Bill Jacklin's Airplane Page ...


Hey, we're talking MODEL airplanes here ... although he is a high-time right-seater in general aviation aircraft, he doesn't see well enough to drive a car, let alone fly a full-scale airplane. He even has trouble with model airplanes unless they are real big, real slow, or real close -- choose two.


Nerdy then, nerdy now ...The nerdy-looking kid here on the left is Bill circa 1955. At the time, Bill, then a pretty fair pilot, wanted a "better" plane for contests, so he built the Fox .35-powered Veco Thunderbird. Mistake. Way, way too heavy, it was a real pig. It hung on the basement wall until his younger brother Tom took it out and crashed it years later. (Tom had somehow rescued this old B/W print and gave it to Bill a few years ago.)


A lot older and chubbier ...Like most of his schoolmates, his love of model planes soon gave way to cars, girls, college, job, family, etc., etc. After retirement, Bill returned to the hobby/sport, and while he builds better now, he is a really lousy pilot. (So it's a good thing that he builds faster, too.) He does fly some RC (Radio Control) planes, but he prefers to build and fly the same kind of CL (Control Line) planes he did in the 'fifties. That's probably 'cause he can still see the plane out on the end of the lines 60 feet away.


Look at that asinine grin ...Fortunately, many of these oldies-but-goodies are kitted today by some cottage industries. Most of the older planes, like the Sterling Ringmaster, its variants, and others of like ilk, have poor performance (by today's standards), and are thus well-suited to his meager flying skills. But occasionally he likes to build a plane which is way beyond his ability to push its envelope. Like this one. (But he did a nice paint job.) He kissed it in recently when the engine quitBill (while overhead, of course), apparently for no reason.


Bill-the-lesser (L.) with Bill-the-greater (R.)Back in the 'fifties, Bill really liked a model flying wing called "Half Fast" (think about it) which was both quick and maneuverable. As the designer, Bill Netzeband, went on to bigger and better things, he became one of Bill's heroes. Our Bill finally met famous Bill at the Vintage Stunt Competition (VSC) in Tucson, AZ, a number of years ago. They became friends and in subsequent years our Bill sometimes teamed up with famous Bill at the VSC. (Netzeband flies; Jacklin is the gofer, and not a particularly good one, at that.)


The bucket thing is the pull-tester for lines ...There was a rudimentary and, as it turned out, temporary dirt control-line circle at Windshear International, the former home field of Rocky Mountain Flying Machine (RMFM). As in so many other cases, encroaching civilization (housing projects, apartment complexes, industrial and other commercial facilities, and shopping centers) began to spring up in ever closer proximity to the field, forcing the club to relocate. It was inevitable.


Bill-the-lesser (L.) with Bill-the-greater (R.)





RMFM is one of, if not the only, AMA Gold Leader Clubs in New Mexico. Its members are a pretty laid-back bunch; many of them were once CL'ers but now fly mostly RC. (Click on the RMFM logo here to check out their web site.)

Go to the Rocky Mountain Flying Machine web site ...


Check out the goodies on the (CAUTION: very large --> 200kb) full-sized picture ...He builds the stuff here. Not the best shop around, but not too bad, either. Visible in this photo taken a few years ago are a few power tools, lots of kits on the shelf, a big Telemaster, various CL and electric RC planes, and the new engine stash. The table on the back left is the wing-jig table and the main one in the center of the room is 5' x 6'. A Brodak Cardinal and a Streak 2000 are under construction on it. The Firebaby hanging above it is symbolic; the first powered CL plane he ever flew was a Firebaby -- just 50 years ago. Bill is re-arranging the shop so as to be able to put in a two-around HO model railroad layout with a large yard. Wish him luck ...


[ That's it ! ]