Friday, May 12, 2017

My Background in Free Flight Model Aviation - Part 1

My start in free flight model aviation was probably around seven years old with a simple rubber powered model and a hand launch glider. When I was around 10 years old started flying control line model airplanes. The largest of the control line models I still have, a Carl Goldberg Buster, powered by a Fox .35.

Denny Dart II was Type of Free Flight I Started With
Buster Control Line Model

At 13 years old I started flying radio control with RC equipment outdated at the time known as "reeds". In another year I had a proportional radio, World Engines Blue Max. The first competition flying I did was RC pylon racing with .15 engines, known as quarter midgets. When I was in my early 20's my father and I built large model planes for 30 cc chainsaw engines.

First RC Equipment - Reeds

Chainsaw Engine Powered RC Airplane
I took about a 10 year break from model aviation but after learning to fly power RC airplanes again I wanted a new challenge so started flying RC sailplanes and simple free flight airplanes. Someone introduced me a to a local man that was flying indoor free flight, we became good friends and I flew some indoor free flight contests.

Start Flying RC Gliders

AMA Cub Simple Free Flight

Where I live, finding a large enough field for higher performance free flight is tough, I stuck with simpler models and teaching kids to build model airplanes. With the student programs I expanded into other types of projects like; kites, water rockets, mousetrap cars, and windmills. The classes were through the local parks and recreation, College for Kids, and Everything Hobby in Rochester MN Fuel my Brain program. On a couple occasions I drove to Madison Wisconsin to teach after school program teachers.

Model Aviation Class for College for Kids
Parks and Rec Model Airplanes

Parks and Rec

Foam Glider - Parks and Rec

Kites - Parks and Rec
Water Rockets - Parks and Rec
College for Kids

I started a website with my projects  that is now known as  I setup displays of my projects at local venues and one year at MN State Fair on STEM Day. One year I helped a student in Wright Stuff Science Olympiad in Menomonie Wisconsin. Another year I visited Stout university there to observe the STEPS program for girls when they built RC glider as part of the program.

STEM Day MN State Fair

SO Wright Stuff

STEPS for Girls at UW Stout

I setup at public functions with my science projects and gave demonstrations on aviation history using my model airplanes at various locations.

Demonstration at History Center

Earth Day Table

One year I joined the Academy of Model Aeronautics at Nationals Science Teachers convention in Ohio.

National Science Teachers Convention

For a couple of years I taught teachers for after school programs in Madison Wisconsin. One year building mousetrap cars and another year foam model airplanes.

After School Teachers - Madison Wisconsin

In my next blog post I will discuss getting more serious about competition free flight. I would like to also make a video of this with additional images and video clips.

Bill Kuhl

Video version with additional images -

1 comment:

  1. Great history Bill and keep on getting more youngsters going to keep our great hooby alive,