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Written by Rachelle Haughn.
Online Exclusive Article.



Established in 1969, the AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame honors those men and women who have made significant contributions to the sport of aeromodeling.

The list of members is long and distinguished. These people have made contributions to model aviation through volunteer or administrative activities, product development, competition performance, or a variety or combination of activities.

The Hall of Fame Selection Committee is composed of past AMA presidents and one Hall of Fame member selected from each of the 11 districts by the respective vice presidents.
Each year a new class is inducted into the AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame and the winners are announced in MA. Anyone may submit a Hall of Fame nomination form.

For a nomination form or further information, contact Erin Dobbs at (765) 287-1256, ext. 272, or find the current form online at www.modelaircraft.org, document 152.

The committee has selected the following people for the 2012 AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame.


Paul Beard

Paul Beard, who is today referred to as “the Father of Spread Spectrum,” began his RC career sailing miniature yachts in 1978. From there, he moved on to many different genres of aeromodeling.

“[Paul] has brought the model aviation community the single greatest advancement in 30 years. It is for this accomplishment that I submit him for consideration into the AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame,” wrote Charles Anderson, president of the International Radio Controlled Helicopter Association.

Long before he invented Spread Spectrum technology, Paul took his first job at British Telecom (BT), in Martlesham Heath, England, in 1978. While working there, he earned a degree in electrical and electronics engineering from the University of Manchester, located in Manchester, England. He continued to work as the head of group at BT, where he helped develop voice and data systems and terminals, until 1989.

Paul moved to the US in 1989—taking a position at VMX Inc., located in San Jose, California. He continued to work as a product developer of computer and telecommunications systems until he founded his own business, Alation Systems, in 1998.

He invented, launched, and sold the WirelessUSB product line through Alation Systems, which earned him four international electronics products awards. However, this wasn’t, by far, the end of his inventing days.

In 2001, Paul began looking for a way for RC radios to operate without interference from other radios, or a model’s engine, motor, or ESCs. He tirelessly worked to perfect Spread Spectrum technology, and in 2004, he became vice president of engineering at Horizon Hobby. He and the company launched the first successful system for surface models. He continued to advance the Spread Spectrum, which lead to the successful release of Spektrum DX6 in October of 2005. Spektrum DX7 followed in October of 2006.

Paul created many more hobby-specific developments after the launch of Spread Spectrum including a sail winch, a tachometer, the Throttle Jockey Governor servo, the RevMax (altitude) Limiter, and the world’s first park flyer DSS DX6 in 2005. He also had a hand in the designing of consumer products such as the $999 Compaq PC, the Fisher-Price RC Racer radio, and the Mattel Barbie camera





James “Jim” H. Bennett

Jim Bennett became an aeromodeling enthusiast in 1938 and went on to serve as the CD of more than 100 AMA-sanctioned contests. He has been an AMA member for more than 72 years.

Born in St. Louis on September 2, 1926, his first fleet of model airplanes included Megow and Comet models.

He attended his first aeromodeling meet, the Mississippi Valley Contest, held in 1941, at the St. Louis Arena. Jim flew in the Outdoor Rubber events in the Junior/Senior division.
At age 18, he joined the U.S. Army and served in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater, the Philippine Liberation, and the Korean Occupation. He learned to fly Boeing/Stearman PT series biplanes, and earned Civil Aeronautics Authority (later known as the FAA) airframe and power plant certificates.

After his military service ended, Jim graduated from Washington University and St. Louis University with degrees in aeronautical engineering and applied mathematics.
Jim earned his first championship title at the Missouri State Model Airplane championship in 1947. He went on to compete in the 1948 AMA Navy Nationals, held in Olathe, Kansas, placing in Outdoor Cabin and FF Stick competitions.

He began working at McDonnell Aircraft in 1950 in the helicopter engineering division, researching rotor blade composites. He later worked on aircraft engineering projects for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force.

Jim was a charter member of the McDonnell model aircraft club, and later became its president. He served as a FF CD for 15 years, and was a District VI contest coordinator for 10 years. He compiled lists of Nats winners from the 1920s through 1989 and entered them in the 1981-1983 and 1990 National Free Flight Society (NFFS) Symposium Reports. In the early 1990s, he recreated the Admiral Moffett Trophy contest and wrote new rules for it.

He served as the CD of the 1990 AMA/NFFS FF Meet, and his late wife, Joy, helped tally the points. He also was the 1990 Nats CD, and served as a symposium director 1980-1983.

According to his Hall of Fame nomination, Jim has written several technical papers on aeromodeling, and also on full-scale aircraft as a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

His honors include three NFFS Distinguished Service awards, being named an AMA Fellow (1981), and the AMA Distinguished Service Award (1996).





Hal Cover

Hal Cover’s love for model aviation began at the age of 3. The AMA record holder in many aeromodeling genres and published designer attempted to build an airplane with Tinker Toys. He later moved on to build bigger and better things, and his passion for all things that fly evolved into a career in the aerospace industry.

His career has included working as a materials and process specialist and manager, and working as a materials consultant for Northrop Grumman.

Hal has many lifetime achievements—both personal and professional—including receiving two commendations from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for work on the Centaur Launch Team, and for his work on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather satellite program.

His personal feats have included holding records in AMA events such as Unlimited Rubber, Class A/B Payload, Class A Gas ROW (rise-off-water), Indoor B Tissue, and Indoor Helicopter Category I. He also has had more than 20 articles published in magazines including Model Airplane News, Flying Models, Model Aviation, American Aircraft Modeler, and Model Builder.

“Through these articles, Hall has freely given his knowledge and expertise to the readers in hopes of enriching the hobby,” Lee Hines wrote about Hal in his AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame nomination.

Hal has been an AMA member since 1949. His first contest was in 1948 at the age of 11, and he earned second place. He competed again in 1949 in the Southern California Plymouth Internationals and took third place in A/B Gas. He has been an AMA Leader Member and CD for approximately 20 years.

He set his first national record in A/B Payload at the 1952 Nats. He continued to compete in AMA contests throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s—setting eight more records.

Trophies and records aren’t his only achievements. He served as the CEO/president of the Lost Hills Free Flight Model Airfield Association from 1996 to 2010, and the Nostalgia Free Flight Coordinator for the National Free Flight Society in 1995. Hal has been a member of several clubs including the San Valeers Model Airplane Club, Culver City Smog Cutters, Conejo Valley Flyers, the Southern California Antique Model Plane Society, and the Thermal Thumbers of Metro Atlanta.

“Hal’s involvement in model aviation over the years (58 to be exact) as a contestant, organization leader, design publisher, and helping and encouraging others at every opportunity makes him well qualified for AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame,” Lee wrote in 2012.





Robert “Bob” Forbes

Bob Forbes found a way to combine the two loves of his life: his library job and model airplanes. This resulted in children and young adults learning how to fly model aircraft, and later becoming AMA members.

He began his model aircraft career in the 1950s as a member and then-president of Canadian model aircraft club, the Park Lawn Prop Busters, where he built and flew Scale, CL, and FF airplanes.

He later obtained his Canadian Pilot’s License and his United States Pilot Certificate. He became a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, an Air Traffic Controller, and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Safety Inspector.

Bob is a certified FAA Aviation Instructor and a National Weather Service Certified Observer. His career has included teaching FAA classes at Bethune-Cookman University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, both located in Daytona Beach, Florida. He has made presentations during a Teacher Aviation/Aerospace Workshop, and to the Civil Air Patol.

Bob’s work with kids has also included introducing disadvantaged inner city children to aviation and aeromodeling through the Aviation Career Education (ACE) Camp in Lakeland, Florida.

After retiring from the FAA, he became a librarian for the Mississippi Northeast Regional Library.

“His crowning achievement in this occupation consisted of five-and-a-half years of instructing disadvantaged, and physically and mentally challenged, at-risk children and young adults in the building and flying of rubber, electric, and glow-powered model aircraft,” Kathy Warren wrote in her nomination for Bob to be inducted into the AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame.

“Each day, the library was transformed into a building and teaching facility with flying taking place on weekends at a sports complex located in Burnsville, Mississippi, and many fieldtrips to AMA club flying fields and fly-ins,” Kathy added.

For several years, The Magic Valley Air Force club hosted and trained Mississippi students at the club’s flying site. Bob has produced several DVDs and flyers depicting the program, and travels to churches, 4-H clubs, and other organizations to promote model aviation.

Bob’s honors include an award from the Aircraft Electronics Association for Significant and Lasting Contribution in Support of the General Aviation Electronics Industry. He was honored in 2011 with the American Library Association’s Excellence in Library Programming Marshall Cavendish Award.

He retired from the Mississippi Library Commission in September 2011, but continues to instruct local children in model aircraft building and flying. He currently works at Space Camp USA.





Ken Myers

“There are a precious few individuals who unselfishly contribute to the success of our hobby/sport. To have one who has dedicated over two decades to the growth and enjoyment of electric flight is truly a gift,” Joe Haas wrote in his nomination of Ken Myers.

For more than 23 years, Ken Myers’ has created and edited the longest-running electric flight newsletter, Ampeer. He is the current president of the Electric Flyers Only club and his newsletter is the leading source on all things related to electric flight. Before it became an electronic newsletter, Ken paid most of the publishing costs.

“Ken, through the internationally read Ampeer newsletter, his lectures, input to manufacturers, willingness to run events, and general positive disposition, has demonstrated to modelers around the world that electric flight was possible and practical,” Joe wrote. “Ken has created a number of publicly available computer programs that allow modelers to determine the proper power system for their electric aircraft.”

Ken also has been a contributor to AMA Insider electronic newsletter for many years.

His skills as a math teacher and his familiarity with computer programs helped him develop analytical tools to help pilots make good flight performance and power system decisions.

He is also a gifted speaker who is willing to make presentations and step up for impromptu opportunities.

He has created and operated the Mid-America Electric Flies event held annually in Salem Township, Michigan. This premier event features the latest electric-powered models, on-site camping, and flying from dawn to dusk.

“There is always something to surprise and amaze [at the event],” Joe wrote.

Ken has served as an officer of many clubs, and has contributed to running some of the first electric events at the AMA’s International Aeromodeling Center.

Fellow AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame inductee Keith Shaw said, “Ken’s works are the major reason for the growth of electric flight. Ken has been, and still is, a tireless promoter of electric flight. He is also an energetic flight instructor, a great friend, and a flying buddy.”





James “Jim” Newman

Jim Newman, an author, illustrator and cartoonist, was born in the United Kingdom and first became interested in aviation at the age of seven during World War II. He enjoyed visiting the local airport and watching the aviation military operations.

“1941 … and this seven-year-old was standing on a high point overlooking the River Exe, in the little Devonshire seaport town of Topsham, just 4 miles from the city of Exeter in Devon. A steady drone quickly became [a] roar as, maybe, 12 Whirlwinds flew buy only just a little above my vantage point … each loaded for bear and heading seawards down the estuary at around 200 feet or less,” Jim once said.

The thrill of aviation compelled him to successfully compete in FF, Wakefield, and A2 gliders. He later flew full-scale aircraft as a member of the Royal Air Force.

He was employed as an engineer at British Aerospace, where he worked on the Concorde jet and missiles. Jim began doing magazine illustrations on the side.

In the early 1970s, Jim met Carl Goldberg in England. A model magazine editor friend shared some of Jim’s impressive work with Carl, and Jim soon moved to the US to work for him. Jim also became a US citizen. His job at Carl Goldberg Models included designing, writing, and illustrating. He was involved in the design of the Sweet Stik, Chipmunk, and Cardinal Squire. He also wrote copy, created advertisement layouts, and designed kits.

After leaving Carl Goldberg Models, Jim began working for Midwest modeling company, where he handled customer complaints and re-engineered CL models. He designed a couple of models for electric propulsion, but was told by the sales manager that there was no market for electric models.

Jim later started his own drafting, advertising, and illustrating company, which became successful. He also wrote “Newman’s Notes,” which was published monthly in Model Airplane News and Flying Models for 26 years, and the book, A View From Here.

“Jim Newman’s contributions to model aviation have been behind the scenes as a designer and illustrator, yet those works have influenced all of us with his wisdom and his excellence. Jim Newman deserves to be considered for induction into the Model Aviation AMA Hall of Fame,” wrote nominator Michael Dale.





Frank Tiano

The name, Frank Tiano, is synonymous with Top Gun and Florida Jets. These are two of the largest model aviation events in the world, and have helped spread the word about the sport through being featured on television programs and in The Wall Street Journal.

“Simply put, I do not know of any other individual, in the past 15 years, who has done more to bring model aviation worldwide notoriety than Frank Tiano,” Sean Curry wrote in nominating Frank for the AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame.

In his lifetime, Frank has authored countless articles in magazines such as Scale RC Modeler and Model Aviation. He has placed in many Scale and Pattern events, designed several model aircraft, served as a club officer, advised industry leaders on financial matters, and taught countless school children how to fly.

Frank began competing in AMA events in 1975. Along with Scale and Pattern, he has participated in ¼ Scale Racing, the US Scale Masters, and Top Gun. His ¼-scale race airplane, Nemesis, set the highest speed record for a Formula I model at the Galveston Air Races.

To improve Scale competitions, he created a new set of rules, which have been adopted by the AMA and Scale Masters. He also invented the Fun Scale and Team Scale categories.

He designed a pace aircraft for the ¼ Scale Racing circuit, a Kl-61 that was kitted by Precision Kit Cutters, a P-39 flown in Top Gun, a sanding system, and molded resin Dummy Radial engines. He was asked in 2010 to build a 12-foot model of a Kate Torpedo Bomber for a Pearl Harbor museum.

Frank has written more than 200 product reviews, dozens of how-to articles, and has had a monthly column in many magazines. He also worked for Model Airplane News as its advertising manager and financial advisor from 1981 to 1983.

He has been an officer of many clubs, including serving as president of the Kingston Aeromodelers in the 1970s.

He has provided classroom and outdoor model aircraft demonstrations for many schools, beginning in 1980. Since he moved to Lakeland, Florida, in 2002, he has worked with three different schools—teaching the kids how to fly through the use of a buddy box. He also has had a hand in the Delta Dart program being implemented at dozens of modeling events.



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Click on the image or here to download a pdf of the 2012 inductees.

Read past Hall of Fame Recipients at www.modelaircraft.org/museum/hoflist.aspx




2 comments

When will you publish the above?

We will be publishing these later in February. Our editors are putting the finishing touches on the biographies.

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