Chapter 4

If you can't afford to do something right, then be darn sure you can afford to do it wrong.
- Charlie Nelson

One of the many attractive aspects of model aviation is the wealth of useful knowledge one can accumulate from participation in the hobby/sport. Those who have taken part in modeling over a life span freely admit they are still learning. Your most accessible sources will depend upon where you live, but whether it's in a city or on a remote farm, information is available.

4.1 Local Sources
Check your Telephone Yellow Pages for the nearest local hobby shop. In this era of corporate mergers, they are scarce, but if you have one, support it. Ask the owner about area model clubs, flying fields, or anyone you might turn to as a mentor. Talk to the principle of your local High School. Does the school have any model building programs? Get the names of science or drafting teachers. Many have had modeling experience.

In the past modelers have patiently added to their knowledge by reading monthly model building magazines. Many still do. They feature plans and projects to stimulate the imagination. They also identify the latest books in their advertisements and book reviews. The books currently available on model aviation are among the best ever written on the subject. If you can't afford to buy the books check your local library. If they don't have them, ask about interlibrary loan. If the book is available at a public or school library that participates in the interlibrary loan system (most do), it can be sent to your library for your use. The cost, if any, is nominal. 4.1.1 Publications on paper and the Web
There is a growing trend toward publishing magazines or newsletters for sale on paper and also placing the same or similar copy on a Web site that may be accessed by members for a subscription fee. An excellent example of this can be seen at: There you will find the home page and a sense of the content provided by the publisher.

4.2 Internet Sources
All of the model aircraft building projects in most of the model aviation magazines, going back to the 1930s, have been cataloged on an Internet site.

The Academy of Model Aeronautics has most of those magazines in their library. and click membership services and click benefits overview. The Lee Renaud Memorial Library is listed under Service. They will copy a specific article for you at minimal cost. All that history, and evolution of model design, is just a few keystrokes away.

AMA members can access an archive of their magazine Model Aviation, dating from 1975 to 2000, with more to come. At, click publications, and click Model Aviation, and click Visit the Digital Archive. Members may enter their E-mail address or AMA number, and a password and click log in. Then click AMA Digital Archive, enter ama in each of the two windows provided, and click submit. A member can browse all pages of the above years and print out any plans and/or text desired.

The Internet features two-way communication on many subjects including model aviation. The communication can take the form of real-time typed messages back and forth (chat rooms), various forums, and mailing lists devoted to a given field of interest. When you sign up for a mailing list, usually at no cost, you receive periodic E-mail of the on-going discussion with perhaps 500 members contributing to the subject(s) of the day. An ongoing specific discussion is called a thread. You can enter the discussion or pose a question for 500 mentors living anywhere in the world.

Two examples of related mailing lists are:

  • Free Flight Mailing List (FFML) Topics range from gliders to powered models; indoor flight to outdoor; and include scale or sport models. All discussion relates to free flying uncontrolled models.
  • Slow Flight Radio Controlled Mailing List (SFRC) Topics range from controlled flight indoors as well as outdoors in restricted locations such as local parks. Most discussion is about electric powered models, but discussion about other power sources is welcomed.

    You can subscribe to either of the above lists at no charge at and click either (or both) Free Flight and Slow Flight R/C Mailing Lists

    Three examples of generalized sources are: Lists, plans, tips, tools and links. how-to and construction articles and links. Very extensive links to most aspects of model aviation

    4.3 Full Scale Sources
    Modelers are interested in information about full-scale aircraft for many reasons. They may be looking for a prototype that is unusual, pleasing to look at or one whose proportions will translate into a good flying model. After having chosen a prototype, the modeler needs drawings or photos that will reveal details, appropriate markings and color schemes. These items may be of minor interest to a sport flyer, but are necessary for winning scale competitions. Museums can sometimes furnish detailed plans for a given aircraft at cost.

    Some Web sites related to museums are: Smithsonian National Air and Space museum - collections and research National Museum of Naval Aviation U.S. Air Force museum links to aviation museums and WW 1 aviation

    Other sites containing data and photographs: Jim's index to military aircraft pictures many links to full-scale aviation and click modeling links, and click aircraft a World War 1 aircraft modeling archive A World War 1 and early aviation image archive. World War 1 aircraft and the Aces who flew them. Historical information about the pioneers of aviation. A World War 2 aircraft archive photos of research aircraft at Dryden Center (Edwards AF Base) including X-craft from X-1 and beyond photos of airliners this is the big one, all about aviation aircraft documentation source

    Albert Einstein on research -
    "If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
    sasdfdfsdfsdfThe Best of Discover 2004 -

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    Copyright 2002, Robert S. Munson. All Rights Reserved