#FantasyFreeFlight: A 1915 Aeromodeling Conversation

Here’s a snippet of what modeling was like for the model airplane pioneers 100 years ago, in poem form.  Hopefully, this puts you in the mood for #FantasyFreeFlight, starting next week!

“A Conversation Between A Model Boy and a Passing Old Lady”

By Arthur Elton Nealy

Lady-   Little Boy, what is that which you have in your hand?
Boy-     A model flying machine.
Lady-   A wee, baby aeroplane; goodness me! It’s something I never have seen.
How high
In the sky
Little boy, will it fly?
Boy-    O, way out of sight when the wind is just right and the rubbers are wound good and strong.

An A-frame twin pusher on floats.  1996.87.02, donated by Vic Cunnyngham, Jr.
Lady-   Well, who’d have thought such a contraption could be! Now, how do you push it along?
Boy-     In the air.
Lady-   But where?
Boy-     Those propellers right there.
Lady-   What? They make it go!
Then how do you know
That you won’t fall down and be killed?
Boy-    Well, Miss,
It’s like this;
As it won’t lift me up, you see, I will never be spilled.
Lady-   What!  Won’t lift you up!  You said it would fly,
O, every so high
Little boy, are you joking or telling a lie?
Boy-   Well it can!
But a span
Of a foot and half is not meant for a man.
Lady-  Then who does the steering, and where does he sit?  My goodness! A flyer must have lots of grit.
Boy-    But Miss!
Now This
Is a model.  Gee Whiz!
Lady-   I see, it’s a toy
Made for some little boy.
Boy-     No, no.  Not a toy!
But a model! (Oh, Joy!)
Lady-   My dear,
You appear
Rather peevish, I fear.
But nowadays the urchins are all of ‘em spoiled.
Ah, things were so different when I was a child!
Little brat!
What is that?
Boy-    A winder.  (Old cat!)

A rubber motor winder, 2008.10.01, donated by Don Brown.Lady-   Well, now, will you wind it and fly it for me?
Boy-    Yes, Yes, if you’ll hold it a minute, I’ll see.
(Hands propellers to lady and starts winding)
These bands are the motors, you see how the wrap
Around tighter and tight – and sometimes go SNAP!
Lady-   Oh! Ow!
Boy-    That’s how
The motor back-fires.  Here, take it again.
Lady–   My goodness, no, sonny – t’was bad enough then.

Credit:  Nealy, Arthur E. “A Conversation Between a Model Boy and a Passing Old Lady.”  Aerial Age Weekly, April 12, 1915, pg. 91.

link to main information page for #FantasyFreeFlight
For more information on the National Model Aviation Museum, including our location, hours and admission fees visit: www.modelaircraft.org/museum

One comment

  1. This sounds a lot like our talk with the Abilene,Tx. Reporter
    News paper reporter who came out to the park to watch the LITTLE
    boys and their toy airplanes.Most of what we were flying were
    .35 size combat or stunt planes. NOT little toys. One of the
    older guys ,a dentist, had a .60 size Zilch on 70’lines. Big
    plane.I do not remember what she said in the paper,however
    from then on WE flew our TOY airplanes. This happened in about
    1966,1967 or 1968. Les Barry AMA 10689

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