A View from Broadway

The Jaffe 2 team racer. All photos by Ken Burdick.

Postal contests (going postal)

By Ken Burdick
May 2021

Yes Folk’s it’s true.

When I was 15 years old, Wayne Nagi and I were introduced to a Team Race airplane.

It was red, and seemed much too large for a .15 engine. The engine didn’t like to start, but finally it did and we took turns flying it. What was the most intriguing part of this was its long and detailed history by a local named Charlie Huff. Charlie was a natural storyteller and before long had convinced us that we needed to build one. Girls, guitars and having teenaged fun seemed to get in the way of any serious building on the model, and like so many things of that day, just faded into obscurity. However, the idea of it all was not lost.

In 1970, Steve Helmick and I decided that we would form a racing team, (Moose and Squirrel Racing team). As bench racers go, we were quite good! Steve said that we should obtain an Eta elite Mark 2 and build a team racer. I was immediately on board, especially if he was going to build it. We got the engine, but the airplane never got past the wing stage. The idea, however was not lost.

Fast forward to COVID 2021

The pandemic has us all roaming around the Internet, and I was on Facebook when I found an interesting site: POSTAL CLASSIC FAI (International). I was originally looking for some piston work to be done on Boris as the soft piston had shown itself to be a limiting factor. Anyway, I was looking for Neil Lickford when I also discovered a site for Postal classic FAI team race! OH BOY!!!! (Here we go again.) I found Neil, and Boris is in surgery now. But the idea behind going postal with a given set of rules was fast becoming the latest passion in my sequestered shop.

Various countries can compete in what would otherwise be a dead event, how cool is that? See the rules.

Enter Mr. Toad: You can’t do it alon.

Mr. Toad is someone all motorheads can understand. One should read “The Wind in the Willows” to further appreciate our malady.

As I began the process of working myself into a lather over having found like-minded people on the bottom of the globe, I decided that I would go back to my roots and try to get an Eta elite Mark 2 engine. In 1968 I read about the USA Team Race team of Stockton and Jehlik. They were without equal and THEY used this engine, so I decided to build their airplane Jaffe 2 with the same engine.

It seems that the hardest part of anything is deciding what to do, the rest follows at a somewhat faster pace. John Knoppi came to the rescue with not only an engine to fill my desire, but also a pan for it that his dad (Tom Knoppi) had in his archives. Meanwhile, I had connected with many people in New Zeeland, Australia, and Great Britain.

The rest is the usual carving, sanding and spraying epoxy all over myself. With any luck on the COVID front, I may be able to fly the Jaffe 2 this summer. Here are a series of construction photos for the Jaffe and its engine.

-- Kennyb

The engine.

The fuselage.

The engine bay.

Ready for paint

On the paint stand.

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This page was upated May 27, 2021