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Victor M. Saudek

Soaring lost one of its staunch supporters and active members in Victor M. Saudek. Vic had been active in soaring since the early 1930's. He was a Mech/Aero graduate of Carnegie Technical Institute in 1939. Vic crewed for Martin Schempp at the first Shenandoah expedition to explore Big Meadows as a potential soaring site in September 1933. In 1939 he had two articles in the October issue of Soaring Magazine; one, the American Open contest at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes near Frankfort, Michigan and the other on details of barographs applied to soaring. Vic's ability to write stayed with him throughout his career contributing much over the years to SSA, AHA, SCSA, VSA and NSM. He presented papers to OSTIV and the International Soaring Technical Assoc.

In 1951 a two year project to study the phenomena of standing waves was instigated by the USAF Cambridge Research Center. Vic Saudek was project supervisor. Dr. J. Kuettner and Dr. W. Klemperer were project scientists. Larry Edgar, John Robinson, Ray Parker and Bob Symons were pilots as well as Betsy Woodward and Dick Eldridge who assisted in analyzing the data at UCLA. Vic's role was instrumental in the success of the project.

In 1994 Vic supervised a SCSA, UCLA project to study the Jet Stream which involved Dr. Kuettner, Lyle Maxey, Larry Edgar and Betsy Woodward. Several flights to 40,000 ft. were made. Vic wrote of this project in his report "The Sierra Wave Project From Concept to Fruition" presented at the National Soaring Museum (NSM) symposium in 1975.

Vic worked for North American, Pratt Read, All-American Engineering, Luddington Griswold, Kolesman Instruments and Hughes Aircraft.

"One of Vic Saudek's last acts was to deliver drawings and blue prints of AOLUS (sailplane) to Glendale Community College. Handing the torch he and Bob Blaine had lit and carried all those years into young hands where hopefully someday it would be launched into "the wild blue yonder" and was a tribute to those two dedicated soaring pioneers!!

- Jeann Blaine

Over the years Vic was always ready and willing to present talks and demonstrations at the annual Sailplane Homebuilders Western Workshops. (SHA). In fact his latest effort was preparing a paper on the addition of a nose wheel and brake system for the 2-32 which wappeared in Technical Soaring.

Vic was affectionately known as the little guy with the deep voice and will be missed by all who knew him. He is survived by his wife Martha, his son Glen both of Los Angeles and a brother, Robert, in Washington, DC.

- Howard Burr

Posted: 5/1/1997

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