An extract from “The Development of Model Aviation” by Cdr. A. Greenhalgh RN (retd), published in BMFA News August 2012.


The first petrol-driven model as such to fly was built by D. A. Stanger in 1907 and flew in 1908. The Langley aircraft had flown in 1901. This model was built by subsidy from the U.S. Government and was a rebuild of his early steam driven models. The Stanger aircraft was specifically designed for a petrol engine. The engine itself was designed in 1905 and built in 1906. Tests were made and it was discovered that 1 1/3 HP was developed, driving a 28in diameter propeller at 1,300rpm. This engine powered the aircraft which first flew in 1908. It was a tractor biplane 8ft 2ins wing span and 6ft 4ins long and weighed 21lb.


The first record for petrol-driven models was held by a canard type biplane built by Mr. D. Stanger. This model was 8ft wing span and had a twin cylinder engine. The aircraft flew for 51 seconds when it vanished from sight finally being retrieved about a mile away from the point of take off.

Click on the links below for further articles on David Stanger, Model Aviator:

Flight - 28th May 1910

Flight - 25th April 1914

Model Aircraft - January 1959

Engine Collectors' Journal - 1969

Aeromodeller Annual 1969-70

SAM Speaks - 2001/02