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.