Meet Wendell B. Seward,
Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
I am a Communications Engineer. I received a Bachelors of Science Degree
from the State University of Iowa in 1932. Some of the companies I have
been employed by include the Signal Corp, Bendix, Hughes, NBC and RCA.
I chose radio as a hobby, after building a homemade crystal set in 1922.
I progressed through tubes, transistors, integrated circuits, amateur
radio, worldwide communications, broadcasting, manned orbital vehicles,
and communication satellites.
Aviation was also a prime interest ever since I saw a Jenny fly over
our town in 1918. I took an exciting ride in an open cockpit biplane in
1930, and succeeded in getting some good snap shots from the air, utilizing
another hobby "photography" that developed into my own well-equipped dark
room. I have dozens of albums and thousands of mounted color slides. For
quieter moments, I resort to many hours of home-recorded reel-to-reel
tapes, audio cassettes, 78s, 45s and LPs.
It must be apparent now that I am "Over hobbied" and so, still find
the days too short. Even so, in 1982, a mutual friend arranged a contact
with a member of the AIAA Wright Flyer group. I joined and have found
the project irresistible, taking top precedence on Saturdays for the past
16 years. On Sundays, I fly radio controlled miniature airplanes, another
hobby that I have devoted to at least weekly participation.
My R/C (radio controlled) interests encouraged me to propose an eighth-scale
replica of the Wright Flyer, hopefully with the prospects of acquiring
some characteristics of the full-scale plane. We know great skill was
required of the pilot, enough so that no replica has been successfully
flown. Surprisingly, the model flies very well with a reflexed airfoil
and has elicited great interest at R/C aircraft shows and on static displays,
particularly for audiences along the route on the trip from Los Angeles
to NASA Ames.
There hasn't been so much demand for my professional specialities but
the project is so interesting that it has been enjoyable to help any way
I can even if it was filling sand bags when we were getting ready for
the static test, or sweeping the floor when needed.