Thread: Stanzel Shark
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Old 04-01-2024, 01:24 PM
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Stanzel Shark

In April of 1939 the Stanzel Shark made it's first flight. To mark that anniversary, here is a photo of my scratch build model of that plane. Unfinished, but a labor of love for the past 5...maybe 6 years, off and on. I hope to have it finished by the time of the convention this fall.


The Shark was designed by Vic Stanzel, an avid model builder, turned full scale builder, and solely intended to enter the Thompson closed course race, unlimited class, in the 1939 Cleveland National Air Races. Powered by a 20 cylinder inline engine of Stanzel's design, it was a bundle of new, radical ideas including contols activated by hydraulics, a sort of old school fly by wire.


Fast it was! Rounding the third lap of the five lap Thompson, Stanzel had the lead. However, after the 4th pylon, and heading for the 1st, the controls locked. Stanzel later reported that no matter how much he tried, nothing moved. The Shark continued straight and level, out over Lake Erie, and soon over Canada. Near London, Ont., Stanzel bailed out, and the plane continued on it's straight course, eventually running out of fuel and crashing into a forest some 100 miles north. Scavengers picked the wreck clean, and nothing was recovered, not even the engine!
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Stanzel Shark-stanzel-shark.jpg   Stanzel Shark-shark-bones.jpg  
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