Tolland County Model Aircraft Club
Tolland County Model Aircraft Club

About Us

Howard's Early History Of The NEDS
(put together in 2011 by Jim Knox from notes and photos supplied by Howard Ogushwitz)

Keeping in mind that I alternated flying models (5 to 10 years) with going off and flying full-sized aircraft (5 to 10 years), depending on where my jobs took me and what I was doing, this is what I remember.

We had an early youth modeling club in Willimantic CT in about 1938 called the Windham Model Aero Club.  It was for rubber powered models. Bill Bacon was a member of this club and would remember more than I do because I went off to study aeronautics at NYU in New York.  We have records of this club's activities in Model Airplane News magazine of April, 1938 (page 57)*.

Another local group of model enthusiasts (Ray Hamel, Larry Shaw, Paul Lambert, Dick Spenser, Walter Bub and others) met at Recreation Park in Willimantic. They had gotten permission to put on a control line flying demo at the park in the summer of 1950. A month later my sons and I had built a gas-powered control-line model, and we found that this group had scheduled another session at the park.  We joined them. We crashed, and we started discussing the formation of a club.

NEDS was formed in 1952, about 6 years after I left the service in 1946. The "North East Drone Society" or "New England Drone Society" was named by Ray Hamil.  The Founding Fathers were Ray, Larry Shaw, Paul Lambert, Howard Ogushwitz, and Walter Bub. Some of the earlier members included Dan Spencer, Gene Abel, John Drum. It started as a free flight, control line, gas and rubber powered group and slowly went to radio control. NEDS became an incorporated, non-profit organization around 1967 (one of our members was a lawyer).  Our papers of incorporation were signed by the late Governor Ella Grasso when she was Secretary of State.  Some of the incorporators were Larry Shaw, Ray Hamel and Walter Bub. One of our bi-laws stipulates that to be a member, or to fly with our club, one must be a member of the AMA, which provides each member with liability insurance and has strict rules of safety.  We flew our model airplanes wherever we could do it legally and safely.

It was around 1959 that we got permission to fly in the Mansfield Hollow State Park at the ball diamond and picnic area at Engineer's Field.  The park was sparsely used at this time and so it was fairly safe.  We were getting into radio control but the equipment was not totally reliable so we were very careful.  In the early 70's we asked for the dam area we now use.  I think Ella Grasso (as Governor) was involved.  The Park Supervisor suggested the flood plain behind the Mansfield Hollow Dam. With the help of the Corp of Engineers, we laid out and improved an area to fly from and have been flying there ever since.  The club now mows and keeps the area clean, with no State expenditure for this. When other clubs moved in (model speed boats, sail boats, canoes), we all got together and worked out a yearly schedule that was given to the Park ranger.

There are two reasons for the odd-day fly rule in Mansfield. First, we had some complaints about noise from neighbors in Mansfield Hollow. Second, another complaint from a kid's parent. A youngster (12-15 yrs old) came on the field to watch activities and ask questions.  Our guys made stupid remarks.  The kid told his family who lived nearby.  A fight started over these complaints, and, after a Mansfield town meeting and some helpful phone calls by Governor O'Neill, who was a personal friend of the father of one of our members, Al Sepia, we negotiated a compromise having us flying gas power on odd days only.  The whole thing could have been prevented by "courtesy".  We might have done something smart like inviting families concerned to fly with us and try out the hobby. Otherwise, our use and care of the field has been impeccable for 55 years, and we have had no complaints from the Mansfield Hollow neighborhood since then.

As a result of that incident in Mansfield, a second field was offered to us in the Nathan Hale State Forest in Coventry for flying on the even-numbered days. The club began use of this field (Truman Meadows) by paying a rental fee of $300 per year, and we also maintained it.  It was agreed that quiet gliders and electric-powered planes may be flown on any day at both fields.

*(Jim's note: There is also a news article a month later in the Hartford Courant of May 22, 1938, saying that "Harold Ogushwitz of Willimantic was elected president of the Connecticut Model Airplane Association (presumably the state-wide club) at the annual spring meeting held at the Hartford YMCA." .. "Plans were discussed for the tenth annual meet, oldest one of its type in the country, to be held at Rentschler field."  .. "The affair will culminate with a dinner, at which Igor Sikorsky, world famous aeronautical engineer, will be the guest speaker."  Howard would have been 15 at the time he was elected! See photo.)

What got you into RC?

Cliff M.

              I used to fly control line long ago. When I retired I put RC on my "bucket list" and it's still here.

I am still dreaming about flying the Carbon Z Cub that's up in my barn when I gain enough confidence. I also want to fly a Biplane some time.


Mike S.

              It all started in 1965 when I was 5 years father and I would go see my uncle pylon race at the Granby field (aka NCRCC) he was one of the founders of the ever since that time I always said someday I want to fly a rc here I am 51 years later with a fleet of 32 airplanes, helicopters...etc, and yep.....flying!!!!!.this is a contagious fever!!!!


Curt G.

About 35 years ago I saw a guy flying a fast RC plane from a beach and out over a lake. That was the catalyst to my interest.  

What is your dream aircraft to fly?  Whatever I am going to build next. 


Rich P.

I think what got me into RC was an overall fascination with aviation in general. That and I've always been fascinated with miniature versions of planes, cars, boats and trains. I built models of all of them as a kid.

I started in RC aircraft in 1980 with a Sig Cadet after playing around with some control line planes.


My dream RC to fly would be a B17 with about a 12' wingspan and "Geronimo" painted on the nose.


Dave M.

What got you into RC? In 1985, I  purchased a Guillows Hellcat F-6F balsa and tissue paper kit for my son. When I realized it would be to difficult for him Santa gave it to me. After assembly, I consulted with an RC friend in the hobby about an engine for it. He recommended I hang it up as a display model and buy a Sig Kadet LT 40 Trainer to get into RC flying.

What is your dream aircraft to fly? On my bucket list is some stick time in a Supermarine Spitfire trainer (with the two cockpit layout). There is one in Colorado and it only costs $3,500 for a half hour…


Fred M.

I started building Guillows kits in 1940 at age 6 & bought my first O&R 23 in 1942 for a Comet Zipper. Free flight.  I joined the RC Propbusters in 1942 & have competed in FF & Control Line Stunt, Cl A speed & Combat.  I soloed in a full scale J2 Cub on floats on the Thames River in 1950, flew my first RC model (rudder only) in 1951,was an AF MATS Navigator from 54-58, took a holiday from the hobby from 58-94 to get a BSEE & MSEE, pursued a career in Aerospace & Semiconductors, & have been an avid RC guy ever since 94.

I like to fly any kind of RC Plane, especially my 1/4 scale Proctor Nieuport 28 C1 but for full scale it would be the SR-71.


Chick S. 

              Started building free flight and control line airplanes purchased at Joes Key way in Willimantic (anyone remember that place) then got into R/c with advice from Ed Miner (hobby shop in Willimantic) and Ray Hammel (r/c hobby shop in Columbia) 2 clubs at that time NEDS and CAMS (Chaplin Air modeled) Ned's flew at Mansfield and Chaplin flew at the Chaplin town hall. One of the clubs also had a temporary field off of Rt 207 in Lebanon. I can remember being 16 years old (1971)and at the time I played in a folk group at Saint Joseph's Church in Willimantic at 11 ocklock mass on Sundays. UNfortunately for me the club members flew every Sunday AM from 9 to 12. Needless to say by the time I got there after mass everyone was gone and after waiting an hour or so for an instructor I would try to fly myself with my old Heathkit radio and whatever pieced together plane that I had. Took me several weeks, crashes and lost planes but finally got myself flying. The planes I learned to fly on were, Andrews H ray, A ray, Carl Goldberg 62" Skylane and a scale Pete n Paul. Later in life bought the Hobby shop from Dave Brown and ran R/C Hobby House in Columbia for several years. Built and flew all types of models including giant scale and Helicopters. Became a full scale pilot with private, commercial and multi engine ratings, (950 hours) certified aircraft appraiser and aircraft dealer license. Owned many full scale planes including a Piper Seneca that I flew all over the country. Out of full scale now and after a 15-20 year absence back into R/C a hobby that you can enjoy from teen thru retirement years. Look forward to seeing you all at the field.


George H.

It was the year 1954, I was 8 years old and sick in bed with double pneumonia that's when I was first introduced to model aviation. On his way home from my Dad would stop at the

local hobby store back then known as Joe's Key Way, and  bring me home a rubber band powered airplane that you had to build, and watch glue dry. He did that for several weeks, and by the time I was all better I had a quite a collection of airplanes. Then I use to visit the hobby store all the time seeing it was one street over from where I lived. Then I was introduced to U control and I did that up into my high school years, at which time I lost interest for a period of time, until I entered the Army that's when I was stationed in Huntsville, Alabama (REDSTONE ARSENAL) and got my first taste of RC. At the other end of the base there was an abandoned airport which was occupied by NASA, and there was a model airplane club that use to fly model radio control airplanes there. The club was and still is known as The RCRC (ROCKET CITY RADIO CONTROL)CLUB.In the 1960's they were using pulse radios, one comes to mind as the "GALLOPING GHOST" series .


I had met a member of that club who was an Engineer at NASA and he took me under his wing like a older Son he never had,and gave me a complete r c system & trainer plane and all,and so started me off on learning how to fly r c. Then a few months later I got orders for Southeast Asia,so the hobby was put on hold again. 


Upon returning, got back in the hobby and built my first plane a SIG "Kadet" a 3 channel plane that's when I joined the "NEDS" the year was 1971,then dropped out in 1979,had to put the hobby on hold, I got back in it 1986 and been with it ever since.


Contact Us Today!

Tolland County Model Aircraft Club:

Next meeting: Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 10:00am.  We will be at the Coventry Flying Field!

NEDS Membership & Renewal Form (OLD STYLE)
neds renewal.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [171.2 KB]
2018 TCMAC Field Logs
Field Log.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [85.6 KB]
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