This typing assignment was originally to be in the style of David McCullough, renown historian. However, his comprehensive and exhaustive method of storytelling and extreme detail did not lend itself well to a “one page” brief assignment. As I explored which subject to select, or event for that matter, it became very clear that any “one page” could not begin to accurately represent that writing style. Therefore, I remembered a style of writing or storytelling that I enjoyed, which could be used as “fun” for a change. It was the “Rest of the Story” style from radio commentator Paul Harvey. His humerous “tid-bit” stories, with surprise endings, were always enjoyable to me. I loosely adapted his “story telling” style for this piece, but perhaps it has not met expectations. However, it was fun.
For this assignment, I wanted to focus on the Western Associated Modelers, and the El Cerrito Flying Dons, a model airplane club that I was a member of when I was 12 to 14 years of age. There are few records of the background or history of WAM. I reached out to past members of ECFD, but I had little success. There are still several model airplane flyers that still enjoy and participate in Control Line flying, but they no longer fly at Cerrito Vista Park, that flying site being restricted long ago. In fact, most of the people from that era are either long gone, forgotten, or scattered to the wind. Many of the hobby shops are gone as well, and the popularity among the youth today for model airplane flying seems a thing of the past. It may have become an “old man’s” hobby. Also, the advent of Drones and the vast improvements in radio control (and greatly reduced cost) has now made “RC” flying the dominant sport. In the 1950’s to the late 70’s, radio control (RC) for models were either too expensive, or too cumbersome. In researching WAM and ECFD, I learned that Burt Rutan, noted aviation designer and visionary, had his beginnings flying model airplanes on Control Line, AND he was a participant in WAM meets in the Bay Area. Similarly, he flew and soloed an Aeronca Champ at the age of 17, where as I soloed and flew a Cessna 150 at age 16. Mr. Rutan however, due to his genius and vision, took a vastly different path than I did.
All said, I was impressed tremendously with researching the history of Burt Rutan, and am in awe of his many achievements.