Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some
form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle
my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which
all began in Mayo, MD
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.
Here's an event that takes muscle and guts: stretch-winding
rubber motor for Wakefield class at National meet.
"Viscount" full-house radio plane by Harold deBolt features
steerable nose wheel, is "free-lance" design.
Vertical take-off (VTO) launch demonstrated by Class A free
flight craft; it has .15-size motor.
Model requirements are not too extensive; most important, bonus
points are awarded if it is a scale model of a U. S. Navy carrier
aircraft. Maximum wing span allowed is 44 in.; any size engine can
be used but must correspond to thrust type used on prototype aircraft
if model is a scale job. Model may have fixed or working retractable
landing gear. An arresting hook must be fitted but cannot be longer
than 1/3 the fuselage length.
Most popular model types are
scale versions of the prop-driven WW-2 and postwar aircraft, There
are numerous scale kits for these types, spans range from about
30" up to maximum allowed 44." Engines with throttles, .35 to .60
cu. in size are favored. Throttle, wing flap, arresting hook and
rudder controls are used in various combinations and operating systems
are usually developed by the individual modeler.
in competition is divided into four phases. Model must take off
successfully from free-roll area of deck. Model is then timed for
7 high speed laps. After slowing it is timed for 7 slow speed laps.
When these laps are finished model must then make an arrested landing
on the carrier deck. Scoring is scaled for normal 3-point attitude
landing, arrested landing in other than 3-point attitude and if
model ends up on its back or with one wheel off deck.
C/L PRECISION ACROBATICS - Ever since Jim Walker
turned that first loop with his Fireball, precision acrobatics (or
"stunt" as it is usually called) has been the most popular part
of control line flying. Stunting a yoyo model is a really challenging
sport and gives a flyer .an opportunity to develop and polish his
flying skill and timing. The happy fact about stunt flying is that
the flyer has the best view of his model's antics.
maneuvers are patterned directly after those done in real aircraft,
with the exception that lateral rolls cannot be done because of
the limitation of the flying wires. (Walker once rigged a frame
around his Fireball permitting honest-to-gosh slow rolls). As a
matter of fact, many model stunt maneuvers would be impossible to
perform in a real airplane.
The model stunt maneuvers that
are done make an impressive list: Wing overs, inside loops, inverted
flight, outside loops, inside and outside square loops, horizontal
eights, vertical eights, hourglass figure, overhead eights and a
real toughy, the four-leaf clover, Dizzy yet? It sounds terrifying
and it is at first, but you don't just go out and fly the whole
routine right off. This is the fun of stunt flying, you can start
with the simpler maneuvers, master them, and then try tougher ones
as your technique improves. All the maneuvers are based on the loop,
the more difficult are a series of loops linked together in various
Here's where the precision part comes
in. It is not just sufficient to flip your model over on its back,
then snap it' back level again ... your loop will be pretty lopsided
or egg-shaped. The idea is to make the model flight path a neat
round circle, finishing at the same altitude as started and not
exceeding a specified angle above the ground.
acrobatic competition rules have definite limits of airspace to
be utilized for each maneuver (see A.M.A. regs), The maneuvers must
be done in a given sequence and scoring is based on ability to perform
maneuvers smoothly, at proper heights and of correct shape. Takeoff
and landing are also graded for scoring. One other feature of competition
scoring is the judging of the model's appearance. Points awarded
for workmanship, realism, finish and originality are added to the
flying score. Competition flying is generally divided into flyer
age groups rather than model or engine divisions. Junior, up to
16 years; Senior, 16 to 21, and Open, 21 and over.
are stunt models for every engine class but the larger .29's and
.35's are favored for competition, because they have the power to
pull the model smoothly through the wind. large .60 powered ships
fly very well but the engines consume a lot of fuel. The smaller
.049 to .15 powered ships make excellent trainers but are tricky
if wind is strong. Stunt models range in size from about 2 ft. span
for 1/2A's to 4-1/2 ft. span for .35's. Wing areas are generous,
employ thick symmetrical airfoils; built-up fabric covered surfaces
are used for lightness. Fuselages are usually sheet balsa planked
and mounts and side doublers are hardwood and plywood. Flying is
done with 25 ft. to 70 ft. long flying lines depending upon engine
size. These relatively light weight, over-powered designs have a
high degree of maneuverability, some can practically turn in their
own length. Although speed IS not the object of stunt-flying, some
models move at 85 mph. Designs are commonly short-coupled tractor
configuration with a few flying wings and pod and boom layouts.
FLYING SCALE - Everybody loves a good scale
model. Other phases of flying may attract more contestants, but
all modelers are fans of flying scale at heart. There have been
more kits and mag plans produced of scale models than any other
type. The appeal of a miniature copy of a real airplane cannot be
denied. After all, this is what the model hobby is really all about-models
of airplanes. Although other specialized model types have evolved,
the scale model is the all-time favorite.
models are flown. in every type category, There are rubber-powered
flying scales, engine powered free flight, control I ine and radio
control flying scale models. All have their special features depending
upon the type of flying and power plant used. The full range of
aviation history appears in the great variety of flying scale models
available to the modeler.
The simplest flying scale, models
are the small rubber-powered type. These have built-up construction
with tissue covering. Spans average 18" to 24". Flight performance
is limited, but they are great fun for sandlot flying. There is
no contest category for these sport flyers. Many of the rubber-powered
designs can be powered with the Pee-Wee engines and flown free flight.
There is contest flying for gas-engine powered free flight
scale models. Interest is limited, since good flying' performance
and scale fidelity are both required. These factors are not always
easy to achieve because not all real aircraft proportions and designs
have good flight stability when scaled down. Most favored types
are the high-wing cabin monoplanes because they have the necessary
inherent stability. Most biplanes also perform well here. Contest
regulations are few: engine size is limited to .20 or under cu.
in., model must R.O.G. and fly for at least 40 seconds. Model is
judged for scale fidelity, finish and appearance. Each part, wing,
tails, interior, etc. is scrutinized and scored.
follows usual light-weight free flight practice but more careful
finishing and detail work is the rule. Models range in size from
30" to 54" span and engines used are .049 to .19 size.
popular type of flying scale model is the control liner. Because
of the built-in stability afforded by the control system and flying
lines, practically every type of real aircraft has been copied and
flown in control line scale. There are World War I and " fighters
and bombers, racers, sport planes, transports, twin engine, four
engine and even six engined B-36's. Dyna-Jet powered fighters have
also been built and flown quite successfully.
scale models are built in a wide range of sizes and power plants.
Most popular are single engine types using .19 to .35 engines and
having wing spans of about 30" to 48". largest are the multi-engine
types such as a 7 ft. span B-36 with six .19 engines. Models feature
built-up and semi- solid construction. Fuselages and wings are
usually planked with sheet balsa (depending upon prototype structure)
so that top quality finishes can be achieved. Scale building requires
a high degree of craftsmanship, ingenuity and patience, to produce
a contest winning model. Many modelers spend as long as a year producing
a single model for the big Nats competition.
permit engines up to 1.25 cu. in. size (and Dyna-Jet). Models are
flown on 52-1/2 to 70 ft. lines except 1/2A's which can be flown
on 35 ft. lines. Model must R.O.G. and fly at least 10 laps to qualify
for scale judging. No points are given for actual flight but additional
points are awarded for scale operation during flight of landing
gear, flaps, throttle control, taxiing.
Judging of workmanship
and scale fidelity is scored on model's appearance, color and markings.
Each part, fuselage, wings, tails, gear, cowl, is carefully examined.
Contestants must provide authenticated 3-view drawing of the prototype
for judges comparison with the model.