Aeromodeling History

Once Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully flew their aircraft, the general public's interest in aviation skyrocketed. At first A-Frame twin pushers were the aircraft of choice but as aeromodelers gained experience flying their models, designs began to more closely resemble full scale aircraft.
With Charles Lindbergh's successful flight across the Atlantic in 1927, companies also quickly recognized the nation's interest in aviation, and for the first time began to offer model airplane kits.
Aeromodeling continued to develop through the 1930s and early 1940s with such advances as miniature gas engines and balsa wood. With the outbreak of World War II though, as with almost every part of daily life, things began to change. Many modelers joined the military , and rationing of “critical war materials” limited the types of supplies available for aeromodeling.
In the first portion of the main gallery visitors can follow this development, from the A-Frame design through the model airplane kits available during World War II.

As you enter this portion of the gallery, the first window display highlights the excitement surrounding aviation at the turn of the 20th century.

As aeromodelers gained experience,  they began to experiment with new designs for their models. This included the first scale models, aircraft built to duplicate the appearance of the full scale aircraft that were making news across the world.

   In this view you can see the window displays highlighting two of the early model airplane kit manufacturers, Ideal Aeroplane & Supply Co. and the Cleveland Model & Supply Company. The display cube on the right highlights early aeromodeling clubs while the cube on the left highlights modeling during World War II.


This is a close-up of the World War II cube. It features the silhouette model building program operated by the U.S. Navy as well model airplane kits available during this time period. Of special note is the fact that balsa wood, a building material that modelers had just started to use for their airplanes, was categorized by the US Government as a critical war material.

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