The Ritzmann Skyraider
July 13, 2015 in Aviation
In Spring 2011, I built and entered a Tamiya 1:48 A-1 Skyraider for the Vietnam War Group-Build at http://www.britmodeller.com . I was lucky enough to be voted ‘third overall’ in the resultant poll, and thought no more about it until a couple of months later when I was contacted directly by Lori Ritzmann-Regan.
She had been trawling the internet, looking for images and references to her father, and somehow had stumbled on my model. This Skyraider is finished as the personal aircraft of Lt. Cdr. William ‘Speed’ Ritzmann of VA-165 in October 1966. Lori joined Britmodeller solely to contact me, over a series of emails, I answered all her questions about the model, and most of all why I had chosen this particular aircraft.
So without actually meeting, we found the first of a number of ‘common bonds’ and became instant friends and have remained so ever since. ‘Speed’ Ritzmann went-on in 1967 to fly a second tour this time with VA-25, the last US Navy squadron to field the A-1 in the front line, he died in June 2009, but ‘his’ A-1 is resident at the USN Museum at Pensacola (although I think it may be repainted now), Before settling down with her family to live in Lake City Fl., Lori served with the USAF for a time, so I’d guess her Dads’ influence really did of rub-off.
Next year my family and I hope to vacation in the USA, and Lori and her family have (already) very kindly offered to put-us-up in their beach-house near Daytona Beach… all because of a model.
7 additional images. Click to enlarge