In the summer of 2012, the FAC raised its new flag, bearing the above images,
over the FAC Nats. It flies at all major FAC contests. FAC News image.
On May 21, 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh successfully completed his historic 331/2-hour flight from New York to Paris. Charles was an unknown man of modest
means who flew a tiny, single-engine aircraft against formidable
odds. Millions were thrilled by his accomplishments and
enthusiasm for aviation (and model aviation) skyrocketed.
Flying Aces magazine began publishing in October 1928.
Initially printed on coarse paper, it was one of a number
of “pulp” magazines popular in the late 1920s and 1930s.
Most of the Flying Aces stories were written by well-known
authors with little personal knowledge of flying. Story plots
usually focused on military aviators, such as American Ace of
Aces Eddie Rickenbacker, who relied on their flying skills to
extricate themselves from danger.
For its younger readers, Flying Aces created a fan club. This
was the original Flying Aces Club (FAC). Club members were
loosely organized into regional “squadrons” and were offered
flight-related stationary, stickers, and even uniforms similar to
those of the U.S. Army Air Corps.
Many of the original FAC members came of age in the
late 1930s and early 1940s and joined America’s armed
forces during World War II. They had read Flying Aces articles
predicting the attack on Pearl Harbor and fighting in the skies
over the Pacific, Asia, and Europe. Some died in their service to
the US, but many survived and returned to model aviation as a
In the mid-1960s, Connecticut modelers Dave Stott and
Bob Thompson became the founding fathers of the modern
FAC. By that time, AMA Free Flight (FF) Scale events were
mostly dominated by high-wing monoplanes. Chances of
winning AMA FF Scale events with more challenging subjects
were slim at best.
To Dave and Bob, the “fun” had gone out of FF Scale under
the AMA rules. They worked to change this—now the AMA
and FAC work together to serve the aeromodeling community.
The FAC rules are based on a system of bonus points
designed to make unusual or difficult subjects competitive. In
the beginning, the FAC rules deducted a 5-point penalty from
the score of any high-wing type! This caused an outcry from
diehard AMA fundamentalists and the penalty was removed.
Instead, multiwings, multiengine, and more challenging models
were awarded bonus points to help them compete more fairly.
On November, 6, 1966, at Pinkham Field No. 1 in Fairfield,
Connecticut, the first Rubber-Powered model contest using
the new FAC rules was held. The field was named after the
fictional Phineas Pinkham of the old pulp magazines.
Approximately 14 contestants competed (apparently the
laidback management enjoyed the event so much that it failed
53 Model Aviation DECEMBER 2016 www.ModelAviation.com
PRESERVING AND PROMOTING FF
STICK-AND-TISSUE MODEL AIRCRAFT
by Dennis Norman