AMA Chartered Club #563
AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame
ESTABLISHED IN 1969, the AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame honors those men and women who have made significant contributions to the sport of aeromodeling. The list of members is long and distinguished. These people have made contributions to model aviation through volunteer or administrative activities, product development, competition performance, or a variety or combination of activities.
The Hall of Fame Selection Committee is composed of past AMA presidents and one Hall of Fame member selected from each of the 11 districts by the respective vice presidents. Each year a new class is inducted into the AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame and the winners are announced in MA.
Anyone may submit a Hall of Fame nomination form. For a nomination form or further information, contact Erin Dobbs at (765)287-1256, ext. 272. or find the current form online at www.modelaircraft.org, document 152.
The following STARS members have been inducted into the AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame:
Class of 2006
Class of 2008
The Southern Tier Aero Radio Society “STARS” was proud to submit the application of Robert “Bob” Brown to The Model Aviation Hall of Fame in March 2006. The following is a brief synopsis of this remarkable individual’s qualifications, and the reason he was selected as a 2006 inductee by the existing Model Aviation Hall of Fame body.
- Most people know of Bob Brown as the District III Vice President for the Academy of Model Aeronautics. Bob has held this position as a Leader with AMA for over 20 years. His photo and articles are published in his column each month in Model Aviation Magazine.
- He was the AMA Flying Site Chairman from 1985 through 1988, when AMA was in Reston, VA. Bob was instrumental in locating and acquiring the AMA site in Muncie, Indiana.
- From 1990 through 2005 Bob was the AMA Property Acquisition and Development Committee Chairman who was responsible for the acquisition and development of properties adjacent to AMA’s property in Muncie. The development of these properties have qualified as one of the world’s best.
- Bob was the FAI RC Pylon (F3D) World Championships Jury Chairman from 1985 through 2005.
- Bob Brown, together with partner Hal DeBolt held several National and World Pylon and Speed records from 1972 through 1982.
- Bob won either first or second place in “RC Pylon” static competition at the Toledo Weak Signals Exposition from 1972 through 1975.
- Bob competed at the 1974 World Aero Olympics, finishing in eighth position in R/C Pylon.
- Bob was one of the original designers of the Pogo Formula One racer, which was kitted by A & L Manufacturing in the 1970’s.
- Bob partnered with Hal DeBolt to design seven aircraft manufactured by Demco and by Midwest Products, and included the Caudron, Firecracker, T-Craft, and Sergent.
- During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s he developed many of the techniques for using automotive acrylic paint for use on model aircraft.
- Bob served as a Contest Director for 26 years and developed the non-competition Rally type event that was unique in 1980. As a STARS CD from 1980 to 1988, his format drew model aviators from Canada and several States adjacent to the Olean, NY airport site.
- He assisted Wayne Yeager in various positions during the R/C Pylon portion of the annual AMA National Model Airplane Championships for 15 years.
- Bob developed the original AMA R/C Pylon (F3D) Team selection program circa in 1984, which is still used today.
- He was instrumental in the organization of each of the four R/C Pylon (F3D) World Championships held in the United States at Chicopee, MA; Virginia Beach, VA, and Muncie, IN.
- Bob was the lead person in the organization of a movement to procure flying sites in Pennsylvania State Parks in 1989.
“Teacher” in the literal and figurative sense.
- Bob was a Technology Teacher in Bradford, PA by profession and exposed to thousands of students, the world of R/C building and flying, over four decades.
- He was one of nine STARS members who designed and built some of the first ¼ scale Aircraft in the World in the 1970’s. Bob selected the materials, developed the manufacturing techniques, and provided the equipment and workspace that those STARS members used to build the first ¼ scale Bristol Biplane squadron.
- As AMA District III Vice President, Bob has composed monthly columns for District III for the last 20 years.
- Bob wrote numerous articles for Flying Models Magazine on the building and testing of model aircraft.
- Bob wrote several building articles for American Aircraft Modeler Magazine in the 1970’s.
- He was recognized as a Master Finisher and wrote several articles on “How To” finish model aircraft using techniques he created and developed using Acrylic paint. These techniques won Bob several “Best Finish” awards at both the WRAM and Toldeo Shows.
How do you make a grown man cry? According to Jim Messer of Sebring, Florida, it's easy.
"You get him to fly his airplane in the noon-time air show in front of 1000 spectators, and while he is doing that with his back turned to the audience you assemble his family, and all the pilots around the announcer's stand. Of course without any eyes in the back of his head he has no idea of what is going on behind him.
Then when he lands, and turns around, you call him to the announcer's stand. Gary Fitch, DVP [AMA vice president] of District II then announces to the world that he has been inducted into the Model Aviation Hall of Fame Class of 2008."
Nominated by Gary Fitch, on behalf of the Southern Tier Aero Radio Society (STARS), Jim is a competitor, designer, leader, and a teacher. Jim has been involved in model aviation nearly his entire life. He began in 1937 with 10¢ rubber band models including the Stinson 105, Fokker D.VII, and his favorite, the 25¢ Phantom Fury.
He built his first gas model - a Comet Zipper - in 1941, the same year he joined AMA and the Olean Model Airplane club in southwestern New York State, which became the STARS club when RC became prominent.
Jim competed in FF contests across the Northeast placing well and winning many. During the 1970 Nats, he placed second out of 583 contestants who flew that day. He placed first in subsequent Nats in Old-Timer airplanes and competed in CL Speed and Stunt.
Jim was one of the first to venture into RC model airplanes. In 1955 he purchased a Citizenship radio, started a model shop, and began designing and kitting aircraft. His major achievement in this area was designing a ¼-scale Bristol Scout. There were no premade components for an aircraft this size, so Jim, with the help of five other STARS members who were building like models, developed all of the components to make the Giant Scale Scouts functional and trustworthy.
Educated as a mechanical engineer, Jim designed a geared drive train that coupled twin .60 engines to try to fly the large model. Eventually they employed the Quadra .35 engine, carved their own propellers for the models, and the new Bristol Scout Squadron took to the air.
The squadron became famous after an appearance at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome meet, and Jim and his fellow STARS launched the Giant Scale movement as we know it today. Because of the STARS members' involvement in Giant Scale, in 2005, the Academy of Model Aeronautics recognized the STARS flying field as an AMA Historic Landmark.
Jim saw the coming demand for Giant Scale models and expanded his model shop into a world-wide mail order business named Jim Messer's Quality Model Products. The business flourished and Jim even designed and marketed his own line of ¼-scale kits.
He sold the business in 1991 and retired to Florida but Jim never stopped designing and building Giant Scale models. Joining the Highlands Radio Control Club in Sebring, he organized a builders' club within the club dedicated to teaching others how to scratch build.
Throughout a lifetime of aeromodeling, Jim has developed more than 40 designs, many of which have been marketed in plans or kit form. He promises to retire from modeling only when the wheels start to fall off!
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