Donor Helps Upgrade Museum Workshop

By Rachelle Haughn, donor and programs specialist

An AMA member who has been building model airplanes since he was roughly 8 years old has decided to give back to the hobby that has provided him much joy. Warren Wagner of Florida has made a $10,000 donation to the National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie, Indiana, to upgrade equipment in the museum’s workshop.

” I just love building and love my workshop and I didn’t want the [museum] workshop to feel neglected,” Warren stated. He added that he wanted to ensure the workshop had adequate funding for whatever machines or tools it needed. “It’s money I can’t take with me, so I’d rather” the museum have the funds.

The 86-year-old said he taught himself to fly Control Line (CL) when he was 10 years old. Growing up in upstate New York, Warren and his friends would go to local schoolyards to fly. “I flew 1/2A CL because that’s all you could afford at that point in your life,” he commented.

Warren’s love of the hobby has continued throughout most of his life. In addition to CL models, he has flown RC Helicopters, Pattern, Formula 1 RC Pylon Racing, Quickie CL Racing, and CL Precision Aerobatics. He competed in the Nats both before and after they were moved to the International Aeromodeling Center in Muncie. Each time he was in Muncie for the Nats, Warren made sure to visit the museum. “That’s the highlight of my trip,” he said.

When asked what he liked most about the National Model Aviation Museum, Warren stated, “I guess if I had to nail it down to one thing, it would be the nostalgia of the models that they have there and that it represents the whole hobby. It represents the beginning of the hobby and the things that were important to me when I was young.” When he visits the museum, he makes sure to walk through the retro hobby shop, which makes him feel like a kid on a once-in-a-lifetime trip. “My wish would be to be able to go into that hobby shop with a shopping cart and take everything that I want.” He also enjoys the CL Speed and the jets.

Michael Smith, National Model Aviation Museum director, said there is not currently a timetable for when the equipment will be replaced. “Right now, we are working up a wish list with the volunteers who work in the shop.” The museum volunteers use the workshop to build static pieces needed for exhibits and to make repairs to existing exhibits.

“[The hobby has] meant a lot for me and I continued it for most of my life,” Warren stated. “It has [been] something that I had a passion for. There aren’t too many things that I discovered a passion for in my life. It has helped me develop several skills and one of those is patience. I’ve learned so many skills. I do well working with my hands, and I enjoy doing that. Building models requires dedication.”

Warren’s Time Machine aircraft designed by Tom Dixon.  It is designed for CL Precision Aerobatics, and it does the prescribed maneuvers very well, so it’s a pleasure to fly it. Most of Warren’s airplanes get a nickname, and this one is named “JFP,” which stands for “Just for Practice.” The 51-inch model took roughly 200 hours to build.

In addition to the fulfilment that he finds in building and flying models, Warren values the relationships he has built. “The other thing that the hobby has brought to me is the friendships that you develop and the camaraderie that you find when you’re with a bunch of other modelers. You learn a lot from being around other modelers. Even the top stars in (national and world competitions) are still people you can talk to. They will tell you everything they know about it, and they don’t keep secrets.”

If you would like to donate to the National Model Aviation Museum, please visit or email the AMA Foundation.