Hangar 1 and ECIM History

Lakehurst Hangar 1 History

Lakehurst Hangar 1 was built in 1921 and used for the construction of rigid airships. On May 6th, 1937 Lakehurst was etched into history with the tragic fire of the worlds largest airship Germany's Hindenburg Zeppelin. Our club feels that properly accounting for the history of the base should be left to the professionals. So instead of reading accounts and writing about them here, we would like to offer the following link: www.nlhs.com

Navy Lakehurst Historical Society, Inc: This is a terrific site dedicated to preserving the history of the base. Here you will find all types of information on air ships, a detailed look at Hangar 1 and a terrific museum.

Navy Lakehurst Historical Society, Inc


East Coast Indoor Modelers History - Horace Hagen

In 1926, a small group of modelers were given permission by Commander Charles E. Rosendahl (the father of airship development in the U. S.) and base Commanding Officer E. S. Jackson, to use the newly finished Hangar 1 at Lakehurst for Indoor Free Flight (FF) aero modeling.

Between 1926 and 1930 Indoor Modeling was able to develop in this large space.  In 1931, the first major indoor FF competition was held in Hangar 1, hosted by the Lakehurst modeling group.  This event marks the founding of the East Coast Indoor Modelers (ECIM) club.  The original club logo was also developed in 1931.  The club was founded before our national aero modeling organization the ”Academy of Model Aeronautics” (AMA) was founded in 1936.  The AMA is the officially recognized aero modeling section of our National Aeronautics Association (NAA).  The AMA is the official US representative to the Federation Aeronautique International (FAI) the world wide organization governing all international aviation records and competitions.

Merrick “Pete” Andrews (1914-1992) was one of the originators and the founder of the club.  Among the many FF records he established here, he also helped to promote Indoor Modeling throughout the New Jersey and Philadelphia school systems.  Weekly building sessions were held at the major educational facilities and several department stores (such as John Wanamaker in Philadelphia).  Newspapers like the Philadelphia Inquirer published model airplane plans and competition results to help further the hobby.  Hangar 1 served as a haven to these aviators, where up to 200 young flyers would gather and compete.

Today's competition indoor free flight models are constructed of balsa wood, carbon fiber and are covered with tissue or film. They are powered by wound rubber bands and weigh only a few grams.  The international class FAI F1D models require great patience in construction and are used in local, regional, national and world championships.  Some models flown in Hangar 1 have won these events.  The club sponsors indoor competitions several times a year including a team selection competition prior to a World Championships.  National and World records have been set in Lakehurst Hangar 1.  The majority of the free flight modelers are serious competitors.

There were several gaps in our use of Hangar 1 throughout the years.  The most notable were the World War II years.  In 1953 a national competition was held in Hangar 1.  During that event one model achieved a record flight duration of 45 minutes.  The highlight for the club was the FAI F1D Indoor World Championship held in Hangar 5 in 1974.  The most recent short gap occurred right after the events of September 11, 2001.  More than 15 national records were set in Hangar 1 in 2007, with some models staying airborne for more than an hour on a single wind of the rubber "Motor".

In 1998 a few club members started flying small and light weight electric powered indoor Radio Control (RC) airplanes and the “ECIM RC Slow Flyers“ division was formed.  The R/C models must meet certain safety standards for maximum motor size, weight and speed and typically cannot be flown outdoors.  While most of the R/C slow flyers are recreational sport flyers there are a few who fly in FAI category F3P Indoor Aerobatics competitions.

Today, the ECIM club works in conjunction with several organizations to perpetuate this superb facility.  Being one of the oldest indoor modeling clubs in the world, we are very proud to continue our tradition at our original flying site.  Some of our present members have been flying here for over 50 years!!

Our membership consists of folks from every walk of life.  We have retired professionals, retired military, military veterans and a few young people as well.  The ages range from 16 to 92 with a median age of 67.  At present, the club has 90 members with about 25 regularly flying R/C models in Hangar 1.  We all do our best to serve as an extra pair of eyes for the base security folks.

The ECIM club is most grateful to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst for their continued support of our activities.  Lakehurst Hangar 1 is a unique facility without which our club could not exist nor have accomplished the many records set here.  Many of our members also belong to the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society to help preserve historical Hangar 1.  For the last 10 years the club has made significant financial donations to the Navy Relief Fund and Navy Lakehurst Historical Society.  More recently we have made financial donations to the Air Force Aid Society.

The following table shows how successful our country's free flight modelers have been since the beginning of official FAI F1D World Championship competitions.  As shown our USA team has placed at every World Championship. These results are in no small measure due to the availability of Lakehurst Hangar 1. Most, if not all, of the team members were ECIM club members and have flown their models in Lakehurst Hangar 1.

  USA Results  
   Team Members  Medal
1961 Joe Bilgri, Bill Bigge, Carl Redlin Gold
1962 Carl Redlin, Bill Bigge, Dick Kowalski Bronze
1966 Joe Bilgri, Paul Romak, Frank Cummings Silver
1968 Jim Richmond, Clarence Mather, Al Rohrbaugh Silver
1970 Jim Richmond, Clarence Mather, Pete Andrews Silver
1972 Pete Andrews, Sal Canizzo, Paul Romak Silver
1974 Bucky Servaites, Ed Stoll, Larry Cailliau Silver
1976 Paul Romak, Bucky Servaites, Jim Richmond Gold
1978 Jim Richmond, William Hulbert, Dan Domina Silver
1880 Erv Rodemski, Jim Richmond, Ray Harlan, Pete Andrews Gold
1982 Jim Richmond, Cezar Banks, Ray Harlan Bronze
1984 Jim Richmond, Cezar Banks, Bob Randolph Gold
1986 Jim Richmond, Cezar Banks, Bob Randolph, Larry Cailliau Gold
1988 Jim Richmond, Cezar Banks, Steve Brown, Paul Romak Gold
1990 Jim Richmond, Cezar Banks, Bob Randolph, Larry Cailliau Gold
1992 Cezar Banks, Richard Doig, Larry Louka Silver
1994 Steve Brown, Cezar Banks, Bob Randolph Gold
1996 Steve Brown,Cezar  Banks, Gary Underwood, Jake Palmer Gold
1998 Steve Brown, Jim Richmond, Larry Coslick, Bob Randolph Silver
2000 John Kagan, Jim Richmond, Larry Coslick Gold
2002 Jim Richmond, John Kagan, Larry Cailliau Gold
2004 Jim Richmond, John Kagan, Tom Sova, Steve Brown Bronze
2006 Larry Cailliau, Brett Sanborn, John Kagan Silver
2008 John Kagan, Jim Richmond, Doug Schaefer Gold
2010 John Kagan, Brett Sanborn, Steve Brown Gold
2012 Brett Sanborn, John Kagan, Nick Ray Gold
2014 Kang Lee, Brett Sanborn, John Kagan Gold
2016 Kang Lee, John Kagan, Brett Sanborn, Joshua Finn Silver
2018 Brett Sanborn, Jake Palmer, John Kagan Gold