DW: California in 1950s was an
amazing place for kids who loved model
airplanes. In those days, I’d ride my bike
down to the schoolyard where there
were always guys flying Control Line, so
that was my first type of flying model.
But there were Free Flight airplanes
around too, and I was always most
interested in those. My family lived in
Sacramento and there was a Free Flight
field close to Mather AFB, off of Eagles
Nest Road. That was the home field
of the Capital Condors club. It was a
30-minute car ride so it took a bit of
convincing to get my parents to drive
me up there, but wow! Those guys
really knew how to fly FF and I was
entranced by them.
DD: What other inspiring model airplane
memories stick out from those days?
DW: A quick
story: as a kid
I of course
a plane in a
friends and I
tried to chase
it on bikes.
calm but the
model flew so
high it went
out of sight.
hour later, the
where it was launched.
DD: When did you ;rst join AMA?
DW: I got back into modeling in the
early 1970s, after graduate school. I
was in Seattle then, as a postdoctoral
DD: Talk about
your mentors. Or
did you learn in a
DW: I pretty
much learned on my own. In the
neighborhood it was just us kids—I
couldn’t get my Dad hooked.
DD: Did you maintain contact with any of
those old modeling friends?
DW: Yes. One just sent me a note about
the Nobel Prize last week.
DD: Why are you into aeromodeling?
DW: Well, this is hard to put into words.
I guess it’s just the emotion I feel when
watching them fly.
It rekindles a lot of
DD: Why Free Flight?
DW: Free Flight
is so pure and
challenging. I like the
in high-powered gas
of the climb followed
by the slow-motion
DD: Talk about your
club, the Magni;cent
DW: By the early ’70s
I really wanted to do
Free Flight again. I
was hired at NIST,
which was then
called the National
Bureau of Standards, and moved to
Boulder, Colorado, in 1975. I knew
about the Magnificent Mountain Men
FF club and joined immediately after
visiting the field. George Batiuk and
Bill Gieskieng [both FF Hall of Fame
members] were there. Dean Carpenter
was a good friend with whom I hit it off
DD: What is your favorite model and
DW: I like the looks of the Satellite the
best. I never had the greatest success
with it. It is harder to build and fly than
some of the simpler designs, but it is this
challenge that interests me.
DD: What is your most signi;cant
accomplishment in aeromodeling?
DW: Gosh, I don’t know. I won FF Gas
events at the AMA Nationals in 1980
and 1981, but it wouldn’t have mattered
if I had not won. What I enjoyed was
being at the Nats with everyone else
sharing the same interest. That was fun.
DD: To what/whom do you attribute your
DW: Well this is hard to single out. My
parents were very supportive. My dad
was a civil engineer. Dad’s work ethic
certainly rubbed off on me. But it is
really hard to say. There were lots of
good people in my corner over the years,
so I was lucky. I had good support from
my boss and my boss’s boss.
DD: Did you always know you were going
to be a physicist? At what age did you
DW: I took physics class as a senior in
high school. I thought, “Wow, this is
cool!” and wanted to stick with it. I also
enjoyed literature but thought I should
pursue a career with more earning
DD: What message do you have for today’s
12 Model Aviation JANUARY 2013 www.ModelAviation.com
A very young Dave Wineland. The year is 1954 and the place is Sacramento
CA. Photo provided by Dave Wineland.
Here is Dave with his Satellite 1000 in 2006 in
Denver. This is his original 1980 Nats winner in D
Gas. The model is immaculate and is a consistent
contest winner. Don DeLoach photo.