48 Years of Aero Modeling Tradition
One of the country's largest hobby trade shows, and the biggest on the East Coast, was the annual R/C show held by the
Westchester Radio Aero Modelers
In addition to exhibits by some 150 or more manufacturers and organizations, the show was a magnet for modelers who competed for prizes in a static competition that was staggering for its size and the beauty of the models on display.
Modelers (and exhibitors) from all over the country attended the show, as it showcases all the latest in kits, engines, motors, radio systems, plans, accessories, and other hardware.
The WRAM show was normally held on the last full weekend of February each year, and open to the public Friday through Sunday.
Overall Best in Show Prize!
Best in each class prizes were awarded
( First place, second, and third in Class)
Junior Competition (age 16 and under)
Best Junior Entry, and
Trophies for second to sixth places
Small prizes for all other entries
(Note: Junior Class entries could be any kind of Radio Controlled Model)
All models must be operable and radio-controlled.
Officially Judged Categories
Designer Scale - WW1 - Post WW1 Military - Civilian - Stand off Scale - Scale Electric - Sport - Pattern-IMAC - Vintage R/C - Helocopter - Junior - R/C Car - R/C Car Large Scale - Boat Scale Military - Boat Scale Civilian - Boat Racing
Another big attraction of the show was the Swap Shop, to which modelers brought their spare equipment for sale. Hundreds of items changed hands each year.
Seminars and the WRAM Flyer Program
Seminars for beginners and advanced modelers were introduced at the show in 1996 and proved enormously popular. One earlier program, which continues, is a free building program for boys and girls, aged 8-12, in which a rubber band-powered WRAM Flyer (the great Delta Dart design by Frank Ehling) is provided for completion by each participant. Capacity is limited to earliest arrivals at sessions held at 11 am and 2 pm each day.
One of the latter program's instructors, Tony Tartaglia, offers insights after some 15 years of experience:
Kids have a sustained interest in even the simplest of planes like the WRAM Flyer. You must view this as both a building and flying project. In our experience the controlled flying competition that takes place after the building is done carries more impact than the actual building.
Anyone familiar with the little rubber band-powered plane knows its wonderful simplicity of design and construction. Little needs to be added to the list of instructions for any adult who wishes to help a child with it or to encourage other adults to get their kids involved. Before the program begins, we encourage parents or older friends to join in with the kids. Often the adult who is unfamiliar with modeling becomes hooked by this shared experience, if only to find a new door of contact with the child. Make it clear to the participants what the Flyer model can do once it is built, and that the child will see his or her completed model really fly.
Once building begins, the kids complete construction of the wing, rudder, and stabilizer. The construction simply involves gluing down the sticks right onto the plan, which then becomes the covering of the airplane. To speed up the building process in the limited time we have at the show, the components are finally assembled by an experienced project leader.
The final assembly consists of joining the motor stick to the wing and stab. We used glue guns earlier, but now use CA adhesive with an accelerant to fill in the gaps that sometimes come of youthful exuberance. When there is plenty of drying time, any white glue will do the job and a child can use it with a little help to assure that joints are properly filled
Once the Flyer models are done, the flying phase begins. This is the most satisfying stage of the project for instructors as well as students. The competition is simple. dollar bills are hung from the ceiling roughly six to eight feet apart. Each youngster gets to fly his model, one at a time, and trims his plane with the goal of hitting the dollar or the string attached to it. Of course, he keeps the prize if he hits it! The planes are trimmed with a small amount of clay in the nose to keep them from climbing. After each flight, the instructors discuss each plane's performance, suggesting any improvements possible in balance or launching techniques. Each participant then gets to fly again.
The fly-off has proven to be the most eagerly awaited part of the project. This is evidence of the interest and enthusiasm kids have to see the planes perform well. Without doubt the project would not be nearly as successful without the attention given to each kid, his or her plane, and its flight.
After the project of building and flying the WRAM Flyer, what's next? That depends on the age of the modeler and his or her contact with adults, parents, or teachers interested in model aviation. Over time, the most significant contribution to these kids' interest in models has been the satisfaction of watching their simple planes fly. With no regard for the experience of their builders, these planes give kids a taste of the thrill of model flying.
For those interested in model kits of the kind described, we have them available and imprinted with the colorful Hat in the Ring logo at $2 each, plus shipping. (Local hobby shops may have similar kits under the name Delta Dart).
Howard McEntee Memorial Award
This award, presented annually by the WRAMs at the show, is given in recognition of great contributors and innovators in the hobby of radio control. Howard McEntee was himself an early developer and experimenter who was instrumental in helping the new hobby start its development toward the amazingly reliable systems we have today. When McEntee passed away in 1972, Bob Foshay, a now-retired member of the WRAMs, encouraged the club to begin an award in McEntee's name that would recognize others with the pioneering spirit and accomplishments exemplified by its namesake. Following are the names of the recipients since the award was established:
1973 Maynard Hill - 1974 Ed Lorenz - 1975 Bill and Walt Good - 1976 Don Mathes and Doug Spreng
1977 Bob Dunham - 1978 Phil Kraft - 1979 Gerry Nelson - 1980 Hal DeBolt - 1981 Paul Runge - 1982 Bob Aberle
1983 Nick Ziroli - 1984 Carl Goldberg - 1985 Bob Novak - 1986 George Myers - 1987 Fred Marks
1988 Don Lowe - 1989 Bill Hershberger - 1990 John Worth - 1991 George Steiner - 1992 Bill Winter
1993 Cliff Weirick - 1994 Don Brown - 1995 Art Schroeder - 1996 Bill Northrop
1996 Bob Foshay (special club award to founder) - 1997 Jack R. Albrecht - 1998 Carl Schwab
1999 Leon Shulman - 2000 Norm Rosenstock - 2001 Abbott Lahti - 2002 Hazel Sigafoose - 2003 Dave Brown
2004 Pete Reed - 2005 Tom Hunt - 2006 Stuart "Stu" Richmond - 2007 Dave Platt
2008 Henry Haffke - 2009 Keith Shaw - 2010 Frank Tiano - 2011 Joe Beshar - 2012 no award
2013 Roy Vaillancourt - 2014 Dave Johnson - 2015 Wendell Hostetler