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Written by Rachelle Haughn
Find the entire feature on page 11 in the September 2011 issue.
Read an abridged summary as well as a video of Wild Bill.

What began as a hobby for a seven-year-old boy blossomed into a lifelong passion for a man whose antics in Combat circles earned him the nickname of “Wild Bill.”

Aeromodeling author, designer, contest director, and club creator William F. Netzeband died a little more than a year ago in California. But, his voice and visions were not silenced by his April 25, 2010, death. He leaves in his legacy countless magazine articles and club newsletters, and an award bearing his name.

Bill was born January 3, 1927, and began aeromodeling the day after his seventh birthday. He quickly learned how to repair models after the Lockheed Sirius his father and uncle built for him broke. He became hooked on the sport, and always had an ongoing construction project.

His love for aeromodeling continued and he decided to test his piloting skills by participating in the 1948, 1949, 1954, 1955, and 1957 Nats. He won the Open Navy Carrier event in 1954. Bill became a CD in 1951 and operated and judged meets in Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, New York, and California, for 21 years.

He built and competed with more than 100 models. Some of the models he built included gas FF, rubber-powered, and four types of gliders. Thirteen of his airplane designs were published in various model aviation magazines. Among his creations was a Wright brothers’ wind tunnel, which he helped a group of Boy Scouts build.

Bill was a member of several model aviation clubs and was instrumental in starting the J.O.P.L.I.N. and Double Cola Group clubs. He also wrote numerous model aviation columns for Model Airplane News and American Modeler magazines.

He served in World War II, and was a husband, father of three, and a college graduate. He held several jobs, including working as a model designer for Testors Modeling Company.

His wife, Joan, presented the Wild Bill Netzeband Annual Memorial Award to its first recipient at the annual Knights of the Round Circle (KOTRC) Christmas dinner in December of 2010. The award is given to anyone living in the Los Angeles area who has “demonstrated a continued effort to improve the sport/hobby of control line flying and improve the KOTRC.” The award recipient does not need to be a KOTRC member, but it is preferred.

Bill was a life member of the KOTRC. He was awarded this distinction because of his lifetime service to model aviation and CL Aerobatics. He also was named to the Model Aviation Hall of Fame, the Precision Aerobatics Model Pilot Association (PAMPA) Hall of Fame, and the Kits and Plans Antiquitous (KAPA) Hall of Fame.

Nominations for the Wild Bill Netzeband Annual Memorial Award are due by October 15, 2011. The winner will be named at the KOTRC’s December Christmas dinner. Nominations can be sent to Knights of the Round Circle, PO Box 6115, Anaheim CA, 9280

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