Another reason for single rubber motor
popularity—Jim O’Reilly shows the much
simpler process for winding his Sharpshooter.
Photo from a now-departed friend, Charlie
while a floor cabinet radio would go for
almost half of that. Be warned—if you
open the link to that newspaper (see
“Sources”), make sure that you have
some time to spare.
Back to business! After the twin
pushers had enjoyed a good run, Vernon
Boehle was credited with demonstrating
that a single-motor, single-fuselage
model could compete and even outdo
the twin pushers, so sometime in the
1930s, the twin pushers began to be
replaced by single-motor tractor designs.
But the pushers didn’t completely
go away. Today they have made a
comeback, with a cultlike following
among Old-Timer (OT) fliers.
The Society of Antique Modelers
(SAM) Championships and other
contests regularly hold twin pusher
events. They are often flown as a mass-launch flyoff during a set time of the
day. They usually have a good turnout,
but spectators and cameras sometimes
outnumber the models.
I’d never heard of a particular modeler
being identified as the originator of
pushers, so I posed the question to those
on the SAM Talks internet newsgroup.
As often happens, what we consider
“new” might date back to almost ancient
history. The Chinese flew kites in
approximately 1,000 B.C., but we won’t
reach back quite that far.
In the late 1800s, a Frenchman named
Alphonse Pénaud was credited with
several firsts in aeromodeling, some of
which were later adapted into full-scale
airplanes. One of his models was the
Pénaud Planophore. It was a pusher-type
aircraft, but with a single rubber motor
and propeller. It also exhibited dihedral
in the form of up-curved wingtips.
In 2014, Dave Harding brought
some publicity and attention to the
Planophore when SAM Chapter 8, in
the state of Washington, sponsored a
special event for it at the Southwest
Alphonse is credited with being the
first to use a twisted rubber band turning
a propeller to power a model airplane.
He also designed and flew a stick-type helicopter, which displays such a
resemblance to Jim Walker’s Ceiling
Walker that it might as well have been
Jim’s inspiration for his popular toy.
78 Model Aviation APRIL 2017 www.ModelAviation.com