History of the Johnson Space Center Radio Control Club

Dave Hoffman's recollections of the early days:

I have recordsof my reserving the meeting room for the club in the early seventies. Probably 30 years would be a fair guess.

The club just celbrated 50 years. Several members sent in pictures of the club history. One is of the shuttle launch model.

Pewter Mule 1

Pewter Mule 2

Pewter Mule 3

Pewter Mule 4

Pewter Mule 5

Kiker video

Initially club met inside NASA in an office room. Security in 1964 was very tight and membership was limited to NASA and NASA contractors. I got in because my then wife worked for NASA.

Had to get someone to come out and sign me in as a visitor, get a temporary car pass and then be escorted to the meeting place. Was also escorted back for check out and surrender of car pass and temporary visitor's badge. These were quite exciting times as most of the club members were the movers and shakers on the leading edge of the Gemini and Apollo programs. Got to see and hear much that the public never saw. Also, most of our radio systems were scratch built and a far cry from the good stuff we now buy--that WORKS! Early Saturday flight sessions often had 50% or more casualties to aircraft. Didn't have CA glue then.

Later the club met in various members' homes and then Buffalo Savings and Loan building (long gone) on NASA 1 when we wanted to allow non NASA personnel to be eligible for membership. Believe our first meeting at the Clear Lake Park building occurred near the end of '69 or '70.

The Johnson Space Center Radio Control Club (JSCRCC) was organized in 1964as the Manned Space Center club and utilized the paved areas of the JSC antenna range located behind Building 14 for it's runway. The club has been flying at the samefield ever since. Much of this history was extracted from ditto sheets (?) of the earlynewsletters dating back to 1970.

Early activities were related to work at the center. Some events that have taken place included building models to demonstrate the Boeing 747/Shuttle piggy concept, highlift over drag flying bodies,and various acrobatic designs.

The club started with around 49 members and grew to a maximum of 190 in1990. The JSCRC Club currently has about 150 members. John Kiker was a memberduring the early '70s and chronicled many of the members and activities through photos. A series of photos have been copied from John's archive and are described below. Click on the blue words to see the photo.

These photos illustrate the importance of modeling at the Johnson Space Center,originally named the "Manned Spacecraft Center". The first photo was taken in 1966,before man landed on the moon. These are some early members of the club, left to right,John Kiker, Tom, and Frank Borman (early astronaut). The second photo is of anearly club meeting. The photo date is 1967. Note the early radio equipment andsupport equipment. The last Photo is of an early proto type of a fly back booster. This model was designed and built by Gene Ashley.

John Kiker wrote the following article about the club in the early '70s and includedphotographs of the MSC/RC Club.

The first photograph is of our club (editors note: This isa picture of the MSC/RCClub in 1971). From left to right Paul Kloetzer, Bill Lofland,Gene Ashley, KevinFatorny, Charles Palermot, Owen Morris, Frank Fatorny, MikeGaudiano, Joe Martin,John Kiker, Tim Brown, Karl Remmler, and Chuck Deiterich. As you would expecton any oneday, this represents about half the club members.

Photograph No. 2 is of Tim Brown's beautiful original Semiscale. It has the generaldimensions of the Sperry Messinger, Supertigre .51 for power, and Monokote forcovering. It flew just great until a short in the transmitter caused it to be totaled.

Photograph No. 3 and No. 4 are of my Graupner Cirrus and Cumulus sailplanes. Both are beautiful performers. The Cumulus is Mr. Graupner's new ARF models. It can best be described as superb.

Photograph No. 5 is of Owen Morris' originalsailplane. It has an easy does it HobyPoxy fuselage with a sharks head painted onthe nose. It is a beautiful flying model. He is Chief of the Lunar Excursion ModuleProject Office. I do not know how hefound time to build the sailplane with histraveling and heavy responsibilities.

Photograph No. 6 is of Charlie Palermo'sscale fine flying Spirit of St. Louis. Herecently won RCM model of the month awardwith his Travelaire. The club membersthat like to fly pattern were absent that day. However, the trend has been to fly kittypes of past winners such as the Kwick Fly orelse plastic ARF's such as the Dee Bee,Pilot, and Lanier. As you can see, the interestis varied. With the main concern beingto relax and enjoy the hobby. We all hope to soon have time to get back to theexperimental model plane. This to me is the real fun.

Photograph No. 7 shows a model of Bill Loflands early Orbiter Concept. We allknow what happened with this model.

The last photograph shows a model of the spaceshuttle that Bill Lofland and myselfbuilt (editors note: this model is now in the AMAmuseum). This model was built fortest flights and early development of the Shuttle 747Ferry.