The American Scout is a C2 type cargo ship that was built from a 1950s Sterling Models kit by an unknown builder. It was originally fitted with an early “radio control” system that featured a homemade rubber band-powered escapement driven by a telephone dial. For example, the user would dial the number 1 for a right turn. The model ship would stay in a turn until the same number was dialed again, returning the rudder to neutral. Dialing 2 might cause a left turn, and another number controlled motor speed.
Operating on 27.5 MHz, these early R/C setups were not very reliable. Controlling a model ship wasn’t too difficult, but interference from other signals made it risky when flying model airplanes. Today, much higher frequencies are used and the systems are able to recognize when a competing frequency begins to intrude on the signal. The scale model American Scout ship was donated by museum founder, Joe Martin.