TRIBUTE TO JOHN O'DONNELL (14.8.1932 - 18.4.2017) (J O'D is seen 3rd from the right above early 2017)
I have to report with great sadness the death of John who was found dead by his wife June recently following a stroke.
John was affectionately known as J O'D by any modeller who came into contact with him. I have known John since 1958, when I began contest flying, but his aeromodelling history and achievements go back much further. He has flown all free flight duration classes and has more championships to his name that anyone I know of. Always a very fierce competitor, John never could understand the concept of "fun flying" and I have had many a recent chuckle driving him mildly crazy with my approach to contests. John was always ready to help any flier who was serious about performance, and I have had kindness from him in the past. One of my other memories of John was when he trod on the wing of my "Dixilander" during area comps at Rufforth in the early '60s. he was chasing his model and was totally focussed on what it was doing. John ran the NORWIND indoor duration group at Wigan for many years which was sadly missed when it closed. I started my indoor career (along with Peter Turner) at Wigan over 20 years ago and have developed from then. John has recently not been in good health and retired from flying, but had continued to attend the meetings at Clayton Green. He has also written many articles for "Aeromodeller" and had many plans published.
John's contribution to free flight modelling is enormous and (as long as you weren't competing against him), he was a really nice person.
We send our thoughts to June his wife, who has supported John (including acting as a stooge for winding his rubber models) throughout his modelling career. Free flight modelling has lost a very significant figure from its history and he will be missed by the group
Tom Tomlinson 20.4.2017
J O'D photo taken by Alex Whittaker from his blog on the web. A nice way to remember him!