The Flight Circle attraction at Disneyland's Tomorrowland was operated from September 1955 to 1966, opening the same year as Tomorrowland, but a few months after the main opening ceremony. Originally operated by Disney staff, the attraction was then briefly run by model aircraft maker Wen-Mac, before it ended up being operated by Cox.
During the Cox period, the attraction seems to have been promoted as the Thimble Drome Flight Circle, and/or the Cox Flight Circle.
The Flight Circle disappeared in 1966 during the remodelling for Tomorrowland's 1967 makeover, with the space being reused as part of the PeopleMover attraction.
The Flight Circle consisted of a 75-foot diameter circular area marked out in quadrants (with a large "compass rose" in the centre), surrounded by a circular perimeter safety fence. A model aircraft operator could stand in the centre and fly a tethered "control line" aircraft around in circles past the audience, who would be safely outside the fence. This gave the audience the excitement of having petrol-engined model aircraft whizz past them, without the danger of accidentally being hit in the face by a model plane.
The Flight Circle also incorporated a circular track for model cars and a rectangular arc shaped tank for model boats.
Some skilled operators could run two planes simultaneously, with a tether handle in each hand – photos even exist of one particular operator controlling three tether planes at once, with the help of a third customised tether handle held between his teeth (!)
- Tomorrowland Flight Circle (davelandweb.com)
- Disney Flight Circle (modelaviation.com)
- Flight Circle (d23.com)
- Disney Extinct Attractions: Flights (Circle) of Wonder (laughingplace.com)
- Cox Pilot and The Disneyland Flight Circle (davelandblog.blogspot.com)
- "How to get the best performance from your model engine", with Flight Circle ad on final page (mh-aerotools.de) – pdf
- Disneyland Circle and Cox (coxengineforum.com)