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
More than half a century ago modelers relied on their own ingenuity - and sometimes that of others - to make parts
for their airplanes and/or make tools with which to build those airplanes. Ready-made everything, available at your
doorstep within two days, was just not an option. Even well-designed kits that included most hardware accessories
required the builder to tap into his personal bag of tricks to get the job done. The "Sketchbook" feature that presents
reader-submitted tips and tricks began in Air Trails and continued through the follow-on American Modeler magazines.
Many have been posted here on Airplanes and Rockets website.
This page has links to every edition of Sketchbook that I have so far.
Coat hanger wire is bent to shape for use as reel to hold nylon A/2 control lines...
By Alan Lease, Rome, Georgia. (below)
Have you developed something new in construction, control, or flying? Send a rough sketch - we'll redraw it
and pay you $5 for each accepted. Ideas should be original; sorry, no correspondence on submissions.
Solderless fuel tank by Sfc. Norman Anderson, Monterey, California, may be disassembled for cleaning... can
be any shape. (above)
Adjustable dural line guide for speed model allows variation in yaw or "pull" of model to suit wind conditions
- By Eric Knox, San Francisco, California. (above)
"Slip-on" rudders of stiff 2-ply paper are used to learn by actual tests precise area & configuration.
Duplicate area and shape in sheet balsa after testing suggests Pvt. Norm Ingersoll, San Antonio, Texas.
Shock-absorbing feature added to dural landing gear on team racers & sport models is development of John
Schroeter, Sacramento, California. (above)
Brass rings held against flush contact plates make quick glo-plug connection by "mechanic" as he holds model
for cranking. Used more than a year by William Hollenbach, Jr., San Antonio, Texas. (above)
(Kirt's note: This is a bad idea because those two brass rings can easily come into
contact with each other when not pressed against the model, thereby being a real fire hazard.
Back when the Sketchbook, Gadgetry, Powerless Pointers, and Engine Info
columns were run, there were very few pre-built models, and there simply was not
as much available in the way of hardware and specialized modeling tools. We were
still a nation of designers and builders. The workforce was full of people who worked
on production lines, built houses and buildings with hand tools, and did not have
distractions like Nintendos and X-Boxes. Remember that plastics were not common
material until the early 50s and the transistor wasn't invented until late 47. Enjoy
the tips. Some of you will no doubt wax nostalgic over the methods, since you can
remember the days when you did the exact same thing!