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  Largest collection of handmade aeroplanes-world record set by John Kalusa
 PRESCOTT, AZ, USA -- The collection of 5,829 miniature flying machines, each painstakingly carved over a half-century by John Kalusa sets the world record for the Largest collection of handmade aeroplanes.

   Photo: Using only balsa wood and a razor blade, John Kalusa crafted every model to an exact scale of 1/18th inch to 1 foot. The consistent use of the scale gives every model an accurate size relationship with all the others. (enlarge photo 

  After Kalusa's death in 2003, his family donated the John W. Kalusa Miniature Aircraft Collection to the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. It is on display on the first and second floors of the school's new, $2 million library.

   Each model is painted with the detailed markings characteristic of the real aircraft. This required a steady hand because many of the planes have wingspans of less than 2 inches.

  John Kalussa's hobby began in 1936 when, at age 14, he started making World War I models for a battle game. He put his skills on hold during World War II, when he entered the service as an aerial photographer and mechanic.

   After Kalusa retired from his job as a purchasing agent with Rocketdyne, he carved and painted an average of two models a week and continued carving until his death.

  Most of his creations are airplanes, ranging from biplanes to bombers to delta-winged jets. But there also are hot-air balloons, rockets, experimental flying devices and helicopters.

  Kalusa also drew detailed specification sheets for each model, giving the full-size dimensions of each aircraft. All 5,829 records are contained in the library and may be viewed upon request.

   Sunday, October 12, 2008

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