Since 1962 Northern Virginia Radio Control Club has been hosting contests and events for modelers and enthusiasts at a variety of fields in the NOVA area. Below are a selection of events pictures, membership records, and magazine articles about the rich history of the club sent in by past NVRC members and guests. If you have related materials to share, please contact webmaster Jon Pruett or post them on the NVRC RC Groups thread.
Membership rosters from 1967 and 1974 courtesy of Dave Plumpe
NVRC History Article by Dave Plumpe
I’ve always suspected, but don’t know for sure, that NVRC grew out of a small (6 or 7?) group that used to meet in Bill Grogan’s apartment in Shirley Duke apartments and fly at Lynch’s Field on the north side of Rt 236 (Little River Turnpike), bisected by Braddock Rd. I remember Bill Grogan, Joe Tschirgi, and Harold “Pete” Peterson. I’d just got my driver’s license; the others were adults. In 1955 Bill (“Mr. Grogan”) designed a receiver using 2 of the new subminiature vacuum tubes (probably RK61s and/or 1AG4s) and gave me one in return for helping him build a batch and building for him a Sterling Monterey boat kit. The field was probably a mile long, along rt.236, and half a mile wide, with a small hill in the middle and one large oak tree on top. We’d park under the tree, place our transmitters on the car roofs, and have someone hand-launch/throw our planes down the slope. Mine was a Trixter Beam with K&B .15, Bill Grogan’s rcvr, and bang-bang sortofproportional rudder. Every one of my flights terminated with loss of control, rudder locked left from loss of signal, spinning into the ground and breaking a prop but nothing else – probably because I was too cheap to buy new batteries or a voltmeter. In this huge field (which became Pinecrest Golf Course, then houses & buildings) you’d be surprised how many others’ flights ended in that oak tree. I was lucky to just break a prop.
Anyway, my folks moved out of the area at the end of 1955, school and girls interfered, and I didn’t re-enter RC till 1967 and joined NVRC. They’d just got permission from the developer of the new Sterling Park development to use a field he didn’t plan to use for some years, so we bit the bullet and paid big $ for an asphalt runway. I flew a Lil’ Esquire with Cox Medallion .09 and kit-built Digitrio propo gear. Wow! 3-channels, all proportional! You just move the stick and the rudder, elevator and throttle follow like magic!
Of course, after that summer, the Sterling Park developer changed his mind and decided to build a shopping center on our field. Shucks. We had several temporary fields after that, including a gravel pit at Ft. Belvoir, I think, and a farmer’s field way out Braddock Rd, which was gravel west of Rt. 123 (Burke Lake Rd.). Later we got use of the field at Arcola. What a great field! Many great memories there!
We used to meet in members’ houses and I just know I have a photo somewhere of a meeting at my house in 1967, but it eludes me now. Highlights for me were the club auctions, building contests and picnics. Family and career interfered with my RC in the late 70s and my flying mostly dried up, though I remained a member for many years after that. In 1995 we retired and moved here in SC, where I fly several times a week with great guys, but nothing like NVRC. I’m a builder, so my minivan usually holds 7 or 8 planes, ranging from small electrics like Hurst Bowers’ 39” Flyline Kinner Sportster to 6ft glows like Chuck Hollinger’s Fairchild PT-19 with OS FS48 and his J-3 Cub with OS FS26.
I attach a couple of early membership lists and some building contest and picnic photos. I remember a lot of the names on the lists, but ran across only a few in later years, including Hurst Bowers, Ernie Greene and Pete Peterson. In fact, Pete worked for me in later years at the David Taylor Model Basin (now Naval Surface Warfare Center) in Carderock MD. Notice how the club grew between the 1967 and 1974 lists! That likely had a lot to do with Arcola.
I really miss you guys! Still, I occasionally check up on you here at RCGroups. – Dave Plumpe, Dec 2019
1967 Airforce Intelligence Report on NVRC Asphalt Runway