Model airplane fans show off their work on 1951 day out in these nostalgic photos 

Those magnificent men (and women) and their flying machines: Model airplane fans show off their work on 1951 day out in these nostalgic photos

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Glorious photos from the 1950s depict model aeroplane enthusiasts and their families enjoying a day out showing off their work. 

Taken on a sunny day in Gravesend in Kent in 1951, the images show an eager group of model-makers winding up a propeller for flight, breathless spectators ducking out of the way of an out-of-control plane, and two men making minute adjustments to their beloved craft.

The nostalgic shots also include a group of women enjoying a board game alongside their pristine motorcar and an enthusiast tracking the progress of his ‘kite’ with the aid of a spyglass.

The Kite and Model Aeroplane Association, the first flying club of its type in the UK, began in 1909, just six years after the Wright brothers took to the air in their landmark first flight.

Aeromodelling Clubs, whose members often referred to themselves as ‘aeronauts’, became more popular in the mid-20th Century, especially as commercial flight became increasingly affordable in the 1950s.

Before plastic kits became the norm, most planes would have been made with wood, rubber or metal. The propellers would be hand wound before flying and certain models could be controlled from the ground by string held by the aircraft’s pilot.

Taken on a sunny day in Gravesend in 1951, these nostalgic photos show model aeroplane enthusiasts showing off their work in front of an appreciative crowd. Pictured on the left is a plane nearly skimming the runway
A woman carries hers along the tarmac

Taken on a sunny day in Gravesend in 1951, these nostalgic photos show model aeroplane enthusiasts showing off their work in front of an appreciative crowd. Pictured on the left is a plane nearly skimming the runway while on the right a woman carries hers nose down 

The nostalgic shots an enthusiast tracking the progress of his 'kite' with the aid of a spyglass while standing on his classic car 

The nostalgic shots an enthusiast tracking the progress of his ‘kite’ with the aid of a spyglass while standing on his classic car 

The Kite and Model Aeroplane Association, the first flying club of its type in the UK, began in 1909, just six years after the Wright brothers took to the air in their landmark first flight. Its members are seen in these photos 

The Kite and Model Aeroplane Association, the first flying club of its type in the UK, began in 1909, just six years after the Wright brothers took to the air in their landmark first flight. Its members are seen in these photos 

A day out flying model planes at the airfield was a great bonding experience, and these photographs show people of all ages taking part 

A day out flying model planes at the airfield was a great bonding experience, and these photographs show people of all ages taking part 

Children examining their owl aircraft in the parched grassland around the airfield before propelling it into the Kent sky 

Children examining their owl aircraft in the parched grassland around the airfield before propelling it into the Kent sky 

Aeromodelling Clubs, whose members often referred to themselves as ‘aeronauts’, became more popular in the mid-20th Century, especially as commercial flight became increasingly affordable in the 1950s. Pictured: A man tinkers with his model

Aeromodelling Clubs, whose members often referred to themselves as ‘aeronauts’, became more popular in the mid-20th Century, especially as commercial flight became increasingly affordable in the 1950s. Pictured: A man tinkers with his model

Before plastic kits became the norm, most planes would have been made with wood, rubber or metal. Pictured is a boy applying paint to his model 

Before plastic kits became the norm, most planes would have been made with wood, rubber or metal. Pictured is a boy applying paint to his model 

Two model airplane enthusiasts tinker with a large propeller inside a tented workshop at the airfield in Gravesend, Kent 

Two model airplane enthusiasts tinker with a large propeller inside a tented workshop at the airfield in Gravesend, Kent 

A curious child inspects the cardboard packaging of a model aircraft, showing how the hobby was popular with people of all ages 

A curious child inspects the cardboard packaging of a model aircraft, showing how the hobby was popular with people of all ages 

The model planes were sometimes very large, as this image of two men inspecting one of the models shows 

The model planes were sometimes very large, as this image of two men inspecting one of the models shows 

A group of women enjoying a board game alongside their pristine motorcar. The evening newspaper can be seen by their side, along with a radio 

A group of women enjoying a board game alongside their pristine motorcar. The evening newspaper can be seen by their side, along with a radio 

The flights did not always go to plan. In this image, a line of spectators attempts to duck out of the way of an out-of-control model 

The flights did not always go to plan. In this image, a line of spectators attempts to duck out of the way of an out-of-control model 

A plane in flight
The propellers would be hand wound before flying and certain models could be controlled from the ground by string held by the aircraft’s pilot

The propellers would be hand wound before flying (right) and certain models could be controlled from the ground by string held by the aircraft’s pilot. Pictured left: A plane in flight 

Transporting the models to and from the shows took perseverance and a deft hand - this man transported his in a cardboard box attacked to his back by cords 

Transporting the models to and from the shows took perseverance and a deft hand – this man transported his in a cardboard box attacked to his back by cords 

One enthusiast (right) winds up a propeller while the other holds the aircraft shortly before it would have been thrown into the air 

One enthusiast (right) winds up a propeller while the other holds the aircraft shortly before it would have been thrown into the air 

The sport remains popular in 2019 with around 780 affiliated clubs across the UK with a combined membership of over 36,000 members of the British Model Flying Association

The sport remains popular in 2019 with around 780 affiliated clubs across the UK with a combined membership of over 36,000 members of the British Model Flying Association

Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon, was well known for his love of flying model aircrafts. Pictured: People winding up their plane 

Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon, was well known for his love of flying model aircrafts. Pictured: People winding up their plane 

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