Jay Smith: How did you get involved in model aviation?
Frank Beatty: From my earliest days, I have been interested
in airplanes and drawing. My and my father’s early attempts
to build stick-and-tissue models were utter failures, but when
I was in grade school, I attended a model club at the Leslie
Bates Davis Settlement House. I learned to build solid models
and rubber-powered models at those meetings.
Over the following years, I built dozens of these models.
In high school, I took courses in mechanical drawing which
markedly improved the drawings of models I was designing. I
have been designing and building models ever since.
JS: How has model aviation impacted your life and/or career?
FB: When I joined the U.S. Navy in 1944, it was noted that
I had experience with model engines, so I was trained to
become a motor machinist in LCVP [landing craft, vehicle,
personnel]. After discharge in 1946, I took up modeling again.
These were scale models of my own designs. Several were
published as construction articles in various magazines.
In 1966 the oil refinery I worked for closed down. My
friend, Howard Ogden, suggested I apply for a job as a
draftsman at Granite City Steel. The chief engineer reviewed
my published drawings and I was
Industrial drawings are
not just pretty pictures.
They are based on
Additional courses in
mathematics, physics, etc.
were now on my plate.
Largely because of my
hobby, I enjoyed a 20-
year career as a draftsman
at the steel mill until I
retired in 1989.
JS: What disciplines of modeling do you currently participate in?
FB: At 89, I am beginning to slow down, but I still like to
attend club meetings and participate in local contests and
the AMA Nationals. I still design and build Scale models. I
specialize in biplanes and race planes of the 1930s.
I am also into l/2A Profile Scale models. Many of the aircraft
I select are of English origin. I guess I get tired of the same old,
same old subjects we see.
JS: What are your other hobbies?
FB: It seems to me that a person with a hobby or interest
is likely to have many interests. My other passions include
ballroom dancing, bridge, swimming, opera, crossword
puzzles, and amassing and indexing an aviation library of
books, magazines, photos, and drawings. This collection allows
immediate access to any information on an airplane I am
considering building. That’s an invaluable resource for a Scale
JS: Who (or what) has influenced you the most?
FB: The late Clarence Idoux, owner of East Side Hobbies, and
the late Howard (Bill) Ogden, master designer and craftsman,
each gave me invaluable advice and inspiration. Also, my
two most disastrous model failures caused me to learn how
important center-of-gravity locations and balance were to
good flying and how important wheel location was for ground
handling. Any proposed model is first analyzed to see if the
aircraft’s configuration will be satisfactory on those counts.
JS: What advice would you give to someone looking to get started
in Control Line Scale?
FB: Control Line flying encompasses many disciplines, which
include Speed, Stunt, Sport, and Scale. Many Control Line
fliers tend to specialize in a particular discipline. Select one
you will enjoy.
I like Scale. It includes research, drawing,
building, flying, and competition events. My skills
were developed over many years from many
sources. These will help you. Join a club and
attend meetings and club flying sessions.
Attend fly-ins and enter contests.
My first contests were real eye-openers.
Rubbing shoulders with experts cannot
help but be beneficial. Most model
builders you will meet will be willing
teachers. If you stay with this, I
recommend all of these.
160 Model Aviation SEPTEMBER2015 www.ModelAviation.com
Frank Beatty Accomplished Control Line Scale modeler
by Jay Smith