Miniature Aircraft at Work
While the majority of the museum's collection documents the hobby of aeromodeling, model aircraft have served a very important role in aviation.
Even from the beginning, researchers have used models to test ideas for full-scale aircraft designs. Today this continues and the museum's exhibit highlighting aircraft from the National Air and Space Administration (NASA) reflects this use. A video kiosk provides visitors the opportunity to see all of the NASA aircraft on display in flight.
Unmanned aircraft, although in use during World War II, have recently gained more attention. The museum's collection traces this evolution, from a Target Drone from 1943 to a current 1/3 scale Hunter.
As soon as model airplanes were flown, aeromodelers were trying to fly faster, further, and higher than anyone else did. The museum has a few of these record setting models on display.
This proof-of-concept model of the Seahorse was built by the Mustang Aircraft Corporation.
The OQ-2A target drone was the first production radio controlled aircraft accepted by the U.S. military.
The OQ-19 was a target drone used by the U.S. military. Initially designed in the late 1940s, the aircraft remained in production, in various versions, for over 40 years. More than 73,000 “Basic Training Target” (BTT) targets were built in all, and the type was used by at least 18 nations.
Built by two NASA engineers, the Space Shuttle and Boeing 747 model are two separate radio controlled airplanes.
Left: The Mothership, the yellow aircraft above, was built by NASA in 1968. Before being retired in April 2000, the aircraft dropped test models of mainly re-entry vehicles. The white aircraft displayed underneath the Mothership is a drop test model of an X-33.
Right: The Moth was a light beam powered research aircraft flown by NASA.
The Mothership, drop test model of the X-33 and The Moth are all on loan from NASA-Dryden Flight Research Center.
Left: This third-scale Hunter UAV is the most recent addition to the museum's collection. The full-scale aircraft is operated by the U.S. Army and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Right: The FQM-117B (forefront) was used by the U.S. military as a target drone and as a basic training aircraft for Pioneer UAV external pilots. The Pioneer (second in photo) was made famous during the Gulf War. A half-scale model is on display in the museum.
Left: The Transatlantic Model, TAM #5, by Maynard Hill, set several records in 2003 when it completed a flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
Right: The Skyrocket II set an altitude record of 26,912 feet in 1970.