My Story ... I Love This Hobby!

Love the Hobby

Written by Alain Adam, Metamora, Michigan

My love for model aviation started at age 10 in Jos, Nigeria, when my father’s friend gave me a Graupner Super Flitzer Control Line plane with a Graupner Taifun diesel engine. He was leaving Nigeria to return to Germany and knew that I was fascinated by planes.

I was born in Nigeria after my French father and Lebanese mother went to explore the area for work after World War II. My father was in the Free French Forces in the Syria/Lebanon/Palestine region during the war and upon return to France, could not find work so they decided to travel to Nigeria where my mother's father owned a goldsmith store in Lagos. They finally settled in Jos in the North and went into tin mining.

 

Old photos of Alain.

I attended an American missionary-run school, Hillcrest School, for 12 years where I was fascinated by the USA and dreamed to come here and get a degree in aeronautics. I arrived alone in January 1968 and stayed in Berkeley, California, with a friend whom I met in high school. I attended Contra Costa College in San Pablo, California, and upon completion of an associate's degree, transferred to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. In 1973, I received a double major, bachelor of science in aeronautical engineering and mechanical engineering.

 

A Super Flitzer.     

During my childhood, my father built me a small workshop and gave me balsa wood from England where I constructed Free fFight non-powered gliders, as that was all we could afford. The Graupner CL plane was a great start in powered flight. I made my own fuel from equal portions of ether. castor oil, and kerosene. With time, I received kits from England as gifts on various occasions, such as the Veron Skylane, and the Graupner FWP149D. None of them flew as I did not have any RC equipment. Later, I received an AM 25 and P.A.W. .15 diesel engines that I ran on the bench for hours but never in a plane as I was scared to crash or lose them as FF models. I convinced my mother to allow me to use the dining table to design and build a twin Kawasaki bomber. I scaled this up from a three-view drawing to a 66 inch wingspan, cut all the parts, and built it in1966. This beautiful twin was left behind in its skeleton form. when I came to the USA in 1968. It broke my heart to leave all my planes after years of building them.

Alain Adam as a child.

 

When I came to the US in 1968, it broke my heart to leave all my planes after years of building them.

My rebuilding did not restart here until I graduated from Cal Poly. And even after that, it took some time, for money was scarce while I searched for stability in the job industry.

Eventually, I worked at Dupont in Kentucky and then in Michigan. After starting a family, I returned to model building and purchasing RC equipment. First I bought a Duraplane to learn how to fly RC. Flying behind strip malls was fun and challenging. The durability of the Duraplane kept me moving forward. The generosity of Jeff Prince, the inventor of the Duraplane, also kept me going as he gave me a handful of replacement wings. After learning to takeoff and land, I ventured into Ben Buckle Kits such as the Majestic Major, Playboy Senior, Challenger, and Elf Biplane. I also discovered Tower Hobbies at that time and I was hooked! Their catalog was superb and addictive.

Alain with yellow airplane.  Alain with orange airplane.

 

My two sons, Michael and Daniel, took interest in the hobby and had their own work stations in the basement. They were featured in Model Aviation in the January 1990 issue, in the District VII report, on page 121. For a few years, we flew in the fields of their high school, which was our backyard.  We were careful nobody was around in the late afternoon and early evening. They built several planes that have flown successfully, which I saved for future interest in the hobby while they’re busy building their families.

In 1986, I joined the Skymasters RC Club in Lake Orion, Michigan, and have since expanded my fleet of planes. My fleet includes small and large planes, glow and gas powered and electric powered, scratch-built and ARFs as well as jets. All RC planes are equipped with both Futaba and Spectrum equipment. I also fly indoors during the winter months.

A nice aircraft.  

Being retired now for a few years, I check the weather forecast everyday and wait for a nice day to go flying at one of the two clubs. Meeting great friends at Skymasters and at the Skyhawks RC Club in Romeo, Michigan, is the gift that this hobby also brings. It is a hobby that has fascinated me since childhood and now well into my years. I love model aviation!

Alain today.

 

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