Vintage model airplane on display at visitor center

To commemorate the holiday season and give exposure to a remote-controlled airplane club based in Seymour, a restored vintage model plane recently went on display at the Jackson County Visitor Center.

The model airplane arrived at the center at 100 N. Broadway St., Seymour, courtesy of the Southern Indiana Flying Eagles remote-controlled airplane club and member Russ Kuhn.

Kuhn recently finished restoring the model of a Curtiss Robin monoplane after working on it for a little more than a year. He also restored the WWI fighter Fokker D.VII model airplane that is hanging inside Larrison’s Diner in Seymour.

“I just finished a restoration on a plane that was given to me by one of the club members,” he said. “We want to display it both as kind of a holiday attraction for the visitors but also to let folks know that there is a radio-controlled club here in town that’s very active. We’d like to invite people to come and watch us fly.”

Growing up, Kuhn said his father worked on model airplanes in the 1940s and ’50s, and his family would go to small airports to fly them when they could.

The model airplane hobby was passed down to Kuhn from his father because of how much he listened to his dad talk about how much he liked them.

The model was first released in a kit by the Comet Model and Supply Co. in 1937 and sold for $4.95. It is a replica of the Curtiss Robin, a high-wing monoplane made by Curtiss-Robertson Airplane Manufacturing Co. in 1928.

Kuhn said the Curtiss Robin was typically used for private and business trips because of how much faster it could fly for travel. It also was his father’s favorite airplane.

When the airplane was given to Kuhn, it had been sitting in pieces in an attic for 30 years.

Kuhn said he’s anxious to see what the club member who gave him the model airplane parts will think of the display.

The restoration process consisted of deconstructing the airplane down to the framework and rebuilding it.

A new material that Kuhn had to work with was the tissue to use as covering for the wings of the plane. He said he hadn’t used tissue when restoring a model airplane in a long time and tried to get the airplane colors as accurate as he could to the original.

The model airplane is a free flight. Once the engine is started and a timer is set, the plane will take off and land on its own. The Curtiss Robin model also was gas-powered.

Mark Kottey, a Southern Indiana Flying Eagles club member, hung the model airplane for display at the visitor center. He said having the model airplane on display lets people know about the club and also how model aviation has been around for nearly 100 years.

Bob Bast of Seymour, another club member, also came along to see the model airplane go up. He said he thought it looked great.

The club does not have any events planned currently, but it’s always active during the summer, Bast said.

One event that’s expected to happen is a day to fly radio-controlled model airplanes on Memorial Day weekend in memory of members who have passed away. Earlier this year, that event was canceled due to inclement weather.

Club members also expect to have an event in the first week in August.

The Southern Indiana Flying Eagle model airplane club is a charter member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics.