JS: How did you become involved with model aviation?
JP: As a toddler, my aunt/babysitter would take me on afternoon strolls to Tex Foster’s hobby shop in Richmond Hills, Queens, New York. There, I would gaze in awe at all the wondrous flying creations hanging from the ceiling.
This led to the construction of the 10¢ stick-and-tissue models which were then (the mid-to-late 1930s) sold at almost every neighborhood cigar and candy store. My first successful gas model was a Scientific Flagship powered by a Brown Jr.
JS: How has model aviation impacted your life and/or career?
JP: After military service and college, model aviation led directly to my engineering career at Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. My first full-time job there was as an engineer designing wind tunnel models. What could be more appropriate?
JS: What disciplines of modeling do you currently participate in?
JP: As was the case with almost everyone in the 1930s and ’40s, my first aeromodeling activities were in the Free Flight discipline. In the 1950s and ’60s, I moved to Control Line flying, particularly Speed and Stunt. In the 1970s, I joined my two sons, both of whom attained Junior National Champion status at the Nats, back in the realm of both Indoor and Outdoor Free Flight. I continue avidly, my wife says obsessively, to this day.
JS: What are your other hobbies?
JP: My only other hobby has been photography. I particularly enjoyed it when we used film and did our creative work in a darkroom. With the digitalization of photography, I lost interest.
JS: Who (or what) has influenced you most?
JP: Model aviation in general and Tex Foster in particular. Tex, for mentoring me in my youth, and model aviation for fulfilling my dreams of a career in aviation.
JS: What advice would you give someone looking to get started in Free Flight?
JP: Live near a flying field! Or start with Indoor models so you’ll be able to fly more locally at school gyms and similar sites. Most important and emphatically, build your own models! The hobby is called model building, not just buy-and-fly your toys.
Building (and designing, too) is where the creativity lies. Thank goodness for the Sig Manufacturing and BMJR Models-type companies with their kits, and magazines such as MA with their construction articles who provide us with the means to enable real model building.
Finally, more of we old fellows should follow the example set by Rocco Ferrario and the Batik boys and mentor more youngsters.[dingbat]