NVRC History

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.

Article from 1967 NVRC “Feedback” Newsletter on NVRC Origins

Membership rosters from 1967 and 1974 courtesy of Dave Plumpe

NVRC Aug 1967 Membership Roster
NVRC Apr 1974 Membership Roster

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

1967 NVRC Field Photo Interpretation
1967 NVRC Field Photo Interpretation
Jan 1968 Radio Control Modeler Article
NVRC VP John Roach with his Bill Winter’s designed Miss America
NVRC Arcola Field, 1971
26 March 1971 Building Contest
Dave Plumpe in the white shirt with his winning Top Flite SE5a at lower right 
26 March 1971 Building Contest
Dave again at lower left, Pete Peterson at lower right, arms folded)
July 11 1971 NVRC Picnic
Featuring Dave’s wife Ellen & 14 mo
NVRC Arcola Field, October 1971
24 March 1972 Building Contest
Hurst Bowers carying drink
24 March 1972 Building Contest
24 March 1972 Building Contest
Hurst Bowers & Dave Plumpe’s winning VK Fokker Triplane
NVRC Members Luther Hux, Bert, and others at
Smithsonian Air and Space Show and Tell Event
NVRC 1972
NVRC 1972 Bob Burnett’s Antic
NVRC Arcola Field 1973
NVRC Fun Fly 1973
NVRC Fun Fly Arcola 1973
1973 Aeromaster by Walt Keating
1973 Valley Flyer by Walt Keating and Bob Scott Hi-Lo
1975 Claude and Ken Egge Skylark Twin
1975 Claude Tanner
NVRC 1975
NVRC 1975
1976 Build Contest at old Coke Plant
1976 Build Contest at old Coke Plant
1976 Build Contest at old Coke Plant
1976 Build Contest at old Coke Plant
1976 Build Contest at old Coke Plant
1976 Build Contest at old Coke Plant
1976 Build Contest at old Coke Plant
1976 Build Contest at old Coke Plant
1977 Build Contest
1977 Build Contest B25 by Rick Davis
1977 Build Contest F-5 by Bill Hinnant
1977 Build Contest T28 by Walt Keating
1977 Build Contest Waco by Walt Keating
1977 Build Contest
NVRC Fun Fly 1982 Arcola Field
Bill Winter and Vagabond
NVRC Arcola Field 1982
Dirty Birdie 1982 NVRC Arcola Field
Aeromaster 1982 NVRC Arcola Field
Bob Hundemer & Brian B at NVRC Arcola Field early 1990s
History & Traditions Continue!
Northern Virginia Vintage Radio Control Society Chapter 1st Fly & Tell
September 2019 Poplar Ford Field