Back in the days when the cycle time between writing articles, proofing, laying out pages, shipping hard copies to printers, setting up presses, and preparing magazine for mailing was about a three or four month process, coverage of a July-August event would finally appear in November-December timeframe. Photos, of course, were all in black and white. Nowadays, with everything done digitally and involving almost no physical, hands-on steps in the process, we often see Nats event happenings as early as September. The November 1974 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine included extensive coverage of that year's Nats, which was held in Lake Charles, Louisiana. This is the control line stunt portion. If you were around during the era, many familiar names appeared like Wynn Paul, Bill Rutherford, Al Rabe, Joe Musumeci (Sr. and Jr.), and Bob and Joe Gieseke. Enjoy the nostalgia.
AMA Nationals 1974 Lake Charles: CL Stunt
by Lew McFarland and Wynn Paul
Just to state that the stunt winners at the 1974 Nationals were Joe Musumeci, Jr. in Junior, Alan Adamisin in Senior, and Bob Gieseke taking Open and the Walker Cup would be a total understatement of the intensity of this year's keen competition.
Joe Musumeci, Jr. flew his Gieseke Nobler to top honors in Junior Stunt.
Pilgrim's Progress, by Jerry Pilgrim, garnered 19 of a possible 20 points in appearance judging. He finished seventh overall.
Wynn Paul and his striking Falkirk Lady, or PAMPA Special. They finished ninth.
Birds of a feather. Bill Rutherford (left) and Al Rabe flew twin P-51s. Al's design will appear in a future AAM.
A family affair. Joe (Sr. and Jr.) Musumeci (left), Art and Alan Adamisin, and Bob and Joe Gieseke.
Probably only those involved will appreciate the competent manner in which Event Director Keith Trostle and Assistant Director Frank McMillan (ably assisted by many of the Precision Aerobatics Model Pilots Association members and wives) ran the event.
Joe Musumeci, Jr., flying a Gieseke Nobler, led all the way as he moved up from his '73 second place to win with 440.67 points. Kenny Stevens (Lexington, Ky.) finally broke the third-place jinx he had carried for three straight years and placed second with 393.3. Defending Champion Bobby Peterson, 12 years old and from Los Angeles, had his handle break with a resulting crash which might have put him out. However, the combined talents of Bob Whitely, Jack Sheeks, Wynn Paul, Bob Gieseke and Hemel Cooper managed to get his plane back together so he could put up his second flight.
Above: Keith Trostle (left), PAMPA President, keeps good company with the Senior Stunt winners. Alan Adamisin V-tailed it to first place; Doug Stout (far right) took second; and Mark Sullivan was third. Left: Bob Gieseke, CL Precision Aerobatics World Champion, put it all together for a first place at the NATS. His most ardent supporter, wife Anna Mae, stands with him in victory.
Bobby's patched-up Tempest flew him to a third place with 341.0.
Alan Adamisin continued his winning ways in Senior Stunt as he edged out Doug Stout by a slim 1.3 points. Alan, with 438.0, said, "I knew I needed to work on my Square Eight and all the bottoms; I was nervous." Doug Stout, with a Fox 35 and a foam wing, said, "This year I had a better plane and lots of practice. I was better prepared than last year." Mark Sullivan, Morristown, N.J. finished third in his first Nationals with 388.7. The winning plane, an original by Alan, used a Max 35 with a built-up spar-less wing.
Open Stunt qualifications on Saturday resulted in several new faces making the final 18 slots, as well as three former champions. Five fliers made the finals for the first time: Jim Lynch, Rich Leroy, Neal Thompson, Tom Dixon and Ted Fancher.
The first round of the finals saw Bob Gieseke and Gene Schaeffer, just back from first and sixth places, respectively, in the FAI competition, tied for first with 548. Defending Champion Al Rabe, with a new P-51 Mustang, was close behind at 537.8. Bill Simons and Les McDonald rounded out the first five places. Six of the 18 finalists were using foam wings; eight of the finalists were using S.T. 46 engines.
The second round saw Gene Schaeffer fail to improve his score, as he dropped to 539.8. Les McDonald got to with in a half-point of Schaeffer's second-round score. Then the rains came - just before Rabe's chance to make it three Nationals in a row. After a 30-minute storm, the skies cleared and "Lake Chennault" drained, allowing the event to continue. Rabe scored 547.1 to keep his third spot. Simons had a great flight and scored 545.8 to move into fourth.
Then the Master with the pipe and the red airplane took over and showed how he won the World Championship. Bob Gieseke scored a 563 to annex his third Nationals victory. His Fox 35 sounded as if it had 400 HP when it counted. Even though, in his words, "This is two real pressure flights in two weeks - that's pretty tough ." Bob showed himself to be the champion he is as he completed the "Triple Crown of Stunt Flying."
Later that afternoon, Bob won the Walker Cup for the third time, beating Alan Adamisin and Joe Musumeci, Jr. Bob said, "This Nationals had less fliers in stunt, but the competition was probably the best I've seen. There were a lot of good flights and only a few points separated the top ten."
PAMPA scored another first as trophies were awarded for the first time for sixth through tenth place in Open Stunt. These were sponsored by the stunt organization. Those places went to Bob Hunt, Jerry Pilgrim, Bill Rutherford, Wynn Paul and Lew McFarland.
Precision Aerobatics for the 1974 Nationals finished up with the first annual PAMPA banquet, attended by some 125 people, where AMA President John E. Clemens spoke and awarded the trophies.
And the NATS just wouldn't be what it is without those little points of human interest. One can only surmise the strong heritage of Stunt as an event of the future by a glance at the familial ties within the circles. Each Junior and Senior had a faithful father in the background, offering more than a mechanic's assistance.
And there was a wife or mother launching a model.
Just to see Donna McFarland or Cecelia Paul pitching in gave a new flavor to the day's flying - a flavor of personal attention and involvement.
And George Aldrich (Mr. Nobler) getting enthused with helping a relative beginner, Coby Garcia, get it all together.
And the local boy (Kensey Newlin) making good by doing only loops and still getting a fifth-place trophy ... how could he lose, since there were only five entries. But that's what the NATS is all about.
Posted October 10, 2020