The model flying scene over 100 years ago…


We're grateful to Don Woodland who recently lent a copy of this, the first issue of The Amateur Aviator and Aero Model-Maker magazine from April 1912.

Although model flying had been reported in some model engineering magazines in the past, the issue here may well be one of the first dedicated model flying publications in the UK.

The Pioneer pictured here is Mr TWK Clarke of Kingston, described as one of the 'earliest successful model makers'. He has one of his all-wood heavy monoplanes and is noted as the inventor of the Clarke Flyer – of which many thousands had been sold before other model makers had made a machine that would fly at all.


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The grand sum of one penny secured the purchase of a magazine that didn't hide the kite flying roots of the editor Mr WH Akehurst, pictured on the lower front page.   

The club news page is fascinating, not least for the way it describes the activity at each club. For example –

Blackheath Aero Club


"Mr Brown's 'Fearless' biplane shows good form, duration most good.

Egelstaff going strong ….

Dollittle getting 'hot' on duration, 75 seconds"


Bristol Model Club 

"Mr Moore of this club apparently the 'premier' flyer. Where's the others?"

Salisbury Model Aero Club 


"Sperring improving all the time, Besent finding better results with new propellers. Noyes doing short stunts."

The caption alongside the picture of Mr and Mrs Akehurst is lovely….

"Three of the right kind – Mr and Mrs Akehurst and their daughter, all keen kite flyers and hard workers for the aero modellist". 

What's clear from the magazine is the editor's desire for accurate reporting of flight times and the circulated capabilities of a particular model. The magazine reports that models alleged by makers to hold certain 'colossal' records have come out with poor performances, excuses for which in themselves were utterly ridiculous.

Looking back now, a century on, what's also clear is that these early aeromodelling pioneers were as keen, dedicated and resourceful as today's model flyers.

If you can provide more information about Mr Akehurst and his magazine then we'd be delighted to hear from you. 


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