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Jean Shepherd's 1973 Radio Broadcast on Model Airplanes

Ben Buckle's "Flying Quaker" Kit - Airplanes and Rockets

Ben Buckle Kits' "Flying Quaker"

Quaker Flash Magazine Advertisement - Airplanes and Rockets

Quaker Flash Magazine Advertisement. Shep says in the broadcast that his Flying Quaker has a 5½-foot wingspan, but the Flying Quaker had a 7-foot wingspan. I wonder whether he actually built the Quaker Flash, which did have a 5½-foot wingspan? 

Jean Shepherd's 1973 Radio Broadcast on Model Airplanes - Airplanes and RocketsJean "Shep" Shepherd, most recently known for the movie "A Christmas Story," spawned by his book entitled "In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash," was widely known in the 1950s through 70s for his ad hoc story telling on AM radio stations like WOR in NY City. Shep was an avid amateur radio enthusiast his entire life, and told anecdotes about it often while on the air. He was also an airplane modeler in his younger days. This May 3, 1973 Model Airplanes broadcast by Shep recounts the time he and his friend Schwartz (a real guy and one of The Christmas Story" characters), as teenagers, pooled their paper route money to buy and build Flying Quaker R/C airplane from plans, with a Brown engine and home-built radio gear (they were both Hams with electronics skills). It was nearly a year-long project for them. On the Flying Quaker's maiden flight, it got caught up in a strong thermal. Listen to his story to learn how it turned out.

Shep also talks in the broadcast about attending indoor free flight contents, and has news about a disturbing trend in Great Britain where dirtbags were hijacking of R/C airplanes in flight and then making off with them (begins at around the 8 minute point, then continues later). Interestingly, a Mazda car commercial touting its supposed-to-be-paradigm-changing Wankel rotary engine can be heard. At about the 22 minute point he starts talking about a friend of his who set and indoor free flight endurance record. Finally, at around 32 minutes into the broadcast he tells the story of the Flying Quaker. Note the venue for that flight was the Calumet Aero Club, which must have been in Indiana since that is where he lived at the time.

I like this quote from Shep during the show, "Technically minded kids have the greatest ups and downs." He says it is because the passion, time, and money invested in projects can trigger extreme emotions of success and failure when the moment comes to test the thing for the first time. 

 

 

Posted May 11, 2019

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Kirt Blattenberger
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Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD ...
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