As I was researching the history of our Aeromodeling Club, HAFFA , curiously, this image of this particular configuration of model aircraft shown at left and below kept reoccurring especially in the early photographs and surprisingly even in our own history as well.
Why this “odd” looking model aircraft was so prevalent was a mystery to me because it just didn’t look like anything that I had expected. In my mind, by the 20s and 30s, the configuration of the airplane had evolved greatly from the “kite like” look of the Wright Brothers had designed. I wondered why these guys in hats worshiped this design over the more “obvious and logical ones” they would have had seemingly available to them at the time. From my observations of the vintage photographs—it seemed that they were also launching the things backwards which was really strange! It just didn’t make any sense to me.
It turns out that this model, which is called a “Twin Pusher A Frame” was in fact widely popular in the 1920s and 30s—and the reasons can be found in an article titled A-frame model aircraft by Martin Gregorie.
Another informative article points out the near extinction of the design’s popularity in 1933 when something called a “Tractor” design won over the model aircraft enthusiasts. The article is written by George De La Mater and is entitled “WHY NOT PUSHERS?”
So it can be noted that the Twin Pusher A Frame model was really the only design available to the hobbyists prior to 1933.
By it’s design, the Twin propeller design dealt successfully with the problem of the widely misunderstood “trust” from the windings of a rubber motor. it was solved by the two opposing propellers cancelling out the opposing forces.
The rear propellers also act as a stabilizing “rudder” at the rear of the aircraft and however unlikely this design looks, it’s actually very stable and efficient as a model aircraft.
As I mentioned before there is a connection of this type of model aircraft to our Kansas City’s heritage as a club because of a photograph that was brought to my attention of an Kansas City area early member taken in October of 1968.
At left is a photo of Roger Schroeder holding an unmistakable model of a Twin Propeller A frame Model Aircraft. I find it wonderful that the idea that no one would ever again build the outdated vintage design has been vindicated by Roger. Little is known of the early club called the “Winged Motors Club” that he was a member of during the 1960s so please—if you or you know someone that knows something about this era, contact this author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I find it really heartwarming that model aircraft builders have come back to this “classic ” design, time and time again, as a way to reach back in time to their predecessors. There seems to be a real connection with the early founders of the hobby that I believe will always exist as long as we newcomers to the hobby decide to keep the tradition alive and build the crazy things. And to our amazement in 2016 there is evidence of that actually coming true as evidenced in Installment 3 of this history series.