Thu, May 31, 2012
Champion Free Flight And Radio Control Modeler Was 89
One of the Academy of Model Aeronautics and aeromodeling legends has passed away. Bill Northrop, 89, was a champion free flight and radio control competitor, columnist, publisher and model builder in an aeromodeling career that began in 1936, the same year AMA was founded, when he was 14 years old.
Northrop was honored for his lifetime achievements with an induction into the Academy’s Hall of Fame in 1988. One of his notable accomplishments was in the World Radio Control Record Trials in 1965 at the Dahlgren, Virginia, Naval Weapons Lab. He set a record of 16,610 feet, considered a world record for all model aircraft, previously held by a Russian free flight model at slightly more than 14,000 feet.
While working as an architectural engineer for Hercules, Bill was a regular contributor to Model Airplane News and Air Trails, including contest reports and construction articles. He became the radio control editor for four years for Model Airplane News in the mid-late 1960s. In 1971 he established Model Builder magazine, which was published for the next 25 years. He also owned and operated Bill Northrop’s Plans Service, which featured the plans from Model Builder.
Northrop and his wife, Anita, founded the International Modeler Show, which began at the Los Angeles Convention Center in 1978. They moved the annual exposition to Pasadena where it was held for the next 20 years. In 1998, the Northrops sold the show to the AMA. The Academy continues to hold the West Coast exposition to this day, convening at the Ontario CA Convention Center every January.
Northrop’s aeromodeling career spanned the full organizational life of the AMA and has left an indelible mark on the evolution of the hobby and sport now pursued by more than 143,000 AMA members across the nation. Funeral arrangements are pending.
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