THE SOCIETY OF MODEL AERONAUTICAL ENGINEERS
On 23rd January, 1909, forty enthusiasts met at the Caxton Hall, London, with a view to the formation of a kite flying association, Such an organisation was established and named "The Kite Flying Association of the United Kingdom". A prize for the best flight made by the most scientifically constructed kite was offered by Major Baden-Powell.
At the Olympia Exhibition held during March, 1909 a number of model aircraft were shown and this demonstration of the rapidly growing interest in model aviation was sufficient to persuade the Kite Flying Association to include model aircraft and at its general meeting on 14th February, 1910 it was proposed that the name be changed to "Model Aeroplane and Kite Flying Association of Great Britain". at their general meeting on 28th February, 1910, the name was changed to "The Kite and Model Aeroplane Association", the Secretary being Mr W.H. Akehurst.
The Kite and Model Aeroplane Association flourished until towards the end of 1920 when it declined. A rival organisation had been formed on 23rd March, 1910, the Aeromodels Association, but it did not continue in being for very long and, despite efforts to revive the Kite and Model Aeroplane Association, it became defunct in October, 1921.
Then on 8th December, 1921 a meeting of the core members of the old Kite and Model Aeroplane Association was convened, resulting in the formation of the London Aero-Models Association with A.E. Jones as Chairman and Hon. Secretary and R.E. Coleman was Hon. Treasurer. The Committee was constituted by the following : C.E. Lane, C.A. Rippon, J.E. Louch, A.B. Clark , R.E. Coleman. C.J. Burchell , D.A. Pavely, W.E. Evans, L.G. Hatfull, F. de P. Green and A. Wilson, A total of thirty-five people attended this meeting.
Mr A. Wilson became Chairman in early 1922 and Dr. A.P. Thurston accepted Presidency in the May of that year. Because it was realised that interest in model aviation was fast becoming more widespread in the United Kingdom, on 6th JuIy, 1922 it was proposed that the name of the Association should be changed to the Society of Model Aeronautical Engineers. Dr A.P. Thurston continued as President and in 1924 A.F. Houlberg was elected Chairman, C.B. Turner
Competition Secretary and B. K. Johnson Technical Secretary. A.E. Jones continued as Hon. Secretary.
The name Society of Model Aeronautical Engineers was registered during August, 1922 and at their meeting on 22nd November, 1922 under the Chairmanship of Lt. Col. J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon, the Royal Aero Club 'recognised the Society as the body to control Model Aeroplane Competitions, the
appointment to be for one year and to be reconsidered at the end of that period'. This approval was, of course, renewed.
After its formation in July, 1922, any reference to the S.M.A.E. was suffixed by (London Aero-Models Association). This practice continued until as late as October, 1925. One of the controversies during the early days of competition was the definition of a 'fuselage'. This was elucidated on 7th September, 1922, when the S.M.A.E. deemed that 'the minimum area of the maximum cross-section in square inches shall be the length of body in inches divided by five'.
During the 1920's meetings were held at the headquarters at the Red Lion Hotel, 20 Great Windmill Street. Piccadilly, London, W.1. many model aircraft clubs became affiliated to the S.M.A.E, and the general pattern of control was laid down.
In November 1925 B.K. Johnson became Hon. Secretary.
Apart from flying meetings, attention was paid to the social aspects of the Association. Smoking concerts were organised, also visits to full-size aviation meetings and construction companies.
During 1926-1927, the Wakefield International Trophy was presented by Sir Charles Wakefield who was instrumental in its acquisition. At this time, firm rules for competition were formulated.
By 1934, Lord Sempthill was President, Dr A.P. Thurston Vice-President and A.F. Houlberg continued as Chairman. The Hon. Secretary was S.G. Mullins, Hon. Treasurer W.E. Evans, Competition Secretary B.K. Johnson and Technical Secretary R.N. Bullock.
1936 saw the first occasion on which a British team
accompanied their models for a contest held abroad. this was the Wakefield Trophy at Detroit, U,S.A. It was won by Bert Judge of Great Britain. Dr A.P. Thurston assumed Presidency of the Society in 1937.
Despite the hardships during the war period, the S.M.A.E. continued to administer model aviation in a most successful manner and contributed a great deal towards the stimulating of airmlndedness in younger people and arranging entertainment for the public during the dark days.
Resulting from the rapid growth in aeromodelling during the war, the Society divided the country into areas in order that its affairs may be more efficiently conducted. In 1941, the journal of the S.M.A.E. 'Model Aircraft' first appeared, the publication of which continued until the 1970's.
The S.M.A.E. became a limited company when articles
were signed on 30th June, 1948. Sir Richard Fairey was President.