The Jim Walker FireWire Newsletter by American Junior Classics
Wings for Young America
April 2006 - Newsletter #9

Welcome back to the FireWire News from American Junior Classics. This month is a special time of year. Spring is in the air with new life blossoming. This is also the time of year we at American Junior Classics celebrate the birth of Jim Walker.

We hope you enjoy our visits to a simpler time of model aviation, when skill and patience led to that exciting moment of flying your model for the first time. No styrofoam and plastic models could be found in the neighborhood hobby shops, but the Ready-To-Fly Jim walker planes were there and they really flew, sometimes too well and we never saw them again. For the fun and excitement of the discovery of successful flight, we give all our thanks to the man with a vision, Jim Walker.

Frank Macy & Scott Griffith

Jim Walker's 101st Birthday

Jim Walker during 1929 holding his early American Junior ModelsOn April 29th, 1905 Jim Walker was born and the history of model aviation would not be the same. Born just two years after the Wright brothers gave birth to modern aviation, Jim Walker grew up and contributed much to the world of model aviation. Future pilots and even astronauts were inspired by Jim Walker's inovative Ready-To-Fly models.

The Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon will be hosting Jim Walker’s 101st Birthday by unveiling of the American Junior Aircraft Company’s Model Exhibit and flying exibitions of Fireballs, Firecats, Folding Wing Interceptors, Hornets, Radio Control planes and more. Activities begin at 10 AM on April 29th, 2006. Also on display under the wings of Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose will be one of the rare surviving radio control World War II target drones built by the American Junior Aircraft Company.

Special guests at the event will be members of the Walker family, including the daughters of Jim Walker. We will be documenting the event and bringing you the news in the next newsletter and posting photos and video clips on our website.


Firebaby II ready to go..

Firebaby II is a new design of the original Jim Walker version by Frank MacyThe dream of Frank Macy to bring back the Firebaby U-Control model plane has been a long and frustrating road. Finally after years of effort the Firebaby II makes its debut.

The Firebaby II is a new model with a few old parts. We are using A-J original landing gear and wheels as well as belcranks left over from the last production runs. The box is also a collectors item, as it is also a new box from the last factory run in the early 1960's. The wings are being formed on an actual American Junior Company wing former that Jim Walker used on the original Firebaby. So, this is far from just another reproduction, it is real history.

We were unable to replicate the metal wing and motor mounting systems because of extremely expensive production costs; however, we have come up with a reliable system that works well and looks a lot like the original model. This is a limited edition model with an expected production run of only 200. This is a hand made model, made in the USA by Frank Macy and a few faithful volunteers.

See the Firebaby II in A-J Classics Store

Electric Fireball by Bob Veazey

Bob Veazy holds hi Electric Fireball

Bob Veazey has not lost his enthusiasm for the Jim Walker Fireball. As you will hear from him, his history with the Fireball goes back quite a few years. You can read Bob's original story in the Airmail section of our website. Here is what Bob Veazey has to say today.....

In 1941 I built my first of several “Fireball” models. They were, of course, “U-Control” models. When I discovered Frank Macy’s web page and found out that he had Fireball plans for sale, the thought struck that building a Fireball with electric power for R/C would really be fun, and take me back to my youth. I bought a set of plans and went to work.

I extended the wingspan on my “Electric Fireball” from 36 inches to 44 inches to provide about 240 square inches area. I also thickened the airfoil a bit for additional lift, but the sheet balsa construction was maintained. Contest balsa was used for the fuselage, which was carved according to the original plans. I laminated the tail feathers to provide some additional stiffness. The Hacker B-20/15L motor with 4:1 gearbox is mounted within 1/8 Lite Ply supports that includes a top plate for mounting the Kokam 3SIP, 11.1 v. 1500 mah Li Poly battery. The 25 amp Castle Phoenix motor-controller is mounted below the motor and a hole was cut in the “chin” to provide cooling air. The receiver is a Hitech Micro 555 and Hitech micro servos actuate the control surfaces. Inboard strip ailerons are used. All up finished weight is 26 ounces. The old style stars and rudder stripes were computer generated and applied with “water slide” decal material. Krylon enamel spray paint was used....Bob Veazey

404 Interceptor II In Production Again

Interceptor II from American Junior ClassicsAfter an absence of over a year, we are happy to announce that we are producing the 404 Folding Wing Interceptor II again. This model still features the reliable plactic folding wing mechanism which has it's development roots with Bob Smurthwaite, who worked closely with Jim Walker on many product developments. These are hand made models produced in McMinnville, Oregon. We still produce all of our models right here in the USA. Not many companies can still make that claim. So, if you want to buy a piece of American History that began with Jim Walker in Portland, Oregon, here is your chance.

See the Interceptor II in the A-J Classics Store

email: Your comments are always welcome!

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