Jim Walker

by Bill Weaver

When I operated my model shop during 1938-41, one of my biggest problems was explaining to someone who saw the models in my window and hanging from the ceiling that they had to be built from kits. These were adults wanting to buy an airplane for a birthday or Christmas present. They couldn't believe these models came from that box full of balsa sticks, balsa sheets, covering material, etc. with a complicated-looking plan. It was even more disappointing to smaller boys who came in wanting to buy "one of those airplanes".

Fortunately, I had a line of ready-to-fly airplane models made by the American Junior (A-J) Aircraft Company of Portland, Oregon, and priced for a kid's pocketbook. These were very well mechanically and aerodynamically designed, and great flyers. They had brightly color printed balsa parts, and the balsa wings were formed in some way to have permanent camber and dihedral. All the metal parts were well designed and made. The manufacturing was so exact that when you took the model out of its box and slid the wing and stab in to their slots it was perfectly trimmed for flying. I never had a boy return one. They sold themselves by their performance.

There was a 10 cent glider with a round lead sinker glued in its nose that could do 19 stunts depending on how hard you threw it and the angle of bank. There was the rubber powered A-J Hornet, a real flyer that ended in the tops of many trees and roofs in Frederick. The one I liked best was the A-J Interceptor glider. It had a neat wing-folding mechanism powered by a small rubber band. The wing could be pivoted, negatively rotating at the leading edge and then folded back over the stab, rotating at the wing roots. When let go, the wings would snap back to flying position. There was a large strong rubber band attached to a dowel handle. You folded the wings back holding the wing tips where they protruded past the rudder. Then you hooked the rubber band in a notch in the fuselage bottom, pulled it back as far as you could, pointed it straight up and let go. It would go up about a hundred feet or so with the air pressure keeping the wings folded. When it slowed to nearly a stop, the wings would snap open, and it was off to a long glide down. I used to have contests for the Interceptors on Saturday mornings in Baker Park.

We got many 60 second flights.

One youngster, too small to get a full stretch of the launch rubber, had a buddy stand on a park bench holding the dowel above his head, while he pulled the model down to a full stretch. Some caught thermals and were lost high over Frederick. The Ceiling Walker was a crazy two prop helicopter that would fly straight up outdoors or would bump against the ceiling indoors.

I didn't know it then, but the genius behind A-J was Jim Walker. In 1941 he perfected control line flying and produced the A-J Fireball, the first C/L model, complete with control handle and flying lines. I saw one fly at a 1941 free flight contest in Baltimore.

I first got to know Jim Walker at the 1950 NATS held at the Dallas Naval Air Station. He was a R/C contender from the first days of R/C flying. But he also was a master showman and put on flying demonstrations all during NATS week. He could fly three Fireballs at once, with a control handle in each hand and one attached to his hat. His Fireballs were all equipped with engine speed controls. It enabled him to do stunts like flying a Fireball around and doing his "sabre dance" - making it stop in mid air hanging on its prop and climbing up and down vertically. He would put a pin in the tail end of a Fireball and stop it over a balloon fastened to the ground and slowly back down and puncture it.

Every evening he was in the hangar-workshop demonstrating his ready-to-fly models and giving one to every kid he saw. Soon the hangar was full of Ceiling Walkers and Hornets flying around like big insects. He would put a pin in the nose of one of his 10 cent gliders and have a small boy hold a balloon. After walking about 30 - 35 feet away, he would announce that the glider will make a climbing turn over the boy's head, glide down another turn, and burst the balloon. Taking careful aim he would give it a slightly banked pitch. I never saw him miss.

He even invented a glider controlled by sound waves instead of radio waves. It would respond to blasts from a horn! Jim Walker died, probably in the late 1950s or early 60s. I think his company stopped production then. I have seen some A-J models advertised in recent years by somebody in Oregon.

He was an outstanding inventor, model airplane designer and flyer, precision manufacturer and showman.


Walker Cup Winners 

Walker Cup Overview

 

Year Name Model Engine Location
2009 Dave Fitzgerald Thunder Gazer PA 75 Muncie, IN
2008 Orestes Hernandez Yatsenko Shark Discovery Retro 60 Muncie, IN
2007 Orestes Hernandez Yatsenko Shark Discovery Retro 60 Muncie, IN
2006 Brett Buck Infinity RO-Jett 61 Muncie, IN
2005 Paul Walker For Reals OS 40 VF Muncie IN
2004 Dave Fitzgerald Star Gazer IV PA 61 Muncie IN
2003 Dave Fitzgerald Star Gazer IV PA 61 Muncie IN
2002 Paul Walker P-51 Miss America Saito 56 Muncie IN
2001 Dave Fitzgerald Star Gazer IV PA 61 Muncie, IN
2000 Ted Fancher Final Edition PA 61 Muncie IN
1999 Dave Fitzgerald Star Gazer III PA 61 Muncie IN
1998 Paul Walker Impact OS 40 VF Muncie IN
1997 Dave Fitzgerald Star Gazer I PA 61 Muncie IN
1996 Bob Baron Pattern Master Super Tigre 60 Muncie IN
1995 Ted Fancher Great Expectation OS 46 VF Pasco WA
1994 Paul Walker Impact PA 40 Lubbock TX
1993 Paul Walker Impact OS 40 VF Vincennes IN
1992 Paul Walker Impact OS 40 VF Westover AFB MA
1991 Paul Walker For Reals? OS 40 VF Vincennes IN
1990 Paul Walker Impact OS 40 VF Vincennes IN
1989 Jim Casale Spectron-Columbia Super Tigre 60 Pasco WA
1988 Jim Casale Spectron-Columbia Super Tigre 60 Tidewater VA
1987 Paul Walker Bad News IV Super Tigre 60 Lincoln NE
1986 Ted Fancher Citation V Super Tigre 46 Lake Charles LA
1985 Jim Casale Spectrum Mk III '85 Super Tigre 60 Westover AFB MA
1984 Paul Walker Bad News I OS 45 FSR Reno NV
1983 Jim Casale Spectrum Mk III Super Tigre 60 Westover AFB MA
1982 Ted Fancher Intimidation Super Tigre 46 Lincoln NE
1981 Bill Werwage USA-1 Super Tigre 46 Seguine TX
1980 Les McDonald Stiletto 660 K&B 40 Wilmington OH
1979 Bob Gieseke Gieseke Nobler Fox 35 Lincoln NE
1978 Bob Whitely Derringer Super Tigre 46 Lake Charles LA
1977 Al Rabe P-51 Mustang Riverside CA
1976 Bob Hunt Genesis Mk III Super Tigre 46 Dayton OH
1975 Bob Gieseke Gieseke Nobler Fox 35 Lake Charles LA
1974 Bob Gieseke Gieseke Nobler Fox 35 Lake Charles LA
1973 Al Rabe Sea fury Super Tigre 60 Oshkosh WI
1972 Dennis Adamisin Fouga Magister OS Max-S 35 Glenview Il
1971 Bill Werwage USA-1 Super Tigre 40 Glenview Il
1970 Keith Trostle Focke-Wolf OS Max 35 Glenview IL
1969 Bob Lampione F-86 Sabre Fox 35 Willow Grove PA
1968 Bob Gieseke Gieseke Nobler Fox 35 Olathe KS
1967 Barton Klapinski Tempest McCoy 40 Los Alamitos CA
1966 Bob Gieseke Gieseke Nobler Fox 35 Glenview Il
1965 Bob Gialdini Eclipse Veco 45 Willow Grove PA
1964 Jim Silhavy Nobler Fox 35 Dallas TX
1963 Bob Gialdini Sting Ray Veco 35 Los Alamitos CA
1962 Gerry Cipra Nobler Fox 35 Glenview Il
1961 Lew McFarland Shark 45 Veco 45 Willow Grove PA
1960 Jim Silhavy Nobler Fox 35 Dallas TX
1959 Bill Werwage Ares Fox 35 Los Alamitos CA
1958 Arthur P. Pawloski Atom Fox 35 Glenview Il
1957 George M. Aldrich Nobler Fox 35 Willow Grove PA
1956 Bill Cummings Dallas TX
1955 Bob Palmer Thunderbird Veco .35 Los Alamitos CA
1954 Hill Hutchins Jr. Glenview IL
1953 Bob Elliott Black Tiger Willow Grove PA
1952 George M. Aldrich Nobler Fox 35 Las Alamitos CA
1951 Don "Buzz" Ferguson Cheek Cowl Barnstormer Fox 35 Dallas TX
1950 Lou Andrews Trixter Barnstomer Fox 35 Dallas TX
1949 W. Howard Thombs Di-Doe Profile Bi-plane O&R .29 Olathe KS
1948 Davey Slagle Checkala Roma Super Cyclone Olathe KS
1947 Davey Slagle Checkala Roma Super Cyclone Montcello MN
1946 Davey Slagle Checkala Roma Super Cyclone Wichita KS


Walker Cup Winners 

 

Year Name Model Engine Location
2009 Dave Fitzgerald Thunder Gazer PA 75 Muncie, IN
2008 Orestes Hernandez Yatsenko Shark Discovery Retro 60 Muncie, IN
2007 Orestes Hernandez Yatsenko Shark Discovery Retro 60 Muncie, IN
2006 Brett Buck Infinity RO-Jett 61 Muncie, IN
2005 Paul Walker For Reals OS 40 VF Muncie IN
2004 Dave Fitzgerald Star Gazer IV PA 61 Muncie IN
2003 Dave Fitzgerald Star Gazer IV PA 61 Muncie IN
2002 Paul Walker P-51 Miss America Saito 56 Muncie IN
2001 Dave Fitzgerald Star Gazer IV PA 61 Muncie, IN
2000 Ted Fancher Final Edition PA 61 Muncie IN
1999 Dave Fitzgerald Star Gazer III PA 61 Muncie IN
1998 Paul Walker Impact OS 40 VF Muncie IN
1997 Dave Fitzgerald Star Gazer I PA 61 Muncie IN
1996 Bob Baron Pattern Master Super Tigre 60 Muncie IN
1995 Ted Fancher Great Expectation OS 46 VF Pasco WA
1994 Paul Walker Impact PA 40 Lubbock TX
1993 Paul Walker Impact OS 40 VF Vincennes IN
1992 Paul Walker Impact OS 40 VF Westover AFB MA
1991 Paul Walker For Reals? OS 40 VF Vincennes IN
1990 Paul Walker Impact OS 40 VF Vincennes IN
1989 Jim Casale Spectron-Columbia Super Tigre 60 Pasco WA
1988 Jim Casale Spectron-Columbia Super Tigre 60 Tidewater VA
1987 Paul Walker Bad News IV Super Tigre 60 Lincoln NE
1986 Ted Fancher Citation V Super Tigre 46 Lake Charles LA
1985 Jim Casale Spectrum Mk III '85 Super Tigre 60 Westover AFB MA
1984 Paul Walker Bad News I OS 45 FSR Reno NV
1983 Jim Casale Spectrum Mk III Super Tigre 60 Westover AFB MA
1982 Ted Fancher Intimidation Super Tigre 46 Lincoln NE
1981 Bill Werwage USA-1 Super Tigre 46 Seguine TX
1980 Les McDonald Stiletto 660 K&B 40 Wilmington OH
1979 Bob Gieseke Gieseke Nobler Fox 35 Lincoln NE
1978 Bob Whitely Derringer Super Tigre 46 Lake Charles LA
1977 Al Rabe P-51 Mustang Riverside CA
1976 Bob Hunt Genesis Mk III Super Tigre 46 Dayton OH
1975 Bob Gieseke Gieseke Nobler Fox 35 Lake Charles LA
1974 Bob Gieseke Gieseke Nobler Fox 35 Lake Charles LA
1973 Al Rabe Sea fury Super Tigre 60 Oshkosh WI
1972 Dennis Adamisin Fouga Magister OS Max-S 35 Glenview Il
1971 Bill Werwage USA-1 Super Tigre 40 Glenview Il
1970 Keith Trostle Focke-Wolf OS Max 35 Glenview IL
1969 Bob Lampione F-86 Sabre Fox 35 Willow Grove PA
1968 Bob Gieseke Gieseke Nobler Fox 35 Olathe KS
1967 Barton Klapinski Tempest McCoy 40 Los Alamitos CA
1966 Bob Gieseke Gieseke Nobler Fox 35 Glenview Il
1965 Bob Gialdini Eclipse Veco 45 Willow Grove PA
1964 Jim Silhavy Nobler Fox 35 Dallas TX
1963 Bob Gialdini Sting Ray Veco 35 Los Alamitos CA
1962 Gerry Cipra Nobler Fox 35 Glenview Il
1961 Lew McFarland Shark 45 Veco 45 Willow Grove PA
1960 Jim Silhavy Nobler Fox 35 Dallas TX
1959 Bill Werwage Ares Fox 35 Los Alamitos CA
1958 Arthur P. Pawloski Atom Fox 35 Glenview Il
1957 George M. Aldrich Nobler Fox 35 Willow Grove PA
1956 Bill Cummings Dallas TX
1955 Bob Palmer Thunderbird Veco .35 Los Alamitos CA
1954 Hill Hutchins Jr. Glenview IL
1953 Bob Elliott Black Tiger Willow Grove PA
1952 George M. Aldrich Nobler Fox 35 Las Alamitos CA
1951 Don "Buzz" Ferguson Cheek Cowl Barnstormer Fox 35 Dallas TX
1950 Lou Andrews Trixter Barnstomer Fox 35 Dallas TX
1949 W. Howard Thombs Di-Doe Profile Bi-plane O&R .29 Olathe KS
1948 Davey Slagle Checkala Roma Super Cyclone Olathe KS
1947 Davey Slagle Checkala Roma Super Cyclone Montcello MN
1946 Davey Slagle Checkala Roma Super Cyclone Wichita KS
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