Whilst looking through some old issues of
American Aircraft Modeler magazine, I was quite
surprised to find that none other than radio great Paul Harvey is (or was) a builder
and flyer of radio controlled airplanes. The first feature on Paul Harvey appeared
in the May 1972 edition in a monthly column titled, "On the Scene." (see below)
Mr. Harvey then wrote a regular column titled "Paul Harvey Views." Understandably, the column only ran for a few months - probably because of his
extremely busy schedule. I did a Google search to try to find information on Paul Harvey's modeling activities,
but could not find anything at all. That is when I decided to go ahead and reprint
this one article from the May 1974 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. I hope
he won't mind.
There was an article in the February 2008 edition of Model Aviation
magazine that featured
a short article on the saxophone player for the Rolling Stones, Bobby Keys, who
is also an avid RC modeler.
Note the brace and bit drill and the "egg beater" drill beneath it. Those, along
with the parts bins made of baby food jars really betrays the era.
See Paul Harvey columns in the May 1972,
May 1974, and
issues of R/C Modeler magazine.
Paul Harvey - The R/C Airplane Story...
"Paul Harvey News" comprises the largest one-man news network in the world. Paul
Harvey prepares and presents daily broadcasts over 500 radio stations in 50 states,
the Armed Forces Radio Network overseas, 126 television stations, a column for 300
newspapers and he speaks personally to audiences aggregating 1,000,000 persons annually.
In his spare time he authors books, records albums, operates a cattle ranch and
is husband to his manager and number one fan, Lynne ("Angel") and father to young
Paul, Jr., a budding and talented concert pianist.
In the model airplane world, Paul Harvey is "making news" as well as commenting
on it. Countless model builders have heard his broadcast comments on the trials,
tribulations and enjoyment of RC modeling. He has been presented with honorary membership
by modeler clubs from Florida to Oregon. Make no mistake-Paul Harvey is a bona fide
model builder and fledgling flier in this growing fraternity of
model builders. He "told it like it is" to this reporter over the sound of sandpaper
shaping balsa in his well-organized home workshop.
"I soloed when I was too young to be licensed in a rebuilt Monocoupe. That was
a hundred years ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This may interest you, Skipper, more as
a flier than as a modeler. I've thought so often how distorted our perspectives
can get. A friend and I bought an old rebuilt Monocoupe, and an old motorcycle with
which to get back and forth to the airport in Tulsa.
"My life was so wrapped up in that plane that the one time I should have jumped
because there was no possible place to sit down outside of some trees, I didn't.
All that was going through that young brain of mine was 'If anything happens to
this airplane, I don't want to go on living anyway: So I went ahead and landed it
in the trees.
"Isn't it strange how values change? At sixteen I wanted to go down with my plane-I
figured if I couldn't salvage that beautiful bird, what's left? Isn't that terrible?
I've tried to tell young Paul to be very careful that youth does not distort his
"I don't know how many total hours I've logged. Thousands. Nowadays I just keep
the license active. I lease a 411, have a full-time young pilot, Captain Jerry Foster.
He keeps current and is an excellent instrument man. I crawl in the back and relax.
Often after a distant speaking engagement the only sleep I get is aboard. So I crawl
in the back and sleep or study. Flying has become so regimented it isn't fun anymore.
I didn't check out in jets. I flew Bill Lear's on one trip-real rocketry. But this
is fun! RC modeling is an exciting challenge! It is like golf-there's no way to
get good enough; no possibility of perfection! I. can't wait to finish this one
because I've learned so many things that'll make the next one better. Just like
that frightful, frustrating, imperfectable game of golf!
"When my son was much younger we fooled around with UC for a season out in the
back yard. That was many years ago. Those days the early radio stuff was so complicated,
unreliable, and inadequate that we never did go into radio.
"But one Sunday after church Angel and I were driving past the Meadow (Miller
Meadow, a recreational park in Chicago), heard this racket, and went over to watch
what the fellows were doing with those fantastic, refined, sophisticated, precision
performers. Then and there the model plane bug bit again. I could hardly wait to
get the first kit.
"You know Skipper, I can't think of any other sport-hobby in which the veteran
participants are so eager to help beginners. I've seen this mentioned in your magazines,
so I know this is nothing I discovered. But I keep thinking-if the fellows had been
less friendly that first day we stopped by Miller Meadow, if they had seemed a stuffy
sort that didn't want anybody else to share their know-how, learn their skill (the
sort of atmosphere you sometimes find around a machine shop or around . some professions)-I
wonder how much different it might have been? Instead, the first fellow I saw wanted
me to fly his airplane! With no experience at all! They can't wait to share the
fun, share innovations. Sharing is the reason we don't usually go out there alone,
"And there's another thing which I understand IS not unusual, but it's mighty
impressive to me. There's this chap named Dave at AI's Hobby Shop in Elmhurst. There
have been days when I have been on that phone with him six times, even during the
pre-Christmas rush. I try to make my questions brief knowing how busy he is, but
I've been in here trying to find my way through a kit and not even knowing the names
of the different parts, and I'd quick-call Dave. He's never once been the least
"I got 10½ flights out of that first ARF, a Comet II, then foolishly made a low
level downwind turn-shmoosh! I went from that to these Dubro's that I completed
this winter and which I've not yet had a chance to fly-one high wing, one low wing.
Some magazine mentioned that a good thing to do in the winter is build up a fleet
of models. After losing one and having nothing to fly, including some of my servos
being damaged, I wrote a letter to Santa Claus and "she" brought me a second ProLine.
Santa Claus also brought this new RCM Trainer kit, the first thing that I've started
"I already have the "Big 88" kit coming from Amarillo so Paul and I will be ready
for Spring! I know it's pretty bold with no more experience than I have, but I thought
I'd at least try to put flaps and running lights on the big 88-incher and make some
other modifications of my own. It's got to be exciting!
"I don't know how long my intensity of interest in this hobby will sustain. There's
no way of knowing. But right now my office has instructions to put telephone calls
to and from the hobby shop on the priority list.
"My first intention was to start small-single-channel-but club members at Miller
Meadow counseled against it, saying they knew I wouldn't be happy with proportional
very long. So I got the multi-channel and have been very glad I did. Now with the
second set and the buddy cord, young Paul and I can share the test flights.
"A friend test-hopped our first Comet-Bill Kadlec, an excellent flier and patient
teacher. He and Ben Miller did all takeoffs and landings for me at the beginning.
I was absolutely stunned to learn that somebody with as many big plane hours as
I, was such a lousy little plane pilot. I just couldn't believe to what ridiculous
extent I was over-controlling that thing. There I'd been, cruising comfortably at
jet speeds, and this little thing at ninety mph had me trembling. It's learning
all over again. I don't see that being a pilot is any advantage whatever. Certainly
not so far as technique is concerned.
"More than any sport, modeling is wonderful therapy. Even to slip down here to
the workshop for an hour in an evening is immensely relaxing. It takes you far away
from the ugly headlines. Mostly mud and blood make news. So it's nice to have this
refreshing diversion that requires your total concentration.
"My workday begins at 4:30 a.m., when I start preparing the first broadcast.
After that's done, I start preparing the second broadcast. After that I write the
newspaper column and the daily television commentary.
"I love work. Many days I start at 4:30 a.m. and do all of my broadcasts, telecasts
and newspaper columns, fly to New Orleans and make a speech and get back in here
at 3 :30 a.m., take a shower, shave, and go right to work again. But my vocation
and avocation have been the same thing. I love to work so much I'd do it for nothing
if I had to. Even idle hours I want to employ constructively and this to me is that.
"So those days when I'm not filling a speaking engagement somewhere, I come home
early afternoons and play airplane designer.
"Yes, I've mentioned this hobby publicly-with pride. Anything that accentuates
the positive, anything that bridges the so-called generation gap, anything that
preoccupies young people with something useful and constructive, should be held
up as a worthy example. I think we newsmen should accentuate the positive more than
we do. Too consistently the only young people we report in the news anymore are
the troublemakers, the screwballs, and the ones with this tantrum syndrome who lie
down in the streets and kick up their heels and demand, and demand, and demand,
and demand. Isn't it wonderful that we have outlets like this that are attracting
more and more people everyday?
"I'm regretful only that the costs involved preclude sophisticated modeling for
some young folks. But, maybe some of us can help out there, too.
"I gave one of our old CL models to the 'Y.' I don't think those things ought
to hang around in workshops when they're not being used-not since there are YMCA's,
Boy Scouts and the Salvation Army and other organizations that can put them into
the hands of a youngster who can't afford them. Maybe more of us ought to do more
"Paul Harvey .... Good day'"
Posted October 8, 2022
(updated from original post