John Wynne, one of the first anywhere to fly control line, describes here the beginnings of control line in Australia.
John's first controlled model was built in about 1942, during the second World War. It had no engine, but was whipped around in a circle by arm power alone. It was controlled by two cords running down the wing then through two right angled bent tubes to control horns above and below the elevators.
The war years were not kind to modellers, as some may be able to remember. No balsa, motors, or model books could be bought. It was not until about 1945 that modelling started to get going again. John's pictures at right commence in 1947.
1. A line-up of models flown at Surrey Park, Melbourne, one day in 1947. Second from the top is an early attempt at a speed model, built by Norm bell for a Barker 19 engine.
2. A closer view of Norm Bell's early speed model with Barker 19 engine. In those days even speed models had the features of full sized man-carrying aircraft.
3. Early attempts at aerobatics were made in 1946 by John and his contemporaries with models like this one. What little power there was came from an E.D. 2cc "Pennyslot" engine, so named because compression was adjusted with the aid of a penny coin fitted into a slot provided at the top of the engine. John remembers having great difficulty getting little planes like this to loop.
4. An impressive scale Navion by Norm Bell was powered by a Dennymite engine fitted with a spark plug that was definitely not to scale.
5. A later and more successful early stunter was this one built by John around 1948 for a Meteor 61, an engine made in Melbourne. This stunter was flown on lines 120 feet long, almost twice the length in common use today.
6. Posing as Mister Foo peering over the wingtip of his Wildfire is Don McLaren, winner of junior stunt at the 1951 Victorian Championships and winner of open stunt at the Bendigo Nationals of 1952. Don was only 6 inches taller than the 4 foot 6 inches wingspan of his plane!
7. 1950 Victorian junior stunt champion Derry Brown, with his plane powered by McCoy 60.
8. Posing here as the Marlboro Man is John Wynne with his scale twin engined Mosquito at the Camden Nationals of 1962.
John went on to a distinguished career in the field of car racing, a passion he still enjoys today. As head of the Ford racing department he was responsible for development of the GTHO Falcons driven to many successes by Alan Moffat. Today John lives on Queensland's Gold Coast where he still has model planes that he flies occasionally, mainly under radio control.
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