A fine vintage 1950 model of the early US Navy OL-8 amphibean biplane.
Loening was a pioneer in the development of seaplanes and amphibean aircraft and his designs were flying at the time of WW-I. In 1923 the first Loening Amphibean appeared and examples were purchased by the US Navy for scouting and observation operations. In the course of the ’20s this radial engine version, the OL-8, appeared and twenty of them were built. These aircraft were used for the Alaskan Arial survey of 1923. The OL-8 was also used to fly relief missions after the 1928 earthquake in Haiti. In the early 1930s Loening became a part of the new Grumman Aircraft Company which became one of the most famous designers and builders of aircraft in the USA.
The Loening was a fascinating early amphibean and a fine example of 1920s aircraft design. Please see the links below for photos and descriptions of the actual aircraft:
Though a very neat and interesting looking aircraft very few fine models of the Loening Amphibean were built. This vintage model, built circa 1950, is built on a wooden frame covered with typical model aircraft paper – the prime material for building flying models of the period – and is fitted with a ‘glow plug’ ignition gas engine of the period.
This model was also intended to carry one of the earliest radio control units available. These R/C units were simple one function designs and on this model could control only the right/left movement of the rudder. This OL-8 was built as a ‘free flight’ model in that its ‘pilot’ launched it by hand (when he could get the engine started) and by use of the R/C control the plane would fly in a circle in a large field and, when out of gas, land on a flat smooth grass surface. Though the bottom hull surfaces of this madel were somewhat reinforced, and biplanes can glide well, a successful free flight landing for this model would have been a gamble, and a water landing + recovery in one piece probably not possible.
We suspect the builder of this fine and highly detailed scale model never flew it since the model is in excellent original condition with original paint, USN markings, and pilot plus observer in the cockpit. The engine detail is excellent with the cylinder of the working engine fitted among the modeled radial engine cylinders, the wing and tail reinforcing wires were also rigged. The radio control unit is not present and we guess the highly skilled modeler who built this OL-8 decided the fun of flying it was not worth the risk of its destruction and never put the R/C unit in the fuselage. The majority of 1950s flying models were delicate and one bad landing would finish them. Consequently very few vintage flying airplane models have survived – especially one of this rare type and quality.
Dimensions: 38″ long x 45″ wingspan