From the archives


Welcome to this our first retrospective look at R/C flying as reflected in the pages of RCM&E. To kick things off we go back to 1960, the year RCM&E first appeared.

Competitors at the British Nationals featured on the cover of the magazine a few months after the first issue (May 1960). The photo report inside featured Henry J.Nicholls, Chris Olsen and Ed Johnson – all R/C household names at the time.

Published by Model Aeronautical Press (MAP) and based in Watford, the first thing that strikes one about the early issues is their size – just 8.5″ x 5.5″ – ‘compact’ is the word you’d use to describe RCM&E when it first appeared in May 1960.


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Launched after 8000 enthusiasts returned Aeromodeller magazine questionaires, RCM&E was edited by TS Ives with support from the grandly titled ‘Editorial Consulting Board’ which included the great Ron Moulton, who went on to edit the magazine in later years.


In July the magazine reported the (to be ratified) world record breaking flight across Kent by Charles Dance and Wally Skeels. Their 45.5 mile flight was completed using an own design model powered by a Taplin Twin and steered from a speeding Morgan Plus 4.

Radio gear manufacturer E.D. were keen to highlight Charles and Wally in their advert. If you wanted to purchase a 10-channel Graupner Bellaphon outfit then you would need to find £125, or £2027 in todays money!


Ken Norris and his R/C Skycrane helicopter were on the cover in December. Ken from Denver USA hadn’t flown this machine at the time. The magazine enthusiastically noted that if the model flew successfully then full size helicopter manufacturers would use models like this to air test their new machines.


Articles like this would be labelled as pretty hardcore for todays generation of flyer, but pieces like this littered the pages of the magazine. Here ‘expert’ readers were encouraged to build their own ‘all transistor’ transmitter.

Heavily advertised through the year, the Taplin Twin was made by Birchington Engineering in Kent and would set you back the grand sum of £8/12 – £142 by todays standards. The engine had a speed range of 500/7000 rpm and a capacity of 7cc. “Your model experience is incomplete until you have tried Taplin Twinning” so the advert said!

Were you flying R/C in 1960? Was the aeromodelling experience the same? Better? Worse? Or just different? Why not share your views in our forum – we’d love to hear from you.


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