Wally Wins His Wings

This is the storyboard of Cox's instructional film. The film is an interesting piece of history and spreads enthusiasm for the model hobby without promoting Cox products. It was part of the promotional campaign "Junior Pilots of the World", which also produced the Junior Pilot's Wings.

Transcribed by Martin Hepperle with the help of Lee Heinly. A copy of the film in Apple QuickTime "mov" format can be found on the great web site http://davelandweb.com/disneyland/. There you can also find interesting stories about the Flight Circle at Disney Land and its history.

The film was produced in about 1961 and loaned out to hobby shops, clubs and Boy Scouts. it was also shown on a local television channel. It was shot at  Whittier Narrows and at the Los Angeles County Fair at Pamona, California (AKA Pomona Fair).
This is the story of a young fellow, who learned to fly and won his wings
Flying is my business. Like probably every other pilot with a son, I want my boy to be interested in my favorite activity. I am lucky. The pilot here is my son Wally. I’m Art Moore. When school permits, Wally often flies with me. He is a pretty good pilot – in the air that is.

Well, it’s my turn now. When we get in, Wally is going to introduce me to a special kind of flying that he has discovered.

“Tower from Comanche 15 PAPA on downwind leg, landing instructions please.”

“Comanche 15 PAPA … cleared number one to land … runway 27.”

Father and son, flying in the real "Comanche".
This was my first love: get powered model airplane flying.

Frankly, I had no idea that these ready-to-fly powered models were so accurately scaled and detailed.

This is Cox's "Big Comanche".
Wally explains that these experts practice flying every chance they get. And when they flew, I could believe it.


They were getting a P-40 ready ... two P-40s. Expert fellas, they selves flying two planes at once.

Here we see George Molitor flying two P-40s.

They had a sport trainer, a brand new plane I hadn’t even flown yet. In these skilled hands it was a real performer.

Look at that! And in for a very smooth landing.

These boys had real fleet of planes. This was a model of our Comanche. A perfect powered miniature, detailed right down to the rivets on the wing panels and the well covers for the retractable landing gear.

I was beginning to see where Wally enthusiasm came from.

Ah, nice! Every pilot appreciates a good landing.

Wally said that this miniature biplane was one of the best stunt fliers on short lines. Some fellows even fly it in their backyard.

The other guy with the black and white shoes is Clarence Keith Palmer.

Powered model flying is a fast growing sport. More and more progressive cities are providing flight areas.

The next weekend was clear and sunny. So we drove out to watch the flying at the local model airport.

To tell the truth: I was sharing Wally’s excitement. Several groups were working on planes. The crowd of spectators indicated the growing public interest in these fascinating little planes. One was flying, then a second took his plane up, followed by the third, and skillfully keeping their control lines separated all three flew simultaneously. Almost from the same spot.

The fliers told us about a special powered model flying exhibition at the County Fair. So that became our next destination.

The "Los Angeles Model Airport". How does it look today?

They were already flying, when we found the flight circle. A scale replica of an antique (this was the 1911 Curtis Pusher, one of the few kit-planes) biplane was in the air and its circling guided us through the crowds. Wally hurried me to the stands. Next they demonstrated their skill in flying the big Comanche in this small enclosure. Wally was too excited to say. The dog fight followed. Two planes carrying streamers. Each pilot maneuvering his plane to cut the ribbon of his competitor. Between flights the versatility of the powerful model engines was demonstrated by the fast running PropRods and the step-hydroplanes. The show was climaxed by the expert we had watched practicing. Only this time he flew three P-40s. One with each hand, the third by the control lines held in his teeth. It was and exciting, crowd pleasing fanally.

After the regular show they invited someone from the audience to try flying a powered model. Wally’s waving arms couldn’t be missed. The fliers welcomed Wally in the circle and introduced themselves. They were three very friendly young fellows.

Before they could do much talking about flying, the wings they wore caught Wally’s eye. These Junior Pilot Wings are awarded to successful powered model fliers. Wally can win his wings here and now, they tell him. He gets the word and away she goes. Up …around … he’s on his own … go on Wally, fly that plane … steady … Oh-Oh. No harm was done but Wally’s hopes sure were shattered.


From left to right: George Molitor, Tom (last name?), and Lee Heinly.
A hobby shop is a very important part of every community. We were there to take the big step into the air. Look at those hand crafted models. Jack Demers, the manager was waiting on neighbors. He has addressed our business club. A hobby shop is a vital center of craftsmanship for young and old. Name the skill and you’ll probably find some way of enjoying it here.

Well, Jack is free now. He is a warm friendly man. I introduce my young fellow and at the mention of powered model planes Jacks enthusiasm matched ours. I had no idea there was so many ready-to-fly models. From primary trainers to modern jets. To help Wally understand the sport, Jack demonstrated how the elevator was operated by the control lines held by the flier on the ground.

Jack Demer's Hobby Shop.
Wally remembered how particular I was about the engine when I bought our Comanche and he asked about this one. These little power plants are Jacks great interest, it would seem. He showed us the wide range of stock engines. “This is a true internal combustion engine,” he explained. And while normal engines turn up to two and three thousand RPM, this one runs around twenty thousand revolutions a minute. And interestingly, that’s not a spark plug. Jack had a film that looks inside the engine through animation showing how it works. He was sure we would enjoy – and we were too.
A display of model engines.
“Typhoon in a Thimble” - that well describes the miniature internal combustion engine that powers today’s flying model airplanes. For contrast, these piston transport engines are turning up close to three thousand RPM. They were manufactured to tolerances in the thousands of an inch. The engine powering this truck turns much slower and being a diesel its cylinders fire without spark plugs or an ignition system. This is also an internal combustion engine, but it turns up close to twenty thousand RPM in flight, has no spark plug and is manufactured to fantastic tolerances measured in millions of and inch. Let’s look inside.
A film inside the file.
The piston has delivered its power and is at the bottom of the stroke. At this position grooves machined inside the cylinder wall are exposed and through these grooves the fresh mixture squirts up into the cylinder for the next compression stroke and turn. As the piston moves up compressing the fresh charge a partial vacuum is formed in the crankcase sucking fresh air through this filter mesh, through the venturi is mixed with raw fuel entering through tiny jets here correctly metered by this needle valve and on into the crankcase past this reed valve. At the top of the stroke the almost incandescent glow element in the head fires the mixture and as the piston comes down on the power stroke, the reed valve is closed and the fresh mixture previously drawn into the crankcase compressed ready for the next cycle. Nearing the bottom of it’s power stroke the exhaust ports are exposed and the burned gases expelled. And once again the cycle repeats with the fresh fuel mixture squirting into the cylinder. Now watch it run and remember: this cycle repeats more then three hundred times a second in some of these wonderful little “Typhoons in a Thimble”.
Animation shows inner parts of working engine.
Jack is not only a good salesman, he enjoys being interesting and informative. There goes Wally again: “How can he win a pair of wings“ he asks. Jack explains: “Takeoff, fly and land a powered model successfully and win your wings.”

And now which plane does Wally think he can fly? Well, Wally knew what he wanted. The PT-19 Flight trainer. This is the plane designed to take it: to crash and fly apart. It has to be simply reassembled with rubber bands to fly again and again. It’s the trainer with the finest flight performance too. Ah, nostalgic Memories: It was in a trainer like this that I soloed way back when. Ever see a happier young fellow making what may be an important move into the future?

Should it be the PT-19?

 Learning to fly this little plane became almost an obsession for Wally. His mother despaired meal times. He’d get it off … around a few times … he is getting the feel … and something would happen, and “Wham!”

Fortunately the amazingly indestructible model came apart on impact yet was undamaged. Neighborly help and some rubber bands and it was back in the air again. For a few moments that is.

But, Wally persevered, encouraged by his pals. There is a wonderful spirit of friendship among those who fly their powered models. Wally’s patience, born of his positive love for this, sport finally paid off. Most of the time his flights now ended with a good landing, the plane in one piece and ready for the next flight.

Practicing, practicing, ...

The next move was mine. At the hobby shop I signed Wally’s application for his wings. I ordered the Comanche as a special surprise. Jack countersigned and asked whether he might pin on Wally’s wings when they came.

Wally had apparently been putting on a flying exhibition that pleased his friends when we drove up. I called him over and the gang came along, eager to participate in the ceremony they’d all been waiting for. And there they were:

Wally had won his wings He was a pretty proud young fellow when Jack pinned them on. Until I saw his face light up, I’d almost been afraid my gift Comanche was capping the climax - it almost was the climax,

In this world of spectators it is sometimes pretty good to see a group of doers. And here’s a bunch I’ll bet the future on. I am both glad and proud that my son is taking an enthusiastic part in this interesting and tremendously instructive man building sport.

Note: That was 50 years ago - of course today we don't have "spectators", we have fully grown up "consumers"...

Big Deal: Father secretly signs Wally up for his Wings and orders the Big Comanche.

Oh son, you won your wings and I can navigate now.

Okay sport - you fly this Comanche for a while, but when we get back it will be my turn at the control lines of that model Comanche of ours, and then I’ll show you some flying.

Back in the air.

The Players

Wally … Mike (unreadable)

Art … Art Moore
(A real pilot. A friend of Leroy Cox) Roy also owned a Piper Comanche

Jack … Jack Demers
(He was a real Hobby Shop owner, and business man)


Wally’s friends.


The movie was produced by Bill Deming, Picture for Business Hollywood, California.  The Executive Producer was Barbara Deming