> I bet you could count on 2 hands the number of people who were hobby flying RC aircraft in your city
When I was a kid (rural Australia, in the 1950's and 60's), RC modeling was a huge hobby. Most of us progressed from Free-Flight, to Control Line models, to RC flying. Not to mention RC boats and cars.
Admittedly the gear was rather basic with only one or two channels. We could only dream of owning the expensive USA gear, hence our homemade Valve (Tube) Transmitters, Receivers, servos, tone decoders, etc.
Surely you've seen the many DIY magazine articles and books from back then?