The talk of the 1930 Airplane Model Contest is on exhibit in the museum from now until Labor Day 2016.
The Boeing P-12B had just begun operations for the United States Military in 1930. That same year that William Chaffee built a scale version for the Airplane Model League of America (AMLA) Airplane Model Contest.
Chaffee’s version has the required 24” wingspan of models entered into the AMLA’s scale contest, and, as also required, was built from plans approved by the AMLA. He put in 500 hours’ worth of work into the model, his attention to detail including working control surfaces moved by mechanisms in the cockpit. Out of the 100 points total each model could earn, Chaffee’s P-12B got 97 – and 1st place.
Newspaper accounts after the event noted the model “amazed veteran fliers, who viewed the scale models at the Statler hotel, for it was so true to exactness in every detail that it appeared to have been built at the Boeing factory.”
Chaffee won $200.00 cash, a silver trophy and a six week trip to Europe.
The trophy, along with scans of the passport used on the trip, and the competition scorecards are all on exhibit with Chaffee’s Boeing P-12B in the Nats exhibit at the museum this summer.
Thanks to Ellen Earle-Chaffee, Henry Chaffee, and Clark Chaffee for allowing the museum to show this special part of model aviation’s history.
For more information on the National Model Aviation Museum, including our location, hours and admission fees visit: www.modelaircraft.org/museum
Thank you to my brother Hal, AMA, and the museum for honoring my father in this way. The model was a familiar sight when growing up but it is only recently that I’ve become aware of the full story. Dad was a remarkable man. It is nice to have this part of his youth shared and remembered by the model airplane community.