I grew up on a farm in North Carolina at a time when aviation was new, when if you heard a plane, you ran outside to see it. Planes flew lower and were noisier. Today when a plane flies overhead, no one even looks up. At age 8 – 10, I built a number of Guillow 25 & 10 cent models (Today’s money $2.50 & 1.00). When I was 11, my wise mother gave me a subscription to Air Trails and from that I learned there were engine powered models available. In town there was a sporting goods store with a shelf behind the gun racks with some models. It didn’t have any powered models but could order me one. I picked cotton every afternoon after school to earn the $13.00 (Today’s money $!30.00) I needed for the plane and engine. When I went into town for high school, I met a kid who introduced me to control line. I built and flew control line models throughout my high school days.
Through my experience with model aviation I was lead to attend North Carolina State College (now University) and obtained a degree in aeronautical engineering. I am now retired from a 40 year career with Pratt & Whitney. Because of college, work and family I was away from model aviation until 1990. By that time RC had arrived and model aviation was quite different. I’m not very good at flying but enjoy building. However, recently am flying mostly already built foam planes. I have no interest in competition and fly just for fun.
As you can see model aviation has had a profound effect on my career and thus my whole life.