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Scale models of experimental aircraft as well as models that were proposed, but never executed

David Goran

Andrew Lech (1905 – 1991) was a postal worker in Chicago, Illinois. He lived in the suburb of Aurora. He retired from the post office in approximately 1940. He began making scale models in high school on a part-time basis. He began work on the Spirit of Saint Louis model in 1931. It was completed in 1933.  It had a wingspan of 36 inches and featured working systems, including control systems that actually worked. In 1940, he was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution to provide structural and external view drawings of the Spirit of Saint Louis.

Andrew Lech with Waco Ten Model, 1929, Andrew Lech Collection

Andrew Lech with Waco Ten Model, 1929, Andrew Lech Collection

 

Curtiss JN-4D Model Sketch, Andrew Lech Collection

Curtiss JN-4D Model Sketch, Andrew Lech Collection

 

WWI Vickers Vimy, Andrew Lech Collection

WWI Vickers Vimy, Andrew Lech Collection

 

WWI SE-5-A, Andrew Lech Collection

WWI SE-5-A, Andrew Lech Collection

 

WWI Rumpler C-IV, Andrew Lech Collection

WWI Rumpler C-IV, Andrew Lech Collection

 

WWI Canuck JN-4, Andrew Lech Collection

WWI Canuck JN-4, Andrew Lech Collection

 

WWI Breguet 14 B, Andrew Lech Collection

WWI Breguet 14 B, Andrew Lech Collection

 

WWI Avro 504-K, Andrew Lech Collection

WWI Avro 504-K, Andrew Lech Collection

 

 

Waco Ten Model - Originally Built 1928-1929, Andrew Lech Collection

Waco Ten Model – Originally Built 1928-1929, Andrew Lech Collection

 

Waco Ten Model - Engine Built 1978-1979, Andrew Lech Collection

Waco Ten Model – Engine Built 1978-1979, Andrew Lech Collection

 

Waco Ten Model, 1980, Andrew Lech Collection

Waco Ten Model, 1980, Andrew Lech Collection

 

Andrew Lech with Waco Ten Model, Andrew Lech Collection

Andrew Lech with Waco Ten Model, Andrew Lech Collection

Mr. Lech also constructed fifty precise scale models of various 1900s to 1930s  era aircraft. In addition, he was commissioned by a patron in Orange County in 1967 to build scale models of experimental aircraft as well as models that were proposed but never executed. This commission also included dioramas of WWI airdromes.

Spirit of St. Louis Model, Andrew Lech Collection

Spirit of St. Louis Model, Andrew Lech Collection

 

Spirit of St. Louis Model, Andrew Lech Collection

Spirit of St. Louis Model, Andrew Lech Collection

 

Salmson 2-A.2, Andrew Lech Collection

Salmson 2-A.2, Andrew Lech Collection

 

Pfalz D III-A, Andrew Lech Collection

Pfalz D III-A, Andrew Lech Collection

 

Nieuport 17 C1, Andrew Lech Collection

Nieuport 17 C1, Andrew Lech Collection

 

Model OX-5 Waco Ten 1927, Andrew Lech Collection

Model OX-5 Waco Ten 1927, Andrew Lech Collection

 

Bristol F.2B, Andrew Lech Collection

Bristol F.2B, Andrew Lech Collection

 

Andrew Lech with Spirit of St. Louis Model, Andrew Lech Collection

Andrew Lech with Spirit of St. Louis Model, Andrew Lech Collection

 

1928 Lockheed Vega, Andrew Lech Collection

1928 Lockheed Vega, Andrew Lech Collection

 

1927 Ryan NYP Spirit, Andrew Lech Collection

1927 Ryan NYP Spirit, Andrew Lech Collection

 

1927 Buhl Airsedan, Andrew Lech Collection

1927 Buhl Airsedan, Andrew Lech Collection

 

1924 Remington-Burnelli RB-2, Andrew Lech Collection

1924 Remington-Burnelli RB-2, Andrew Lech Collection

 

1924 Curtiss PW-8, Andrew Lech Collection

1924 Curtiss PW-8, Andrew Lech Collection

 

1922 Fokker T-2, 1964-1965, Andrew Lech Collection

1922 Fokker T-2, 1964-1965, Andrew Lech Collection

 

1912 Martin 12, Andrew Lech Collection

1912 Martin 12, Andrew Lech Collection

 

1909 Bleriot XI, Andrew Lech Collection

1909 Bleriot XI, Andrew Lech Collection

 

1908 Wright, Andrew Lech Collection

1908 Wright, Andrew Lech Collection 

 

Andrew Lech Special Collection Photo, 1978-1982, Andrew Lech Collection

Andrew Lech Special Collection Photo, 1978-1982, Andrew Lech Collection

In 1939, Mr. Lech began a correspondence with Paul Garber, Assistant Curator for aeronautics with the Smithsonian Institution. This culminated in the donation of the model to the Smithsonian in 1972. His highly detailed models have been displayed at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and the San Diego Aerospace Museum. His models date back to the 1920’s.

 

Photos: Andrew Lech Special Collection/SDASM Archives

David Goran

David Goran is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News