Me 'n' My Friends        

George Barth and me.
Photo by Demi Barth.

Mark Kriz, SJ--taught me to fly R/C in 1995.
Mall Show, 1997.
Another photo by Demi Barth.

I think Bob O'Neill must have been telling
one of his stories.
Thunder Over Niagara, 1997.

Charlie Nelson--"Mr. Waco"--and his baby bipe.
Mark Kriz and I went on pilgrimage to
AMA Headquarters in Muncie, Indiana.
Summer, 1998.


Doug Webb died on November 26, 2002. He had been a big part of my return to RC.

When Mark Kriz and I joined the club and started flying at Reservoir Park in the summer of 1995, we saw Doug just about every time we were at the field. He watched me progress from my first flight to soloing. I enjoyed watching him fly his customized ARF. He taught me to do spins and encouraged me to learn how to land right in front of myself. I'm still working on that.

I have a picture from FONRA 1999 that says a lot about Doug. Dan Warner and I are in the box, taking pictures from the Blue Goose. Doug is off by himself, behind the frequency board, probably smoking a cigarette and watching the flight. I think Doug was afraid that people would complain about the cigarette smoke, so he always set his stuff up at the end of the line and kept his distance from others. He would often come to the field in mid-morning and wait until others were done flying before taking to the air.

I very much admired the way he practiced loops, rolls, and spins, though I was never able to talk him into going to a pattern contest. When I do my last flight of the day, I usually practice touch-and-goes because of the advice he gave me in 1995.

Doug's wife, Elva, rarely accompanied him to the field, but she was there with him when he had his last flights in September. His vision was fading because of the cancer or because of the treatments, and he stopped bringing his plane to the field when other people were around. Instead, he would just come out and watch other people fly. He flew as much as he wanted to his last day, and landed safely.

Doug took better care of his ears and his engines than anyone else I have seen at the field. He always used ear protectors when tuning his engine and when running it dry at the end of the day. Then he took off the glow plug to put afterrun oil in the cylinder. Most days he would also take a three-mile walk up on the Reservoir before or after flying.

Doug is buried in the cemetery right across Military Road. His plot is behind the maintenance building. I'm sure he will be watching us fly with his usual enthusiasm and delight. When I was complimenting Doug's wife on the selection of the plot, she told me that another pilot from the Sunday Fliers had his ashes scattered on the flying field itself. May they both rest in peace.

Among many other things, Doug's wife gave me his old trainer. He built it for his daughter, then built floats for it and added a Super Tigre .61. Doug was flying this in 1995 when I met him. I took it out for three flights today and found out how hard he must have worked to make it fly so nicely. I hope I can get to be as smooth with it as he was.

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