Received your Email re: early T.R. and the FAST Club. Thanks to all of those who assisted and helped direct you to this address. Will start to answer some of the questions but all will take some time and prehaps done better by regular mail, we shall have to see.
First - guilty as charged, I am the Keith Storey who helped form the FAST Club and participated in control-line speed contests, etc., etc.. That's where the FAST comes from - First All Speed Team. Les McBrayer, Norm Morgan, myself and several others from the Pasadena / Alhambra ( Calif) area got together to share ideas and assist one another at contests. That was early in the 1946. We would really act as a team, helping start, launch, time and signal in for timing each other - all around. It was really great to see how quickly we learned more, increased our performances, and how many records we were able to set by doing this. It was more fun also !!!
About 1948 we started thinking about competition based on plane against plane, pilot against pilot, ground crew against ground crew with four planes in the air at one time. We were tired of just the stop watch being the "competition". So we started fooling around with the ideas that eventually became the first trial specs for the event. We put a small engine on a fairly good sized plane to keep speeds down. We demanded that the model represent or look like something real, that had been flown or could be flown. (Competition does not depend on speed, right.) We were looking for controllability and general operation consistent with simultaneous group starts and flights that would include passing one another and refueling as part of the challenge.
The club built test models, flew them to establish the real parameters, then held several contests to see how the other modelers would take to the idea.. Well, we were very pleasantly surprised. So our next step was to take the idea back to the AMA powers that be. Les, Granger and Larry Williams and I went to the Nationals in 1948 were we demonstrated the event by holding some "races" on the tarmac of the Naval Air Station, Olathe, Kansas. The 24 inch thick concrete did not permit us to nail down the starting stooges in place as we did on asphalt, so we borrowed some good old 'green tape'. It worked, the flights worked, and we started the ball rolling for a new national event and one that would soon turn into an international event. AMA and FAI !!!
This first event was known as 'B' Team Racing and they started to fly it in 1950 I think. .29 cu in engines etc.etc... Our club made a perpetual trophy for the event that was given at the Nat's in 1950. Unfortunately, some speed freaks felt it was too slow. The rules were changed all the way around. You are right, I never dreamed that progress would up the speed to 130 mph. But you see it really did not !!! The planes are not at all what they started out to be, the engines have increased in size, the grouped simultaneous starts are not used at all now. WHY ? I doubt if the present flyers could do what was standard 50 years ago.. In a recent report from the FAI TR selection races here in Calif, the reporter quoted an entrant pilot as saying, "he never watches the races" unless it is one or two of his competitors. What a shame, all the races used to be fun to see and follow. But now, no one knows who it doing what, or leading, or catching-up or anyhing. The planes are little delta wings that don't resemble anything except a cut shape of balsa wood. No paint, no color...
It was in 1948 and '49 that I started talking up the idea of Radio Control Team Racing we called Pylon Racing. Of course there were not radio frequencies or radios capable of two or more in the air at a time, (except for some of the 'ham' bands).But, I kept saying that IF THE MODELERS REALLY WANTED an event, the manufacturers would get busy and provide the equipment necessary. The FAST Club ran C/L Team Racing contests at major meets locally and every other weekend on the parking of the Santa Anita Horse Racing facility. At the same time we wrote some tentative rules for Pylon, built and flew the models, and went through the same routine as with the C/L event. This was a very busy time time for us all. But FUN !!! Unfortunately, I did not keep and accurate record or a diary of the times, places and events. I sure kick myself now.
I also got involved with the operation of the AMA National meet winding up with my having sole responsibility two times. This led to the creation of the Nationals Executive Committee and my serving on that for some 17 years. I was elected AMA President four times during the same stretch.
A point of great interest, at last year's Nationals, there were some 16 or 17 events on the schedule that were direct decendants of TR - eg: plane against plane competition. They were in the C/L and R/C categories..... THAT I would not have believed. At the present time, there is a resurgence of 'B' TR here in Tucson AZ, in Auckland , New Zealand and elsehere. They look good, they fly good, they create an instant audience appeal and people, even pilots, want to watch the races.
Please send me your plain mail address Goran, and I will try to furnish more information and pictures as my time permits...
My very best to you, and smooooooooth landings,
Keith Storey, AMA # 9
A quick look at the FAST Club - We never had more than 12-14 members because we could then not meet at one another's homes. We never had officers or the like. Everyone had equal inputs. Sure it got diverse at times, but, that is how we came to presenting such a good format of contests, shows, charity events, and other special out-of-the-ordinary activities - all promoting modeling. Did you know we had a 1/2 A Team Race event? It was just that ! We made 1/2 A miniatures of our regular TR ships and flew them on about 18ft lines for indoor shows mainly. Six at a time ! Some fun. Of course we whipped them or held them back to make a good race show with the PA keeping audience interest high. It surely was a thrill to see them stacked up in a race, just like the National Air Races at Cleveland or Detroit.
Talk to you soon, and smooooooooth landings,
Keith Storey - AMA # 9