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History Preserved
As seen in the December 2017 issue of
Model Aviation.

Fly By - "Nobler"

George Aldrich’s Original Nobler

Even more than 60 years later, descriptions of George Aldrich flying his Nobler are exciting. From Model Airplane News, November 1951, describing the 1951 Nats, “Saw George Aldrichs (sic), a Senior, practice flying stunt. Had a keen airplane. One night he was doing square loops that had real corners. Five loops in a glide. Stuff like that. George, we remembered, used to follow the great Palmer around and some of that smoothness must have rubbed off. So we watched George fly officially—a realistic, big airplane based on the Caudron racer in profile. He proceeded to rack up about 400 points, then couldn’t shut his engine off and they hit him with a 40 point penalty, moving him down from first to third. But that is one ship you’ll be seeing plans of soon.”

At the 1952 Nats, George was still a senior competitor and still flying his Nobler. This time he had no problems. According to the November 1952 issue of Model Airplane News, “Highlight was George Aldrich’s piling up 379 points in senior, despite a sizable loss of appearance points for an old ship. His point total was considerably higher than those run up by nationally known experts in the Open category. George runs his Nobler through the stunt pattern with as little fuss as Walt Good used to display with his Rudder Bug in rc (sic). In Aldrich’s case, it is the airplane as well as the pilot—it amazes us so few people have grasped the fact that the Nobler is the best approach to a stunt job in the country today, bar none.”

The 379 points was also the Stunt High Point Score, winning him the Walker Trophy as National Stunt Champion. Jim Saftig called George the “Star of the Stunt Circles.”

For the next five years, George with one of his Noblers, continued to turn heads during competition. When the Nobler was kitted by Top Flite in 1956, it was advertised as “The Winningest Stunt Model Ever Flown!” That’s still a true statement today.

The Nobler in the National Model Aviation Museum’s collection is the original one built by George in 1950. It suffered a crash in 1963 and was left in a closet until it was restored by Charlie Bruce in 2002.

Charlie flew it at the 2002 Vintage Stunt Championships before George’s wife, Julianna, donated it to the museum, along with a 1951 Plymouth Internats first-place trophy and 1952 Nats first-place trophy.

—National Model Aviation Museum staff

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