Besides working with the U.S. Air Force, I eventually worked with five foreign air forces in their home countries.  I retired from the company three times, the 3rd and final time in 2017.

           During these years, I often thought back to that D7 and my free flight experience as a teenager. On my trips back to the U.S., I would find the nearest hobby shop to inquire about free flight modelling.  The usual response was a blank look.  I figured that FF modelling must be pretty much dead, but then I saw magazine articles about the FAC and their scale free flight activities. 

           We eventually returned to the U.S. for good, and finally moved to our current home in Henderson Nevada.  Through the FAC, I met Bob Haight, and resumed free flight modelling after a 45 year hiatus.

            Bob and I attended a couple of Cactus Squadron FAC contests near Phoenix, where I learned a lot about free flight scale modelling, and saw what was possible.

           A couple of years later I started attending Scale Staffel FAC contests. The Scale Staffel is a great group of modelers, led by John Hutchison.  Among the ranks of the club are some of the real super stars of our hobby. The club events are highly competitive, educational, and a lot of fun.

            Maybe one of these days I will come full circle and build another dime scale D7.  Maybe this time I will even get it to fly.

I am proud to be associated with this great group of people, and am truly honored to be voted as the Scale Staffel Modeler of the Year.

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Scale Staffel 2019 Indoor Grand Champion  - John Hutchison

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John Hutchison receiving the Scale Staffel Indoor Grand Champion Trophy

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Walter Ainslie receiving Scale Staffel 2019 2nd Place Indoor Trophy 

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Don Brent receiving Scale Staffel 2019 3rd Place Indoor Trophy

Photos courtesy of Arline Bartick

2018 - Scale Staffel Aero Modeler of the Year - Mike Mulligan

2017 - Scale Staffel Aero Modeler of the Year - Robert Hodes

2017 - Scale Staffel Indoor Modeler of the Year - Richard Wood

2016 - Scale Staffel Aero Modeler of the Year - Dale Funk

2016 - Scale Staffel Indoor Champion - Greg Hutchison

Perris Two-Day Event

Sept 21-22, 2019

(more photos in Gallery)

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John Hutchison -

FAC Hall of Fame recipient

My family and I had just been up to Pomona to the AMA show. My daughter saw you could build your own airplane so we did, and that led to finding out about our local flying group.

With a new larger Guillow’s plane unwrapped and assembled, we headed over to the meeting. John greeted us like a grandfather. We hand wound up the plane and let it go. It crashed right into the far wall. John told us to bring the plane over he wanted to take a look at it.

First he give us some tan colored rubber band material and told us to tie a good knot in it. Next he suggested we give the plane a left turn to keep it from hitting the wall. Then to help it fly better we added a second dihedral to the wing tips. Now the plane was circling the floor but not taking off. John made more suggestions and my daughter tried again, this time the plane got off the floor and made a complete circle.

John's next suggestion was to really wind it up. Wind it up she did and so with John’s guidance, teaching, and patience she was able to get a $3 airplane to fly for the longest amount of time I have ever experienced.

John’s willingness and patience to share his knowledge epitomizes why he is in the Flying Aces Hall of Fame.

—William Scott

Reprinted from Flying Aces Club News May/June 2012:

John Hutchison: currently the C.O. of FAC Squadron 41, the SCALE STAFFEL Squadron in San Diego, CA. He is a founding member of this first FAC squadron in California along with Walt Mooney. He was the first Contest Director of WESTFAC at Perris, CA in 2007 and is currently on the WESTFAC working committee. He will be the Contest Director for WESTFAC IV at Perris in 2013.

John was the first FAC member in California to be awarded the Blue Max for sixteen victories. He has worked for over 30 years to foster and support model aviation and the FAC in California and throughout America.

John has been a personal mentor to me and hundreds of other new model builders, teaching them building skills and flight trimming as they developed into competitive builders and flyers. His leadership skills go well beyond the FAC. He has worked tirelessly to promote model building and flying with children in the Science Olympiad and other youth venues for many years.

  -Roger Willis and Kathy McLaughlin

Around 2003, I first met John at a Cactus Squadron FAC contest in Phoenix.  I was just getting back into free flight at the time after a hiatus of about forty years, and was also just getting started in FAC scale. I was very impressed by the scale models that John had brought to the contest, and was very appreciative of the help and advice he so freely gave. His models not only looked good, they also flew very well. I learned a lot from him then, and the experience gave me an idea of just what was possible with free-flight scale.

A few years later, I started attending the Scale Staffel contests at Otay Mesa and Perris. I was impressed that John, as contest director, selflessly gave up so much of his flying time during the contests to ensure that the contestants enjoyed a well-run contest. The same applied to WESTFAC 1 at Perris.

Through the years, I learned more about John’s background, and came to realize that he was indeed one of the sparkplugs of free flight scale in the Western states, and had been for many years. After spending time with John at WESTFAC 3 in Colorado, I decided to nominate him to the FAC Hall of Fame. This was based on the belief that he had gone above and beyond in keeping free flight scale and particularly the FAC movement alive and well in the west. In November, 2011, the nomination was prepared and submitted to Ross Mayo.

Last night, 21 July, I was very happy to learn that John had indeed been selected to the FAC Hall of Fame at the FAC Nats at Geneseo.
—Bob Hodes