top of page


David Gierke is an acknowledged internal combustion engine authority, having written three well-received non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles on the subject. A retired high school teacher and dedicated pioneer aviation historian, Gierke has received extensive recognition for his work, including the 1978 New York State Teacher of the Year award and a citation from the Buffalo, New York chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Dave was inducted into the national Model Aviation Hall of Fame in 2003, the Precision Aerobatics Model Pilots Association (PAMPA) Hall of Fame, and the National Miniature Pylon Racing Association (NMPRA) Hall of Fame --- both in 2023. He and his wife, Carolyn, divide their time between Lancaster, New York and Sarasota, Florida.

Also By C. David Gierke

  • “Langley’s Steam-Powered Flying Machines”, Aviation History, July 1998, Volume 8, Number 6, pp. 50-56+

  • 2-Stroke Glow Engines, Volume 1

  • 2-Stroke Glow Engines (Beyond the Basics), Volume 2

  • Airplane Engine Guide

  • Nitro Engine Guide

  • R/C Pilot’s Handbook (Chapter 11, “Maximizing Engine Performance”)

  • Ultimate RC Flight Guide (Chapter 6 “Getting the Most From Your Engine”)

Like many young people of my generation, I started building rubber-band-powered model airplanes early – I was seven. A few years later I obtained my first engine – a used “sparker” converted to “glow” – and learned to fly Control Line.

While still in undergraduate school at State University College at Buffalo (N.Y.), I authored my first magazine article at the age of 19 (IAVE magazine, later reprinted in Popular Electronics), titled the “Twisted Armature Motor”. This experience led to the publication of my first airplane design, “Novi” – a Control Line Stunt model, in American Modeler.

Over the next decade I designed, built and competed with a multitude of new
models in Control Line and Radio Control – many of which were published in
various model magazines

Always interested in the technical aspect of model aviation, I developed
experimental apparatus and techniques that were used to help understand and
enhance the performance of small engines. Several of these are described in
technical articles, including:

  • “Dynamometer – For Engine Performance Analysis” (three parts).

  • “Two-Stroke Oils: Their Analysis”.

  • "The Effects of Atmospheric Conditions on Engine Performance”.

  • “The Power Factor”.

In 1992, I became a contributing editor for Model Airplane News magazine. My
column, “RPM” (Real Performance Measurement) provided answers and insight
to problems associated with the design, operation, and maintenance of engines.

Two of my technical books:

  • Two-Stroke Glow Engines for RC Aircraft (1994), and

  • Two-Stroke Glow Engines: Power, Beyond the Basics (2007), continue to receive enthusiastic reviews from readers across the spectrum of model aviation. Two-Stroke Glow Engines…Volume 1, has sold more than 20,000 copies worldwide.

Over the years my competition models have garnered many top awards,

  • Best Appearing Control Line Stunt Model (twice), at the AMA Nationals.

  • 13 First Place Awards at the Toledo Weak Signals Radio Control Expo.

As a retired educator, I credit model airplanes for helping to motivate high school
students to many science and engineering achievements:

  • In 1977, my high school team of eight boys won first place in the national

SCORE ERA II (Student Competitions On Relevant Engineering)
competition for renewable energy, against colleges and universities from
across the country (For: An Integrated Wind and Solar Energy System for
Generating Electricity).

One of my students was a finalist in the Westinghouse Science Talent
Search, a national competition among the country’s top science students
(For: Wind Turbine Analysis).

Another won the top science “lecture demonstration” award for the New
York State Science Congress (Topic: Heating with the Wind).

Regionally, my technology students won the top awards for solutions to
mechanical engineering problems – 10 years in succession.

bottom of page