The Jetco Shark 15 was
my first "real" control line airplane, procured sometime in the 1970 to 1972 timeframe.
I notice that my AMA number, 92498, was not painted on the wing. The ones that preceded
it were all plastic Cox models and a couple profile balsa ones with solid sheet
wings. The Shark 15 launched me into a whole new realm of control line stunt
since it had a built-up wing with a "real" airfoil and even flaps coupled to the
elevator. The Fox .15 engine (shown above) was a bear to start, but then my
paltry modeling budget at the time meant starting equipment consisted of a couple
"D" batteries and no electric starter. While I never have to this day performed
a recognizable cloverleaf, this model probably brought me as close to it as I'll
Here is my electric-powered Jetco Shark 15, which I dubbed
the E−Shark 15.
Read the construction notes from fellow Shark 15 owner
Kim Allen Stricker
It was built with
trusty Duco Cement (from DuPont) and was covered in
Silkspan. A few coats
of clear and silver butyrate dope from Sig finished off the wing, while the fuselage
was done in black. I remember my father having one of the reporters at the newspaper
where he worked as the classified ad manager (The Evening Capital, in Annapolis,
Maryland), stop by the
Perfect Parts Company up in Baltimore to pick up the wheels and
fuel tank. Mail ordering equipment was still a very new concept for me, so most
of my purchases were made in a hobby shop. The photo was probably take around 1970-1972,
when I would have been about 12-14 years old. Disposition: Finally crashed to the
point of no restoring it.
Jetco Shark 15 Control Line Airplane - Plans
Jetco Shark 15 Control Line Airplane - Kit Parts
The kit shown here is one I bought for about $40 on eBay in 2007. I also bought
a Fox .15 for about $35. The model will probably never be built. For the benefit
of anyone wanting to take a nostalgic trip back in time, I took pictures of the
plans with all the parts packed in the box. There is another photo below it of all
the parts pulled out of the box so that you can see everything. Eventually, I will
take detailed photos of the plans and parts and put them here.
These pictures were found on an eBay auction in December 2007,
and do a good job showing the Jetco Shark 15's airframe.
Look for this kit on eBay when you get word of my death,
because neither of my kids has any interest whatsoever in model airplanes.
15 decal - I don't remember it, but there must have been one in my kit from long
ago, and the kit I bought on eBay had one just like it.
Kim Allen Stricker's Jetco Shark
--- Kim's Shark 15 Ready for Action ---
(a Midwest airport in the background and an RF Cafe coffee mug in the foreground)
Shark 15 & Winder
Shark 15 & Winder
Monokote & Paint
It won't be long now...
Almost ready to cover
Enya .19 in the nose
Framed-up Shark 15
Bell crank installation
Shark nose assembly
Laser-cut ribs for the Shark 15
Center rib correction
I've found a small discrepancy with the Lazer-Works Shark that might give someone
a little hassle in the early stages of building the wing, and am gonna send them
a note about it. It's not a big deal, just a little trimming to avoid problems early
on. Otherwise, I should have the thing standing on it's legs in a day or two.
15 wing framed up
Here is a note I received from fellow long-ago Shark 15 owner
Kim Allen Stricker, in response to
my posting here. Kim has given permission to include it on my Shark 15 page. He
is also providing construction photos for the short kit he bought from
I stumbled across the short story on your website about a Jetco Shark 15 built
in the early '70's. Man! What a weird coincidence...down to the glue used...I guess
a lot of us were living the same dream back then! My Uncle Wayne taught me to fly
control-line planes in 1968 (starting with a battered, but beloved Cox PT-19 Trainer),
and on many Sunday afternoons, the local ball park was filled with the whining cadence
of endlessly circling models of every color that Aero Gloss offered.
My uncle had built a Shark 15 (with Duco Glue) and installed an Enya .19 (that
sucker MOVED!!!). Being a farmer on a tight budget, he had to match the airplane
to the engines he had on hand, and didn't own a .15, so the Shark became a .19-powered
Another thing about my uncle was that when he finished a model...it was finished...no
trimming, no ballast added or removed, and very little investigating or enhancing
of it's flight habits. His son Bobby, and I just had to adapt to any quirks the
plane might have.
While the Shark looked and flew great, it maneuvered like a big truck with no
power steering. A simple loop would result in a screaming, grass clipping pull-out
that would have the "down wire" trailing way out behind the guitar-string-tight
"up wire"! We'd have the handle hauled clear back to horizontal, trying to miss
the ground, with the appropriate "WHOA" from any spectators as the Shark laid a
shock wave across the ballpark's infield!
Of course, this was ultimately the source of it's un-doing, when Bobby came up
an ant's-height too short, and the Shark impacted the ground right in front of us.
The grass grabbed the plane and stopped it almost instantly, exploding nearly all
of the Silkspan off the wings, and fracturing everything from the engine mounts
to the rudder.
A few years later, I built my own Shark (again with Duco Household Cement), and
checking out the carcass of my uncle's plane (he kept everything), discovered that
he had made a mistake in hooking up the controls. You might remember that the pushrod
ran from the bellcrank to a horn on the flaps, with another pushrod going from the
flaps to the elevator. He had their position reversed, so the poor Shark had a ton
of flap travel, with just a little elevator movement!
With the correct pushrod positions, the Shark became a great aerobatic machine
and I flew it for many years with the same Enya that had powered my uncle's plane...still
blasting around the sky, but missing the ground with a lot more margin!
Anyway, hope this wasn't too boring. Thanks much for your story!!!
More... (June 2008)
As a 12-13 year-old, I was very lucky to have my Uncle Wayne step up to give
me a direction for all the stuff that goes on in a kid's mind at that age. Those
dusty, oily Sunday afternoons at the ball park are some of the best memories I have.
The names of the airplanes and their engines (Ringmaster, Shoestring, Voo Doo, Cox,
McCoy, Fox) are still magic-sounding to me, and it's hard for people to appreciate
that they were way more than just toys.
With my lawn-mowing/Grit selling budget, every purchase had to be strategically
planned, and involved a lot of imagining and day-dreaming before the actual plane
ever came into existence on my little work table. Even their box-tops were used
as posters in the "Hall of Fame" I created by nailing them to the wall beside my
More... (August 2008)
Over the past couple
of years, I've been slowly working through my stacks of old photos...scanning them
to my computer, and found a few of an old buddy of mine and his Shark. In 1975-76,
Kevin built a Shark and painted it in colors and scheme very nearly matching mine.
The planes were so close in speed that we found we could easily fly in close formation,
and actually put on a couple of good shows with our Sharks.
The similar looks got us into trouble one afternoon. We had a good flight going...I
had just come over the top, and was locked onto Kevin's Shark...about a foot or
so above it, and about a foot back from even. He told me later that he got confused
and thought his was the top Shark...anyhow, he yanked hard, intending to wing-over
away from my plane...and of course, I plowed into him!
My prop tore into his inboard wing and flap, and then ripped off his inboard
stabilizer and elevator. The strike killed my engine and broke it's prop, but I
was able to just glide down and actually make a pretty good landing on the infield
dirt, with just a hole knocked in my outboard wing from his rudder. Kevin wasn't
as lucky...when my prop struck his elevator, it tore the control horn loose, so
the only pitch control he had was the flaps. And of course, the engine picked this
time to go to full lean, and really started to wind up!
At first, we thought he was gonna make it...we knew the engine had to be almost
out of fuel, and his Shark continued in level flight (while I grabbed mine and ran
to safety!) for two or three laps...with Kevin yelling that he wasn't getting much
from his control inputs...real "rock-on-a-string" stuff! Unfortunately, it finally
got a little off level, swooping and climbing steeper and steeper...until it hit
the ground. Considering what could have happened, he got off pretty easy...crunched
belly, bent landing gear and torn up covering on the bottom of the wing. I think
he repaired it, but don't remember for sure.
I've also included photos of my old Shark...been getting the shop in shape for
building the new one...gonna try to recycle some of the hardware from the old dog,
so I may use the bellcrank and leads, along with the landing gear wire.
That's about it...time to go do a little "Shark Surgery"!
More... (August 2008)
I finally got a full day to myself, and used several chunks of it to move the
Shark along. I'm still appreciating those laser-cut parts!
I decided to put the lead-out exits under the wingtip (Cosmetics), and may make
the landing gear two piece, so I can fly without it...IF I can get someone trained
enough that I trust them to chuck the sucker!
And More... (end of August 2008)
Thanks for the compliment! The Sucker is on it's feet! Gonna have to start seriously
thinking 'bout a paint scheme for it. Probably will go with a variation on the classic
box-top scheme and not do the Navy Blue / White thing again.
I was really tempted to go the silkspan route...nostalgic flash-back and all...but
am going Monokote, both for the reason you mentioned, and also because my ancient
bottles of Aero Gloss have mostly dried up. I do want to paint the fuselage, and
will have to res each some current brands of paint that'll stand up to that slobbering
Enya...probably go with the Top Flite Monokote paints. If you've got any suggestions,
I'd appreciate your input.
I'm gonna use "Old School" stitched hinges (carpet thread) rather than the mechanical
or Monokote method (the cloth ones would need the dope/silkspan route on the wings).
Years ago, I discovered that I could make hinges using a carpet thread, with no
slop or stiffness, and have never be able to wear them out or get them to fail.
Changed my mind on the lead-outs...they're back on top of the wingtips!
Made the landing gear removable by simply cutting it in half, and sleeving the
gear hole with a piece of brass tubing. Used the gear-clamps from the original kit.
Installed a reinforced tail-skid, with hoop for the launching stooge.
Gonna leave off the wing-fuselage fairings so I can get a cleaner fuse/wing Monokote/paint
Mid-October 2008 Update
Thought I'd send
another Shark Up-Date! Got me some Brodak Dope flowing, and tapes masking, and otherwise
stretching out a project that I would have had finished in a week as a kid! Got
plenty of trim left...might as well use some more masking tape!
The combines are running, and the thermals are popping, so I get to sit in my
lawn chair and critique the soaring qualities of corn-stalk leaves as they back
glide down following their Dust-Devil high start! I've seen these leaves stabilized
in a glide at over 2000 feet on Fall days when the baby tornadoes are active! Great
entertainment with a glass of afternoon ice tea! (at least for a simple mind!)
Hope things are good on your end!