cabin model   The Story of Indoor Model Aircraft

    A Century of Indoor Models

    "There shall be wings ... the spirit cannot lie."

            -- Leonardo da Vinci


   I have recently acquired additional material, and am hoping to prepare more commentary and especially illustrations.
    - David Erbach
David Erbach
David Erbach
Life member
National Free Flight Society
email address
Last modified
19 July 2011

The story of Indoor Modelling: Indoor models are perhaps the most graceful of all aircraft. Models were first flown indoors in about 1907. A century later, a competitive model with a wing span of about two feet weights about a gram -- a third as much as a US penny. The model will fly at about one mile an hour, with the propeller turning once a second or less.

The wings are transparent, covered with a glistening material of shimmering colors like a soap bubble. The models fly silently, at the speed of a slow walk. After launch, they climb steeply and slowly. With enough available ceiling, they can climb as high as a 15 story building. Circling slowly so that they don't touch the walls, they gradually reach their peak altitude. There they will circle for many minutes. Finally, as power runs down, they will descend. In an ordinary competition, the flight time may be 10 or 15 minutes. At a national or world championships held in a dirigible hangar or similar large hall, the time may be more than half an hour. The world record is more than an hour on a single flight.

    Nationals Results 1928 - 1970    1971 - 1999  >|<   Internationals Results 1961 - 1980    1982 - 2000


75 years ago Scrapbook 1933


The story ...

Cayley model In the beginning
The rise of aeromodelling


Culver model After Lindbergh
The search for stability


Goldberg model Between the wars
Higher, Slower, Longer


1937 Nationals Amidst the gathering storm
Their finest hour


Andrews model the 60's and 70's
Globalization


Rieke model the 80's and forward
A house divided



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