1932 Gordon S Light, 19, USA

The entire world was now in the midst of a "Great Depression", financing aeromodelling events was not on any of the financial agendas of any corporation in the world including BP. In fact the Airplane Model League of America (AMLA) which up until 1932 had conducted the US Free Flight Nationals lost all of its financial backing, and now could not continue its sponsorship of the contest. The "Nationals" was originally scheduled for late June, and traditionally the Wakefield Event Team Trials, and the Wakefield Cup Event this year, would be flown at the end of the big contest. This allowed the US and the proxy flyers Team some practice time to prepare for the Wakefield Event. The SMAE had approved the June date and proxy aeromodels were prepared by Team Great Britain, boxed, and were shipped in time to arrive in the USA for the June contest.

The SMAE was not consulted when the Bamberger Aero Club of New York assumed sponsorship of the US Free Flight Nationals, or when it rescheduled the contest and venue, to be held at Atlantic City on September 10, 1932. In all the confusion, to save the entire "Nationals", little thought, or none was given to the proxy aeromodels sitting in boxes, at least not by any but those who were concerned about the condition of their aeromodels. The SMAE, after learning about the rescheduled date of the Wakefield Event, declared it "No Contest: null and void". Who can blame their actions? Their Wakefields which were to be flown proxy had been encased for two months, in boxes, and could not be considered ready for the Contest.

The Wakefield Cup Event was formally held at Atlantic City, NJ, on September 10, 1932. The reigning Wakefield Champion Joseph Ehrhardt was there, as were Team USA, Team Canada, and the selected Proxy Team. It was a great contest, and it was hard fought, but in the end the Crown of Champion, went from Ehrhardt to a new Wakefield Champion Gordon S Light of Lebanon, Penn., who had the longest flight of the day, with what some claim to be the most beautiful Wakefield of the "Antique Period".

Although he wears the Wakefield Champions Crown as the "1932 pretender", we must recognize that Light had nothing to do with the circumstances. Acting solely as an Historian I would appeal to the FAI/CIAM or who ever the powers be, to rescind the original decision of the SMAE and give in to the long held opinion that Gordon S Light was the 1932 Wakefield Cup Champion! A detail of the winning aeromodel is furnished, it was truly a beautiful Wakefield having a glazed cabin, and handsome undercarriage, and it flew wonderfully.

On the winning flight of 7 minutes, 57 seconds, the "T-56" brown rubber motor consisting of only 8 strands, was wound up to 1200 turns, it ROG'd perfectly from the take off board, and was lost OOS after almost eight minutes. The total wing loading was estimated at 1.65 oz. at 100 sq ins, with a wing area of 169 sq ins, very light, 2.79 ounces! Gordon wrote me that he was just pleased to beat Maxwell Bassett who flew a petrol powered Wakefield to 4th place!


M.A.N. Sept 1948, Wakefield in '48, John L MacKinzie
Aeromodeller March 1976, Those early days, Magpie
International Competition Handbook, Gerold Ritz

Music: "Brother: can you spare a dime?"; Literature: "Brave New World", Cine: "Tarzan"

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