In the December 1978 STUNT NEWS issue there was a funny little story. It was a great gloss, written by then editor Wynn Paul. I’m afraid that many Stunt News readers have forgotten the text, the contents, and the style of writing. Also, later generations have never had the pleasure of enjoying this piece. It is just too good a literary jewel of satirical quality to fall into oblivion. That’s why I considered offering it here. Wynn Paul kindly allowed me to do this, so all credit goes to this gifted author and to his generous permission for publication. Thank you very much, Wynn !
December 17, 1978 marks the 75th anniversary of the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers.
What if? What if Wilbur and Orville Wright had been blessed with the presence of Al Rabe and Bill Werwage as the two brothers attempted to build and fly their first powered Wright flyer. ( I’m sure Al and Billy would have given valuable help in designing the Flyer. Ukie )


The Scene: Dayton, Ohio, in the bicycle shop, September, 1903

Wilbur: “Orv, the glider worked OK, but for powered flight we need a bigger airframe and more lift to support the engine and the pilot.”
Al: “Yes, that’s right guys, my experiments with the Bearcat XVII wing on the hood of my Plymouth at 55 mph proved conclusively without a doubt that the 25% airfoil is the best.”
Orville: “The hood of your what?”
Bill: “Remember Al, this is 1903, the only Plymouth these guys know about is the rock and the
Chicken. Besides, George Aldrich is only 21 years old and hasn’t invented the Nobler yet.”
Wilbur:“OK, so we’ll build a flyer with two wings. We’ll need about 100 ribs and something to make the spars out of.”
Bill: “You mean that you’re not going to use I-beam construction? But, its the only thing I use and its so Iight. All my Ares, USA-1’s and the Juno’s feature this. I won the World Championships twice with this wing.
Al: “I don’t think the I-beam will work with this plane because there’s no fuselage. And I called up Lampione and he said I was right. Darn, now they won’t be able to use my molded balsa fuselage sides. Would you guys like to see my picture books?”
Wilbur: “Molded what? Now, let’s see Orv, what size should we make these wings to best support the flyer?”
Bill: “You can use some of my old wings. Here is my 1961 Super Ares wing that I’ve used in four different airplanes, including my 1966 Half-A stunter and my 1970 RC pattern ship with the Bob Paul-Aloise-Wallich-257 cu. in. Chevy engine. Just be certain that the wing loading is low.”
Al: “Don’t worry about wing loading, I never do. Just keep putting more horsepower on the front, er, in the middle of the wing, or wings, or where ever you guys plan to put the engine. My experiments have conclusively proved that if you have 1000 H.P. on your flyer it should hold out good in the square eight.”
Orville: But Al, the engine we’re using only has 13 H.P. and anything bigger we try to put on the wing will be too heavy.”
Al: “You haven’t got a chance with 13 H.P. My Como-Aloise-Rabe-Wilder Supertigre-95 engine in my latest Bleriot flyer has 2.5 H.P. and as soon as I can get a 15-9 prop from Zinger it will fly even better.”
Wilbur: “Yes, Al, but we don’t plan to put panel lines, shading, numbers, fake gun ports, and camouflage on the flyer so we won’t need all that horsepower.”
Bill: “But, its got to have a pretty paint job - - - all of my planes do.”

The Scene shifts to Kitty Hawk, N. C., December 14, 1903

Al: “Why in the world did you guys come down here to fly?”
Orville: “Well, we can get a steady wind of about 25 m.p.h. here!”
Bill: “Yah, Al, we could have just stayed at Dayton and directed your voice toward their airplane”.
Al: “When the AMA hears about the wind we’ll probably have the Nats here next year. Is there
a place for the R.C. Banquet? Those are the two requirements for a Nats site.”
Wilbur: “Remember, we have to use the controls to warp the wings when one drops.”
BiII: “A warp - hold everything, I’m not associating with anything that has any warps. Maybe
we should call up John Poynter or Bobby Hunt on the phone and order a foam wing for
these novices.”
Orville: “Call on what?”
Al: “Get some of those California guys here - they’re warped,”
Bill: “No, they’re too busy having parties at Whitely’s and Fancher’s houses.
Al: “Do you guys have enough wingtip weight for the first flight? I usually start out with
about four ounces.
Wilbur: “Wingtip Weight?”
Bill: “Well see, if you’d have built the flyer with unequal panels, say about four feet of difference like my Ares and Juno’s, then you wouldn’t have to worry about tip weight.”
Orville: “But, that would make it go in a circle !”
Bill and A: “Now you’re getting the point.”
Orville: “’Wilbur, let’s get this thing on the track and try to get it up in the air”.
Bill: “That’s a funny looking stooge, you been talking to Baron?”
Wilbur: “Flip the coin to see who goes up first.”
Bill: “That’s how you choose your props isn’t it Al ?”
Al: “Now remember Orville, the first flight just take it easy and don’t do any square maneuvers..... like I do on my first flights.”
Bill: “Gee, Al, most of us thought that you’ve never done any real square maneuvers with those hulks of yours........”
Wilbur: “Well, here goes.”
Bill: “Wait a minute, did you put the cowl back on after fueling up?”
Al: “You’d think a guy who has been going to the Nats since 1955 would know how to put gas in his plane without taking off the cowl.”
Bill: “But its got to be pretty all the time.”

December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk

Bill: “Boy, aren’t you guys nervous, this is the big day?”
Orville: “Well sure, but if your buddy keeps shining his white shoes we’ll all be blinded.”
Al: “Just look at Bill’s black T-shirt, that’s the one he posed with in his 1960 magazine article, his only article.”
Wilbur: “Darn, the control wire to the aileron broke.”
Al: “Don’t worry, Bill can use some of his guitar strings, he’ll sound the same with or
without them.”
Orville: “Thanks guys, we would have had to postpone the attempt without the wire. I need something to cut it with.”
Al and Bill: “What else, use a Stiletto.”
Bill: “I hope this works today so we can go home. I’m tired of watching Al rebuild the engine
four times every night at the motel,”
Orville: “What’s a motel?”
Al: “That’s a place where New York and New Jersey people build and paint airplanes.”
Wilbur: “Let’s make sure the skids are on the track.”
Bill: “The last time I saw a plane with skids it was Gabris at the ‘70 World
Championships. Well, I beat him anyway. He spent too much time listening to Gialdini
and his “Evolution of the Sting Ray Story.”
Orville: “What do you guys use for an undercarriage?”
Al: “Well, all my planes have tires on them taken from Jeep CJ-7’s.”
Bill: “I use rejects from the indoor models. They’re pretty light.”
Wilbur: “It sure is lonely out here, look only one photographer.”
Al: “That’s Wynn, someday he’ll learn how to fly and won’t have to play boy reporter.”
Orville: “I hope we fly this thing before Langley gets his in the air.”
Al: “Me too, cause here comes some guy with a red Nobler, I know that’ll fly.”
Bill: “Does Langley fly classic or semi-scale planes? They need pretty paint jobs . . .“
Wilbur: “Its a shame the press isn’t here in force to record this historic date.”
Bill: “Well, you can’t help it. This isn’t Radio Control and so the A.M.A.
P.R. budget doesn’t cover it . . . . .”