The 1/40-scale RC test models on display
in the cabin of the SCA in September 2012.
Photograph provided by NASA.
some money together and started the
magazine,” Anita said in a telephone
interview from the Henderson, Nevada,
home she shared with her husband.
In the beginning, the magazine had
no employees other than Anita and Bill.
The couple sometimes worked roughly
16 hours a day, seven days a week.
“When we started the magazine, we
had no subscription manager so I had to
change my voice” and pretend she was
the subscription manager, Anita said,
“Model Builder was a real modeler’s
magazine. It was concise, fun to read,
informative. Bill was a modeler, a good
publisher, and a good guy,” Jeff said.
“I wrote a column in his magazine
for a while,” Dave said. “If there was
an aeromodeling event going on, the
chances were 90% that he would be
Anita said the couple struggled with
the decision to sell the magazine. “I
wanted Bill to retire and fly airplanes.
We sat down and we cried together, we
laughed together. He needed time to
play with airplanes. There’s a time when
you need to let go,” she said.
The couple hoped that the new
owner of the magazine would continue
publishing it and retain all of the
employees; however, the new owners
soon went bankrupt.
“People are still talking about how
[Model Builder] was the best magazine
ever,” Anita said. “[Bill] was one of the
best editors ever.”
A big part of Model Builder was the
plans service that Bill created. After the
couple sold the magazine, Anita said she
was adamant about acquiring the plans
as a means of support. The plans were
auctioned as part of the bankruptcy
proceedings, and Bill and Anita were the
Anita still has the plans and continues
to take orders. Information about
the plans service can be found in the
classified ads section of this issue.
“It was a labor of love,” Dave said of
Bill’s plans service.
Some of those airplanes were
champions. He liked to scratch build
and compete with large airplanes. One
notable achievement was when he set
the FF record of 16,610 feet at the 1965
World Radio Control Record Trials.
Although he achieved many things in
life, including being inducted into the
Model Aviation Hall of Fame in 1988,
Bill is most fondly remembered for his
“He was so sweet, so nice, so caring,”
Anita said. She shared many stories of
the fun the couple had together and the
funny moments she cherishes.
“He abounded with enthusiasm for
aeromodeling—both with his magazine
and his plans service,” Dave said. “He
supported anything that had to do with
building model airplanes.”
AMA plans to honor Bill with another
celebration of life at the AMA Expo in
To learn more about Bill, read his
autobiography at www.modelair
—by Rachelle Haughn
When NASA’s 747 Shuttle Carrier
Aircraft (SCA) took off on September
19, 2012, to bring the Space Shuttle
Endeavour to Los Angeles, two model
aircraft from the National Model
Aviation Museum went along for
the ride. The models, 1/40-scale RC
test models of the Boeing 747 and
Orbiter, were built and used by John
Kiker, Owen Morris, and other NASA
engineers in 1975 and 1976 to test
the inflight launch capabilities of the
configuration. Kiker donated the models
to the museum in 1980.
The Endeavour was being transported
to Los Angeles to be retired and
exhibited at the California Science
Center. It was the SCA’s last flight
before it was also retired. Gary Ash,
12 Model Aviation DECEMBER 2012 www.ModelAviation.com