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Written by Maria VanVreede
Read even more about A-frame twin pushers in Bob Angel’s “Old-Timers” column that was featured in the April 2017 issue of
Model Aviation.


The National Model Aviation Museum’s collection of A-frame twin pushers covers a span of more than 20 years—from 1910 to 1934. Most of the 15 models are late reproductions, but the museum has a few that are possibly originals.

In addition to these aircraft, the museum’s library contains several early modeling books and magazines that discuss both the easy-to-build introductory models and the winning racers of the first part of the 20th century.
Here are some highlights:









This A-frame racer built in approximately 1910 came to the museum through Jim Noonan. It is covered in a material called goldbeater’s skin.

According to Paul Edward Garber’s Building & Flying Model Aircraft, published in 1928, “Another fabric employed for covering wings is goldbeater’s skin, which is very light-weight animal membrane, being the lining of part of a cow’s digestive tract. It can be purchased in sheets from model supply houses, but it is comparatively expensive.”













This A-frame twin pusher is a reproduction built by Vic Cunnyngham Sr. in the early 1990s. It accurately copies the A-frame pusher designed, built, and flown by Donald C. Burnham, who at the age of 14 won the Junior Division Outdoor competition at the 1929 Nats in Detroit. The floats were built from plans published by Bert Pond.

(More information on this can be found in the March 2014 Model Aviation “History Preserved” column, and at this blog post.)









This A-frame twin pusher is a reproduction built by Jim Noonan of Ralph Kummer’s 1934 design. Not much else is known about it.









Built as a speed-racing model, this A-frame twin pusher is much smaller than the others, with only a 14-inch wingspan. Other than its wingspan—and the fact that it is an original build by Teen Becksted—little is known about this aircraft.









Was it possible to wind up both of those rubber motors at the same time? Yes, especially with a winder such as this one that is meant to wind both motors simultaneously.

Some of the early modeling books are viewable online but contain little information about A-frame twin pushers. They are a great read, however, especially for understanding the ideals, goals, and vocabulary of early model aviation. Here are some of those books:

• Collins, Francis A. The Boys’ Book of Model Aeroplanes. New York: The Century Company, 1910, NMAM library reference number M020.5.4. You can read this one through Google Books.
• Collins, Francis A. The Second Boys’ Book of Model Aeroplanes. New York: The Century Company, 1911.

By 1913, Harper’s Aircraft Book included plans for A-frame pushers. You can read that online here.





Verrill, A. Hyatt. Harper’s Aircraft Book. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1913, NMAM library reference number M020.23.

Highlights of the book include:
• Mann monoplane, page 42.
• Cecil Peoli racer, page 49, plans on page 50. This one was really famous. A museum volunteer was building a reproduction of it as of April 2017.
• Percy Pierce model, page 53, no plans.
• A Japanese Flier, page 55, plans on page 57.

By the late 1920s, A-frame pushers were everywhere. The following books don’t appear to be online yet, but researchers are always welcome to request copies of certain sections. Contact Maria VanVreede at mariav@modelaircraft.org to discuss the research process.





Camm, F.J. Model Aeroplanes. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Co., 1929, NMAM library reference number M020.18.

Book highlights include the following:
• Page 54, “Simple Twin-Screw Monoplane,” plans on page 55.
• Page 61, “Simple Twin-Screw Biplane,” plans on page 63.
• Page 87, “Hydro-monoplane,” plans on page 89.





Garber, Paul Edward. Beginning and Flying Model Aircraft: A Guide for Youthful Beginners in Aeronautics. New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1928, NMAM library reference number M020.14.

Highlights from this book include:
• Page 126, “The Winning Model of the 1927 Tournament.” Design by Jack Lefker, write up by Joseph J. Lucas. Plans on page 130.
• Page 135, “Model Flying Accessories.” It shows how to make an egg beater winder and a model-carrying box, as well as a flight box (“1st Aid [to Models] Kit”).





Allen, Elmer L. Model Airplanes: How to Build and Fly Them. New York: Frederick A. Stokes and Company, 1928, NMAM library reference number M020.30.

Book highlights:
• Page 19, chapter on materials, page 23 talks about buying chemicals at drug stores.
• Page 66, “A twenty-four-inch hand-launched twin propeller pusher model.” Three-view drawing on page 67.
• Page 84, “A thirty-six-inch twin propeller racing model,” two-page plans, pages 86-87.





Collins, Francis A. The Boys’ Book of Model Aeroplanes. New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc., 1936, NMAM library reference number M020.5.2.

A notable aircraft featured in this book is:
• Page 151, “A Serviceable Twin Pusher,” no plans.

Do you want to try building an A-frame twin pusher of your own? AMA Plans Service has the following plans for sale:


FLYING ACES TWIN PUSHER 22
FLYING ACES 11/33, UNRATH
$4 24478
GULL TWIN PUSHER HYDROPLANE 28”
L. STOUT
$4 12050
LYNN DAVIES TWIN PUSHER (1915) 31.5
$7 11948
OUTDOOR TWIN PUSHER 36
COUNTRY CLUB AERO SUPPLY CO.
$15 33757
OUTDOOR TWIN PUSHER 36
MICHIGAN MODEL AIRPLANES SUPPLY CO.
$7 50541
TONY'S TWIN PUSHER 17
TONY NACCARATO
$4 35966
TWIN PUSHER 36
JUNIOR BIRDMEN OF AMERICA
$4 33218
TWIN PUSHER 36
CARL CARLSON 1926
$15 29270
TWIN PUSHER 18
CARL CARLSON 1928
$4 29282
TWIN PUSHER 1929 37
JOURNAL OF INT. AEROMODELING 4/39
$9 21007
TWIN PUSHER 1932 N Y C 36
RUGGERT
$9 30591
TWIN PUSHER CLASS C 36
JASCO 1937 YEARBOOK, CLURMAN
$9 24854
TWIN PUSHER CLASS D 38
JASCO 1935 YEARBOOK, SIMMERS
$9 24854
TWIN PUSHER CLASS D 44
BY FRANK ZAIC
$15 35473
TWIN PUSHER HAND LAUNCHED 34
JOE OTT BOOK 1932
$13 30833
TWIN PUSHER HYDRO 18
THE OAKLAND TRIBUNE NEWSPAPER 1931
$7 29095
TWIN PUSHER MIDGET 34
OLD TIME PLAN SERVICE 1935
$8 24540
TWIN PUSHER MILE A MINUTE 18
JOE OTT BOOK 1932
$12 31321
TWIN PUSHER MONOPLANE 20
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN 1922, PEOLI
$7 20997
TWIN PUSHER N A A RECORD 39
MODEL AIRE BUILDER 8/36, KUMMER
$9 24530
TWIN PUSHER N A A RECORD 38
MODEL AIRPLANE NEWS 6/34, DUFLON
$9 24531
TWIN PUSHER OUTDOOR 35
AMERICAN BOY 2/31, HANKAMMER
$10 20775
TWIN PUSHER OUTDOOR 36
COUNTRY CLUB AERO SUPPLY CO.
$17 33285
TWIN PUSHER SPECIAL DURATION 32
ELLIOT
$9 32786
TWIN PUSHER WORLD RECORD 30
JASCO 1938 YEARBOOK, BUTLER
$12 20998
TWIN PUSHER WORLD RECORD 36
MODEL AIRPLANE NEWS 8/34, RUGGERI
$10 20999
YE OLDE TWIN PUSHER 14
BY W.C. HANNAN
$4 11946


Would you like to immerse yourself in what Free Flight was like when A-frame twin pushers were the norm? In 2015, the museum did something called #FantasyFreeFlight to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first National Model Aeroplane Competition, in which contestants vied for the Henry S. Villard Model Aeroplane Trophy. The fantasy team part of it is over, but there are several gems of information and some images about early contests that you can explore here: http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/amamuseum/fantasy-free-flight-1915/

A favorite part of #FantasyFreeFlight was this poem about a common modeling occurrence. It sounds like something that could happen today! http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/amamuseum/2015/07/09/fantasyfreeflight-...

-Maria VanVreede
mariav@modelaircraft.org






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