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Jack Headley

Old 02-24-2003, 02:40 PM
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DICKEYBIRD
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Default Jack Headley

I'm trying to gather a list of all the designs that were published by Jack Headley, a master designer of simple to build, good flying UNUSUAL small models. He was right up there with Keith Laumer, Ken Willard, Fred Reese and all the other "small" guys. I'm trying to find a list of all his designs and take a look at the plans. One of his designs was the "Rota Ruta" 1/2A autogyro in RCM about 1978. He also wrote an article in Model Aviation about gyros in the late 70's. I'm pretty sure he published several more but I don't have any info.

Anybody remember this fellow and have any old magazines with his work in them?
Old 04-24-2014, 03:45 AM
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rdstarwalt
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An old thread but funny how things cycle around...
I too am collecting Headley in formation and have quite a lot at this time.
Would you like to compare notes?

-=Doug
Old 04-25-2014, 08:02 AM
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John in Boston
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In the early 1970's I was in high school in Southern California and my friends and I built and flew (or at least dreamed about) several of Jack Headley's glider designs from the pages of Don Dewey's late,.great "RC Modeler" magazine. Mr. Headley published many nice slope-soaring and thermal-soaring glider designs there, all with that disarmingly simple and fun style that he and Ken Willard and others did so well! To me he epitomized the relaxed vibe of Southern California slope-soaring at that time.
Old 04-25-2014, 08:18 AM
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Also, I feel the unfortunate duty to mention that if you want to build one of his designs, avoid the current "RC Modeler Plans Service" like the plague.

The magazine is long gone, but apparently someone has access to the plans and---as is too often the case with the many shady dealers in this life-- they are very good and prompt at taking people's money but they take FOREVER or NEVER to deliver the plans. Their website now sports a small litany of apologies and explanations, but unhappy customers say the plans "service" still has not filled many outstanding orders that were paid for ages ago.

What's more, the plans "service" is more than happy now to accept NEW orders. :-( ---AVOID, is my humble advice---
Old 04-25-2014, 09:59 AM
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rdstarwalt
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Thank for the replies and advice. I have nearly all the known, published articles, and plans/build articles from JWH.
My intent is to add his biography to the NMAM in Muncie.

One reason JWH was such a prominent influence was his involvement in the Northrop (California) model club.
The 'Norair Modeler' (or 'Modeller' depending on his humor at the time), was the club newsletter and edited by Jack Headley.
Gus Morfis, the same with the plans service, worked with Jack on *full size* plans that were in many of the newsletters.
I have been in email contact with Gus.

The NMAM in Muncie has several of the Norair newsletters but, I immediately purchased one that was listed on eBay recently.
It is one that is not in the archive collection and I intend to donate it to the collection after a thorough scanning.

JWH's flying buddy, Kevin Flynn is a significant person of interest to me. Frequently KF did photo duty on JWH's articles.
JWH did drafting duty for KF on two of his design/build articles. In fact, KF is pictured on a cover of Model Aviation holding a JWH design.

His family may have kept his stuff after he passed away...sometime in 1983 I think.

There is much, much more I have collected and will share with the community in an effort to recognize JWH's contribution but also those that were a part of his life.

-=Doug
Old 04-25-2014, 11:11 AM
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John in Boston
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Kevin Flynn -- yes! I still have two of his designs that my brother and I built from RC Modeler in 1970 or thereabouts, and the models are [semi]-intact to this day!

They are Kevin's all-balsa "LITTLE CIRRUS" and his larger and slightly more complex "SPECIALIST V", which sports a v-tail with mechanical (non-electronic) rudder/elevator mixing and an open-style balsa framework covered with Monokote.

Happy nostalgic memories of resurrecting the LITTLE CIRRUS on Labor Day Weekend 1990 -- brought her down from 20 years' hard storage upstairs in my parents' broiling-hot attic in Pacific Palisades; built a new wing for her overnight, got the old radio upgraded to an AMA legal state, re-upped my AMA membership and drove down to La Jolla to Torrey Pines and discovered their annual scale sailplane contest was in progress. Drat -- i wouldn't be able to fly! But then at some point I realized that my model was of a real airplane, the famous Cirrus. Compared to all the other models she was tiny, beat-up, semi-scale humble as can be, but once launched she looked like -- a CIRRUS !!! Flew her with the contest "big boys", watched the awards ceremony, then stayed on and flew her some more... deep past sundown and watched the moon rise. A truly GREAT day!
Old 04-25-2014, 01:43 PM
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The 'Specialist V' is from RCM Feb.'72. It is only listed under the RCM Plans...which we discussed earlier.

There are pictures of a shirtless Kevin Flynn in one of the Norair newsletter.. aviator sunglasses...

The 'Little Cirrus' is available from AMA Plans service today.

As I said, KF is a person of significant interest to me. The last online hit for him was last August on the UK RCM&E site in an autogyro thread.
There are pics of him with an autogyro and in Southern Calif.

-=Doug
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Old 04-26-2014, 04:20 PM
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After more digging, I think I found the RCM issue you are referring to...RCM November 1971.
Just picked up an issue on eBay. Listing was as follows:

RC Modeler Magazine (November 1971) Don Juan II / Little Cirrus / Cheapmunk

I will let you know when in hand.

-=Doug
Old 05-02-2014, 05:58 PM
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Indeed it was the Kevin Flynn 'Little Cirrus' and who did the drafting duty??? Jack Headley of course!



The cool thing about that article was that Little Cirrus was a free in-magazine plan set!
RCM did that for several years but, not quite at the frequency of the UK magazines.

If you get a yen for a scan of the plans, let me know.
They would be much too big to post here.

-=Doug
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:57 AM
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Doug, thanks for your kind offer!

I believe I still have our RCM plans (and hopefully the magazine article?) from the 1970's. I will dig through my super-organized hangar warehouse and find my manila file folder for that design. Of course as you might imagine I have it very carefully filed under "Sailplanes, Civilian, RCM, All-Balsa, Kevin Flynn & Jack Headley"

I'll let you know how I fare!
John
Old 05-04-2014, 02:17 AM
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Doug, it's like finding an old friend via the National Archives, or better, The Wayback Machine!
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Old 05-04-2014, 08:24 AM
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Outstanding!
The more buzz on the net about the designs of Flynn, Headley, Morfis, Reese, et al, the better the chances someone will turn up to help us document their work and effort.

That is Headley on the title page, Flynn (obviously) in the coast shot.

Here's one no one outside the Norair group (probably) has seen... a scaled down Orange Julius. Headley named it "Tangerine J"



This was in the Northrop Aircraft Modeler (formerly the 'Norair Modeler'. The name changed when the company name changed). The NAM was the club for the Northrop employees at, I think, the Hawthorne plant (I could be wrong. Someone please connect me to a former member).

I took the scans and photo of the plans while in Muncie. I stood up in a chair to take the photos. There are several plans shots like that.
These materials are in the archives at the NMAM. You can see the yellowing at the folds and the brittleness was seeping into the plans.
I encouraged the Archivist (FABULOUS LADY!) to talk to the Plans Department (one guy).
The suggestion is to scan them with their large format scanner before they become too brittle -- possibly adding them to the sold plans offerings.

My hope continues that I will be in contact with Flynn and any of JWH's family to encourage them all to donate their materials to the NMAM and to assist in placing a biographies in their history project.

-=Doug
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Old 09-30-2014, 05:50 AM
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An update on this thread... I have been blogging about Jack, Kevin, and their planes at RC Groups (a hush falls over the crowd) for several weeks now.
My one inquiry at an UK site has recently resulted in contact with Kevin. If we are lucky, he will fill us in on more information about 'those days'.

-=Doug
Old 10-30-2016, 07:38 AM
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Another update to this thread... Lisa Headley, Jack's oldest daughter (the one seen in most of the articles) and I are in contact. I recently returned to her a huge box of heirloom stuff regarding Jack's modeling. Unfortunately no original plans or models are in their possession as after his passing, his wife cleaned out many things.

Kevin Flynn and I have also been in contact and he has stuff in his attic, photos, negatives, etc. He has also been filling in blanks and answering questions regarding old photos that Lisa provided.

The immediate goal now is to submit a first draft to the AMA museum for a bio on Jack.

-=Doug

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