Fort Wayne Flying Circuits, Inc. and Radio Control of Model Airplanes
The design, building and flying of model airplanes developed along with the development of full sized aviation from the turn of the century. As the newly developed heavier than air flying machines captured the imaginations of the public the model airplane hobby developed simultaneously.
These miniature flying machines had to be designed for maximum stability since they had to fly freely under control only of the elements. Modelers wanting to have some control over the flying of these models looked to develop some means to accomplish this. One method was to tether the plane on a pair of control lines with elevator control around a horizontal axis.
In the 1930's the development of radio led to the hobby of amateur radio. Many of these hobbyists were also model airplane designers and builders. It became obvious to these inventive types to incorporate their knowledge of model aeronautics and electronics to develop radio control of these models.
Over the years the development of technology has proceeded to the point where one now has full three-axis control of model aircraft with the ability to add control over such features as wing flaps, retracting landing gears, lights. Under control of a capable pilot these miniature aircraft can duplicate maneuvers of about any full sized aircraft. The AMA and FCC have established 50 channels devoted to RC aircraft. A number of other channels are available to licensed radio Amateurs.
In the hobby of radio control there are many special interest groups. For example: miniature pylon racers, simulated air combat using semi scale models of war machines, motor less soaring aircraft (gliders), scale aerobatic aircraft, precision scale models of full size aircraft, electric motor powered aircraft, old time and antique models reproducing free flight models of the 30's and 40's using radio control to keep the models from flying away as in the old days, giant scale models 1/4 the size of their full sized equivalents or larger, models of jet propelled aircraft using enclosed internal ducted fans for jet type propulsion. A very recent innovation is the development of miniature turbo jet engines that operate and sound identical to their full size counterparts.
The cost of entering the hobby with a fundamental trainer airplane and four-channel radio control system can be as low as a couple hundred dollars. The fundamental radio system can be moved from one aircraft to another and usually has good resale value if one decides to opt out of the hobby or move on to some new equipment. Planes may have to be considered expendable due to the unavoidable chances of crashes, especially with novice pilots. However, it happens with the best of pilots and planes. The modern radio control equipment though extremely reliable and efficient is still subject to human error.
In recent years manufacturers have developed Almost Ready to Fly (ARF) and Ready to Fly (RTF) aircraft. With the subsequent development of small efficient brushleass motors and compact Lithium Polymer electric cells, these combined with rugged small foam molded airplanes and ever more economical radio systems, the cost of entering the hobby has decreased significantly.
Another recent innovation has been the introduction of radio control systems utilizing 2.4 Ghz frequencies which can accommadate so many channels that radio interference is practically nil allowing flyers to not have to worry about having a channel free to fly on.
Learning to pilot a miniature radio control aircraft can be almost as involved as learning to fly a full size plane. Depending on the learning curve of the individual, it takes a number of hours under the tutelage of a competent instructor before the novice pilot is capable of successful take-off and landing of a model. The Fort Wayne Flying Circuits club maintains a cadre of capable instructors for newcomers to the hobby and club. We have member pilots of all ages ranging from 8 years old to over 80. The many facets of the hobby can make it interesting to anyone remotely interested in aviation
This is a PDF composite of an article in the Fort Wayne
News-Sentinal dated June 22, 1957
This is a PDF copy of the pages of a program for a
1956 Flying Circuits contest held at Smith Field