New Addition: RC Berkeley Bootstraps

John A. Cianciolo didn’t start building this RC Berkeley Bootstraps, but he did finish building it.  That’s because he received it as a partially-completed kit from a guy who lived near the old Kansas City flying field.

The orange and white Berkeley Bootstraps with original radio control equipment.
Berkeley Bootstraps sits with its original radio equipment.  The model and equipment were built around 1958.

John had every reason to thank the gentleman for the gift, because John, and later his family, particularly son Jim, first enjoyed flying the model (up to about 1966) and then enjoyed  sharing the memories surrounding it.

Two men use rubber bands to hold the wing in place on a Berkeley Bootstraps.
Jim Cianciolo helps his father John assemble the Berkeley Bootstraps while his mother Lottie watches.

And now the museum has every reason to thank John A. Cianciolo for donating it to the museum’s collection.

John A. Cianciolo poses with the Berkeley Bootstraps in front of the hobby shop in the museuem's gallery.  The large, original transmitter is also visible.
John A. Cianciolo with the Berkeley Bootstraps in the museum gallery.

Along with the model, John donated the original and complete 1950s RC system he used to fly it.

The interior of the transmitter case has a vacuum tube removed from an old car radio.
The interior of the transmitter.

Thanks, John, for helping to grow the museum’s collection!


  1. Very Nice, that ol’Bootstrap! Maybe a short item in “Model Aviation” could show some of the last 30 years fellows what they have been missing. HA!

  2. I helped my dad, John Cianciolo deliver the Bootstraps to the museum this week. Maria VanVreede was so nice and professional that donating the model was a pleasure. We sure will miss her.

    1. Thanks, Jim. It was truly a pleasure meeting with you & your family. And, there’s no need to miss me – drop me an email every now and then! ~ Maria

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