John Worth – A sad farewell

John Worth – A sad farewell

 I am sad to report that John Worth, dedicated AMA pioneer and microflight promoter, passed away Sunday evening. I was privileged to work with John in early 2000 on Air Age’s RC MicroFlight newsletter and recall his infectious enthusiasm for RC aviation and his warm, generous personality. John’s life was deeply entrenched with model aviation, and many of you reading this may not realize how instrumental John was in developing the Academy of Model Aeronautics and ensuring its success. In his retirement, John promoted micro RC and loved the recent advances in technology that allow us to fly subminiature aircraft. While looking through our archives, I found this touching tribute to John by another RC pioneer, Hal deBolt. I have copied it here and hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

John Worth: Mr. Model Aviation, by Hal deBolt
It would not be remiss to say that genial John has done more to promote model aviation than anyone else, and it’s safe to say that model aircraft, in one way or another, have been his life.

Briefly speaking: in post WW II times, NACA saw the capabilities of modelers as an asset for their exploratory efforts. Along with other modelers, John served with NACA for a while. In the process, he introduced RC to their projects.

Al Lewis, as editor of “Air Trails,” was a visionary. When Ed Lorenz and Aero Electronics submitted the first Aerotrol RC system for evaluation, Lewis wanted to flight-test it in a distinctive model. John got the project, and his interpretation of a distinctive model was his Cement Mixer pusher-surely different? Following the OT RC theme, John has flown replicas of that model in recent times. Early RC involved searching for “how-to” info and then the needed components. John Worth and Ed Lorenz collaborated in this need with the Control Research Company. An outstanding product was a neat version of Lorenz’s Two-Tuber receiver, which introduced the lightweight airborne equipment that was so desperately needed!

John Worth has always been an avid AMA’er. Mixed with all his other activities, he found time to serve as committee chairman, vice president and then president. The AMA was coming out of the doldrums, and the need for a director became evident. Even with its questionable future, John stepped in as AMA director, which turned out to be a great move for all! John served for 26 years, guiding the AMA up the treacherous, steep climb to the pinnacle it is at today. We all owe much to the AMA and to John Worth for his lifelong efforts.

Ever the promoter, when we envisioned a need for an OT RC organization, John saw the need, stepped in, found the right people and organized the Vintage R/C Society, which has steadily grown with his guidance.

When retirement comes, a question for most men is, “What to do?” Not so with modelers. It seems retirement is an opportunity to model as never before. John Worth has found subminiature RC of interest. His first inspiration was 1/2-size versions of OT RC designs. His 1/2-size, 24-inch-span Live Wire Trainer did well with C02 power. Later on, he became involved in micro RC systems (total weight 2 to 3 ounces!), and he has been exploring that and even indoor RC!

Today’s RC sport is just great. Don’t you agree? Only because modelers such as John Worth saw fit to lift it along its way. Thanks, John!

Updated: July 15, 2015 — 3:29 PM


  1. Thank you, Debra, for these lovely words. True to the many hours he enjoyed online with friends and fellow modelers in his retirement years, all are welcome to visit in the coming days to post recollections or enjoy memorable photos and stories. Still putting things together, but the site should be in good shape late in the day 10/26. Our family deeply appreciates everyone whose love and support brought so much joy to his life.

  2. I’m heartbroken that my friend John is no longer with us. Oh yes, he may not be here in body but his heart, mind and laughter will live on for a very long time. I knew of John for many years before I actually met him. Then as luck would have it, I moved to Fairfax, Virginia the same town John lived in. I opened an office for my business in Reston the same town the AMA was formerly in. As a matter of fact, my office was right around the corner from AMA. John and myself often joked about our first meeting. I called him at his home, introduced my self and he immediately invited me over. I don’t know how it happened but we looked at one another and we were instant friends. We would go flying together with his cement mixer and then some of my models. Three years later, I moved to Tampa but we never lost touch. We would always be on the phone, sometimes for over an hour. This was one wonderful, talented and gracious man. We modelers owe him so much for all he did for the AMA and our hobby of modeling. He will be sorely missed. Fly high my friend. Jim O’Brien, Tampa, FL

  3. My sweetheart (Dr. Marie Marschall Fuller) and I, along with John Worth, Norm Rosenstock and Jack Albrecht had dinner together during the 2008 AMA Pasedena show. Pictures were taken and a small photo of the five of us enjoying a memorable evening together now hangs among many model aviation items in the hallway of my home. John, you made the AMA grow with great success…we all thank you!
    Stu Richmond AMA #4529

  4. Thanks, Debra, for the great tribute to my father and to those who have posted comments. I am fortunate enough to have just moved to town and was able to spend his last few hours with him. When he died I knew his legacy would live on. His influence and friendships are so world wide that I’m sure we haven’t heard or seen the last of John Worth. I think it is impossible for any of us not to look into the sky and wonder “Where’s his plane?”

    Flying high, forever in the sky.

  5. Thanks, Debra, for the great tribute to my father and to those who have posted comments. His influence and friendships are so world wide that I’m sure we haven’t heard or seen the last of John Worth. It is impossible for any of us not to look into the sky and wonder: “Where’s his plane?”

    Flying high, forever in the sky.

  6. The little website for my father is now up and running. I hope Stu and Jim and his other friends will visit.

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