New Scale Exhibit Opens at National Model Aviation Museum

By Rachelle Haughn, rachelleh@modelaircraft.org

If you visit the National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie, Indiana, this summer, you might notice something dramatically different about one exhibit area.

The beginnings of the new Scale exhibit at the National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie IN.

The first change that you could see is the absence of the theater. In 2021, AMA employees demolished the theater area. In the theater’s place is the enlarged Miniature Aircraft at Work gallery. The new Scale Exhibit is located where some of the Miniature Aircraft at Work models were located.

Bret Becker carries his U-2C.

Most of the aircraft displayed in this exhibit have won some type of award. Towering above the exhibit is Bret Becker’s 120-inch U-2C. The first airplane to be installed in the exhibit, this black 1/8-scale high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft won Top Gun two years in a row. Bret’s airplane, the first electric-powered model to win the Mr. Top Gun award, took top honors in 2020 and 2021 at the Lakeland, Florida, contest.

The scratch-built aircraft features panel lines, rivets, and weathering and is made of fiberglass, carbon-fiber, and balsa wood.

Details on Bret’s U-2C.

Joining the U-2C in the exhibit are Andy Sheber’s Cessna Skyknight, an aircraft that competed in the inaugural Scale World Championships, held in Cranfield, England, and Bob Wischer’s Piel Emeraude. Bob was the first individual from the US to win the Scale World Championships (which he did in 1974).

Also in the exhibit is Charlie Bauer’s Piper Cub. In 1989, it was the first electric-powered Control Line (CL) model to be flown at the AMA Nats. In 2004, it also became the first electric-powered CL airplane to compete in the Scale World Championships.

The most recent addition to the exhibit is George Kilbey’s WACO. The first RC Scale contest at the Nats took place in 1957 and George won it with his aircraft. After researching the contest, museum staff members were able to locate George’s son and the WACO. The winning airplane was stored by George Bassett, George Kilbey’s friend. The museum is excited to announce that the WACO is now a part of the museum’s collection, and will be placed on display in the exhibit.

The late George Kilbey’s WACO. Photo by Matt Ruddick.

Rounding out the exhibit is Bob Benjamin’s 1/4-scale Aeronca K, which was the first electric-powered model to compete in the F4C RC Scale World Championships in 2002. Additionally, there is a scale model of the Wright Flyer that was built from Ideal Aeroplane Supply Company plans circa 1911, Pet MacZura’s Bearcat that won the first provisional CL Scale World Champhionships in 1966, and a Kavan Jet Ranger RC helicopter similar to those flown in RC Helicopter Scale at the 1974 and 1975 Nats; and more aircraft to come that you will have to check out in person. To find out more about the museum, visit www.modelaircraft.org/welcome-national-model-aviation-museum.

2 comments

  1. I will be at the Scale NATS next month, and I really look forward to visiting the new Scale exhibit! However, as I saw and read this article in the current Model Aviation (and here, of course), I was a little disappointed with the title, which describes the new exhibit as an RC Scale one. Notice the multitude of CL Scale models and accomplishments included, as well as RC. A more descriptive (and inclusive ) title would have been more appropriate… (Disclaimer – I have been involved in Scale, primarily CL, since the 1960’s, from local competitions through several World Championships in a number of capacities, so I’m a little attuned to things involving CL Scale).

    Again, I really thank you for the new Scale exhibit, and look forward to visiting it!

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