On April 20 and 21, AMA Museum Director Michael Smith and Model Aviation Executive Editor Jay Smith traveled to Sig Manufacturing in Motezuma, Iowa, to pick up Maxey Hester’s P-63 King Cobra and Claude McCullough’s Skypirate. Both Maxey and Claude worked for Sig and were also famous Scale model competitors.
Sig is in the process of relocating its manufacturing operations near Chicago and offered to donate both models, which had been suspended in the company’s Research and Development department.
Maxey designed the P-63, with Claude’s assistance, for RC aerobatic competition in 1960. Demonstration flights at events throughout the Midwest showed that the model was a clear favorite to win the Scale event at the 1961 National Model Airplane Championships (Nats). Sadly, this was not the case because transmitter failure caused the airplane to crash during his official flight. After gathering the pieces, the model was rebuilt and later that year won the Scale event at a large contest in Topeka, Kansas. A construction article appeared in American Modeler, March 1962.
In 1960, Claude McCullough, already a well-known Scale aeromodeler, was searching for a new project. An article in Flying Review, January 1961, for the Douglas XTB2D-1 Devastator II/Skypirate caught his attention. He felt that the dimensions were perfect and building began. The finished model won the Scale event at the 1965 Nats, and took first place at the RCM Design Contest. A construction article appeared in Radio Control Modeler, November 1968.
Maxy Hester was inducted into the AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame in 1998. His biography can be read at https://www.modelaircraft.org/sites/default/files/files/HesterMaxey.pdf.
Claude McCullough was inducted into the AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame in 1979. His biography can be read at https://www.modelaircraft.org/sites/default/files/files/McCulloughClaude.pdf.