The Jim Walker FireWire Newsletter from American Junior Classics
Wings for Young America
July 2006 - Newsletter #10

Welcome back to the FireWire News from American Junior Classics. This special issue celebrates the birthday of Jim Walker. This is going out on the 4th of July, which we think is fitting. Jim Walker was an avid fireworks fan and even had his own firework invention, what is known today as the "Party Popper." The American Junior "Atom Bomb Blast" was a substantially larger version of what we have today. Of course, Jim Walker never did anything in a small way!

Frank Macy & Scott Griffith

Jim Walker's 101st Birthday Celebration

The three daughters of Jim Walker cut the birthday cake at the 101 celebrationA special celebration was held on April 29th, 2006 at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. The occasion was the 101st birthday of that model aviation pioneer Jim Walker. The day's events included speeches from Walker family members and the unveiling of the new Jim Walker / American Junior exhibit.

Here you see Jim Walker's three daughters as they are about to cut the red, white and blue birthday cake. From left to right we have Valerie Alexander, Marilyn Portwood, and Joan Anderson. The all had a wonderful time as the museum treated them with honor and respect and even a rare chance to sit in the pilot's seat of the Spruce Goose.

Click on the link below to see our new web page on the American Junior Classics website. We have several photos of the event and lots of movie clips for you to play.

Visit the Jim Walker 101st Birthday Celebration page

Jim Walker in McMinnville 50 years ago

Jim Walker in car at McMinnvilleWe thought you might like this candid look at Jim Walker when he visited the McMinnville airport a little over 50 years ago. This was a common sight in those days and seemed like a fitting picture for this issue as we celebrated Jim's 101st birthday in McMinnville this year.

Who is that in the back seat? It's one of Jim Walker's daughters, but nobody seems to know which one. You have a one in three chance of guessing who.

Photo is courtesy of Gill Coughlin.

American Junior Model of the Month

American Junior model 744 model airplaneThe AJ-744 is an interesting model designed and patented by Jim Walker. Released in 1931, in the midst of the Depression, this must have really been a luxury. The body was steam formed in four pieces and glued together by the women factory workers using gauze and glue for the interior seams. Featuring a hinged landing gear, it only needed the wing inserted to fly right out of the box.

This model was in production through the decade of the 30's and through the war. Of historical note, Jim used this model as the inspiration for the first Fireball being developed in 1937-38.


Continuing search for Jim Walker and A-J history

American Junior Americobra boxAmerican Junior Classics recently acquired a rare model and display box. This is Jim Walker's Americobra and it was released as the successor to the A-J Bomber and was only in production for a short run in the early 1940's. When the "74" Fighter was released, this model was discontinued. We are fortunate to have this hard to find model now in our collection.

Do you have any photos, movies, magazine articles, news clippings or personal stories of Jim Walker or American Junior? Time is running short and we are attempting to gather and catalog as much as we can for future generations. We would appreciate you letting us know of anything that might be helpful in documenting the rich history left still left to us.


email: Your comments are always welcome!

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