Boy Scouts Of America: Original Aviation Merit Badge

The 1911 Pascall’s Specialties Pine Lozenges Boy Scouts of America Aviation tobacco card.

The above card is one of my favorite tobacco cards and it’s NOT from the Wills’s Aviation tobacco card set(s) .

It is a Pascall’s Specialties Pine Lozenges Boy Scout Of America Aviation tobacco card issued in and around 1911. There is no card number, nor is there a description of the card on the reverse – just an advertisement for the throat lozenge from Pascall’s Specialties.

Pine flavor? At least your throat will smell like a forest. Pine fresh!

The card depicts the Boy Scouts of America and its Aviation merit badge, one of the original 57 merit badges issues by the organization in 1911.

To achieve the Aviation merit badge, a scout must:

1. Have a knowledge of the theory of aeroplanes, balloons, and dirigibles.

2. Have made a working model of an aeroplane or dirigible that will fly at least twenty-five yards; and have built a box kite that will fly.

3. Have a knowledge of the engines used for aeroplanes and dirigibles, and be able to describe the various types of aeroplanes and their records.

This information was taken from a Wikipedia entry which took the information from the Boy Scout Handbook, 1911 Edition.

The reverse of the 1911 Pascall’s Specialties Pine Lozenges Boy Scouts of America Aviation tobacco card.

This aviation badge was eventually replaced in 1941 by the Aerodynamics and Aeronautics badges, which was itself replaced in 1952 by the current Aviation merit badge.

The Aerodynamics badge was offered along with Airplane Design and Airplane Structure badges as part of the Air Scouts (later renamed the the Air Explorers in 1949) program – which lasted until 1965, though the program is now part of the Boy Scout’s of America Learning for Life Explorer program.

For the heck of it, here’s a list of requirements a scout had to fulfill to earn the Aerodynamics and Airplane Design merit badges.

The Aerodynamics badge requirements:

1. Show that air has weight and pressure, using as an improvised barometer, a sauce dish or pan and a tall cylindrical glass of water; (b) explain variations in air due to altitude, and point out some resulting problems for engines, for flight path hazards, and for the pilot himself.

2. Demonstrate Bernoulli’s law that air speed reduces pressure, using a spool and a small card, or a tube and a ping pong ball.

3. Build a six-inch airfoil wing section of 5-inch chord and high left cambers, and mount and demonstrate with it the principle of lift; (b) Submit with explanations, a rough diagram used in explaining to another Scout the Aeronautics Merit Badge outline of the positive forces of Thrust and Lift and the negative forces of Gravity and Drag.

4. Build three drag demonstration airfoils of same cross-section width – cube, cylinder, “streamline” – using a cylindrical oatmeal box, some cardboard, paper and glue; (b) improvise small easy-rolling 4-wheel support to demonstrate air resistance of the airfoils in an air current.

5. Build and demonstrate the use of small, simple wind tunnel to provide controlled air current; OR build and demonstrate a simple air speed measuring device.

6. Build a rubberband powered flying model airplane of some type new to the builder, and fly in some competition. (Kit may be used.)

7. Draw rough side-view outline of monoplane and use in explaining the “angle of attack” (British – angle of incidence); (b) demonstrate why an air stream action enables “control surfaces” to control the direction of the plane; (c) review what stick-and-pedal-action alters which control surfaces.

8. Indicate six or more ways for a pilot, about to land, to identify wind direction; (b) explain the relative plus and minus air speed advantages of taking-off and landing into the wind; (c) explain the aerodynamics of stalling.

9. Test the relative speeds in an air current of two propellers of approximately the same diameter and blade area, but of different pitch; (b) point out the advantages of the modern variable pitch propeller.

Airplane Design badge requirements:

1. Point out on rough diagrams or on photographs, the outstanding differences in design of full scale planes used for five rather widely different purposes – such as first training, commercial transport, seaplanes on northern lakes, clippers, pursuit or others.

2. Measure the silhouettes of five modern full scale planes and record range of variation in the ration of wing span to chord (aspect ration); also in wing area as compared to stabilizer-elevator area.

3. Show design differences in camber of wings for high life and for high speed – use rough sketches to explain reasons.

4. (a) Find approximate location of center of gravity in a flying model, and explain why a low center of gravity contributes to parasol stability; (b) if a model plan is balanced and wings of same chord, but of added span and weight were substituted at same structural points, tell what the plan would then tend to do in flight.

5. Show by rough sketches why dihedrals, sweep-backs and relatively high wings tend to give model stability in flight.

6. Build, test and report flight performances of two flying models of same general size, but of quite different design. For the test, use same power plant and propeller. If desired, the Scout may build but one of the two test planes, matching it against one he or his friends have, AND then offer as the second of the two to be built, an original unconventional or experimental flying model.

7. Prepare approximate or rough scale drawings of the two models used in the tests of Requirement 6, and point out the principle design differences.

8. Fly one or more of the Scout’s own model planes in competition involving not less than four planes.

9. Measure four flying model planes of Requirement 8 and present Counselor with their comparative flight records and a list of their wing shapes and of their following design rations:

(a) wing span to mean chord;

(b) wing span to propeller diameter;

(c) wing span to fuselage length;

(d) dihedral in inches per foot of span;

(e) wing load in ounces per square inch;

(f) maximum wing camber to chord.

Who the hell are these kids? Wow! Color me impressed! Check out the original Aviation badge requirements – they had to have knowledge of the engines?!

And the Aerodynamics badge? Man… I wish I was a Boy Scout!


About mreman47

Andrew was born in London, UK, raised in Toronto, Canada, and cavorted in Ohtawara, Japan for three years. He is married, has a son and a cat. He has over 35,000 comic books and a plethora of pioneer aviation-related tobacco and sports cards and likes to build LEGO dioramas. Along with writing for a monthly industrial magazine, he also writes comic books and hates writing in the 3rd person. He also hates having to write this crap that no one will ever read. Along with the daily Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife blog, when he feels the hate, will also write another blog entitled: You Know What I Hate? He also works on his Pioneers Of Aviation - a cool blog on early fliers. He also wants to do more writing - for money, though. Help him out so he can stop talking in the 3rd person.
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2 Responses to Boy Scouts Of America: Original Aviation Merit Badge

  1. Trina says:

    What’s up, I check your new stuff regularly. Your story-telling style is awesome, keep it up!

    • mreman47 says:

      Thanks Trina, I appreciate the kudos.
      I try to keep things understandable, as not everyone is, quite literally, a rocket scientist. Funnily enough, I do know a real rocket scientist, who if you will pardon the pun, is a real down-to-earth guy.
      Keep reading, even I don’t know what I am going to write about next, or even what I might learn!

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