JS: How did you get involved with model
PG: I have been involved with model
aviation since I was about seven years
old, making solid wood kit models. I was
inspired by seeing a yellow-and-blue,
tissue-covered Super Sinbad towline
glider built by my two older brothers
hanging from the bedroom ceiling.
My oldest brother, Art, built and
gave me a ready-to-fly Control Line
Scientific American Boy with a Cox
Baby Bee .049 on it for my 10th
birthday. That birthday present turned
me into a self-taught CL model airplane
flier, and I’ve been in love with all forms
of flight since.
JS: How has model aviation impacted
your life and/or career?
PG: I joined McDonnell Aircraft Co., now
Boeing, in St. Louis in 1963 and retired
in 2011 after 48 fantastic years. Modeling
played a significant role in my career.
Many of the things you learn in modeling
are directly related to full-scale aircraft,
and vice versa.
In the later stages of my career, I
was fortunate to be a part of a four- to
six-man team in the Phantom Works
Scaled Systems Shop (S3) where we
designed, developed, and flight-tested
scaled air vehicles via radio control with
full-up flight data recording systems.
The lead of the S3, Bill Butters, was also
a modeler. Our primary hobby became
our livelihood. What a great job!
Modeling directly impacted ideas that
led to my being a co-patent holder on
five patents—the other four individuals
involved were also AMA members—
and one that I hold individually relative
to continuous moldline technology.
During the last several years of my
career, I was the test pilot for a vehicle
that several aerodynamicists outside
of Boeing said wouldn’t fly. It was
known then as the Persistent Munition
Technology Demonstrator (PMTD).
The PMTD did fly after several iterations
and is still being developed as the
ScanEagle Compressed Carriage UAV.
I miss the hardware and the imaginative
people with whom I had the pleasure
JS: What disciplines of modeling do you
currently participate in?
PG: I started with CL flying, then Hand-Launched Gliders and Pattern, and then
I was bitten by the racing bug. I flew
Quickee 500 in the Midwest area for
years with the likes of Craig Grunkmeyer,
Danny Kane, Marcus Blanchard, and
Mike Tallman. I was the head CD of the
’ 96 and ’ 97 Nats Q- 40 contest.
Our club, the Spirits of St. Louis R/C
Flying Club, has been racing Sig Four-Star 40s for more than 22 years, and
warbird Pylon Racing for 35-plus years. I
participate in both.
I love indoor and outdoor electric
foamies. I like duplicating in foam some
of the vehicles we built in the S3 shop.
I have a few Scale airplanes, several
sport models, electric ducted-fan jets,
hand-launched gliders, small electric
helicopters, CL models … well, to tell
you the truth, there are more than 50
ready-to-fly airplanes in my shop. I love
rebuilding all types of modeling engines.
Building is probably the greatest
discipline of all, especially when you
create something that has never been
JS: What are your other hobbies?
PG: The great game of golf!
JS: Who (or what) has influenced you
PG: I joined AMA in 1957 when I met
“Wild Bill” Netzeband (AMA Model
Aviation Hall of Fame member). My
brother, Art, and Bill probably influenced
me the most. Art started it on my 10th
birthday and Bill was very helpful,
talented, and creative. He took us to
contests and I respected him for his
out-of-the-box thinking, which I believe
rubbed off on me a lot!
JS: What advice would you give someone
interested in working in the aviation
PG: Always follow your dream. The
future of aviation is and will be even more
amazing. Again, I was very fortunate to
work at Phantom Works where the future
is being dreamed about and brought into
172 Model Aviation M AY 2014
Paul Geders AMA Leader Member and Carl and Beth Goldberg Vital People Award recipient