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Old 08-17-2014, 09:47 PM
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RIP Norm Cassella

We lost one of our founding members and a great contributor to model aviation in general last week.

Norm Cassella died in his summer home in Bangor Main last week at the age of 86.

Norm was a founding member of IMAC and served as president and Vice president for several years. Besides his fantastic flying accomplishments Norm was a prolific designer and builder. He designed the Pulsar Biplane, one of the first precision aerobatic biplane designs, and built 33% scale Lasers for dozens of other flyers on the east coast.

Norm flew in the unlimited class in IMAC winning often enough to be one of the first pilots to be invited to fly in the early TOCs. He also performed airshows with his laser along side Leo Loudenschlager in his full size Laser and was asked to give demos at RC events across the east coast.

I lived in NJ in the late 90's and flew with norm 2 or 3 times a week for several years. We became great friends and norm had a lot of influence with both my flying and building in those years. And, I have to say, I would have never been brave enough to design my own aircraft without his help and encouragement.

Norm was a man with honesty and integrity as key values, he treated the hobby of RC and especially IMAC precision aerobatics with reverence. He was a sophisticated man with old-world moral character.

His friendship meant a great deal to me and to many. He will be missed.

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Old 08-18-2014, 03:11 AM
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Rest in Peace Mr. Cassella.
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:49 AM
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Nice tribute, Mike. I am sorry to hear about this. Norm was a solid and classy guy- a real gentleman. Fantastic flyer/modeler. I didn't know Norm as well as you but I would always enjoy talking with him when I had the chance. The first time I saw him fly was the first year I flew RC - he pulled out his Laser and flew it so gracefully I knew I just had to have one too and was inspired to try and fly like he did. No doubt many of us have been influenced heavily by Norm either directly or indirectly.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:09 AM
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sad day. ironically an old friend of his was searching him out this past winter and found him through someone here. Godspeed norm.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:42 AM
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I had a similar experience Dave; when I first moved to NJ I found out that the club I joined had a second airfield in the Poconos. I headed out there to check it out and Norm was there alone, flying one of his Lasers. I watched him fly through the unlimited sequence and I was in awe. This was the first time I had ever seen anyone fly a precision sequence of any kind and to watch Norm fly that complicated set of maneuvers with such perfection and grace was magical. I talked with him a bit and found out what a great guy he was - humble, friendly, and giving, he invited me to come fly with later that week.

At the time there were no forums online but we had an email list - I remember coming home and posting to the list about Norm. I was so excited to meet someone at his flying level and with his experience...

I started flying with Norm on a regular basis and thus began my education into the history and legacy of not only IMAC (which was Norms passion) but into RC in general. He taught me what a galloping ghost was, how to fly free flight, and a lot about the history of RC design and the progression to what we build today.

We had so many beautiful days just the two of us out at that gorgeous grass field. We would take turns helping each other start our planes and call the IMAC sequences. I learned how to call the unlimited sequence before I even saw a basic aresti...

Norm really enjoyed being my mentor - I don't think he really knew that's what he was doing at the time but he was probably one of the best teachers one could ever hope for.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:49 AM
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A great loss to the hobby, RIP Norm.
I share to his family a poem I wrote for fallen flyers here:

"Gravity" a poem by Bob Moore

In Memory of Norm Cassella.

We men of flying, with planes so light
Building each one for an enjoyous flight
Hoping to prove our magificent skills
pay off with a flight of soaring thrills

We test and tune with such great care
Hoping to keep it aflight in the air
Heading the wings straight into the wind
Knowing that gravity will win in the end

We use the lightest woods, keeping items so small
to enable our planes to lift and not fall
But no matter what we do, gravity never does release
bringing us back to earth not always in one piece.

But in lifes' affairs, and in ones' days beyond
Norm has been released from this gravity bond
to soar up so high, above the clouds and air
for Heaven welcomes his final landing there.
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Old 06-27-2017, 07:09 PM
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Memory of Norm Cassella

After about a 36-year hiatus, I recently got back into flying RC airplanes. I first flew between the ages of 13 to 16 years old ... I and am now 52. The world of flying RC airplanes has changed a lot in 36 years.

As I began to fly again, I thought about a famous biplane flying world champion named Norm Cassella that I met in 1980 as a 16-year-old when I flew at a field in NJ. I remember watching him fly a really cool biplane. I still remembered his name because of the impact he had on me as a kid ... so I decided to google his name when I got back into flying. I was saddened to discover he had recently passed away. I thought I would write a memory that I had of him that I have thought of many times over the past 36 years. It was a time when he crashed one of his beautiful biplanes ... intentionally.

Norm was completing one of his wonderful acrobatic flights and was coming in for a landing. He had just flown over the edge of the landing strip and was getting ready to touch down, probably still 10 feet off the ground. Suddenly he realized a person had run onto the landing strip without warning to retrieve a plane. The person ran right in the path of Norm's oncoming plane. I assumed Norm would give the plane full throttle and take off again. Instead, without hesitation, he gave the plane full down elevator and plowed the beautiful plane straight into the ground. Norm ran onto the field and gave the guy a piece of his mind and then picked up his wrecked plane and brought it back to the table in the pit area.

I have often thought about that split-second decision that Norm made. He must have realized that the chances were very good, almost certain, that he could have given the plane full throttle and pulled up and missed the guy on the field. Instead, not willing to take any chance of hurting someone (yes, even an idiot), he did the 100% safe move and sacrificed his plane straight into the ground.

Throughout my life, I have often thought about that moment. When faced with tough decisions, I often think back to watching someone do the right thing even at his own personal expense (a very dramatic event). It was a great lesson for me that there is a good greater than self. That was a great example to an impressionable youth.

Some interesting math ... I am now 52 years old. Norm died in the summer of 2014 at age of 86. That means he was 52 years old when I met him in 1980 as a kid. I now ask myself if I live my life in such a way that I would influence a 16-year-old watching me to learn that sometimes we have to make tough right choices even at one's own expense ... to recognize that there is a good greater than self ... to remember my name 36 years later and be motivated by my memory to look me up to see what happened to me.

Norm, Rest in Peace. Thank you for your skilled (and very inspiring) flying, your beautiful planes, and your character to make the right decision even when it was tough.
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Old 06-27-2017, 09:13 PM
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Bill, that is a great story, memory and lesson for all. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-20-2021, 11:50 PM
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the first plane we ever had that would do a KE loop!!!
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Old 03-21-2021, 10:36 PM
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Its good to know an important piece of IMAC history Thankyou
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Old 03-22-2021, 02:51 PM
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Still have my (2nd) Cassella Laser.

Hasnt flown in many years and I keep thinking I should buy some new batteries and fly it again.

Or maybe as an advanced trainer for my wife who flew it once long ago.

It was always a pleasure to work with Norm and come out to his home in PA, and my wife totally adored him.

Saw him fly once at a meet in PA. Amazing what he could do with a 33% plane and Futaba S148 servos
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Old 03-22-2021, 04:11 PM
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Wonderful Poem Bob, I've taken the liberty to copy in my personal archive.
Regards
Patrick
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Old 03-22-2021, 06:06 PM
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20+ years ago was the first time I saw Norm flying his big laser with a G-62 and his modified stock muffler - I was mesmerized. So smooth and quiet. Beautiful figures. I remember his inside-outside square loops with rolls so precisely flown. He was so easy to approach and talk to- it seemed like you were already friends, not strangers who just met. I almost immediately got plans for a 1/3 scale Laser of my own, my wife bought my first gas engine for me= - a G-62 of course- and the rest is history. Been flying these big aerobatic planes ever since. And I'm just now putting together another big Laser.
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Old 03-23-2021, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmichael View Post
20+ years ago was the first time I saw Norm flying his big laser with a G-62 and his modified stock muffler - I was mesmerized. So smooth and quiet. Beautiful figures. I remember his inside-outside square loops with rolls so precisely flown. He was so easy to approach and talk to- it seemed like you were already friends, not strangers who just met. I almost immediately got plans for a 1/3 scale Laser of my own, my wife bought my first gas engine for me= - a G-62 of course- and the rest is history. Been flying these big aerobatic planes ever since. And I'm just now putting together another big Laser.
Yep. G62 with modified mufflers which always vibrated apart even if you had installed the rubber engine isolaters.

A now close friend of mine was an early adopter of Norms Lasers and his flying style/routine heavily influenced by Norm. In turn this turned on many club members (myself included) to the planes. It seemed as if everyone was ordering ARCs from Norm. And the flying style became the model for how I still mainly fly today
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