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History Modusa

MODUSA – History
Relying on memory and not checking through all the old paperwork, Modusa & Co came into being in 1990/91 (or was it 1989/90) largely due to Tony Drago of Control Line Classics of Ca USA. My initial contact with Tony was to buy a few of his kits. Soon after, a holiday visit to LA, a couple of telephone conversations with Tony and he asks me if I could help him out to sell his kits in the UK. Eventually I agreed to do so, which was the start of Modusa & Co.

The name Modusa is short form for MODELS USA.

Other than kits, Tony was able to supply a considerable number of other kits and accessories such as, kits by SIG, Goldberg,& Sterling, Smith’s fuel tanks, SIG lines, handles, Midwest Elevator/Flap horns, Perfect aluminum Bell-cranks etc.

AJ’s Free Flight Service - Fresno, Ca., (All American Snr, Magician, Imitation, Barnstormer), Bill Larue of Hobby Enterprises/Classic Air - in Florida – (Stuka, Nobler, Squaw, T’Bird, Juno, Hi Johnson Stuka, Warrior, Stunt Wagon, Stiletto, Argus, Novi 4, Super Duper Zilch, Cobra, Smoothie, Black Tiger) added a huge range of kits to the portfolio of product handled by MODUSA. Not content with this number of product, Custom Models came on stream in 1991/92. On the engine side we started selling Merco product and some inexpensive 2.5cc engines from Russia. The Russian engines were supplied to us via Australia!!!

It wasn’t very long before we started doing business with the very large model Distribution Company Pan American in Miami. Come June 92, Addie and James of AJ’s Free Flight had sold out to Golden State Models, Bill Larue was bought out by Pan American. By this time the MODUSA Catalogue was much sought after as it was in excess of 80 pages and was much more than just a catalogue. Twelve months on and Tony Drago sells Control Line Classics to John Brodak. It was around this time that I discover the Super Tigre 51 C/L engine quite by chance when visiting the offices of Aeromodeller Magazine. Noticing that the timing of the engine was different to that of the R/C engine, I started promoting the engine and soon it was quite a success but supplies was unpredictable despite the best efforts of Mike Callaghan of Chart Hobby Distributors in the UK. An interesting new comer on the scene of kits suppliers was Aero-Engineering of Birmingham Alabama who offered the full range of VECO kits purportedly made from the original dies from the VECO company. In 1994 the price for the Thunderbird kit is US$100.

Having tried selling modified Super Tigre G34 engines, I was pointed in the direction of Stalker by Roger Ladds who had heard about these engines from UK’s No1 flyer Bill Draper who had purchased one of the 55MK1’s at the European Competition. This was the start of the Stalker-Modusa partnership. Roy Cherry was our very first customer of Stalker Modusa engines. He bought a 55RE MKI which he used to good effect that year at the UK Nationals. That engine continues to give good service 10 years on, and helped him to win the F2B event at the 2000 Nationals.

Ten years on and I find that we are probably the largest supplier of control line stunt engines of recent years both in numbers sold and range of engines. We believe we are first and probably still the only company to manufacture and supply Carbon Fiber spinners. The original design that conformed to FAI regulations was not that well received so we decided to cease production of this MK1 design. The current range consists of two 2” spinners, VECO style long and short with two further spinners due to come out later this year. Our carbon fiber props are second to none and of a quality and performance to be envied.

1999/2000 we release of the world's first CF on GF composite take apart C/L stunt model and at prices well below that charged by others for arguably lesser specified product made with Balsa/GF. At this point in time others are still in the pen on paper mode trying to achieve the upper/lower molded shell construction of the Arkusha A-47. All of the components for the model are molded, not simply machined from standard sheet material. Check out the model and figure out the number of moulds needed to manufacture the A-47. Production is slow and asks for patience and cause of frustration for us and our customers.

The kit side of the business has declined as most of the suppliers in the US have just given up. I said business – well this has never been a business just a hobby to help C/L Aerobatics. It has never paid me a penny for my time and it has just about covered direct costs in the past two years, prior to which I have had to dig deep into my own pocket to cover costs that mounted up. I can fully understand why so many gave up in the end. We owe thanks to the likes of Tony Drago, Bill Larue, Addie & James, Bill Hopkins, Doc Passen amongst others, so let not forget.

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