In the 1960s, model aviation was still a fairly enticing
hobby to boys captivated by the sights, sounds, and smells of airplanes, helicopters, and
rockets. Indeed, that was the era that began my lifelong engagement in model building and
flying. The U.S. Navy sponsored the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) National Competition
(Nats) for many years in hopes of providing a segue into naval aviation through aeromodelling.
Somehow, local television stations and newspapers never bothered to give the sport much air
time or print space, respectively. A quick search of the local Muncie, Indiana, TV stations
did not turn up any instances of coverage even though AMA headquarters is in its backyard
and is a major source of revenue and good will for the community. This 1967 issue of Model
Aviation reports on an ABC Wide World of Sports (famous for its
tag line "The thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat") episode scheduled to feature
the AMA Nats. Evidently, it had not aired at the time the magazine was published. I could
not a video anywhere online. Does anyone know whether it really did air?
1967 Nats on TV
ABC's Wide World of Sports is expected to feature
the 1967 National Model Airplane Championships, held at Los Alamitos, Calif., last July. According
to advance planning the program was to highlight RC pylon racing but might also show other
events. It was also indicated by a TV. representative that the program would probably be shown
nationally during the fall.
Arrangements were made between the Academy of Model Aeronautics, ABC, and also Naval Air
Museum officials. Basic purpose of the program is to publicize the need for funds to build
a new museum at Pensacola, Florida. One of the principal officers of the project is Admiral
(Ret. Robert Pirie, whom many may remember as the distinguished-looking white bearded Navy
officer who awarded the major trophies at the 1961 Nats in Willow Grove.
The Admiral became associated with the museum project and an opportunity developed for
publicity through TV. He remembered the tremendous Nats crowds and the natural tie between
AMA and Navy interests. From this were developed talks between HQ people (John Worth and George
Wells) and ABC which led to the TV program.
ABC Wide World of Sports (not the 1967
AMA Nats episode, unfortunately) "The Thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat."
New - Digest of AMA Competition Events
On the following two pages is the first of a series of feature articles to be published
each month. The series has been developed to answer many questions for those unfamiliar with
model flying competition. It is intended to help clarify details of events described in the
Official Model Aircraft Regulations of the Academy of Model Aeronautics - commonly known as
the AMA rule book.
Correspondence received by AMA HO indicates that many new members of the Academy and also
non-members are interested in learning what contest activity is like: what the basics of the
rules are, what details of model design are important for a given competition event and what
flying or other techniques are important to an event. The series is designed to provide in
relatively simple and condensed form the factors which make an event distinctive and the basic
requirements which must be met.
A reprint service with additional information is also available, to supplement the series.
Reprints of any article will be available from AMA HO for 25¢ each, postpaid, and will include
a source directory. The directory lists other magazine articles which apply to the event,
both for model design or flying techniques. It also lists manufacturers of applicable kits,
manufacturers of products and accessories which are commonly used in the event.
The initial reprint, for the Class III RC event, will be available Sept. 1. Order from
Academy of Model Aeronautics, 1239 Vermont Ave., N.W., Wash., D.C. 20005. A copy of the AMA
rule book may also be ordered from this address. Price is 50¢.