Building a Future for Distributors and Dealers of Building Products

January/February 2005                                Volume 44,  Issue 1

         Ultimate Hobbies

The Man Who Could Fly
Minature Plane Fan Still Flies High

by Samantha Carpenter

“Radio controlled airplanes have changed a lot as technology has advanced,” said Chris Monroe, vice president of marketing for Parkersburg, W.Va.-based Simonton Windows, of his 20-year-old hobby.

“Many of those technologies have come from military applications which have been transferred over to the industry,” he added.

Monroe grew up with an uncle who was in the Navy and flew radio-controlled drones for target practice. That’s how he got involved with the hobby.

“At the time, we had to build everything from blueprints, and the controls and engines were very crude compared to the model aircraft we have today,” Monroe said.

Monroe was 20 years old when he bought his first airplane; however, he was building control line airplanes and large gliders at age 13. 

While Monroe currently owns six planes, he admits that he has a favorite.

“It’s a Patty Wagstaff ¼ scale Extra 300. It has a five horse-power gas engine and swings a 24-inch prop,” Monroe explained. “Safety is key with the hobby since the planes today are simply miniature aircraft.”

Monroe says that his two sons—Sean, 8, and Michael, 6—are slowly becoming interested in the miniature planes, and his uncle still flies.

Monroe believes his hobby has taught him that it’s important to be part of a community and help provide activities that bring people together that share a common interest. It helps to build teamwork, he said.


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