An extensive article introducing non-modelers to aircraft modeling
appeared in the Annual Edition of the 1962 American Modeler magazine.
15 pages were devoted to describing just about every aspect of model
building and flying - free flight gas and rubber; control line stunt,
combat, scale, and speed; helicopters and ornithopters; indoor gliders,
stick and tissue, and microfilm; even some early radio control.
In order to keep page length here reasonable (because of all
the images), the article is broken into a few pages.
10 & 11 |
All About Air Modeling
20 Easy Ways to Go Crazy!
Long before the first man-carrying aircraft made their brief,
epochal flights, aviation's early pioneers were building miniature
airplanes. Models were actually flown successfully pre-dating the
development of heavier-than-air craft.
The contraption is "diesel" engine powered helicopter.
more accurate, engine is "compression ignition" type.
The early experimenters utilized models in attempting to prove
their theories before building the full size craft. You can see
the direct descendants of these early experiments in many of today's
models. A few notable examples are: Penaud's rubber powered pusher
airplane and helicopter (about 1874), Lilienthal's ornithopter and
gliders, the Wright brothers gliders and Langley's gas engine powered
tandem-wing model of 1896.
WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? Well, sir, that's a good question!
Fellow above is turning round and round with his payload-lifting
endurance control line contest model.
Chap here is about to release a Jetex-powered endurance free
flight (Jetex is a tiny rocket engine, by the way).
As aviation development accelerated following the Wright Brother's
1903 flights, the hobby of building miniature copies of the big
birds followed right along. As early as 1910 the first model airplane
kits were marketed. Model clubs were formed, exhibition flying and
distance contests conducted. Rubber was the motive power and these
early bass and bamboo flyers were a far cry from today's pre-fab
screamin' demons, During the "Roaring 20's" the twin-pusher reigned
supreme and if a modeler wanted to tackle a real off-beat project
he would build a five foot scale-like model of a World War I fighter.
Yards of rubber powered the brute, a modeler had to carve his own
prop and .winding it up took quite a while, but fly they did, not
high or fast, but any daylight showing under the wheels was cause
Publications devoted exclusively to aviation and models commenced
publication during this period, helping to spread the word to interested
A new sound was heard in the land when the angry buzz of the
first production miniature gas engine turned a prop in 1932. Bill
Brown's "Brown Jr." really lighted the fuse to the dynamite! Good
balsa, tough tissue and the gas engine took the , model out of the
sandlot class and gave it true high-flying performance. Contest
flying became a popular feature; as more contests were held, class
divisions and flying rules were set up, fought over and snarled
During the 1930's aviation and model flying saw rapid progress
and the sport really came of age when the first National Championships
("Nats") were held.
The nation's air-mindedness moved at a fast clip from then on.
Through the years of World War.1I and into the 50's and 60's aviation's
innovations stagger the imagination. Happily, model aviation has
grown right beside its big brother. "Model kit, engine and accessory
makers now serve up an amazing array of goodies that would make
the early pioneers flip.
Few hobby sports or amateur competitions offer the diversity of
appeal to be found in model aviation. There is something for every
facet of interest, ability and pocketbook. What a heritage Penaud,
Lilienthal, Langley and the Wrights have handed us! We now have
R.O.G., R.O.W., FIF, C/l, RIC, jets, rockets and whirlybirds. There
are approximately three dozen different types of models flown for
sport and in contests. This number does not include the additional
engine class divisions of some particular types, such as control
line speed. And the flood of plastic scale non-fliers is not even
included in this count!
With such a bountiful selection to choose from, anyone with an
interest in model aviation can easily find a special niche to suit
his liking. The young beginner is particularly fortunate in that
he can find a wonderful progression from simple to advanced high
Where to begin? Plastic scale, Ready-to-fly, kits or scratch-built,
indoor, outdoor? Rather than try to advise your choice, we present
here a directory of the many types. Models, we got 'em! No foolin'
Posted December 25, 2010