HAFFA Tribute to Tem Johnson: Our Famous KC Glider Guider!

Tem at his best! Studying his details notes ready to compete in the auditorium!

2020 HAFFA Thanksgiving update: As it is now Thanksgiving week and I have had my yearly dose of turkey, sandwiches…turkey pot pie, turkey soup, turkey salad sandwiches…

I was thinking of all the people I have been lucky to meet over the years. One of those people was our own club member Tem Johnson. I wanted to get out a quick post about Tem. I am so thankful to have known him for at least a decade or more.

Example of Tem Johnson’s Cat 1 Glider (I have 30 or 40 of these drawings) plan included

We have been updating our Glider pages for the HAFFA website. This post will eventually morph into a separate page under the “Galleria of Gliders” section of our website. Nisley has done a “bang-up” job….and has enlisted the assistance of Dave Higgins from the Seattle area. I have been wanting to get a start on another local HAFFA member who left us with a legacy of competitive glider designs….so this post is just a start on “Tem Johnson’s Legacy”

Tem Johnson was an excellent model airplane craftsman and competitor. He passed away going on 3 years ago…..and caught the big thermal June 22, 2017 for his final flight. He was a local active member of the Topeka Model Aircraft Club and Heart of America Free Flight Model Airplane Club for decades within the KC area. Tem was a fixture at many model airplane contests, on the local and national levels. Tem competed and won against some of the worlds best free flight modelers frequently at the yearly national contests in Moscow Idaho and Johnson City Tennessee over the years. Tem logged many miles going to contests with his OFBs “old flying buddies” Emil Schutzel, Gary Hodson, and Larry Coslick. Tem majored in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue. He always took an organized scientific approach to model construction as well as the art of flying competitively. He created many personal reference note books with full of documentation and records and data along with a performance summary of each design. Many of his designs and aerodynamic related technical articles were published in technical journals and news letters. His JETEX Payload design appeared on the 1961 Zaic Yearbook page 238. His HLG the Bronco appeared in Zaic Year book as well. (Dave Higgins researched Tem’s Bronco outdoor chuck glider is in Zaic’s 1964-65 Yearbook on page 166.  This is the same yearbook that the Sweepette 16 Mk. III and Sweepette 18 Mk. 9 appear.) Tem had an encyclopedic knowledge of model airplanes and lectured on many flying and design topics. His dry wit and competitive spirit are deeply missed by the model airplane community.

Dana Field always reminds me of Tem’s indoor 30 second flights in our 26 foot ceiling gym at Osawatomie. “Tem would pull out his catapult glider….walk to a certain pre-determined point on the floor…..aim at a certain spot in the ceiling and let it go…..just has it appeared his glider was going to bounce off the ceiling….it would transition instantaneously into a perfect set-up for a slow descent circling gracefully ….it seemed forever to land perfectly on the gym floor with no damage…..really amazing”.

I intend to keep adding to this post over the next few weeks. Come back and visit it again for more info. There is so much to cover. When I met Tem he was mostly into indoor gliders. By the way his real name is “TEM” spelled with an “E”….I will explain that in a future post. However for years he had been flying and designing outdoor competitive designs decades before I had met Tem. One of his most famous designs was the “Bronco”.

Dana Field had published this “Bronco” design a couple of times in our “Dispatch News Letter” over the last few years. Several of our club members have built this glider. A good consistent flyer. I will get the plan and add it in a future post.

Image courtesy of Dave Higgins

Now the January Indoor Flying Session has been shut down!

I did get another Official call from the City of Osawatomie Friday at 330pm.  Kim….the person that coordinates the use / rental of the auditorium said she had to call me and everyone else who had rented Osawatomie event space…. because Miami County operations relative to public event spaces are being shut down through Jan 30……that is why she called….she said if we need to we can get our money back she said they could get us a check…or transfer our Jan. date into June. I will keep you posted. Paul Morgenroth, III might have a lead on another flying location. Thanks Jeff Renz

HAFFA December Indoor Flying Session Canceled (Covid19 issues)

I just called city of Osawatomie today. The HAFFA indoor flying session in December is now cancelled. This indoor flying event would have been up and coming in 2 weeks…it will not happen now…. I moved it to May 1st, 2021.
I talked to Kim who coordinates the Auditorium rental/schedule and explained I had concerns over the spike in cases in the KC area and that it is not worth the risk. I will keep you all posted.


Jeff Renz

HAFFA November Indoor Flying Update

HAFFA November Indoor Flying Update

Modified Guillows “Sky Cadet Airplane”

Just wanted to give everyone a heads up about our November 2020 Osawatomie Auditorium Session. Photo link included below

Paul Meganroth…Roie and Cheryl Black, Dana Field…. we all had a good day of flying. We flew a lot of different models. We all flew the P18 event to get warmed up.  We are all getting better at indoor flying. Paul turned in a 2 minute and 6 second flight once he got his P 18 dialed in. 
Dana flew hand launch glider. Dana had built the new glider from a Joshua Finn kit called the “Cat’s Meow” carbon and foam glider. He is still working out the kinks with this new machine. I flew mini stick and managed to get a 4 minute and 10 second flight. Paul flew his penny plane with great results. At one point he would have had an 8-minute flight with his Penny Plane…. however it stuck to the side wall of the gym walls fabric material….. so we stopped the clock and got a long kite pole to bump it off the wall and started the timer again once it popped loose from the wall. We did not count this as official…. but the Penny plane continued on for almost 3 minutes….and it would have been almost eight minutes total when we added the two times together. It was really fun to watch. It has been a while since we had a flight that long in the gym. 
I had a good time just watching all the airplanes fly. My new P18 (A Dave Higgins Design called the ” PURSUIT P18 “) flew quite well but not good enough to beat Dana or Paul. I still need to get some stiffer wing posts….the wood I had used was not stiff enough for the flight loads encountered….during some minor taps and bumps on the walls and ceiling of the gym.

Roie showed up with a Guillows Cadet that he had revamped for indoor flying and made it portable for easy transportation as well. I like how Roie built it so it could be stored for travel in a cardboard box easily with a small footprint of space…in the trunk of a car or back seat…. this modified plane would break down easily… it was held together with rubber bands.

Dana brought a Dave Diels kit and opened the box to reveal tons of documentation and 6 sheets of plans and several sets of laser cut parts.   I had never purchased a Diels kit….wow you get your money’s worth! Check out the photos of the “un-boxing”

Anyway a good time was had by all next flying session will be in December the first weekend in December. It was a pain…. but we wore masks. And stayed distant from each other. Thanks again Renz.


2020 Marion Kansas Contest Summary…one for books!

The 19th Annual HAFFA Outdoor 2020 Contest / NFFS National Cup Meet is one for the books!  Thank goodness it even happened during this year of the Covid19 crisis which threw our club a real curve ball. We had to modify our approach to how we conducted this contest relative to Covid19. 

 No rain this year!  However the winds were hitting 18 mph and higher around noon and most flyer opted to wait it out.   Sunday flying turned out great with plenty of thermals and mild breezes.

I would like to congratulate Don Deloach of Colorado Springs for his 2020 Marion Cup win! Chuck Powell put up a good fight for the Marion cup….but due to plenty thermal activity….and a fly off in P30….and no mercy in the coin toss with Marty Kline for the P30 1st place.. forcing the issue….Chuck could not quite catch Don.

This year at the end of September with Marion Contest fast approaching the week before the contest we had a Covid19 Exposure within our club.  This resulted in a 14 day quarantine for several of our members.  Meaning our CDs could not participate along with some of our members.  Had some contestants wound up sick…..as a result of my presence…..the thought of having to call up everyone with the news they were exposed to Covid19 was prohibitive.

Prior to the Marion contest Mike Basta had encouraged me to read the inside cover of this months NFFS article relative to Covid19.  Reading the article stimulated the safety and survival skills part of my feeble brain….versus the passionate urge to just fly and  forget about everything else. The contest was almost canceled however Chuck P. and Don D. threw out a lifeline to our club to run the Marion contest and they made it happen. They really stepped up to the plate for us.

I have heard there was plenty of thermal activity on sunday.  Some flyers had planes sucked up in thermals….just gone like Tim Pivonka….and others chasing planes for a couple miles like Chuck Powell and his P30 flying over 2 miles up to the old Pizza Hut building on highway 56.  He found his P30 but had to flip coin with Marty Kline over 1st place….for the event.

Here are some comments I captured from our contestants emails:

 Comments from Chuck Powell:  I think a good time was had by all !! Dave wiebe did great at his first contest ! 


Comments from Suman Saripalli: It was great to see everyone at Marion ! I had a great day of flying and camaraderie ! The funniest comment I heard yesterday, by the gentleman flying Power, as his plane came apart in the air and the shredded wing half was fluttering down: “I’m going to HAVE to fix that dihedral now ! “

Comments from Deloach:

Jeff, Thank you for your hard work in managing the contest! You were definitely missed! It was a great success, almost entirely due to the efforts of Chuck and Linda Powell. They did about 95% of the work including shopping for food and arranging an outstanding cookout on Saturday night!  point. 

Comments from Tim Pivonka: My P-30 maxed and flew OOS on the first flight.  My HLG got run  over by a chase bike.  My  Cessna CR-32 flew great, but lost to Chuck (by 4 seconds) and lost to Deloach by a lot.

Gretchen  provided lunch both days. We would like to thank her for doing this for us. Thanks Gretchen!

 I would truly like to thanks to everyone who competed and signed the flight safety declaration: Jeff Englert, Bill Schmidt, Bob Hanford, Chuck Powell, Linda Powell, Don Deloach, Skilly Deloach, George Avila,  Gerald Brown, Jim O’Reilly, Marty Kline, Mike Fedor, Robert Dunham, Suman Saripalli, Tim Pivonka, Tom Bell, Paul Meganroth III, Dave Wiebe.

 I would like to thank Chuck P. ,  Don D. , Jeff Englert, Bob H.  for coordinating all this with me over the days before the event and as I have said before… “throwing out a lifeline to run the Marion contest for our club”.  We can put this year 2020 behind us and look towards 2021. Believe me….I really missed you all!

Jeff Renz


I have added a link below


October 27, 2020 HAFFA Club Updates from Renz

2 things: Club Elections are up and coming and group airplane design project for our club.

I know it has been a long time since we have had a HAFFA club meeting. Our last meeting was in February. We had intended to have one in March but we had to cancel it due to the start of Covid19!

It has been rough eight months relative to dealing with covid-19. I want everyone to know I am thinking about you all. Our indoor flying season has started. Our outdoor summer flying sessions were a success. We even gained two new club members. I think our club members had a lot of fun being able to just show up and fly on warm Tuesday Evenings this last summer.

I would like to get some feedback from you all to come up with some ideas relative to how to keep our club together over the next few months while the various vaccine’s come to fruition and we can get back to normal.

One thing that seems to work at present… is that indoor model flying season has started and we have plenty of space in the gym…. to stay apart (social distance)…. when we are flying our airplanes. I know it is somewhat of a drive to Osawatomie but it gets you out of the house for a while. We did have to raise the price to $15 to cover the losses incurred last year. It costs us about $70 per session at Osawatomie Auditorium. (basically $500 per year)

At the same time…during this indoor flying opportunity… I do not want anyone to take this covid-19 lightly… as the latest statistics show the rate of infection has been increasing in the KC area. If you are flying in the auditorium building wear a mask!

We have an indoor session coming up this weekend on Sunday November 1st. (this is our chance to get together) I know it will probably be a while before we can conduct a normal business meeting at a library and even if we had the chance it would be a little bit unnerving to be inside an enclosed room all wearing our masks and trying to stay apart.

At some point I think this meeting could possibly happen though…. and perhaps we could get together. If we have a nice day…. possibly coming up in the next couple weeks we could even meet outdoors at the new park facility at 91st and Nall during the mid-afternoon outdoors. This new park has large brand new outdoor picnic table systems with large overhead protection….easy to park your car and walk to….. I know it is absolutely freezing today as I write this on October 27th.. but I am guessing we will get a few 60 or 70 degrees… yet days before the end of the year. Here is a link to that park.


Meadowbrook Park is large enough with some clear space we might even be able to do a little outdoor hand launch glider. Anyway I’m just thinking out loud I would appreciate any members comments.

There where several highlights for me this summer: The Sky Bunny contest….. it was more or less held on the spur of the moment on a Sunday last summer as part of a national contest. I enjoyed seeing Scott and his son Alex flying the Sky bunny together… they had built two of them. The other highlight that day was watching Mike Basta’s Sky Bunny hook a thermal and Fly Away. Also I enjoyed the picnic this year at Suman’s place. Lots of airplanes were flown that day. Dennis Baker launching his Jetstream glider at Suman’s place with a bungee was one of the best textbook examples of tow line glider should fly….. there were some perfect launches and Dennis had some excellent conditions for flying. I was glad just to see this Jetstream thing fly along with his E36 airplanes. Paul brought his huge electric RC Korda…Charlie Taylor brought CL, FF and RC stuff to fly. I regret not getting over to the control line circle with Dana, Suman and Charlie.

Also I noticed lots of people have been doing some building/flying this summer. I saw Jack Vetter had built the embryo class airplane from Volare models called the “GO DEVIL”. Jerry White had built and flew a PECK PRAIRE Bird that turned out beautiful. Charley Taylor had built one of the PECK PRAIRE Birds as well. I managed to get my Mr. Smoothie built. Dana ordered a supply of the new P1B Sky Voyager… our club members built a few of these as well. These P1B planes fly great. Suman built his P1B at the field….it flew really well…..so well it flew over the school building and was lost on the first flight….. Roie….Renz….and Field need to get their P1Bs tuned up for next spring. I am sure I missed other members build projects….let me know if I missed yours.

As we head into the end of the year I know our club will have elections coming up soon… we will need to establish who is running for officers. We will have to appoint a non-officer who is a club member to come up with a slate of potential officers in order to vote in December. So keep this in mind.

I am looking forward to some feedback from all of you. Some projects to keep our club together might be things like…. a group airplane design effort for a HAFFA Embryo….or HAFFA Bostonian…other club design….we could all sketch up some ideas and Mike Basta could draw it up for us. Another idea for 2021/2022 would be a HAFFA historical exhibit at the Linda Hall Library. This would be a project that would have to be professionally assembled in concert with the Linda Hall library staff and might take a lot of work…but might yield some great exposure to the general public to show the rich history of model airplanes in Kansas City over the last 80 years. If you have ever seen some of the exhibits at that library you will know what I am talking about.

Thanks Jeff renz

Please Welcome Dave Higgins and Myself, Jeff Renz — Your New GUIDES to the GALLERIA OF GLIDERS —

Today—with the help of our HAFFA Team I totally take pride in “LAUNCHING” a new page for the KC Free Flight website called—the “GALLERIA OF GLIDERS“. Dave Higgins and I have teamed up to be your guides to this SPECIAL SPACE that brings you the LATEST in everything related to GLIDERS—in other words—A GALLERIA OF THE GLIDER UNIVERSE! (this is a tall order so be patient).

You can easily find this link in the MENU above because it happens to be in the CENTER!

GALLERIA OF GLIDERS will showcase Vintage and Contemporary Glider Designs as well as Resources for Glider Enthusiasts, whether the focus is Hand Launched Gliders (HLG) or Catapult Launched Gliders (CLG). Also featured will be Building Tips, Glider Plans, Articles and Video Teaching Tools—plus more.

Watch this SPACE. We’re just getting STARTED!

Plan your trip now to visit the GALLERIA! (No masks required!)


Due to the latest info relative to the Corona Virus COVID-19 the annual April Indoor flying contest is now canceled. Believe me!  I am disappointed! Indoor flying is over for 2020!

I just checked the Miami county website and county officials are following the lead of Johnson county to shut down operations to a minimum.  Osawatomie is in Miami county.  The county offices are now closed until further notice.

I will total up the points for the intra-club contest over the last 6 months of flying and publish in another post later this week.

Also note the Beatrice Nebraska Contest has been shut down.  The Beatrice Contest was to be this up and coming weekend March 28th.

Thanks Jeff Renz (Indoor CD)

INFO-HAFFA – Meetings, Outdoor Flying, Etc. (As of March 21st 2020)

Dana Field News Letter Editor put this together for our club as an update.

Thanks Dana I appreciate this! (Jeff Renz HAFFA prez.)

The virus has sure put a wrench into all activities for about everything in life, and for what is being predicted, this may go on for months. As all should know, our monthly meeting for last Tuesday night (St. Patrick’s Day, What were we thinking anyway!) was cancelled. This would have been our last meeting at the Southridge Presbyterian Church as we have sadly been informed the church will be closing after the Easter service early in April. We have a meeting room reserved for the April meeting from 6:00 to 8:00 at the Cedar – Roe library branch in Roeland Park, but with the libraries currently closed for an indefinite time, I am doubtful this can happen either. 

Last Tuesday night’s program was to have been given by a member of the Commemorative Air-force “Brian Vonbeveran” about the PT-19 Fairchild they have, and included a slide show on the restoration.


Brian Vonbeveran from the CAF (Commemorative Air-force) has offered to present the program in April at the CAF meeting room in Gardner, which would be really cool because we could look at the actual airplane at the same. Would love to do this, but again, most of us are in the high risk category for the virus and I am hesitant to schedule anything for the foreseeable future. Also to consider, we might be able to have all of our meetings there in the future, a nice venue, but a long ride or drive for all of except Dennis Baker. Will keep everyone informed as things develop.

Outdoor Championship Flying – I have dawdled on officially informing everyone on what the flying classes will be, and practice flying was to begin the second Tuesday in April. Again, I have been waiting for input on what people wanted for events, with no response. So, after talking with a couple of members, and I don’t like to eliminate anything we forced anyone into building in the past, this is it.

1) Combined HLG/CLG – Any AMA CLG or javelin launched HLG glider is eligible. Javelin launched and no discus because the field is too small  for that. So, this includes Mike Basta’s “Sweepettes”. However, for the “Thermic Glider” trophy, only SAM legal only gliders, HLG and CLG, will be counted. This means plans published or kitted before 1950 to be eligible. A separate record will be kept, and you can fly both.

2) FAC Jet Cat – no explanation, this has been our most popular event. Same format as last year – 5 pts for complete paint job, 5 pts for at canard or flying wing, and 1 pt for each wing mounted tank or bomb. Profiles as part of the fuselage do not count.

3) FAC Embryo – Full FAC rules with bonuses for wheel pants, exhausts, etc. Don’t think we need to ROG, or off the table, for our flying, but it would be nice to have someone proficient enough to win this at our own contest for a change. Lots of kits available for this event, Volare has several and a “Prairie Bird” has won many times. I have plans for Don Deloach’s “Embryomatic” is anyone wants that one.

4) Combined AMA Alpha/1/2 Gollywock/1/2 Wakefield – After last year’s learning curve with the “Alpha”, we now have 1 minute plus airplanes. Theoretically, the 1/2 Wake should rule this event, but the 1/2 Gollywock is close, and any one of the three can be flown for points.

Will get an “official” set of rules out to everyone, and thinking about FAC Outdoor Phantom Flash sometime in the near future. That would be something we could win at our own contest as well.

(Thanks again Dana) We can all hang together via email and the “ole tele” feel free to send pix of your modeling projects.  Jeff Nisley and I can post them on our website.

Sincerely Jeff Renz

Fall 2019 Marion Contest Summary

2019 Marion Contest Twin Pusher Sky photo

Two twin pushers battle it out in an overly dramatic Saturday sky.

The 2019 Marion annual HAFFA free flight contest ended on a positive note Sunday October 6 when the sun popped out of the clouds with light winds out of the North.

Earlier in the week we were not sure if the contest would happen due to wet weather issues. Several flyers from Iowa, Texas and Oklahoma as well as the Wichita crew made the journey to Marion along with the HAFFA contingent from the KC area. Most Flyers ended up staying at the Country Inn Motel and hanging out Friday night with the obligatory cocktail hour at one end of the hotel.

Bill Shmidt with Crusader
Bill Schmidt with his Crusader.  A beautiful plane as expected.

Bill Schmidt and Marilyn had set up the picnic table at the south end of the motel with flyers arriving Friday evening around 4:30 p.m. It was reasonably cool Friday evening… drinks were swilled as all the Flyers swapped model flying stories. For me this is one of the perks of the contest! Continue reading “Fall 2019 Marion Contest Summary”