Comet Zipper found!

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    If you lost a Comet Zipper at the Nationals sometime in the past, it has been found.

    Please let me know which year the Nationals was held that you lost your Comet Zipper, and what engine it had on it?

    It has been found, and there was no name on it!


    Just got a call from Bob Larsh from Indianapolis asking me about the found Comet Zipper.

    He lost his at Muncie in September of 2007, and it had a Forster 29 on it. It was covered with white silk and had yellow silk wing tips. Last seen up and away with the DT failing. AMA #14745 is on the wing.

    The one that I have located is prior to that quite a bit. Keep on calling on your lost Comet Zippers.

    Maybe someone has a fond memory of a lost one from the past?


    I picked up the Zipper tonight, and found that it had the owners name and address on it…..duh!

    It was found at the 1948 Nationals in Monticello, Minnesota.

    The REAL owner is identified at his last known address:

    Melvin A. Cordes
    3116 Fremont Avenue North
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Telephone number: CH 7785

    If anyone knows if he is alive and his whereabouts, it might be interesting to get his 60 year lost model back to him.

    I still have a few lost models out there also that I would like back. A Hustler 625 with Torp 23 on it (1959), and a Starduster 900 (1992) with a Enya 35 to name a few!


    Pictures of the Zipper from Dave


    Has that really been lost since 1948? Must have been inside somewhere.
    It looks very restorable too. Does the engine turn over?

    I lost a Playboy Snr. about 13 years ago. Human error caused it. I missed turning on the Seelig at launch and the engine ran well over a minute. I’m sure such a big thing as that would have to be been found not far where we were flying from. I’m still convinced it’s inside someones place. Ah well, only 47 more years to wait. Mmmmm, now how old will I be?????? 😆


    The fellow has been storing it since 1949 when someone found it and turned it over to him. He looked on the wing and didn’t notice the name plate on the front of the fuselage, so I am told.

    The story is that it was found the following Spring after one of our long Minnesota Winters with lots of snow.

    The engine turns over and is an Ohlson 23, converted to glow. I will rebuild it if no one comes back from the dead to claim it. I also have a Zipper 020 Replica kit to build along with a full size Sailplane kit to build, so one of these days I will fix up some OLD TIMERS!

    The Zipper model is kind of dear to me, because in 1955 I went to an auction and purchased a very old full size Goldberg Sailplane. I flew it a couple of flights prior to the crunchy fuselage becoming unrepairable. I have been storing this wing since then, and the framework is still pretty good. But I have a complete Sailplane kit to spend a couple of months working on in more leisurely moments, and will put an Orwick 64 on it, and finish it out with full cowl and retracting landing gear.

    This picture is of me with my well flown Sailplane replica, and a Zeek ( a descendant of the Sailplane and Zipper) Sorry the picture is not too good, it was scanned from a photo.


    60 years in storage,wow. The owner if he was in his teens when he lost the model would be in his late 70’s; maybe an approach to the feds social security department with the story may turn up where or if the Melvin is still with us 😉

    Ployd in OZ


    411 shows several Cordes in and around the Minneapolis area .. but no Melvin. A few calls might produce family?

    Bill Shailor

    Interesting story, but you have to wonder why the person who found it and stored it, if the same person, didn’t try to contact the owner earlier.
    I had this happen with a Nordic glider I lost in Canada. Two years later, the phone rang The guy had the model in a barn for that time.


    It happens, Bill. In England, decades ago, I had a call from a farmer about a glider I’d lost a year previously … “in the barn – help yourself” he said when I stopped by to collect it. I also brought out 8 other assorted models lost from Topcliffe in earlier times, rubber/power/glider … when asked why he hadn’t made any contacts he just shrugged … “better things to do”

    I guess I just got lucky at a rare moment when he had nothing better to do …. but, after a year?


    I have received many calls from finders of my lost models…luckily.

    But these were never heard from:
    1958, my Calypso Major with Torp 23. flew into a large swampy area.
    1959, my Hustler 625 with torp 23, forgot to start the timer and watched it disappear through low hanging clouds. A great flyer…drats!
    1960 Dallas Nats, my Satellite 320 with terrific Holland Hornet disappeared over the big lake after the fuse got dunked on a ROW flight.
    1966 Lightning Bug, 020 RC model, become non RC shortly after launch.
    1967 modified Inch Worm A-2, went up in the hottest thermal that I have ever seen, in full DT mode.
    1990 was a bad year: Sidekick A-1, an A-2 original, Starduster 90
    (stopped building models for 10 years)
    2004: Pirate P-30, forgot to start the viscous timer, Bukin F1G and Burdov F1G lost at the NATS. Lost my original FAI power model with a good running TD 15.
    2006: Lost a Bukin F1B on the first test flight, no name, and no Walston.
    2006: RC original sailplane, lost control over a jungle in Florida, dove in about a block away.

    At the 1959 FAI trials, I had lost one of my power models the week before, and had just been notified that it was found. It was an out of state contest. Flew number 2 model for 3 of the 5 rounds, and after round 3 it landed next to the highway. Somebody picked it up and notified me 3 weeks later. Could not qualify on only 3 flights!

    So if anyone calls me in the next 60 years, I would be most happy to go and pick them up.

    Not listed above is every hand launched glider built prior to 2000.


    OMG Dave, you’ve lost plenty. It’s an awful feeling though when they just keep going.
    I lived in Melbourne Australia the first 50 years of my life and lost a few from when I joined a club and got serious about it all as a 15 year old, BUT as far as I can honestly remember only two never came back. They were both Kit Bays Laser Chaser’s with TD051s. Anybody remember them? I still have another here with an 051 in it that was built in 1973. Unflown for years.

    After I moved to Queensland in 1992 at last count I have lost 13, yes 13, and all good ones including some good engines too.
    I have not got one of them back. I guess it’s the mix of big thermals, rough terrain and if by some chance found

    put it in the shed, it’s only a toy plane.


    An interesting statistic perhaps; since 1991 when the UK team started using trackers (UK Biotrack sytem generally) they have not lost a model at a championships that had a tracker and DT’d. That’s over 1000 flights. Now a few didn’t DT and were lost but it shows what trackers can do.

    You should always use a tracker as the thermal doesn’t know its a trim flight. I religiously do, except I didn’t on one flight in 2007 and the model was stolen from where it landed near a road. Got it back later but it scared me and I spend a lot of time looking for it.

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