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Meet the Staff of Flying Models Magazine

Thayer Syme, EditorThayer Syme, Editor

There is not a time in his life when Thayer does not remember actively building something, often of his own design. The inevitable plastic models were joined by a varied assortment of original projects ranging from models of a Roman catapult and aqueduct, to a treehouse, numerous sleds and even an iceboat. All honed his construction skills while growing up and vied for his time, that is, when he wasn’t designing and building structures and rolling stock for his model railroad.

All the while, aviation’s lure whispered in his ear, fueled by simple flying models from a corner store and a neighbor’s Piper Cub. His first “successful” model airplane flight came with a pre-built, rubber Free Flight model from Germany that soared across the lawn, circled back toward the house, and—despite the implied safety of its soft rubber spinner—promptly broke the living room window. While mom and dad were not thrilled, Thayer was and wholeheartedly embraced the magic of all things that fly on that summer afternoon.

In between high school classes, he completed a full-scale ground school course, volunteered in the restoration shop at the Owls Head Transportation Museum, made several solo flights in a Schweizer SGS 2-33 sailplane and continued to build and fly models. He later earned his private pilot’s license while working on a feature film in San Francisco, designed and built turbine inlet filtration systems for full-scale helicopters and sat as president of the San Francisco Vultures model airplane club. One of his fondest aviation memories from that time came moments after Art Vance offered a ride in his P-51, Speedball Alice.

Thayer’s primary interest in aviation history is the early aircraft, from the Edwardian Pioneers and WWI, up through the Golden Age, as well as pretty much anything that flies off the water. Most of his modeling projects reflect these interests, with an emphasis on low-stress, sport scale type models, practical for everyday flying. His personal RC designs have been nothing if not diverse and so far have ranged from a 3.5-gram indoor biplane to a quarter-scale German primary glider.

While most of his recent flying has been RC, he welcomes the editorial diversity of Flying Models as the perfect excuse to build and fly more Free Flight and Control Line models with his son. Thayer’s greatest joy in model aviation comes from encouraging new modelers as much as possible, thus sharing some of the excitement and magic he has found in this hobby over the years.

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Jim Wiggin, Associate EditorJim Wiggin, Associate Editor

Aviation in all its forms has been in Jim's blood since day one. Growing up in the small town of Boscawen, New Hampshire, Jim's father and grandfather were both full scale pilots so it’s no wonder he spent most of his early childhood at the Concord airport where his parents ran a small electronics repair shop. At age 6, he tried to purchase his first aircraft in Concord, a Cessna 337 Super Skymaster, however the large box of pennies was not enough to cover the cost! At the age of eight, he discovered a Guillows Build-By-Number Piper Super Cub 95 model and eagerly spent two weeks allowance on the balsa and tissue model. While that particular model did not become successful, the love for models that flew left an indelible mark. Throughout grade school many more free flight kits would be built, as well as control line and finally in high school, radio control. While all aspects of free flight, control line and radio control are interesting to Jim, he prefers scale radio control and free flight the most with a heavy emphasis on civilian and WWII Naval aircraft. Jim has also started delving into WWI and WWII RAF and FAA aircraft.

Jim comes to Flying Models with many years working within the hobby industry working for companies such as Hobbico, The Testors Corporation and Horizon Hobby as well as briefly running his own N scale model railroad custom paint shop. His exposure within the industry has focused largely R/C aircraft and model railroading although he also did some work with R/C cars, boats and even model rockets. Jim's philosophy of working within the industry goes back to what his grandfather once said "Chose a job you’ll love, and you’ll never work a day in your life."

When Jim isn't working on planes, he can be found working on any one of his other passions. Also an avid N scale model railroader, and spends many hours researching and working on his small Boston & Maine-themed N scale layout. Jim is also an avid outdoorsman who enjoys camping, mountain biking, hiking and photography and railfaning in his 1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ, nicknamed "Jess."

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Maureen Frazer, Production EditorMaureen Frazer, Production Editor

Maureen Frazer has spent her entire career in publishing. Immediately after graduating from high school, she took a job at Prentice-Hall Publishing. Her plan was to work there for six months to gain some experience and then move on to something better. By the time she left 25 years later she had worked on everything from newsletters and pamphlets for the business and professional market, to high school and elementary textbooks, and then, after the company was purchased by Simon & Schuster, she found her real love in producing books for the general market.

Maureen joined the Flying Models staff in January, 1991 as the Editorial Secretary. Although she’s not a modeler, her many years of experience in the publishing field made her a perfect fit with Carstens Publications, just when magazine production was transitioning to electronic publishing. She was instrumental in setting up the page templates for Flying Models, Railfan & Railroad, and Railroad Model Craftsman, and training the editors to use the new software.

These days you’ll find her wearing many hats at Flying Models. As Production Editor, she’s involved in every phase of the production cycle from receipt of a manuscript to final page proofing. She’s directly responsible for filling the pages of the “Flying Report” and “Air Mail” columns of the magazine. She’s affectionately known as “the nag” because she keeps after Frank and Chris, reminding them of deadlines, etc. When the boys go out to “play” (they call it "product research"), Maureen keeps the wheels turning at the office.

Even after 19 years of producing a monthly magazine all about model airplanes, Maureen willingly admits that the only airplane she can identify with any authority is a Gee Bee. That doesn’t stop her from trying to assist any modeler who calls or e-mails with a question or concern. She’ll do her best to get an answer or point them in the right direction.

Maureen lives in Highland Lakes, New Jersey with her son, Michael.

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