This replica of the Big Guff, designed by Walt and Bill Good, can be seen at the National
Model Aviation Museum in Muncie IN. National Model Aviation Museum photo.
Lou Goldberg earned his private pilot’s
license at age 19 and made his first solo
flight in this Piper J- 3 Cub. Goldberg photo.
Left: Twin brothers, Walt and Bill Good,
demonstrate their first successfully flown
RC airplane, the Big Guff. Lou remembers
watching Walt fly the aircraft at the DCRC
flying site. Photo courtesy of the National
Model Aviation Museum.
In the late 1930s, when the boy was roughly eight years old, a man with a trim physique knocked on his door
and asked if he could watch a program
on the family’s television. The man
appeared to be in his early 20s.
As a black and white image lit up
the 7-inch fish-eye screen, the boy was
amazed when he realized that the man
on the television was the same one who
was standing in his living room. The
man on TV was flying something called
a model airplane, and it was named the
“That was my first one-on-one
encounter” with Dr. Walter “Walt” Good,
said Louis “Lou” Goldberg, who is now
84 years old.
As it turned out, that would not
be Lou’s only encounter with Walt,
from, and become friends with other
aeromodeling legends, including
Maynard Hill and Donald “Don” Clark.
Some modelers have met these
famous early pilots, but never had the
chance to personally get to know them.
Not only did Lou know these men, he
learned from them and they helped
shape his life.
Among those aeromodelers, the one
who had the most influence on Lou
was definitely Walt, or Dr. Good, as Lou
called him. After their initial encounter,
Lou wanted to learn more about model
aircraft. He often went to the flying
site of the District of Columbia Radio
Control Club (DCRC), located in Silver
Spring, Maryland, to watch Walt fly.
Today, the club’s flying site is called
Walt Good Field.
One of the aircraft that Walt
often flew at the field was a radio-controlled Big Guff. It was one
of the first successfully flown RC
airplanes and it placed first at the
1938 Radio Control Nats.
Walt and his twin brother,
Bill, built several versions of
the aircraft, including one for
Free Flight. A replica of the Big
Guff currently hangs in the
AMA National Model Aviation
Museum in Muncie, Indiana.
Lou said that when Walt
flew, he was always calm. He remembers
standing next to Walt as he piloted the
Big Guff. “He never really got as ecstatic
as I was,” about seeing it fly. Although
Lou was fascinated by Walt’s aircraft,
he wasn’t given the chance to fly one
of them. “No one ever flew Dr. Good’s
airplanes,” Lou added.
Walt had an unconventional method
for testing his aircraft. “Dr. Good used
to take his designs and put them on
the roof of his car to check the rudder
function and elevator,” Lou said with
a chuckle. He added that Walt would
drive around his neighborhood, steering
his car with his right hand, and his left
hand was out the window, holding onto
whatever airplane he was testing.
Lou and Walt lived a half mile apart,
and the two quickly became friends.
Lou’s parents worked seven days a week
as caterers, so Lou often visited Walt
to pass the time. “I used to watch Dr.
Good build his airplanes in the closet
of his very small master bedroom using
balsawood and straight pins,” Lou said.
Those models included the Big Guff
and the Rudder Bug. The 6-foot Rudder
Bug took first place at the 1949 Radio
Control Nats and eventually became one
of Walt’s most popular designs.
Lou remembers seeing something in
Walt’s home that still amazes him. It was
a 6-inch scale version of a P- 51 Mustang
that Walt had hand carved. Inside of the
model was an electric motor
with a working propeller.
“He had it on a stand, flipped
a switch, and the propeller
would spin.” Lou believes
he’s one of only a
ever saw that
When Lou wasn’t
at Walt’s house or at
school, he was at the
DCRC’s field. That’s
where he met Don
“He was always
40 Model Aviation JULY 2016