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Old 04-01-2024, 01:24 PM
WVA WVA is offline
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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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  #2  
Old 04-01-2024, 02:52 PM
Don Boose's Avatar
Don Boose Don Boose is offline
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Beautiful model, Jim. Very solid construction. With that massive frame and the hydraulic controls, it would have needed all twenty cylinders and would have had a very high wing loading.

I take it that this is the Vic Stanzel, brother of Joe, of True Scale Ornamental Models fame who also invented "G-line" and "mono-line" u-control flying.

Tonight, I will raise a glass to you, the Stanzel Brothers, the Shark, and the First of April.

Keep 'em flying, Buddy!

Don
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Last edited by Don Boose; 04-01-2024 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 04-13-2024, 10:54 AM
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Don Boose Don Boose is offline
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Jim -

I was very disappointed that your wonderful 1 April write up on Vic Stanzel's 1939 Thompson Trophy Race flight didn't attract more attention.

It certanly caught my eye and caused me to decend into the Catacombs to retrieve a July 1950 issue of Air Trails (Image 01), which happened to contain a review of Vic's then-latest model offering, the mono-line U-Control "Tuffy," which was also advertised in that issue. Images 02 and 03.

By coincidence, that issue of Air Trails also announced the end of the National Air Races as we knew them, which would henceforth be limited to straight-course races for military jets and closed-course races of midget airplanes. Image 04.

I also note that plans are still available for two versions of Stanzel's Shark (Images 5 and 6).

I look forward to seeing your Shark model in Sterling in October, and I am ready to read any other essays of yours on alternative aviation history.

Keep 'em flying!

Don
Attached Thumbnails
Stanzel Shark-01_air_trails_july_1950-cover.jpg   Stanzel Shark-02_vic_stranzel_tuffy_showcase_report_air_trails_jul-50_p10.jpg   Stanzel Shark-03_vic_stanzel_tuffy-ad-air_trails_july_1950-p77.jpg   Stanzel Shark-04_air_notes-air_trails_july_1950-p16.jpg   Stanzel Shark-05_vic_stranzel_shark-p-60_flying_model_advertisement.jpg  

Stanzel Shark-06_vic_stranzel_shark-g-line_uc_model_advertisement.jpg   Stanzel Shark-keep-em-flying.jpg  
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Old 04-15-2024, 09:03 AM
WVA WVA is offline
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Yes Don, I too was surprised at the lack of response to this amazing tale of design and destruction! Perhaps there were some suspicious "facts". Maybe most, as you, were on to me right away! How no one remarked on that O&R eagle design on the rudder beats me! Maybe a model of an O&R 20 cylinder inline is in order!



And, yes, the Shark was a pre WWII and after war model featuring the G-line control, later discarded in favor of U-control. I poured over those ads for the Shark at the time, but it wasn't until last year that I got one! Antique complete kits are considerably more expensive than the original offerings! And I'll never build it, therefore the paper model of a model.



I have in mind a model of the plane that ended the Cleveland National Air Races. It will not be a 1 April presentation, I promise!


Jim
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Old 04-15-2024, 09:35 AM
rmks2000 rmks2000 is offline
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Pretty cool plane. The rearward cockpit seems to be very much a design of the times. Was it to help balance the plane?
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Old 04-15-2024, 12:40 PM
skidoosnopro skidoosnopro is offline
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Where is the article on this Plane ? I am very interested to read about it ?
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  #7  
Old 04-15-2024, 02:35 PM
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The Saga Continues

I also found an ad for the V-Shark in a June 1946 Air Trails.

Sorry for the quality. AT was still being published in the 10x13-inch format in 1946. It wouldn't fit on the document table of my scanner, so this is a handheld snapshot.

skidoosnopro: I believe that Jim's post is the only existent documentation on the 1939 Stanzel Shark Thompson Trophy Racer. Knowing Jim, however, I am sure he could spin out a lot more "history" on this and other improbable flying machines (perhaps including the Stanzel Tiger Shark, which some allege appeared briefly over Rangoon, Burma, in March 1942 - but that's a story for another April First).

On the other hand, I am sure there are articles available on the Odom P-51 Beguine, the tragic (and real world) crash of which ended the Cleveland Air Races (if that is what you were referring to). 5 September 1949 | This Day in Aviation

Don
Attached Thumbnails
Stanzel Shark-air_trails_june_1946_p69_stanzel_super-v-shark_ad-r.jpg  

Last edited by Don Boose; 04-15-2024 at 03:08 PM.
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