It was about 1916 when young Jim, about 12 years old, researched and taught himself how to build model airplanes that really flew, and set up an assembly line in his basement to teach others how to build them. Within a short time, with the help of his friends, he was producing and selling ready-to fly models from his basement factory. This business ran successfully until he graduated from High School. Then, after a break of a few years he was back into production in the basement of his family house and with his brother Bill as a partner he started the Junior American Model Company.
In 1929 they moved into a larger facility with the help of local investors and changed the name to the American Junior Aircraft Company. In 1935, after buying the company from his investors, Jim became president and Bill took on the role of vice president and Jim's wife Dora became secretary/treasurer.
Jim Walker was always experimenting with new ideas and ways to improve the designs of his models. He developed the system of U-Control which he used to showcase his Fireball. He always drew a crowd wherever he went, and was known to interrupt traffic in large cities as he demonstrated his flying skills. Like a Pied Piper, kids were drawn to him and not be dissapointed by his generosity as he often gave away armloads of free planes.
A Jim Walker classic invention, the folding wing glider named the Army Interceptor saw action during World War II as did his radio controlled target drone. He developed the Sonic Control Glider which was responded to sound waves. He invented the worlds first radio control lawnmower, the first throttle control engines, and the U-Reely hand control.
The American Junior Aircraft Company turned out 232 million models during it's existence. A large step from that basement factory of a few years earlier.
Here in the Jim Walker Archives we will present stories and pictures of Jim Walker from those who remember him best. We will cover his American Junior Aircraft Company activities from the early years of the 1920's till his death in 1958. Jim Walker left quite a legacy as a showman, visionary, inventor and promoter of the sport of early model aviation. Our goal at American Junior Classics is to preserve this rich and colorful history.