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Air Force Modeling - 1955 Air Force Model Airplane Championships
Model Annual 1956 Air Trails

Annual Edition 1956 Air Trails
Annual Edition 1956 Air Trails Cover - Airplanes and RocketsTable of Contents

These pages from vintage modeling magazines like Flying Aces, Air Trails, American Modeler, American Aircraft Modeler, Young Men, Flying Models, Model Airplane News, R/C Modeler, captured the era. All copyrights acknowledged.

The 1956 Annual edition of Air Trails magazine reports here on the 1955 Air Force Model Airplane Championships held at Travis Air Force Base, in California. Check out that B-29 control line model entry, and then see this B-29 model inherited by Boyd Steffe. Back in the good 'ole days, the U.S. armed forces spent taxpayer money supporting sporting events and hobby pursuits. It helped increase morale, esprit de corps, technical prowess, physical fitness, and very importantly, it promoted the service as a career and lifestyle. Both the Air Force and the Navy were heavily into model aviation by sponsoring competitions on bases worldwide. The Navy was a prime sponsor of the Academy of Model Aeronautics' Nationals competition for many years, using its exposure to young men as a recruitment effort. Today, sadly, such activity is looked upon by our Woke armed forces as White Privilege and money is instead applied toward gender change operations and lifelong medical and psychological support, and for children's reading time in base libraries, conducted by transvestites. You think I'm making that up? Do a Google search.

1955 Air Force Model Airplane Championships at Travis AFB

red Kantz and Bryant Thompson with their B-29 and C-119 - Airplanes and Rockets

Fred Kantz and Bryant Thompson with their B-29 and C-119. Fred took first in scale in A.F. world wide championships. Bryant was third; his model also shown in "Nats" section.

By Dick Everett

Join the Air Force and enjoy modeling could well be the cry of recruiters today ... take Bob Lutker for instance

The 1955 Air Force Model Airplane Championships was indeed a contest for champions. Blessed by better than average weather for Travis Air Force Base, the contestants were given every chance to fly their ships but strictly to the rules.

Top flying was in the speed events where some very fast time was turned and one record beaten. Piper Mason made fastest time, 149 plus in C, very closely pushed by Jim Nightengale. Very fast time was also turned in A where Robert Riley posted 133 plus, slightly more than Nightengale turned in this event. Proto is where the record was broken - Karl Caldwell turned 95 plus for a very good performance, slowed somewhat by the wind which had come up just prior to his run.

In Half-A there were two runs of over 85 mph by Karl Caldwell and Eddie Vanlandinghan, Caldwell winning out by a narrow margin. Piper Mason also won jet with a very good 145 plus.

Winner of towline glider event at 1955 AF championships was George Howard - Airplanes and Rockets

Winner of towline glider event at 1955 AF championships was George Howard who hails from Scotland but nevertheless is a right good USAF'er. George here holds his FuBar free flight entry. At American Nats G.H. got longest traveler award.

A/2C Bob Lutker, world's champion speed flyer, shown with M/Sgt Harold D. Boyer - Airplanes and Rockets

A/2C Bob Lutker, world's champion speed flyer, shown with M/Sgt Harold D. Boyer, president of the Wheelus Field model airplane club. Bob started contest modeling in a big way while stationed at this Tripoli, Libya, base of U.S.A.F.

Fred Kantz again with his Half-A free flight design - Airplanes and Rockets

Fred Kantz again with his Half-A free flight design which features sharply swept wing tips. Engine is fully cowled, stabilizer tips are also swept and drooped. Fine flyer.

Flying scale proved to be a very closely contested event with only 5 points separating 1st and 3rd. As it turned out, Fred Kantz, who was 3rd in scale points with his B-29, flew to enough flight bonus points to beat out Arthur Loughton's P-38 and Bryant Thompson's C-119.

The team racing event was won by Jack Nichols with a very fast 8 1/2 minutes for the 140 laps, while David Yoder and S. W. Christian finished 2nd and 3rd. Bob Chambers, who had won every heat race he was in, had the misfortune of having his lines cut on take-off by another ship to end his chances. In combat Joseph Roslyns, Jr. scored a kill in the first minute to win this event, three fellows tied for 2nd with 40 points, and two others for 3rd. J. E. Scott won stunt, with Don Longhofer 2nd and Bob Thomas 3rd.

There were no real high times in the free flight events due mostly to no one flying early enough; the ships were plenty good. Half-A was probably the closest when Keith Fulmer nosed out Bob Spaulding by 0.6 second, due to Bob's ship dethermalizing early. There were no fuses allowed which caused some of the guys trouble; Spaulding forgot his fuel when he went out to fly, the time consumed in getting it allowed his dry ice to evaporate, leading to an early pop-up. In hand launch a real good time of 11 minutes plus was turned in by Glen Howard.

Except for Half-A or American Class the PAA events did not have very many entries; only one making a successful flight in Clipper Cargo was William E. Smith, Jr., while Jim Scarborough came through in the International Class. In the American Class James J. Juliano was top man, closely followed by Karl Caldwell and Bob Kozuki.

Bryant Thompson finger-paints on his A.M.A. license number assisted by his wife - Airplanes and Rockets

Bryant Thompson finger-paints on his A.M.A. license number (as required in rules) assisted by his wife. His daughter seems to be a little dubious about the whole operation!

In A free flight W. J. Godden was first; in B, Bob Kozuki; in C, Charles Kelley. The rubber event was closely contested with Charles Rushing finally winning out, followed by Bob Chambers and Stuart Savage.

Radio Control was very easily won by Arthur Putze who put on a real good flight with his Multi-Control model ending with a perfect on-the-spot landing.

Meet high point man was Karl Caldwell who garnered more than 600 points, almost double his nearest competitor. Karl flew in both the free flight and the U-control events. Some very fine prizes were awarded, topped by Air Force rings for the top 15 men. The first five received rings with a blue stone and two diamonds, the second five rings with just the. blue stone, and the third five silver rings.

Typical Air Force modeler is Robert Lutker, 25. He is married and makes his home in Forth Worth, Texas.

Lutker originally planned an engineering career for himself, but switched from engineering to business administration at Texas Christian University after his family purchased a florist shop in 1946.

Among Lutker's additional hobbies have been flying (he has soloed), hunting and boat building. The last named he considers too expensive.

Lutker also stated his reason for joining the Air Force instead of Army, Navy or Marines. The Air Force has a better model airplane program.

He started actual model competition in 1943 and has engaged in well over a hundred events in the past 13 years. Before entering the Air Force, Lutker's competition was confined chiefly to the Southwest where he entered meets throughout Texas and as far north as Kansas. Since '52 he has extended this area to include Denver, Rapid City, Chicago, Wiesbaden, Tripoli, Berlin, and The Hague.

Of all the meets he has competed in and trophies and medals he has won, Lutker believes his most distinct thrill came at the FAI Meet at The Hague, Holland. There, among the cream of international model airplane sportsmen, Lutker staked a small claim to fame by taking first for the United States in the championship speed event.



Posted April 27, 2024

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