About Us

The Eddie Rickenbacker Chapter of the International Plastic Modeler’s Society started in Columbus, Ohio in 1961, which pre-dates the formal IPMS organization.

It was just a bunch of modelers who got together at the home of Len and Marlene Dotson. This included Ron Neno, Ken Cramer, Bob Hoover, Monty Newhart, Bob Lenander, Joe Martin, Bill Eddy, Don Speed, John Tilley, John McKirgen, and later Tim Redifer.

We formally joined IPMS USA in 1965, the year after their founding in 1964, and we continue to be a proud chapter of this organization.

The same year, the few people in the club (approximately 10) held the IPMS National Convention at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Columbus. The club continued to thrive, with our local show being held at The White House Bank Building on N. High street in Worthington, Ohio. By 1981, our show had grown large enough that we needed a bigger location. We had the benefit of Ron Bell working at Capital University, where we moved for a stay of 24 years.

At this time, Ron Bell started The Fly-By newsletter as a communication tool between club officers. This grew into a monthly publication for all of our members, and is now distributed electronically through e-mail and on this website.Our meeting places were at locations all around Central Ohio, including OSU Airport hangars, the party house at Bexley Village, the YMCA on Karl Road and Hilliard Community Center, before settling into a semi-permanent location of the basement of the old COSI (Center of Science and Industry) building. It was at this location where we held our first local show, in February 1973.

The club continued to thrive and held a second National Convention in 1997 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Columbus, and a third one in 2009. After the 1997 Convention, the club donated all the raffle proceeds to The American Leukemia Society in remembrance of the son of one of our members. The club also donated $3,000 to the Air Force Museum to thank them for their assistance with the open cockpit night and the Robin Olds presentation. Additionally, we have hosted Region 4 conventions, the most recent being in 2004.

A big change happened in 2005 when we moved our local show, now named Blizzcon, (due to a fierce blizzard we had, which nearly forced the cancellation of our show) to the Aladdin Shrine Event & Conference Center. We celebrated our 40th anniversary of this local show in 2013.

In addition to the regular club meetings, we hold a Build-a-Thon, an annual picnic, and an auction for three of our monthly meetings every year.

Over the years, the Presidents of our Club have been:

  • Marlene Dotson
  • Howard Glenn
  • Ed Schmidt
  • Walter Champlain
  • Ron Bell
  • T J Misiolek
  • Mark Howard
  • Jeff Zimmerman
  • Sheila Harting
  • Bob Jones
  • Bruce Roy
  • Mark Maroscher – current

About Eddie Rickenbacker 

Edward Vernon “Fast Eddie” Rickenbacker was born in Columbus Ohio on October 8, 1890. He was the third of eight children. His parents immigrated to the U.S. from Switzerland and German was spoken in their home. One point of trivia is that he had no middle name when he was born, and he chose it himself later “because it sounded classy” and also changed the spelling of his surname from Richenbacher to “make it sound less Germanic.” He usually answered to “Rick” but in his later life he was known as “America’s Ace of Aces” or “Captain Eddie.”

He was known as a “bad boy” and had his first of many close encounters with death at age 8. His young life was difficult, as his father was a day laborer and to help the family, Eddie sold newspapers, eggs and goat’s milk, and worked in a glass-making factory, a foundry, a brewery, a shoe factory and a monument business where he carved and polished his own father’s tombstone after his father’s accidental death in 1904 when Eddie was only 13. This ended his formal education, in the seventh grade, although he enrolled in a correspondence course in engineering and was fascinated by machines.

In 1906 when he started to work for Lee Frayer, a race car driver and head of the Frayer-Miller Automobile Company, who  let Eddie race with him as a mechanic. This led to his job as a salesman for Columbus Buggy Company, the manufacturer of Firestone-Columbus automobiles. Next, he started working with Fred Duesenberg and then became a race car driver who had many more close brushes with death. Known as quite a daredevil, he set a world speed record of 134 mph at Daytona in 1914 and competed in the Indianapolis 500 many times.

Despite his fear of heights, he had his first aircraft ride in November 1916 while he was preparing for a race in California. It was flown by Glenn Martin.  When the U.S. entered the war in 1917, he enlisted and was sworn in as a Sergeant First Class, but he wanted to fly. Age 27 was considered too old for flight training and he did not have a high school diploma or college degree.

While working as Captain William Mitchell’s chauffeur, he claimed to be only 25 and kept making his case to fly until he was permitted to begin flight training. After only 17 days of being a student pilot, he was commissioned as a lieutenant and assigned to the 94th Aero Squadron.  He was later given command of the squadron, followed by promotion to Captain. Flying 300 combat hours, more than any other U.S. pilot, he survived 134 enemy aerial encounters. He was promoted to Major after he left active duty, but preferred to use Captain, as he wrote in his memoire, “I felt that my rank of captain was earned and deserved.” He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1931 by President Hoover.

Civilian life led him through being Vice President of the Rickenbacker Motor Company in 1920, his marriage to Adele Frost Durant in 1922, purchasing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1927 which he owned until 1945, GM, Fokker Aircraft Company, and when he convinced GM to purchase North American Aviation which included Eastern Air Transport, which he was asked to manage in 1935.

When he was 73 years old, he retired from Eastern Airlines, on December 31, 1963.  Captain Rickenbacker suffered a stroke in 1972, and after recovery, traveled to Switzerland, where he died of pneumonia on July 23, 1973.  

You can learn about his life and adventures here: