Friday, June 14, 2013

Satellite Contraption



Many moons ago, I posted a blurry shot (seen above) of the satellite arm perched above the America The Beautiful attraction.

Now I have a much better view of it from January 1964.



Cox Pilot had sent his recollection of this futuristic contraption:

As I recall, there was a satellite that circled around on a big arm on top of the building that housed the Circarama show that included space and satellites. Both the arm and the satellite would turn, and they were a replica of the AT&T telecommunications satellite. It was a big deal in those days because of the TV broadcasts of the Olympics. Later the big ball stopped turning (another detail that was left to fall apart). A little side note: one of our airplanes (the biggest one) broke its lines during a show. It did a half role and zoomed right towards the clock about 20 feet off the ground. At the last minute, it rolled over again and took a right turn and slammed right into the big AT&T sign. We paid, and WED began to re-think our being in the park.



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6 comments:

K. Martinez said...

That has to be the best photo I've seen of the satellite arm so far. Love the story of the model airplane crash as recollected by Cox Pilot. It's stories like those among other things that make your blog a real joy to read.

CoxPilot said...

You can see the Piper Comanche model in my avitar photo. It's the largest, green and cream colored, plane. It was very powerful, and actually should have been on 100 feet of control line. Our circle would only allow 50 feet of line, so we had to use steel fishing line with special connectors, and we would set the engine to "full rich" so it would run slow. BUT; on very hot days, the full mixture would lean out, and the plane would start to go full speed half way through the flight. When that would happen, you could only hang on until the fuel ran out in about 5 minutes, and keep the plane below the fence line just in case. The fuselage of the plane would start to slide off the wing, and then the lines would give out, and the plane would slam into the fence at about 60 mph. That particular day we had a bit of a Santa Ana wind, and a gust took the plane above the fence line just as the lines broke and off it went. It finally hit the big round AT&T sign on the SIDE of the building that faced our circle (not visible in the photo), smashing the plastic. One man near the sign was showered with plastic, and was very upset. We gave him the plane, and it seemed to calm him down.

It's really amazing how a photo can bring a flood of memories of nitro methane and castor oil. Thanks Dave

Davelandweb said...

Lee - You have no idea how much your vivid memories are appreciated!

Mobile Disco DJ For Wedding said...

I love Disney Land iv'e only been there one time but i plan to return soon as my kids get old enough to enjoy it

K. Martinez said...

CoxPilot - I second what Dave said. Thanks again for sharing your wonderful memories.

Major Pepperidge said...

I get the feeling that the satellite wasn't there for very long... perhaps only a year or so?