Durham Mystery Plane EMBRYO Short Kit

Now available:  our Volare Products SHORT KIT for the Durham Mystery Plane Embryo.  The Short Kit contains the newly redrawn plan and two sheets of laser-cut parts.  Also, find out what is the mystery!  All this for $10 plus shipping.  Find it here:  Mystery in the Basement



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October Work

It never lets up here.  I’ve been packing orders, restocking supplies, and working on new products.

On the Superior Props side, we are fine tuning the pitch templates and soon will have the best propeller blanks to date.

In the Basement, I’ve restocked many supplies, but many will be happy that Gizmo Geezer Nose Buttons are now back in stock!  These go fast when the serious modelers find out I get a new batch.  I now carry 1.25″ reinforced abrasive discs and mandrels.  These are very reasonably priced.

In addition, I’ve managed to pick up several items from estates.  The first two are Specialty Winders: a Blazhevych 4:1 F1B winder with Torque Meter, and a Wilder 20:1 Winder plus attachable Wilder Torque Meter.  Soon to come, I have two great stooges and many commercial kits at bargain prices.

Also, I am finalizing two kits: the Wisp and the Durham Mystery Plane.  They will both be short kits, but there is a possibility that The Durham might develop into a full kit.  These are nearly ready.

On the drawing board are two new plans: a new Beginner’s Peanut and a new Embryo.  Over the winter, I will be working on the next One-Design for the 2016 Cloudbusters’ FAC Outdoor Contest (we have to plan these nearly two years in advance).
















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Last 2014 Muncie Contest – the Wisp

I was excited about the Wisp.  This was my first 2 Bit model (Old Time ROG models with 26″ span or less) and I spent a lot of time making it look beautiful (if I do say so myself).  In addition, there was additional time spent installing my first working DT.  At 29 grams and 75 square inches, it just might need that DT.  I built the model per plan, including the carved prop (8″D x 6.25″P) and the 3″ per tip dihedral.  These two things concerned me – my intuition was telling me both were strange numbers.  Then, right before I left for Muncie, I re-read the MAN article – it said “up to 2 inches per tip” but the plan clearly says 3″ per tip – very frustrating.

I arrived in Muncie on Friday with plenty of time for testing before the Sat/Sun contest.  Trimming out, the plane flies, but not beautifully.  It seems to pull to the right for some strange reason, and there is a lot of wing-rocking.  Then there is a sharp, right-hand, spiral dive when the power is low.  After testing off and on through Saturday (2 Bit is on Sunday), I bit the bullet and cut the pretty tissue, the spar, LE, and TE and reset the dihedral to about 2″ per tip.  I also changed to a 7.875″ Czech plastic prop.  These changes improved the flights, but it still needs more work.  I was able to coax flights of 85 seconds or so, but I am still battling the right hand spiral.  I am sure it is a free-wheeling issue and I hope to get it sorted out.  Here is an in-flight shot of the Wisp – it sure looks pretty in the air.

The Wisp in Flight

The Wisp in Flight

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Last 2014 Muncie Contest – Embryo

I was feeling very hopeful, almost confident, going into Saturday’s Embryo event.  My Tomahawk was dialed in.  With the 7″ Superior Prop and one long loop of 3/16″, I can pretty much get 90 seconds in dead air – and Saturday was full of light to moderate thermals.  On top of that, people (including me) were dropping flights, so no one was going to max out.  My first flight was roughly 90 seconds and as I watched the slow climb-out on the second flight, I could tell the air was better.  Eventually, I got that little wing rocking and it started an assisted ascent.  As we were on the extreme eastern edge of the southern portion of the AMA site, you have to be mindful of tracking your model:  if you take out on your chase bike and you’re relying on your timer to watch you for the “plane is down” arm wave, you need to stay on top of the various ridges on the gently rolling terrain.  Well, I stopped on the last ridge and watched.  As is passed through what surely was 2 minutes, I was pleased.  Another minute later and I was getting concerned that it might not come down.  Then, as it was approaching the far western edge of the site, it was clearly coming down.  I saw it come down – into the corn field – over 4 minutes.  It didn’t look like it went in too far, but mature corn has hidden many a model – including my trusty Tomahawk.  There will be no third flight for that plane.

Even though the loss of the Tomahawk caused Embryo to slip through my grasp, we are all there to fly and have a great time.  Flying anything is better than flying nothing.  So I got out my Durham Mystery Plane – a rather unconventional Embryo design that I had built for the FAC Outdoor Champs two weeks earlier.  It is a stubby, fat-winged, cartoonish little plane.  The wingspan is no more than 14″ and the body is about 10″ or so.  While I was building it, it dawned on me that this “could” have  potential: the plane is essentially the size of a Peanut model with the area of an Embryo.  Built light and flown like a Peanut, it could be thermal-bait just like any other plane.

Part of the fun that we have in FAC is battling with your buddies.  I nearly always pit with fellow Cloudbuster, Winn Moore.  This event was no different.  After the Tomahawk flew away, I was recording flights for Winn and his Debut.  Winn got a max in his first flight and a 90+ seconds on his second flight.  I put up a couple flights in my Durham and got a 90 and a max (thermals are fun!)  Winn’s last flight came in at 1:23.  A little bit later he timed my last flight – it was 1:23, the same as his last flight!  We were incredulous – did we tie and now would have to have a fly-off to determine the winner of Embryo?  (Yes, we knew we were the leaders)  We hurried over to the scoreboard where the scores are tallied for all to see.  My first flight was exactly 90 seconds.  Winn’s second flight was 95 seconds – my improbable little model had nearly beaten the vaunted Debut, losing by only 5 seconds and coming in 2nd in Embryo – what fun!  Here is a photo on the Durham Mystery Plane on an official flight.

Durham Mystery Plane in Flight

Durham Mystery Plane in Flight

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Last 2014 Muncie Contest – NoCal

My latest NoCal, a Chambermaid, was a rush build before the FAC Outdoor Champs two weeks ago.  The weather was crappy then and I didn’t get a chance to give it much more than a couple of test flights; I don’t think I even got an official on it.  Well, I tested it on Friday this weekend and decided to switch from the blue 6″ prop to a silver 7″ prop.  Saturday was beautiful and after the fog and dew burned off, there were thermals in the air.  I got progressively longer flights until the third official hooked a big one.  For quite a while my NoCal and Ted Allebone’s Double Feature were right there together in the same bubble.  Right after it got on the elevator up, I noticed that you could see the occasional soybean leaf fluttering down from on high.  It was a real trash mover.  After 6 minutes, I gave up trying to follow the little model as it specked out.  The 8 minutes (total of three flights) was more than enough to win NoCal.  Here is a photo of me launching one of the Friday test flights, courtesy of Mark Rzadka.

me and my Chambermaid NoCal

me and my Chambermaid NoCal

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Last Muncie Contest of the Year – Part 1

I have several stories to capture about my experiences this past weekend at Muncie.  It was the Ted Dock Memorial FAC contest put on my the Indy Squadron.  There was typical low attendance (less than 20) but atypical beautiful and perfect weather.  We had the usual suspects from Indiana and Michigan, plus other contestants from Ohio, Illinois, and New York.  The weather was high-70s to mid-80s, low humidity mostly clear skies, and little to no wind.  We all had a great time and there were several spectacular flights.  Harrison Knapp put in over 10 minutes with his Dime Scale Beech Staggerwing before we all finally lost sight of it.  Don DeCook put up a 6 minute King harry flight and caught the model less than 100 feet from the launch table.  John Jackson, one of our Cloudbuster beginners, trimmed out some of his models, going from “not flying” to maxing in both Dime Scale and P-30.  It’s a real pleasure to help out the beginners and get them to success – that is so critical to keep them from getting discouraged.  There was even the comically-tragic:  Harrison ROG’d his Phantom Flash and Winn Moore innocently launched his Jet Cat U2 right through it.  Winn ended up winning Phantom Flash and suffered much ribbing about eliminating the competition!

John Jackson’s Centaur P-30 (Ted Allebone design)

John Jackson's Centaur P-30

John Jackson’s Centaur P-30

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The Wisp is Ready to Fly

I finished the Wisp this weekend.  I didn’t get to fly Sunday as our local contest was cancelled due to wind and rain.

I am very pleased with the way this model turned out.  The coloring took time, but I am really happy with the red and black.  The tissue is red and black Esaki that has been over-colored with Sharpie marker.  The colors are really intense now.  The prop is hand carved to the specs on the original plan.  It is an 8″ prop, but the pitch is very low; somewhere around 6 or 7, I estimate.  The overall weight, without rubber, is 28 grams.  I think that is pretty good for a model that is just about 75 square inches!

I will have this down at the last FAC contest of the year at the Muncie Flying Site; the Ted Dock Memorial.  This will be next weekend, the 27th and 28th of September.  Again, this model fits into the FAC Events – OT Fuselage and 2 Bit Plus One.


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Into Autumn…

Well, I am afraid summer is fading into fall here in Michigan.  It has been VERY busy here since mid-July and I’ve neglected posting on here, among other things.

A couple of evenings in front of the TV with glue and sticks have produced these bones.  This is The Wisp; a Dan Heald plan first published in the January 1946 Model Airplane News.  I have liked the lines of this plan for a few years since I found it on Outerzone (I think), however, the date had prevented me from building.  January 1946 is the date before which all planes are designated as Old Timers in the Flying Aces Club.  Therefore, this model was not eligible.  Well, the Cloudbusters did some digging and inquiring – it paid off.  Since the January magazine contained photos and flying reports of the built model, it was accepted that the plane was designed and constructed BEFORE January 1946 – at least, acceptance for the time being.

As this has a 25″ wingspan, this qualifies for FAC OT Fuselage (models with landing gear) and FAC 2 Bit Plus One (max 26″ wingspan OT ROG models).  With a bit of luck, this will be ready for testing at our Cloudbusters contest on Sunday, the 21st.  Of course, I traced the plan and laser-cut the parts, so look for a Short Kit in the near future.



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I believe that, after 14 hours, I have recreated the site pretty close to what it was.  No customers or orders were lost.  Thanks for your patience. –george

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Last night I tried to do a simple upgrade to a portion of the Shopping site.  It failed completely.  I am trying my best to resurrect the site and just wanted everyone to know that I will have it operational as soon as I possibly can.  My apologies for the inconvenience.  We will return shortly.  –george

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