A View from Broadway

T-Square planes by Vintage Performance Model Airplanes. VPMA photo.


By Ken Burdick
July 2021

Yes Folks, it’s true.


At this year's Northwest Control-Line Regionals, there will be some “after hours” activity.


It began one day while I was chatting with Gene Pape and complaining about what dogs the T-Square vintage Combat wings were. One thing you must always keep in mind is that we are both Combat flyers. Before you knew it, “My dog’s better 'n your dog” crept into the conversation, which was strange since Gene didn’t HAVE a T-Square then. Some years ago, I had given Gene a pile of vintage plans that included the 1958 T-Square. I think the kit box says stuff like “winningest combat wing ever designed” and “can be built in one night” or words to that effect. None of this malarkey is true, but in 1958, it sounded good.


Planning to build


It took some braggadocio, but I got Gene riled up to the point of actually building one of the lumber yard things. We stayed in touch to keep the momentum afloat and, true to his word, Gene produced a good-looking T-Square.  The idea of a bet was in the works, but many things had to be agreed upon, like prop size, engine to use and all that jazz. We decided on the Fox Black Head, which was a great engine for Combat in 1958 and we both had them. The prop was decided on a 10x6 as we both found that they pulled said bowser through the maneuvers best.


The Bet



Ken's T-Square. Ken Burdick photo.



Gene's T-Square. Gene Pape photo.


It was none other than the late Barrie Hobkirk that came up with this idea. We were always making silly beer bets and he did me one better and demanded that we use Dinty Moore beef stew as the payment. He won that bet as my Jr. Satan chased me all over the field, trying to drag .021 dia lines. I’m not sure if it was the large or small can.


The bet with Gene is this: whichever T-Square flew better would be the winner of a can of said stew. We agreed that an impartial and qualified judge would be needed. Lane Puckett was immediately contacted and agreed to be the pilot; after all, it was still a year away.


Enter COVID!


By then, summer of 2020, Covid was waning, the next NWR should be Memorial day 2021. You all know that there was another surge of COVID that put everything on hold again in 2021, so May might be a bit optimistic to the forward looking NWR committee, and they elected to move the date to the beginning of September.


Everyone but Lane thought it was a good idea. We soon learned that deer season would be in effect and Lane was going hunting, leaving us with no pilot and judge for our T-Square showdown.


We needed someone of good character, skillful flying abilities, a sense of humor, and no management duties for the NWR. Not often are all four of these attributes found in one individual, so I approached the Stunt the stunt community, and there are some.


Time marches on



T-Square Test Pilot Chris Cox, with his self-built RV. He should be able to evaluate the flying qualities of a couple of CL T-Squares. Cox photo.


So it’s the third week of July and the NWR is coming up as fast as approaching ground in an outside square loop. I remembered a particular flyer who questioned why the PA flyers dumped ice water on him after he won the U.S. Nationals in PA. “It’s because they love you,” I said. He accepted the idea, and I remember thinking that it must have been a good time for all.


So I sent a note to champion PA flyer Chris Cox, posing the question, Would ya do it? ... Huh, well woudja?”


You could not have blinked fast enough before his reply came through: How much do I get paid?”


I said there would be “untold riches” and that seemed to satisfy him. Check #1 for sense of humor.


The day will be Friday after the first day of competition, Sept 3.


The one and only Chris Cox will decide which of the two horrors flies the best. The winner will receive a can of Dinty Moore beef stew — not sure if that qualifies as a winner, but never mind that for now.


We will see you in Roseburg Oregon on Sept. 3 and take it from there.


— Kennyb

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This page was upated July 29, 2021