The AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame, established in 1969, honors men and women who have made significant contributions to the sport of aeromodeling. Contributions can be made through volunteer or administrative work, product development, competition performance, or a variety or combination of these activities. In January 2009, the AMA Executive Council voted to change the award’s name from Model Aviation Hall of Fame to the AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame.
The selection committee is composed of past and present AMA presidents and one individual selected from each of the 11 districts by their respective vice presidents.
The 2020 hall of fame inductees have been announced. They include Max Blose, James “Jim” Bourke, Paul Crowley, Mark Frankel (deceased), Steve Helms (deceased), Keith “Dave” Herbert, Sidney Kauffman (deceased), Emma “Lilian” Todd (deceased), and Richard “Rich” Uravitch.
Max Blose, of Waco, Texas, has written articles for RC Modeler magazine, has served as a contest director (CD) for RC Aerobatics (Pattern) events, was a District VIII Associate Vice President for 18 years, and helped found the Texas Model Aeronautics Foundation club in 2005. Professionally, he worked for Marathon Battery Company and founded B&P Associates in 1985, which repaired and built battery packs for model aircraft.
The founder of what is known today as RCGroups, Jim Bourke, of Corvallis, Oregon, was also inducted. In the early 1990s, he started a website called the E Zone, which later became RCGroups. Jim also joined the team at Knife Edge Software, the maker of RealFlight, as a contract programmer. He later became the general manager and the owner of the company.
Free Flight modeler Paul Crowley, of Warren, Michigan, attended his first Nats in 1952. He has been on the US team for the FAI Free Flight World Championships, won the America’s Cup for F1B five times, spent 40 years on the FAI team selection committee, is an AMA Leader Member, and has been a CD for more than 50 years. Each year, he helps run an indoor flying competition in Michigan.
During his lifetime, Mark Frankel saw many of his RC Scale aircraft designs and construction articles published in hobby magazines that included Model Aviation, RC Modeler, Model Airplane News, Model Builder, and more. Mark wrote four books about full-scale military aircraft and aviation. Before he died in July 2020, he won many trophies for model aircraft flying and static competitions, including some from the Nats.
Steve Helms’ first taste of model aviation was in 1958 when he began flying models with his father. By 1964, he had attended his first Nats. He discovered his love of RC Aerobatics and began competing in it. Later in life he became a competitor in RC helicopters. Like his life, his career was focused on the hobby. He worked for Kraft Systems in California, where he helped develop the Kraft Signature Series RC radio. He later started his own company, Radio South, then worked for Futaba Corporation of America. He died in 2016.
Marine Corps veteran Dave Herbert shares his knowledge of flying, building, and repairing model aircraft through his YouTube channel, NightFlyyer. The Sidney, Iowa, resident also teaches a science class about flight at a high school in his community. He established an RC air show to benefit Toys for Tots and created a model helicopter called the Hyperfly that does not have a tail rotor.
Armed with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, Sidney Kauffman founded SLK Electronics in 1970. The company made a name for itself by selling a tachometer called the Protack. Later, Sidney developed the Omega seven-channel transmitter, which was sold through Royal Electronics. Before his death in May 2016, Sidney also invented ElectiCalc software, which could help predict a model’s flight performance.
Lilian Todd (1865-1937) was a self-taught inventor and engineer. While growing up in Washington, D.C., she tested and exhibited numerous model airplanes. She later founded the Junior Aero Club of America in 1908 and was the first woman to design her own manned, two-person cockpit airplane. At one time, she was the only female member of the Aeronautic Society of New York.
Florida resident Rich Uravitch is one of the pioneers of the Stand-Off Scale model aircraft sport class. He began promoting the class in the 1960s, and it is still popular in Scale competitions today. He has participated in numerous Top Gun Invitationals and some of his model airplane designs have been kitted by Hobby Hangar, House of Balsa, and Lanier R/C. He also has had construction articles published in hobby magazines. Professionally, Rich worked for Fairchild Republic, which produced the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the T-46 Next Generation Trainer for the US military.
If you would like to nominate someone for the 2021 AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame award, the deadline is March 31, 2021. Nomination forms can be found at www.modelaircraft.org/museum/history-recognition/ama-model-aviation-hall-fame or can be mailed to your home upon request by emailing email@example.com.