Chuck and Rosemary Schuette

Charles 'Chuck' Schuette
Born January 24, 1925, in Chicago, Illinois
Died Nov. 13, 2014, in Vancouver, Wash.

By Scott Newkirk and Mike Hazel

Chuck Schuette was a true pioneer in control line speed flying with a 60+ year career that started in the 1940s. Many people thought he was the originator of the sidewinder speed models but Chuck steadfastly declared that one of the guys (I don't remember the name) he flew with at Sepulveda (Los Angeles) in the '40s was the actual originator.  He may not have been the original sidewinder flyer but he was the first to use them successfully.  He was the first to use the asymmetrical model in the F2A world championships.

Chuck did have his noteworthy firsts, though.  He was one of the original users of single-bladed propellers for speed and designed many variants.  His propeller development was known worldwide. He designed new props for many events and those went on to hold many records for him as well as many others.  He was also renowned for his engine development.  He worked for Duke Fox designing engines.  He ran and developed highly modified engines from nearly every engine manufacturer available for the event he was flying.  He used the best regardless of what anyone else was doing.  He was always thinking about how the engine should be designed and would modify his engines based on those thoughts.  I've seen him completely reroute transfer passages filling them in with epoxy then carving them to the shape he wanted.  I think he spent at least 10 times as much time running engines and trying new experiments than he did flying.

He was the only U.S. flyer on the Rossi factory “team,” one of two that were not Italian speed flyers.  As a result of his work with Ugo Rossi and the others of the “Rossi Team,” he had a supply of knowledge, engines and parts for F2A that others couldn't match and made him the top F2A flyer in the country for many years and made him a top international competitor, too.  Chuck had a very successful career flying speed models.  He was on the US F2A team nine times placing 2nd once and 3rd twice.  His U.S. team F2A record: 1962 @ 8th, 1966 @ 3rd, 1972 @ 6th, 1974 @ 3rd, 1976  @ 2nd, 1978  @ 38th, 1982 @ 5th, 1984 @ 19th, 1986 @ 10th,   At one time he held every Northwest record in the events he flew.  Chuck also had many national records to his name.

Chuck was also known for his mentorship of younger and older flyers alike.  He would freely share his knowledge to those who asked.  In his later years he became unable to fly his own models.  Rather than sitting on his models and other equipment, he passed them on to other flyers he thought could and would take up where he left off and continue his quest for better and faster speeds.

I met Chuck at the U.S. Nationals at Los Alamitos, Calif., in 1967.  I was 9 years old and wanted to try speed flying.  My dad found Chuck somehow and we were introduced.  After the competition at the end of the day, Chuck took his model, an inboard assymetrical with a beautiful machined bar stock engine and tuned pipe, and took it apart and showed me what was in it, how the pieces worked and gave me suggestions on how to start.  To say the least I was amazed and very impressed with him and his model.  Several years ago, he gave me a matching engine saying Arnold Nelson had built and won the 1968 world championships with it.

Chuck will always be a model aviation hero to me.  All the years we discussed speed models, engines and flying I will always cherish. In his best years he forgot more than I'll ever know.  He taught me that I didn't know a lot and that it took continuing development to learn, it is a lesson that has applied to most aspects of my life.

-- Scott Newkirk

I do not remember for sure my first contact with Chuck, but it may have been at an early Northwest Regionals where he flew into the airport at Eugene to attend.  He would have been residing in Southern California at the time and probably was somewhat of a “speed celibrity”to us Northwest folks.  If one does some reading in early model magazines, they will run across his name many times in a speed results section.

Chuck’s primary occupation had been as a wind tunnel model builder for McDonnell Douglas.  Being a professional as such, he was quite the craftsman when it came to his personal models.  Some of the attention to detail with his construction was amazing.

When Chuck retired, he came to Vancouver, Wash., sometime in the early 1980s to spend the rest of his years. I remember him once explaining that he had developed an allergy to sunlight and the frequently cloudy conditions in our region was what he needed.  I do remember that when being outdoors he was always well covered up in long sleeves and headgear.

As Scott mentioned above, Chuck was legendary in his FAI speed pursuits regarding engine and propellor knowledge. When that competition arena became too physically challenging,  he took up .21 Sport Speed and the 1/2-A classes, where of course he excelled (his Northwest region 1/2-A speed record still stands) When those events became to difficult for him to fly, he had others pilot his entries for awhile before he decided the activity was just too much.

On a personal level, I was privledged to have Chuck supply exquisite prop patterns for me to use in making molds for my composite prop business. Many of those designs have been top performers and record-setters.

Mr. Charles Schuette will long be remembered by speed modelers everywhere.

-- Mike Hazel

Obituary information provided by Will Naemura

Charles Schuette was born Jan. 24, 1925, and died Nov. 13, 2014 of natural causes. His parents were Mae and Frederick Schuette who lived in Chicago, Ill. Mae and 8-year-old Charley moved to Los Angeles, Calif., where mother worked in a mattress factory and Charley went to public school. Young Charley was fascinated with airplanes so would walk or even roller skate to a nearby airfield. There, the plane mechanics would encourage his interest.

Charley played the clarinet in high school and was chosen conductor of the orchestra for graduation. He won a model plane competition at the age of 16. After high school, Charley became a sergeant in the U.S.Army. He was soon promoted to "photo gunner" on a B-24.

Charley photographed many dangerous bombing missions. He was given a medal for his part in a mission that scored three direct hits on Japanese storage tanks even though the enemy shot his B-24 in 40 places that day over Borneo.

Charley married lnga and they had two children, Mary and Brian while he worked for McDonald Douglas in the wind tunnels. Charley continued designing and flying model airplanes as a hobby all his life and competed in may tournaments around the world.

In retirement, Charley moved to Vancouver, Wash., and married Oregonian RoseMary Wiebe (Gates) Schuette. Charley is well loved by all his family and RoseMary's family. The Schuettes moved to Emeritus Merrill Gardens in Vancouver, where Charley was cared for so lovingly by the staff of Emeritus.

Charley is survived by his second wife, RoseMary Schuette who remains at Emeritus, his son, Brian Schuette and wife Michelle of Lakewood, Calif., grandchildren Heidi Smith Benson and her two children, Dina Smith and Brooke Schuette all residing in California. Dying at 89 years old, Charley knew he'd lived a full and rewarding life, leaving many loving memories for all of us.

Memorial service information provided by Scott Newkirk

There will be an informal Celebration of Life gathering on Saturday, Dec, 13, 2014, at 1 p.m. at the Emeritus facility.  I would be nice to get the word out to the modeling community and gather at the event.  There will a lot time to share at the event as it will be rather informal.

Emeritus at Orchards Village, 10011 NE 118th Ave.,  Vancouver, WA 98682. Phone: 360-823-4773

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This page was upated Dec.2, 2014