Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Early Aeromodelling -- Fritz Johl

Fritz sent in this info on aeromodelling in the nineteen thirties:

Dear John
I have read with interest your organisation’s activities and association with AeSSA in the AeSAA news letter and am wondering whether you are aware that SAMAA has its origin in about 1937 and that in 1938 the first radio controlled model aircraft was flown here at Hout Bay. Perhaps you know this already. I believe that at that time I was one of the first members.

The photos show the SAMAA buttonhole badge at that time, The actual radio controlled flight, and the glider fuselage under construction.

W.A.T. "Fritz" Johl (FRAeS)

I asked Bob if he couls add any more to this. Here's his reply:

Dear John, Fritz

Here is some info from my archives:

In 1934, Mr Lilly flew a 5-ft span balsa and tissue model aircraft, "Albatross" for nearly 5-minutes. Movement to establish a club at Cape Town Technical College.

(1 August 1937) Four Wakefield model aircraft from South Africa were sent to compete by proxy in the Wakefield Cup in England (Fairey's Aerodrome at Hayes, in Middlesex). USA and GB domination was broken by a French win.

In August 1937, The South African Model Aeronautic Association was formed on initiation of Viv Gracie of Cape Town, Phil Dalgety of Durban, and Alf Yardley of Johannesburg.

In June of 1939, Viv Gracie and Henry Rieder flew the first radio-controlled glider (14' span) in South Africa, on the beach at Hout Bay. They were also building a powered model aircraft, that flew successfully some time later (date unknown to me).

The documentation is vague, but to my knowledge, the first powered R/C flight was made at Leach's Bay (East London), with 9-foot single-channel model, V3, powered by Forster 99 with hand-carved 18" propeller. Pilots were probably Bob Masters and Viv Andrews. This was late in 1946. Control line flying took place at East London airport. Gerry Masters was first C/L flier with Jim Walker Fireball.

In 1948 in Cape Town, Con Wallis and Mr Gemeken flew a radio-control model with Lorenz Airtrol and E.D equipment. Chips Wannenburg flew a Good Brothers Rudderbug with their (Good Brothers) R/C equipment.

Fritz, I would be very happy if you could forward any information on the early years of South African aeromodelling.

Best regards
Bob Skinner


WOODFORD said...

Dear Bob,
I read the comments between yourself and Fritz. I was born in 1970, my dad was a teenage aeromodeller flying free flight and control line. In 1972 he took up proportional radio control full time with a '72 series KRAFT. Prior to that he had bought a 10 channel REED set which was cumbersome in comparison to the KPS 11 KRAFT servos, which are now huge compared to today's servos.
I remember the planes he built for the reed set. When I see Fritz's pictures, it takes me right back!

I wanted to talk about something that has benefitted me in my life.
When I was in boarding school, we had a model club, flying radio conrol and control line from rugby fields and even participating with other schools. Our technical drawing teacher was our Instructor.
I really wish school kids could embrace aeromodelling in schools again and have inter school competitions. The educational advantage alone is worth the consideration. I pursued mechanical enineering as a career, the knowledge i gained from aeromodelling was priceless in helping me with science and math subjects. I would be very willing to hear comments on this. Thank you and Happy landings!


Qaiser Mehmood said...

Aeromodelling is a hobby which involves a variety of things. The main concept is to build your own model air crafts and race them or simply play with them on your own. Now, these days the sport/hobby of aeromodelling is slightly better than it used to be. The kind of things that you can make these days is ridiculous. You can literally create your very own model jet if you want to.

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