National Free Flight Society

SEN 2983

  1. Coach
  2. I only knew him for 11 years
  3. Leaper
  4. First met him at the Taft  Champs


From: Jim  Parker
Lee Hines Memory

At a not so past contest, a flyer overheard me call Lee Hines “Coach” and asked why. Here’s the details of the answer. I arrived at the So Cal F1A scene in the early 1980’s. I was now flying with the top flyers I had read about in the magazines … Bob Isaacson, Don Zink, and Lee Hines and many others. Lee took a liking to me and we often traveled to NorCal and AZ contests together. Perhaps it was his curiosity about this Texan that listened to Jerry Jeff Walker and Marshal Tucker music while driving a green Gremlin. On one of the NorCal trips, Lee had had his jaw “moved” forward and wired shut to correct a bite problem. You’d think that would have slowed down his talking…. No it did not!  We did all our dining at Dairy Queens or the like which could concoct blended meals he could drink through a straw.

In the mid 1980’s Lee did not do as much F1A flying and decided not to compete at the 1988 USA Team Finals in Seguin Texas. In preparation for that finals I had retrofitted Bauer magnetic relay single function DT into my models and on two short models devised a hook that allowed extra circle tow rudder when hook was pulled back.  Off to Taft for a practice session which went terrible. These models were the transition design, “zoom” models (i.e. pre bunt) and I could not get a decent launch. Without all the micro-processor wing, stab, rudder changes we do today, the trim for a zoom launch was more like a hand launch glider launch. We all know that Lee was one of the best hand launch glider guys, both indoor and outdoor (pre-tip launch era).

On the drive home I remembered Lee was not flying at the finals and knew him to be one of the best F1A trim guys around. Getting home and before unloading I called Lee (pre-cell phones) and asked him if he would be willing to help me trim my models. “Sure”, he said, “but you come down to Mile Square Park (Fountain Valley CA, not far from his home) next Saturday”. That was a 2 hour drive for me and my first time there. Lee met me at the entrance and led me to the FF area.

I assembled a model and handed it to him. Lee gave it the eyeball—“Why do you have all this wash in?” he asked.  I answered, “It’s going to be windy in Texas and it’s needed to circle tow in the wind”.  Lee,” No you don’t, take most of it out” and he handed me the model. I did as instructed.  The model towed better and I was able to launch it!  We got two models trimmed that day. Afterward we went over to Guacamole Joe’s for lunch. Lee would school me on many aspects of Free Flight, both the glider, physical and mental aspects of competition. At the end of that first breakfast, he said, “Before next Saturday, take the dihedral out of your stabs, its just a problem waiting to happen!  Also you need to get rid of the extra circle toe rudder device”. He then made attempt at a Japanese word, he said it meant “clever idea but of no practical use”. My reply, “OK Coach!”

The next week my stabs were flat and my clever hook devise was gone. We got two more models trimmed. More model philosophy at Guacamole Joe’s.  I learned about his semi- professional slot car racing days and his story that he gave Dan Gurney the idea of a “kicker flap” on the rear wing of a formula one car.

We did this for 5 Saturdays working of tow- launch and glide. We experimented with turbulator position and height on one model. On one model I had put the rough side of mica film on the outside. Lee said he could hear the model—drag, “fix that!” he said.

On the last practice day I had a fly away. Off I ran, out of the park and down residential streets. The soft morning lift dissipated and the model landed on a cinder block wall between two houses. I walked the wall and grabbed the model watching a small dog jumping up to bite the wing tip— glad it was small dog. Lee had come with his car and picked me up.

And then it was time for the Finals. Lee even flew to Texas to be my helper. The net result was my first USA F1A team.

The 1989 World Champs was in Argentina and Lee went to be my helper and, well let’s say, to talk to his many friends across this globe. I dropped 1 second on the first round and then did 6 maxes. My youthful dream was fulfilled, thanks to my Coach.

Lee helped me achieve a higher F1A level, for which I will always be grateful and hold him in close memory.

Jim Parker
May 2022

I only knew him for 11 years

From: Malcolm Campbell

Hi Roger

Thanks for the latest SEN, but it was a tragic reminder that we are all getting old, with six US modellers passing away..    For me, it was so sad to learn of Lee Hines’ passing.  He  certainly had an encyclopedic memory and a wonderful way of sharing his knowledge. It was Lee who provided my way into F1A when I bought a couple of his gliders and he was always there to provide sound advice, like he did for all his friends.  And he did that again when Kathy and I got into CLGs and more recently E36.  I have kept all emails I shared with him as a knowledge bank and I will now treasure that.  While I really only knew Lee for 11 years, he was a pivotal force in shaping my free flight career.  I will truly miss you Leeper.  RIP old friend.

Malcolm Campbell (AUS)


From:Thomas Coussens

On Leeper-
Lee was the Free Flight world’s most interesting man. His knowledge of men
and their models was encyclopedic; we’d be discussing some particular
esoteric aspect of model building or some such, and he’d suddenly talk
about the some guy in the 4th round of the such and such contest at some
long-gone field in 1955 and  always have a punchline.   He’d show up with
that tiny white Scamp trailer and chase his ships with a mountain bike.
I’ll never forget his laugh.
He and Martyn Cowley had an epic hand-launch duel at Taft to see who could
launch the highest. We were awestruck that their models withstood the
violent snaps and wails that were heard across the field.

I counted it a high honor as a new flier to receive my FF nickname from
him, and yes, we young fliers of the “Fly-Max-Win Team” returned the favor.

Leeper, a life well-lived, admired by, and a friend to all.

Tom Coussens


First met him at the Taft  Champs

From:Fred Terzian
I read about Lee in the model mags back in the Fifties and Sixties, and
ultimately met him at the Taft FF Champs during the Seventies to the
present. Tall, lean guy and an extremely good builder and flyer. I never
saw him with a gas model in his hands but boy was he good with the
gliders!!!–A/1, A/2, F1A, F1H, Classic Hand Launch, the “new” Catapult
event (both indoors and outdoors), Old Time Hand Launch/Catapult, “Beat the
Vartanian” (which he created for fun) and collaborating with Don Zink
(deceased) and Vasily Beschasny (spelling?) from the Ukraine and the
“Buntbone” series of F1As that were Bob “Ike” Isaacson (deceased) inspired.
Then along came the Tip Launch revolution where he excelled and
collaborated with Ralph Ray and Stan Buddenbohm, plus the Brits, Aussies
and so on (no disrespect Tony and the Canadiens!). When he began to have
balance and running ability, he excelled in the other new events–modern
electric classes (E-36 and F1S, and maybe even E-20). As a competitor and
Contest Director, what really stood out for me was that he ALWAYS requested
his time cards after every competition event. That has to be a lot of
cardboard and paper stock he has archived over the years! It was a real
pleasure and honor to have launched his towline gliders and timed his
flights. He will be deeply missed, but he has left a lasting legacy in our
free flight community.