This page is dedicated to those Skyscrapers who have gone on to that great flying field in the sky.
May they never be forgotten.
November 29, 1920 - June 29, 2018
Leon Shulman along with Sal Taibi were the two club members responsible for starting the Skyscrapers Club. The club was named for Leon's model the Skyscraper (pictured). To tell you everything there is to know about Leon would take a website all it's own. But you can read Leon's autobiography on the AMA's website here. Leon was an exceptonal modeler and friend he will be missed by all who knew him.
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Victor (Vito) R. Gagliano
October 21, 1933 - February 3, 2018
Victor (Vito) R. Gagliano, age 84 of Floral Park, NY passed away peacefully with his family by his side on Feb 3, 2018. He was born on October 21, 1933 in Manhattan, NY to Gennaro and Camilla Gagliano. Vito is survived by Camille, his beloved wife of 50 years and brothers, Frank Gagliano, Charles Gagliano and sister Viola Fusco. He is also survived by his children Charles Gagliano (Wendy), Matthew Gagliano (Dana), Victoria Gagliano, Domenic Gagliano (Angela) and John Gagliano (Jessie). Vito has six wonderful grandchildren that were close to his heart; Louise Gagliano, Annalisa Gagliano, Silas Gagliano, Virginia Gagliano, Timothy Gagliano and Enzo Gagliano. Vito attended Cardinal Hayes High School along with his brothers and then attended Manhattan College. He later earned his Master’s degree in education from Hofstra University where he met Camille. Vito was a high school social studies teacher at William H. Maxwell H.S. in Brooklyn, NY for 20 years. Based on his love for motorsports and an entrepreneurial spirit, he started his own business, VAS Enterprises, to design, manufacture, and sell racing apparel. A devout Catholic, he would begin each day with the “Morning Offering” prayer. Every trip with his family near and far started with this prayer then continued with the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be. He was also very active at Our Lady of Victory parish, being involved in the Right to Life and Saint Vincent DePaul Society.
Vito was generous, friendly, quirky and so energetic. He loved helping people in any way he could and enjoyed striking up impromptu conversations with everyone he met. He often refused to check off boxes or disclose his “race” instead writing in “human” on census forms in his later years. He always said, “We are all part of the same human family”.
Vito enjoyed several hobbies such as racing cars, gardening and building and flying model aircraft with friends from his youth, his children and eventually grandchildren. He grew garlic in his garden for the past 20 years, happily sharing it with friends and family and proudly mowing his lawn with a push mower.
Vito’s love and generosity made such an impression on the hearts of so many people throughout his life. His family is deeply thankful for everything he gave them. They will miss him greatly but forever cherish the joy and happiness they shared together.
October 3, 1926 - June 10,2016
I first met Frank in 1985 when I was working in a photographic supply house. Frank came in to buy some equipment and during our transaction he mentioned that he built free flight models. We struck up an instant friendship that continued until Frank passed away.
He invited me to a meeting of the Skyscrapers at his home where I met Bob Hatschek, Jack Minassian and Aram Schlosberg. They invited me to join the club and the rest is history. Frank had to stop flying free flight due to bad knees but he would always show up at a contest to lend his support.
Frank's complete biography can be read on his website here.
April 5, 1920 - December 14, 2012
There are a lot of reasons why Sal Taibi
was in the first group of people elected to the SAM Hall of Fame. Sal had been
President of SAM from 1985 to 1988. He’d been Secretary Treasurer of SAM
for 2 years. Sal started modeling at the age of 14 in Brooklyn, and was soon
designing his own models. His Powerhouse was designed in 1937 when he was 17.
The Brooklyn Dodger, the Pacer and others came later. He kept on designing models
into the Nostalgia era and beyond—with the Spacer and the Starduster series.
His last design, the Perris Special, is a favorite among old time sport modelers
Sal admitted that it took him a while to get this competition thing down right. He didn’t start winning model airplane contests until he was 18---and then he kept on winning and winning. He was proud that he was the FF Power Champion at the 1995 SAM Champs—when he was 75 years old! Sal attended and competed in every one of the AMA Nationals starting in 1937—and in every one of the SAM Champs starting in 1966 until ill health slowed him down around 2004 or so.
After WW II Sal’s day job was as a machinist for the Navy Bureau of Ordinance and for Jet Propulsion Laboratories in Pasadena California. He helped his son Mike run Superior Balsa—a premier cottage industry supplier of balsa wood to the FF community. Sal helped many small free flight kit companies set up the dies and cutting tools needed to make kits; Superior Balsa cut a lot of wood for different kit makers. Sal also used his machining skills to do tanks and tank mounts for a variety of SAM legal engines.
Sal was also a great raconteur, and nearly every modeler who ever met Sal came away with at least one (if not many) “Sal stories” that they will cherish. Below is one of those stories sent in by club co-founder Leon Shulman, seen above with Sal at the club's 70th anniversary dinner. Leon recounts how he and Sal started our club...
"Sal Taibi and I met at a contest at Hadley Field in the mid thirties. as teenagers competing at a Free Flight meet. When we were awarded our prizes- the CD announced that we were both Brooklyn-ites. I shook hands with Sal and asked WHERE in Brooklyn did he live?. He said West Fifth St between Ave. "O and Ave. P" I laughed and said that I lived on West SEVENTH St between Ave "O and Ave P"- ( only 2 blocks away). Needless to say we began visiting each other to look at our workshops where we designed and built our FF Models. I lived in a rental Apartment and had access to the (unfinished) basement with a makeshift table of 2 fruit boxes and a board bridging the two. Sal's family had their own home and he had a finished basement with a large dining room table as his workbench. It wasnt long before Sal asked me to join him at his workshop and we could be working together.
Soon afterwards I learned that there was a model airplane club nearby that we could visit and possibly join. I already had previously gone there and joined up but was only a frequent visitor because of the distance involved. Since Sal was also interested in Joining we both went and became members. The Club was called T.A.M.B.E. (The Airplane Model Builders Exchange). We met up with several (soon to be) noted modellers- Scotty Murray, Jerry Stoloff, Mickey Beechman amongst others. We met every Friday evening at the basement of Dave Lynn- who was our senior and the clubs sponsor. (In those days we had SENIOR's who supervised our actions and direction). We had about 30+ members and were very active. At our weekly club meetings we all discussed new trends in model designs, as well as having many activities to foster this interest. Sal Taibi was quite Large physically and sometimes boisterous. Dave Lynn was annoyed with this and when Sal sounded off with his opinion on a subject he quite often used Foul Language which Dave Lynn was abhor d with. He warned Sal about this and finally at a real heated discussion sounded off with the "F" word. That was it- Dave yelled at Sal and litteraly threw Sal out of the Meeting room and banned him from the club. Several of us were astonished at this and feeling that Sal was one of us....we all decided to resign from TAMBE and start our own club.
I checked around and found a Public School nearby that would give us a classroom to meet at on Fridays. That was the beginning of OUR CLUB. Now- what we call our selves? We had a contest among ourselves- the person who came up with a name that would be adopted would win a "brand NEW Spark Plug",, Many names were suggested Prop Spinners, Prop Nutz, etc., etc.
I came up with "Brooklyn SKYSCRAPERS" ...my logic was that since were from NYC- the home of Skyscraper's this would be appropriate. The boys unanimously adopted the Name and I had a new Spark Plug for my Trojan Engine that I was flying at that period. At that same time I was having my first Model Design Published that I had called the Sky Scraper. Felix Guttman (later changed to Gilbert) drafted the final inked plans for me with the logo I came up with my name in a set of wings on each drawing plate. It was that Logo that was adopted for the SKYSCRAPERS Name.
SOooooo- If Sal hadn't been so impetuous and used such foul language at the club meeting things would have been much different. .................
September 11, 1916 - March 11, 2002
Henry Struck of Old Lyme, Connecticut, is a model airplane designer and leader of more than 60 years. He is a native of the New York City area and was born in 1917. Henry resided in Jackson Heights during his early design, building and flying years. He is a member of the Model Aviation Hall of Fame, the National Free Flight Society (NFFS) Hall of Fame and the Society of Antique Modelers (SAM) Hall of Fame.
In 1939, he totaled high point in indoor at Detroit placing high in cabin and stick. His planes won the National Scale Championship twice at National meets in Detroit and in Chicago. He placed high in Class C gas and outdoor rubber cabin and outdoor rubber stick at the Nationals too. He held National Class C gas records in 1939 and 1940 with his Record Hound.
Famous Struck designs include one of the most popular and widely built models in 1940, the New Ruler. The Class C, Brown engine powered, pylon plane had a six-foot span, one- foot chord. The elliptical cross- section fuselage was a little over four feet long. A cowled engine and an open cockpit with headrest aft of wing pylon were features giving semi-scale realism to a contest duration model. The design was published in two issues of Air Trails. American Ace, a smaller four and a half-foot, Class B version New Ruler won three of the first 10 places at the Chicago Nationals. The plane could be flown in A or C with engine changes. A three-foot span American Ace used an Atom or Madewell engine. Berkeley Model Company of Brooklyn, New York, produced all.
Henry moved to Old Lyme during World War
II to work on research for Roger Griswold and Pratt Reed, and continued on for
Luddington-Griswold, and others following the war. Later, he owned and operated
Ken-Lab, designing and manufacturing gyrostabilizers for the photographic industry,
until his retirement.
Besides his wife, he is survived by two daughters, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Vic Nippert has written a very nice remembrance
of Henry you can read it here.
June 12, 1925 - October 13, 2012
I first met Bob Hatschek in 1985 when I became a member of the Brooklyn Skyscrapers Free Flight Model Airplane Club. Bob was one of the clubs senior members having joined the Skyscrapers in 1955. Before he joined the Skyscrapers he was a member of Flushing Model Airplane Club from 1938 to 1940, and the Prop Spinners Club from 1941 to 1954.
When Bob was not flying model airplanes he was senior editor of American Machinist magazine writing technical publications. Bob says, “For most of that time, and especially the years at American Machinist, my hobby was making things, and my job was writing about how industry was making things. How could it be better?”
But Bob’s passion was building and flying model airplanes. He claims his best idea was the creation of the FAI F1J free flight class (international 1⁄2 A). He first wrote a rules proposal, then convinced the Skyscrapers to back it (which they did enthusiastically). The proposal then went to the AMA, which approved, and subsequently to the Free Flight Technical subcommittee of the CIAM (the FAI”s model aviation group). The FFTC modified some of Bob?s original rules, and the new class was adopted worldwide. The F1J international event is still flown today.No doubt Bob is a brilliant idea man and creative thinker but he is also highly opinionated and would not take no for an answer. He appeared to have a gruff and ornery personality, until you got to know him. Which I did very well.
About 10 years ago Bob’s health had deteriorated with breathing problems and he could no longer go to a contest on his own. I volunteered to be his co-pilot so to speak. We traveled around the country going to model contests. I would fly mine and when Bob flew his I would be his assistant (perfect for a photographer) and help him fly.
Due a stroke a few years ago Bob could no longer fly, but he still remained active in the Skyscrapers Club up until the time of his passing.
A week before Bob died, fellow club member Dave Acton and myself went to visit Bob. He was weak and frail and had trouble speaking due to his breathing problems, but he had a smile on his face because he was able to B/S about Free Flight one last time with his club members.
Bob is survived by his wife Lucy and their 4 sons.
Rest in Peace Bob, may the thermals carry you onward……
Dave Rounsaville and his wife Terri were kind enough to write their impressions of Bob's memorial service. You can read their essays here.
June 23,1923 - May 1, 2013
Thomas L. Waddington, lifetime resident
of Niagara Falls, passed away on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at Schoellkopf Health
Care Center. He was 89. He was born in Niagara Falls on June 23, 1923, a son
of the late Thomas E. and Corinne (Parks) Waddington. He attended local schools
and graduated from Niagara Falls High in 1941. Tom entered the United States
Army in 1943 and served in Northern France, the Rhineland, and Central Europe,
achieving the rank of Technician 5th Grade. He was stationed with the 44th Army,
69th Engineering Battalion and worked as a welder repairing trucks, tractors,
trailers, and other construction equipment. He received the European –
African and Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars, the Good Conduct
Medal and the Bronze Star Medal. Following his Honorable Discharge in 1945 he
attended the University of Buffalo and graduated with a degree in mechanical
engineering in 1950, the first engineering class to graduate from U.B.
He married Jean Morden who is the mother of his 3 children; Linda (Bob) Milburn, Janet and Mark Waddington. Tom has 1 grandchild, Nicole, whom Janet adopted in China. Nicole will be 14 in September. His wife Jean died in 1978.
On December 26, 1993, Tom married longtime family friend Mary Colling, whose husband Bill graduated from U.B. with Tom. Tom “inherited” 5 step-children, 10 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren.
Tom worked for Mobil Oil for 33 years in various positions. One was designing aircraft refueling vehicles. Another was overseeing the Mobil tank farms. His last position was in the main office in New York City. After retirement Tom volunteered his time and drove for Meals on Wheels for 13 years. He was an avid hobbyist and loved to build model cars and planes and belonged to IPMS-BUFCON Model Club in WNY and The Brooklyn Skyscrapers Model Airplane Club of NYC.
(1928 - 2012)
Tom past away Saturday January 21, 2012
at the Hospice House of Queen Anne’s County in Centreville, MD. He was
Thomas C. Kerr was born February 3, 1928 in Philadelphia, PA the son of the late, Thomas Cameron Kerr and Dorothy Walker Kerr. Mr. Kerr was a 1944 graduate of Olney High School. He served his country in the United States Navy during WWII. On September 2, 1950 he married Elizabeth Kerr and the two lived in Philadelphia. Mr. Kerr worked as a commercial heating and air conditioning service specialist for the Philadelphia Gas Works for 36 years and retired in 1986. In 1990 they moved to Chestertown, MD. He enjoyed building and competing in free flight model aviation. He was a member of the USA Free Flight Team, competing in Sweden in 1971 and won the America’s Cup of Competitive Model Aviation in 2005. He was a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics and the National Free Flight Society. He was also an inventor, pattern maker and accomplished furniture and cabinet maker. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Elizabeth.
Tom was not a club member, but we always thought of him as a member of our "family". He was primarily a power flyer who designed his own models and was a fierce competitor right to the end. Two months before he died he had suffered a stroke on the flying field while prepping his model for a contest. He will be missed by all who knew him.
We recently lost fellow club member John Carbone. John traveled to most contests in his later years with Jean Pailet who sent in the following.....
Our friendship originated in our late
'teens. John was a couple of years older so he had "our" first car
(a coupe with no rear seat) so he carried me around in what was then known as
the "rumble seat", totally exposed to all sorts of nasty weather!
We lost touch in our late '20's and 30's but "found" each other again
in the 1960's and also resumed our joint love affair with Free-Flight.
John flew most all FF events and we traveled up and down the east coast and out to the midwest competing together and helping each other for many years. John won a number of 1st's, including 1/2A at one of the Lawrenceville NATS and, teamed with me and Danny Aggers, the HLG team trophy at one of the Westover NATS. In more recent years his ability to travel was impacted first by his wife's health and later by his own. He would still, however, come along with me up to Wawayanda to socialize with his "flying buddies" so long as it was only a one day trip. He will be sorely missed!!
Bernard S. Liquorman, 88, of Beacon, NY died on Sunday, February 14, 2010 at the Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. He was a retired Director of Plant Engineering for Chemprene in Beacon, NY. Model Airplanes were his passion, and he was a member of the Brooklyn Skyscrapers, Mid Hudson Radio Control Society and the Mid Hudson Model Masters. He was also a member of the America Legion in Beacon and the Jewish War Veterans. Mr. Liquorman had a Bachelor's in Aeronautical Engineering, a Masters in Mechanical Engineering and held a N.Y.S. Professional Engineers License. He was also a WWII Army Air Corp. Veteran. A member of the Beacon Hebrew Alliance, he was born on September 23, 1921 in Brooklyn, NY to the late Kieva and Mollie Liquorman. He married his wife Doris on June 1, 1944. Mrs. Liquorman survives at home. He is also survived by his daughter, Jane Liquorman of Guttenberg, NJ, and his son, Mark Liquorman and his wife Nel of Crystal Beach, FL, as well as several nieces and nephews.
Henry "Hank" Cox was born
in 1914 in the town of Union, New Jersey. Following schooling, he began working
at a plant which manufactured inks. Hank worked his way into the craft of stair-building,
eventually developing his business as Delcraft Stairbuilders, located in Glenrock,
New Jersey. He built and installed wooden staircases of exotic design: circular,
winding, you name it. The business had an excellent reputation in northern New
His love for airplanes and flight began at a young age to that point that in 1936-37 he joined a group of young men in central New Jersey in building and flying basic gliders. They formed the Aeroclub Albatross: he was a charter member. They really flew their own creations, towing them up using a drum attached to the rear axle of a Model T ford, used as a power takeoff. Their flights were short but exciting. He was issued a Glider Pilot's license in 1936.
He married his wife, Ann, in 1937. They raised two children. He was the adored grandfather of two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
He received his pilot's license in 1965 and flew a light plane from Ramapo Airport in southern New York State. He put in approximately 300 hours of flying time. He attended the 25th Anniversary of Teterboro Airport where he met all the big names in the world of aviation and obtained signatures from several famous pilots on his copy of the program for that activity.
Hank was a longtime member of the Brooklyn Skyscrapers Model Airplane Club and proved to be a great competitor. In his time he won many awards at outdoor model airplane contests. He and his wife, Ann, enjoyed attending meets at Galeville. They found the means to bring with them, in the back of Hank's truck, a small motorcycle for use in chasing models and a folding picnic table, table cloths, candelabra and great food to share their lunch with all present.
The ultimate woodworker, Hank created furniture, turned lidded bowls, chalices, wine stoppers, etc.
He spent his last nine months at an assisted living home. In his room he had a portrait of the French airplane, the Antoinette of 1909. On his table he had a flying model of that airplane which he had built years ago.
Hank passed away on July 28, 2008 in Park Ridge, New Jersey.
The above was written by Art Collard.
John (Jack) Dare Nix, 76, of Burnt Chimney and formerly of Smithtown, N.Y., passed away Sunday, May 18, 2008, after a lengthy illness. He was preceded in death by a son, John D. Nix III; his mother; and his sister. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Maureen T. Nix; sons, Jeffrey (Leslie) Nix, of Stanwood, Wash., Kerry Nix, of St. James, N.Y., and Bryan (Eleanor) Nix, of E. Patchogue, N.Y.; three grandsons, Jeffrey, Jack and Cameron Nix; and two granddaughters, Emily and Keri Nix. Jack was a Korean War veteran with the United States Army Corp of Engineers and retired with 37 years of service from H.O. Penn Machinery Company of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. His lifelong hobby was building and flying model airplanes. He will be missed by dear friends, neighbors and club members.
Dave Rounsville was very close to Jack and his reflections about Jack can be read here.
Harvey W. Poirier
SOUTH ROYALTON—Harvey William
Poirier, 73, died Monday, Dec. 31, 2007 at home from lung fibrosis.
He was born December 19, 1934, in Iron Mountain, Mich., a son of Harvey and Zella (Carbis) Poirier. He entered the Air Force Aviation Cadet Program in 1954, and was honorably discharged in 1958 as a captain and jet pilot.
He graduated for the University of Michigan’s School of Business administration in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree. He had a career in insurance with Chartered Life Underwriters, including estate planning and as director of life and pension sales, and was an advanced underwriting consultant for Metropolitan Life, U.S.A. He retired from the insurance business in 1982, and moved to the Upper Valley in 1984.
He was certified by the Professional Ski Instructors of America and taught skiing at various ski resorts.
He also taught tennis to individuals and groups at the recreation departments in Hanover and Lebanon. And was certified by the US Professional Tennis Association.
His life-long hobby was building model airplanes and flying them in contests. He belonged to the Academy of Model Aeronautics and Flying Aces Club. In later years, he began to teach model airplane building to children and their parents.
He wrote several books, including "Learning Tennis Balance from the Inside Out," "Skiing Dynamic Balance," and a book of scripture-based poems.
He was predeceased by a brother, William Poirier.
Survivors include his wife, Muriel Poirier of South Royalton; two sons, Thomas Poirier of Texas and Jonathan Poirier of Korea; and three granddaughters.
Interment with military honors will be at Vermont Veterans National Cemetery in Randolph Center in the spring.
Tobias Feuer 3/16/22 - 8/3/07
Toby joined the Skyscrapers in 1937. He was an active club member for all those 70 years. He was a fun loving character and his love of model building never faded. In his later years he flew mostly indoor free flight, but he always kept up to date on all the latest technology. His Son Alan has donated his fathers models to the Skyscrapers Club. He will be missed by all that knew him.
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