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Old 09-14-2007, 06:56 PM
Jim Messer
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Sebring, FL
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Default RE: Finding your place in the hobby

I'll join in on this conversation because it won't be too long before I might not be able to. I started building rubber band models in 1937, and my first gas model (a Comet Zipper) with an Ohlsson 23 engine in 1941. I joined both the AMA and the Olean Model Airplane Club in 1941. The OMAC club is now known as the STARS (Southern Tier Aero Radio Society), and was organized in 1935; the AMA in 1936. Been a member of both now for 66 consecutive years.

I flew in lots of free-flight contests up until my last Nats in 1971. I flew my first control line in 1943, and competed in CL speed thru the forties. In the mid fifties I got into radio control - it was in its infancy at the time.

In 1975 I put the first giant scale gas engine on the market in the USA, the Quadra 35. You all know the effect that has had on modeling worldwide. I ran a worldwide giant scale model business for eleven years before I sold it in order to retire to Florida.

In August 2005 our club (STARS) received the coveted AMA Historic Landmark Award for our pioneering efforts in the formation of giant scale. It is the most prestigious award that AMA gives out, and is only the second one in their history - since 1936. There are five of us old guys left that were recognized for these efforts.

I design and build all of my models from scratch, and have done so since the free-flight forties.
I would rather build than fly. My smallest airplane has a G-62 for power, and at the moment I have ten big airplanes in my hanger. Try this on for size: 1/3 scales: Ercoupe, J-3 Cub, J-4E Cub Coupe, Aeronca Sedan, 1916 Bristol Scout, Laser 200, and Ultimate; 30% - Stinson SR-10; 40% - J-3 Cub, and VANS RV-6. I have also designed several 1/5 and 1/4 scale models, but hanger space dictated that they all the smaller planes be sold - no place to store them.

I love this hobby more than anyone can ever imagine. I have just completed a book that I hope to get published, entitled "A Lifetime In Model Aviation" which covers my life in the hobby for the past 70 years. My wish is that everybody in the hobby can get the satisfaction and enjoyment out of it that I have.

And whether you like it or not, it is my opinion that the AMA has done a fantastic job of looking over us these past 71 years, so to them I say "Thanks". Without them, none of the above would have been possible.