Oakland Cloud Dusters
Free Flight from the San Francisco Bay Area and Beyond


April 26, 2024 8:00 AM • Waegell Field
May 04, 2024 8:00 AM • Alameda Naval Air Museum
May 06, 2024 11:00 AM • Harry's Hofbrau in Redwood City

George Xenakis  (1928-2008)

Born in Detroit in 1928, passed away on November 1, 2008. The son of Constantine and Vasiliki Xenakis, he is survived by his sister Mary and brother Peter. George married Peggy, his wife of fifty years, in 1958. Their children are Greg, Bill, Suzanne, and daughter-in-law Ramona. They have five grandchildren -- Michael, Tim, Jessie, Hannah and David. George was an aerospace engineer and worked on the Apollo Program. His great love was aero-modeling.


George recording flight times at one of the kids contests that he and Lou Young organized.  Nicolas is holding an E-Z Penny, designed by George to introduce youngsters to indoor duration modeling.


1928 - Born in Detroit, Michigan, USA.

1939 - Began building free flight models with with 10 cent kits and attended model building in Foch intermediate school in Detroit.

1942 - Member of the Detroit Balsa Bugs.

1948 - US Wakefield Team tryouts, Olathe, Kansas.

1949 - Michigan State Senior Champ, won indoor B stick at the Plymouth internationals.

1950 - B. S. in Aeronautical Engineering, Wayne State University, Detroit Michigan.

1951-1953 - Icing flight research, Willow Run, Michigan.

1953-1963 - Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, research and development work on stability and control of aircraft and missiles.

1958 - Married Peggy.  Their children are Greg, Bill and Suzanne.  They have five grand children.


Peggy Xenakis working the registration table at a kids contest in 2007.

1963 - Belly Dancer a low-wing Wakefield design.

1964-1972 - NASA Johnson Space Center, Apollo guidance and control and space shuttle electronic integration.

1964 - Won the Wakefield event at the Nats with Belly Dancer.  The plans were published in Model Airplane News and in Frank Zaic's 1964-65 Model Aeronautic Yearbook, page 85.

1965 - Variable Incidence Tail coupled to the rear peg so that decalage increases as the motor unwinds.

1967 - US FAI F1B Wakefield Team.

1967 - Introduced the first "Recording Thermal Sniffer".

1968 - Thermal sniffer, with Marion Kitchens, published in the April Model Airplane News.

1968 - NFFS Symposium article, "The Effects of Model Trim and Power Characteristics on the Climb Performance of a Wakefield Model."

1969 - Technical editor, NFFS Free Flight Digest.

1969 - NFFS Symposium article, "The Optimum Climb Path for a Rubber Model."

1969 - FAI F1B Wakefield and F1A Nordic Teams, Free Flight World Championships, Vienna, Austria.

1970 - Edited NFFS Symposium.

1971 - Assistant manager, Electronic Systems Integration Office, NASA Manned Spaceflight Center, Houston, Texas.

1971 - Wakefield model TART (Torque Activated Rudder and Tailplane) is a NFFS Ten Models of the Year, chosen for its torque activated rudder and tailplane.

1971 - NFFS Symposium article, "Energy Release of Rubber Measured with Automatic Integrators."

1971 - NFFS Symposium article, "A Comparison of 'Optimum' and Helical-Pitch Propellers".

1972-1983 - Moved to San Jose, California, working at NASA Ames Research Center on VTOL guidance research.

1972 - NFFS Free Flight Digest editor.

1972-1976 - Contributing editor, NFFS Free Flight Digest.

1974 - Awarded the OCD David Lloyd Trophy for contributions to model aviation.

1975-1995 - AMA Member, Free Flight International Aeromodeling subcommittee.

1980 - Tadpole Mk II A1 glider received a NFFS Model of the Year award.

1983 - Awarded the OCD David Lloyd Trophy for contributions to model aviation.

1985 - NFFS Symposium article, "FAI F1C Performance Tradeoffs."

1987 - US FAI F1B Wakefield Team.

1987 - Awarded the OCD David Lloyd Trophy for contributions to model aviation.

1988 - Won the Sierra Cup.

1989 - Edited NFFS Symposium, wrote editorial "The Sympo."

1989 - NFFS Symposium article, "Over the Top With Hardy."

1991 - US FAI F1B Wakefield Team.

1991 - George Xenakis was the first winner of the OCD Getsla Trophy.

1992 - Qualified as F1B Wakefield team member, FAI Team Finals, October 8-11, Lost Hills, California.

1993 - US FAI F1B Wakefield Team.

1993 - Aeronautical engineer for Lockheed Missles and Space Company.

1993 - Edited NFFS Symposium, wrote editorials "The NFFS Symposium Report" and "NFFS Digest Tech Notes - A Compilation".

1993 - NFFS Symposium articles, "FAI Power Model Flappers", "Density Altitude / Reynolds Number Effects on Models", "How to Make a Wakefield Model Look Sick".

1993 - G. Xenakis Wakefield published in NFFS International 1993 Plan Book.

1994 - NFFS Symposium articles, "Passive Boundary Layer Control", "Reynolds Number Effects on Model Trim", "Speed Effects on Model Trim".

1995 - NFFS Symposium article, with Bob Meuser, "Passive Boundary Layer Control".

1995 - NFFS Hall of Fame.

1996 - Won Mulvihill at US Free Flight Championships, Labor Day Weekend, Lost Hills, California.

1998 - Given the AMA District Service Award (District 10).  George's AMA number was 1012, a low number indicating he was an early member.  He was an AMA Contest Director.

1998 - Moffett No. 1 kitted by Lee Kiracofe.

1998 - Xenakis Kids Events, Saturday, August 22, part of the OCD First Annual Moffet Hanger One Indoor Free Flight Contest, Herb Robbins, CD.  George and Lou Young organized these kids contests for several years, with support from many OCD members.

1999 - Given the AMA Fellowship Award.

1999 - Awarded the OCD David Lloyd Trophy for contributions to model aviation.

1999 - Moffett No. 2 and E-Z Penny kitted by Lee Kiracofe.


E-Z Penny built by one of the students.

2001 - AMA Executive Board discussed memorandum of understanding with Ames Research Center to provide access to Hangar One for the Youth Interactive Aeronautics Program spearheaded by George Xenakis.

2002 - Lou Young and George Xenakis are featured in an article in The Campbell Reporter on the Moreland Community Center youth model airplane program.

2003 - George Xenakis designed E-Z Penny used by Anjaney Kottapalli in his study of the effect of propeller size on flight duration.

2006 - Lou Young and George Xenakis are featured in an article in The West San Jose Resident on the Moreland Community Center youth model airplane program.

2006 - Made the Stu Bennett and Joe Foster Trophies for the OCD, awarded for the first time in that year.

2007 - George designed the Perky to replace the AMA Cub as a first model with better performance.  Lee Kiracofe kitted it as the EAGLE.


George trimming a Perky built by a first-time modeler at a kids contest in 2007.

2008 - November 1, George passed away from congestive heart failure.


The kids model airplane program was started at Miller Middle School and at the Moreland West San Jose Community Center by Mr. George Xenakis. Mr. Xenakis passed away on November 1st. We often consulted him about ideas for improving the program, and he always had creative suggestions. We will continue the program as best we can without his guidance.

Many of you who flew your planes in our local competitions will remember "Mr. X" helping you with advice on airplane adjustments, winding rubber motors, celebrating your successful flights, and handing out trophies and prizes. He was the person who started the contest series way back in the 1970's, and Mrs. Xenakis is the patient person who tabulated scores at the contests while you all gathered around her to see who had the best scores.

Mr. Xenakis had a long career in aeronautical and space science working for the military, NASA and Lockheed. His contributions to model aircraft are many. He made the first recording thermal detector, pioneered in-flight adjustable surfaces, wrote many technical papers that are often referenced in technical articles, flew for the US on several World Championship teams, and also represented the national Academy of Model Aeronautics for free flight at the international model aeronautics governing body. He designed many of the beginner-friendly airplanes that we use in our program.

If you would like to send condolences to Mrs. Xenakis and the Xenakis family, you can send them to Mrs. George Xenakis 1468 Bergerac Drive, San Jose, CA 95118.

- Lou Young

George made the world a better place, especially for us aeromodelers. He will be remembered and he will be missed.  If you wish to share remembrances or photos of George on this page, send them to me at DGBJ@AOL.com .

-Gary Hinze


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