17 Year Old Returns a Gee Bee To The Skies

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Dennis McCarty Shelbyville IN A story that started 17 years ago in 1995 has now come to fruition. The story begins at the Byron Fighting Back Air Show in Ancony Ankeny, Iowa. The show was great. It included many activities that took place over a four day weekend. Full scale war birds, civilian aircraft, and antique aircraft such as the Ford Trimotor were represented at the event. Activities include 1/5th scale AT6 races. The full scale Japanese Zero's (AT6 makeovers) did flyovers while the 1/5th scale war birds did a show below. To top this off, Delmar Benjamin in the Gee Bee did one fantastic aerobatic show. He did things in the little speedster that were hard to believe. That brings me to our story. My wife just had to have a kit of that airplane. So with some "hard" arm twisting I bought the kit along with the G62 and Pure Power muffler. Not sure now how we managed to get all of the great big boxes in our 94 Escort Wagon, but we did. Those boxes set in my garage for at least 10 years until one day my friend, Ed Mahon, during a visit asked me to let him take them home and build the airplane. Well, it wasn't long before he returned with the airplane built and painted. It was done except for some trim and radio gear. Some thing I should mention - Ed Mahon lives in Sedalia, Missouri and I live in Shelbyville, Indiana. We are long distance friends and flying buddies. From then until this year, the Gee Bee has gained a lot of attention at air shows and once hung in the media room at the Gray Middle School in Indianapolis, IN. I had done some research on how the Gee Bee flies and realized that I would probably not be the one to test fly it. So, for the most part, it set or hung in my shop until 2012. Why until 2012, you ask. I have found the right person to test fly my Gee Bee, my grandson Westin. Westin has been flying for only two years but has flown anything handed him to fly. The day of truth came on the day before our yearly fly-In. I didn't take the Gee Bee to fly but to tease a little - the tease backfired. We were talked into giving it a try. After some engine problems, G62's can be that way don't you know, it was ready. We started it up, taxied it out, and Westin executed one of the smoothest takeoffs I've seen on any type airplane. The Gee Bee climbed out and made it's first turn.

After leveling off, Westin had to put in some down trim on the elevator to hold level flight. He said it was flying as if on rails. I had him to test it's stall. It stalled forward with a slight fall off to the left - this would have to be watched on landing. Now for the true test, the landing. He found on approach there was a very small difference between flying and stalling. Under power it wanted to climb and when coming off the power it wanted to drop. Sound familiar? This plane definitely needs to be flown in under power. He did get it down safely. It seemed to stall right before touch down. He like others who have flown the Gee Bee said it is a handful to land.

They put the Gee Bee in the show the following day and again Westin did a great job of returning the Gee Bee to the safety of mother earth.

The topper to this story is the Gee Bee is one month older that Westin. Westin was born just one month after I bought the Gee Bee in 1995. Westin is now taking aeronautic classes through Vincennes University while in high school. In the summer of 2012, he did his introductory full scale flight. The Gee Bee is a 1/4 scale Byron with a Zanoa G62 and Pure Power Muffler. The radio is 2.4 RDS8000 Airtronics with Airtronics servos. It is finished in F&M paint system. Ed did a great job building it and Westin does a great job flying it.


I was present at the Airshow and got to see this plane fly - very impressive and Westin did indeed do a fine job flying it.
I've known Ed and Dennis for several years - great job guys! :)

Those are the stories I enjoy reading! Glad to see Dennis and Westin sharing a great hobby together - what great memories for everyone!

Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any solutions to stop hackers?

I have known Ed Mahon since we were both 11 years old. Our love then was building and flying U-Control planes of every conceivable configuration, shape or size. We mowed lawns for 2 bucks a pop and scrounged money any way we could to support our growing hobby. While we did enjoy flying these planes our true joy was in building them..... and rebuilding them again. Long hours spent together in the basement workshops forged a lasting friendship that extends to this day. A recent visit to his home shows me that his passion is still alive and well. He is trying to re-ignite my fervor and recently gave me a retro kit and some engines to help me along. Although I never graduated to RC I still love to make things and restore them to like new condition. This I truly believe stems from the early efforts in building our flying aircraft at a very early age. I have seen first hand the craftsmanship that Ed puts into his work. He truly loves the hobby and it shows. He has been at it for over 60 years.

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