Jay Smith: How did you get involved with model aviation?
Brian O’Meara: I have been in love forever with anything that
flies. I started building balsa models in 1953, when I was five. I
have a picture of myself after my first building contest, wearing
my Hopalong Cassidy cowboy suit. I am holding balsa
models of an Me 262, an F- 84, and an F- 86 that
I had built and painted. My RC flying career
started almost 50 years ago.
JS: How has model aviation impacted your
life and/or career?
BO: Building model airplanes has always
been a big part of my life. There is always
something new to learn and so many
There are two distinct skillsets—building
the plane to last 1,000 flights and the
skill to fly it realistically. I have learned to
concentrate on details. I want my planes
to last 1,000 flights, so I try to
analyze what can fail and
eliminate that problem.
carries over into my
I am lucky
that my wife,
She goes to
calling for me.
JS: What disciplines
of modeling do you
currently participate in?
BO: I love anything that
flies, but my efforts today
are focused on military scale.
Not only do I love the aircraft
themselves, but I am fascinated
with military aviation history from
both the designers’ and pilots’
perspectives. I have an aviation
library with about 500 books.
I have competed in Scale
modeling for decades, including
the U.S. Scale Masters and Top
Gun. Bob Violett and I are the only two who have attended every
Top Gun since its inception in 1989.
I was asked by the AMA to fly my 1/3-scale P- 47 at the EAA
Air Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the last two years. What a
thrill to be on the flightline with the full-scale Harrier, F- 4, Matt
Chapman, and the Air Force Thunderbirds. It is the largest full-scale air show in the world and it was an honor to be chosen to
demonstrate RC models in front of 150,000 spectators.
JS: What are your other hobbies?
BO: I am never bored. I was a professional musician in the
’60s and still play a little guitar. Bonnie and I love to dance,
especially the Argentine Tango. We go to Buenos Aires, Argentina,
frequently to take tango lessons.
When I was 50, I climbed the Grand Teton, which has 8,000
feet of vertical hiking. The last 3,000 feet is all rock climbing.
Last summer, Bonnie and I climbed the 3,000-foot volcano, Mt.
Vesuvius, in Naples, Italy. Swimming and photography round out
JS: Who (or what) has influenced you most?
BO: My mom and dad are at the top of my list. My mom gave
me a love of athletics and the arts. My dad gave me a work ethic.
He taught me to figure out the right thing to do in life and then
go do it.
My training by the Jesuits during my high school years gave me
a thirst for knowledge along with the attitude of never quitting a
project until it is complete. Always striving for excellence in every
endeavor is a Jesuit philosophy. I have a sign in both my office
and my shop that says “Good Enough Never Is.”
JS: When thinking of the Warbirds Over The Rockies event, what
are you most proud of?
BO: After 12 years, the event has evolved into something
special. I don’t know of any other event that comprises so many
Of course, we fly military planes, but we put on a noontime
show that highlights the history of military aviation from World
War I through current jets. Our pyrotechnics show is realistically
During our banquet, we usually feature a World War II ace
such as Bud Anderson, so I would say that I am most proud of
the educational properties of the event, showcasing RC models
and the history of military aviation to those who have no idea of
the sophistication of RC modeling. The event allows us to help
fund Mental Health America of Colorado and we have raised
about $175,000 for this worthwhile cause.
I am semiretired at 67. I have been the president/general
manager of O’Meara Ford for almost 50 years and it is now time
for my kids to run the family business. Our Ford dealership is 101
years old and was started by my grandfather in 1913, employing
You could say that I am one of the lucky ones. I have loved my
job, I am healthy, and I am blessed with wonderful family and
164 Model Aviation JANUARY 2016 www.ModelAviation.com
Brian O’Meara Warbirds Over The Rockies organizer
by Jay Smith