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BEHIND THE SCENES

With Pat Schreffler CCF Master Builder

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The Circle City Flyers of Corona are happy to have as a member: a meticulous builder, an outstanding flyer and moreover, a great person, Pat Schreffler.  Let’s take a look at how he got started and what led him to the master model builder that he is...

Pat began his interest in model airplanes at twelve years old while living in Corona. He has lived in the Southern California town all his life. He partnered with his neighbor, Bob, who took him under his wing. Bob showed him the basics of modeling and encouraged him to learn as much as he could. His dad also supported his interest by setting up a work space in the attic, all his own. It was not long before he completed his initial build.

Pat has always liked working with wood, which opened the door for his passion for wood balsa airplane kits. His first project was a Jenson Das Ugly Stick kit. He flew it at the old Rimpau field in, of course, Corona. The plane flew fine but Pat knew he could do better. He learned to take the time to read the instructions completely and gain a thorough understanding of what was required to be done. He followed up by a complete examination of the parts and the wood for quality and accuracy. 

He also took notes and advice from other flyers. His attention to detail led him to make a hard and fast rule of never starting a build until he fully understood the requirements from both the plans and instructions. These qualities took hold at an early age in building and are responsible for the development of the core skills he uses today. These basic skills may seem simple for seasoned modelers but for those of us who have the tendency to cut corners in-order to get to the flying field faster; it’s a good reminder of the quality of precision.

Pat now has a beautiful house with a great garage and work area that he customized to his specifications. His home like his planes* is immaculate. The first thing Pat did with his garage is to maximize the work and storage space. He made movable storage and staging areas. He learned over the years that having the proper tools makes a big difference in capability and accuracy. He feels three main electric tools are a must; Drill Press, Belt Sander and a Scroll Saw.  The upper shelfs in his garage serve as a completed plane storage area, so they are out of harm’s way.  The cabinets, table draws, tool box on wheels hold all the proper tools and accessories; plus everything can be moved out of the way when not in use. It saves space and eliminates a cramped work area.  Thus he can layout the plans, instructions and parts for his examination before he begins.  He also uses his spare bedroom to store the wings of completed planes. This avoids damage to wings and more storage space in garage.            

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        Pat’s attention to detail, accuracy , study of new techniques, review of latest products, learning about motors, latest radio equipment, quality of balsa, maintenance, covering techniques and study of history of the plane he is working on, has contributed to his success. He also gives credit to being in a club where you can discuss problems and troubleshooting of your planes and equipment. The club provides the opportunity to benefit from experienced modelers knowledge and expertise and is a priceless opportunity to learn, as he puts it. The experience gained from others has contributed to the quality of work and expertise he has today.

Pat feels he is about 85% percent there in perfection for him to consider competition in AMA someday. At the moment he is thinking about building a 1/6 scale B-17.  That puts the wingspan at 200 plus inches. I hope I live long enough to see that…lol.

Pat loves vintage plane kits, and he now looks to buy as many as he can. He feels someday they will be gone. His main interest is bi-planes right now, although he also likes aerobatic planes. He likes their colorful color schemes these planes adorn.  One in particular is Ultra Sport 1000 in which he duplicated the color scheme on the box. The results were exactly like the box!  Demonstrating his talent in covering; a skill acquired thru trial and error and “how to” videos on the internet.

Pat currently is working on a 1/3 scale Sopwith Pup, a kit from Balsa USA. He has it for the most part all framed up. The glue joints are perfect; you can barely tell they’ve been glued or epoxied together. Pat again shows his building skills. Pat spare’s no expense; he has a spun Aluminum Cowling, working wire wing cables and a geared down G-38. He geared down the engine to adapt to a larger prop.  He has been studying the WWI era planes and is intrigued by their designs and the men who flew them. I have a feeling we will be seeing more projects in the WWI era.  Pat fly’s all his planes with basic but impressive maneuvers as to always have the best control and not over stress the structure. He is about a comfortable safe flight that best shows of his planes. Pat’s low fly byes are impressive and do show off his flying skills.

      Pat checks and double checks his planes before every flight. After 5 flights he thoroughly checks his planes for possible malfunctions, loose screws, and engine maintenance, in other words, a complete inspection of what could go wrong or has gone wrong. Pat leaves no stone unturned which is why it’s paid off not only in the hobby but also in his life. He is one to emanate for those younger modelers and for those who want to compete in AMA. Pat has been married for 32 years with two grown children He is employed as a Computer Tech/Chief Info Officer an Executive level position. We are proud to have him as a club member.