For the past half-century or so, Bob Lutz has been one of the top executives in the automotive industry — notably serving as a leader for Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation, and General Motors during a long and legendary career. Along with his obvious passion for automobiles, Bob, who is a member of the Automotive Hall of Fame, is also a former aviator with the U. S. Marine Corps and has owned and flown a number of jet warbirds throughout his life. Now in his late 80s, 1 of Bob’s primary hobbies is building paper aircraft models — from scratch.
Through a friendship with EAA Aviation Museum docent and fellow modeler John Mellberg, EAA 109395, Bob decided to donate one of his recent builds, a gorgeous 1: 36-scale DC-3, to the particular museum to hang alongside the massive 1: 36-scale D-LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin model near the entrance. John built the Graf Zeppelin model over the period of many years and it was initially displayed at the Mitchell Gallery of Flight in Milwaukee before being installed at the EAA Aviation Museum earlier this year. The DC-3 and Zeppelin paired together represent two of the cutting-edge forms of commercial air transport in the 1930s.
Frank has been building plane models since he was a new child during World War II, starting out by building paper models that came out of books, progressing to plastic models, and now scratchbuilding models out associated with paper. In the last few many years, Bob has built around 50 card-stock models.
Bob’s DC-3 model represents American Airlines’ Flagship Virginia that would shuttle passengers back and forth from New York in order to Lakehurst Naval Air Station, New Jersey, where the LZ 129 Hindenburg Zeppelin would dock when on typically the U. S. East Coast. Bob said the design took him about a month to build from scrape. The exterior is coated within an aluminum card stock to give the type a realistic bare-metal appearance.
“It’s an aluminum-coated paper, but this problem is I hate to use it because it’s extremely hard to be able to work with, ” Greg explained. “It exfoliates very easily, so the metal delaminates. It’s an absolute nightmare to work with, but if you can wrestle it to the ground this does make for a realistic [appearance]. ”
As far as Bob’s decision to donate often the model to EAA, that was actually John’s idea for him to build it in the first place using the intention regarding displaying it with your Graf Zeppelin.
“I was having a conversation with John and John said ‘Well, if you’d ever really like to have a unit displayed at EAA, we could really use a one: 36 model of some sort of DC-3 to go with the Graf Zeppelin. I kind of resisted the idea for a long time because I didn’t feel like making a DC-3, but I finally did. It will be a good interesting contrast. [The Graf Zeppelin] model is even bigger than I recall. To make a DC-3 look tiny is unbelievable. ”
Bob’s next paper model project will be a familiar aircraft to EAA members — P-51D Mustang Paul I , which he made sure to photograph for reference on his visit to the exact museum.