It’s April 1st and There’s No Fooling Free Flighters!

April 1st, 2012 – the first official day I took over this little business.  Yesterday was the end of the 3rd year.  Today is the first day of the 4th year of operation.  I’m still happy we took over Shorty’s Basement and I’m also happy we took over Superior Props.

I want to (again) thank everyone for their continued support.  AND…I want to remind you that, as a small token of thanks, the Customer Appreciation 10% Discount is still going on (through 12 April).  Read the previous blog post for specific details, but just fill your cart, check out, and apply the special code during checkout.  The code is 4thYEAR

By the way – there are two short kits under final testing and they should be released this spring.  I am also working on a plan for the Cloudbusters.  Last of all – it’s under two weeks before we – up here in the frozen north – get back outside and onto the flying field!  I can’t wait.


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April 1st marks the start of the 4th year of our ownership and operation of this Free Flight Business.  For many years prior, I had haphazardly sold plans through Volare Products, but in 2012 we took the big jump into the Small Business arena with the purchase of the old Shorty’s Basement.  The effective date was 01 April – April Fools Day.

I have had great support from customers over the past 3 years.  This has allowed me to expand into kit production and allowed us to save Superior Props and resurrect them from the brink of extinction.  I know our customers appreciate our presence and now I want to return that appreciation.

This will be our 1st Annual Customer Appreciation Sale.  To celebrate the start of our 4th year of Free Flight sales, I am offering 10% off our entire inventory (and your entire order).   This will run for a limited period of time:  from Saturday 28 March – Sunday 12 April (2 weeks).  You may use the coupon ONCE – so load up that shopping cart!

During checkout, on the Step 2 of 3 – Payment Information page, A Redemption Code area will appear before the Payment selection area.  In this space, enter 4thYEAR in the block.  This will trigger the subtraction of 10% off of your merchandise purchase (not including Shipping).

Thank you all for being loyal customers.  (No joke!  This is really a thing!)


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New Propellers – OT and Plastic

We’ve been hard at work scouring Old Time plans for props so that you can have accurate, as the designer intended, Old Time propellers to match your models.

The two latest Superior OT Freewheel props are for a couple of popular models:  the JETCO Eaglet designed by Hank Struck and the ever-popular King Harry, right off the Aeromodeller plan.

As will all our OT props, we make our props using the same dimensions as on the original plan.  The relevant pitch is calculated and the blanks are cut from the proper block size with the helical pitch template to insure accuracy.

The third prop is one filling an empty spot:  an Orange Chinese 11″ prop.  Now I have them in all inch increments from 6″ through 12″ with 9.5″ thrown in for P-30s.












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March Props

Here is a photo of the latest shipment to me from our Prop Factory.  Most of the supply is restocking on-hand stock, but there are some interesting items here.

The props shown are:

10″ freewheelers
a pair of 10″ right-left props
Jimmie Allen Bluebird
Jimmie Allen Sky Raider
Jimmie Allen Sky Chief
Jimmie Allen Thunderbolt
Jimmie Allen Skokie
Lanzo Cabin
Casano Stick – 1- and 2-blade folders


a pair of 12″ folders with custom 3″ hubs for the Berkeley Scale Series

a 22″ folder for Herb Kothe’s 50s Nostalgia Wakefield

These – and more – are available from us.  We have these dimensions from original plans now and know how to make them.  If you have other props that you want built to follow original specs, jsut send those specs in and we will see what we can do!

oh…Happy Pi Day!


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I think as modelers, we all have a bit of the collector in us. We might collect documentation, or kits, or building supplies to use in the future. I, personally, collect and have collected many, many things in my life. I am a bit of a pack-rat (but not to the point of being a hoarder!), and I am sure these habits frustrate my wife.

This winter, I ventured 2 hours east to attend our monthly club meeting (my first one ever, given the time/distance). The reason I went was for the club’s annual auction. This is usually donated stuff from club members and this year was the same – except many of the donations were from deceased members’ estates. There were many kits and building supplies.

One of the things we all collect is “intentions” – most generally in the form of future build lists and such. Many modelers have a stash of kits, not so much as a true collector, but more like the build list. Scratch builders will collect plans for the same reason; I know I do, although I tend to design my own plans, so my collections are of documentation. Scratch builders also will gather wood for those future builds. At the auction there were stacks and stacks of very light sheet wood that our modeling friends had saved for those special models. These guys either over-estimated the wood they would need – or they thought their normal models unworthy of the good wood.

The other day, while building my latest model, I went to grab a sheet of 1/16″ balsa for filler. As I started to walk away from my wood supply with a regular sheet of wood, I asked myself why I wasn’t using the light stuff. I have a small supply of very light balsa, it’s not a large quantity – but what am I saving it for? “Someday” never comes and today’s plane which is real can benefit from the light stuff as much as, OR EVEN MORE THAN, a future plane that might never get built. So I grabbed a sheet of some very light 1/16″ and used it!

What if I run out? Well, I can always buy more – it’s not expensive. But – what if I run out of… TIME? What good will my light stuff do me then? I’ve been caught in that trap before. I used to run across such mundane things as quality pens. I would not use them, but save them. Then I would say “ok, I’ll use that nice pen” – and the ink had dried. What was left to do but throw away that which I had saved for that special sometime but was now useless? I have to learn to enjoy what I have. Enjoying it to the fullest includes using it, not just knowing you have it.

That’s the back story that was in my mind when I saw the stacks of wood at the auction – here was something my friends had saved and never got a chance to use. What was worse – they left the disposition of the same to someone else. This wood had great value to them, but no value to their non-modeling family members. We will better serve ourselves and those in our lives if we manage our supplies ourselves. Leave a pile of scraps instead of sheet wood. The special kits you want to build – build them sooner rather than later – they aren’t as special to others. Get your enjoyment out of them today. Use the good wood. Don’t wait for that special time because that special time is now. You have today, you might not have tomorrow.

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No Flying in February, but…

I’ve been playing catch-up in February.  The month started off with me and my wife visiting her native Costa Rica.  I came back from tropical jungles and beaches to 2 feet of snow on the ground.  And to top it off, this week, we had a swing of over 50 degrees between Thursday and Saturday – and we were still below freezing.  Yes, it was nearly 30 on Saturday…and according to my truck, it was -25 on Thursday morning.

Weather aside, I’ve been putting in extra effort trying to catch up on orders received while I was away.  I am pretty much caught up, excepting some items that I ran out of and am waiting on re-supply.

On the building front, I had a stretch of the doldrums – I hadn’t built in January or February until this week.  I had to practically force myself into building, but now I I’ve got the ball rolling.  Here is a new Embryo I built this week.  I call it the Bad Axe – it is a lengthened Tomahawk.  Bad Axe is a play on the Tomahawk name and a send-up to Michigan (and the Tomahawk’s Michigan origins), as there is a town here called Bad Axe.  I don’t have a weight yet, since I can’t spray it in this cold and it still needs a nose button and prop.


I have kinda spoiled myself as I don’t like to build any model without using laser cut parts.  That’s all good, except I have to spend a lot of time drawing parts if I want to build a new model.  So, I’ve been spending many hours redrawing one of my favorite models.  Here are pieces that I cut today for a 19″ span Keith Rider R-2 Bumblebee for the Greve Race.  I redesigned the fuselage to have a more accurate cross section and it will be built out of all 1/16″ sticks, so it should be fairly light, too.  That will be next on the building board – starting sometime this week.








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VPS Torque Meter

A fellow Cloudbuster asked me to make him a torque meter for Indoor use.  He wanted a maximum of 2 inch-ounces and deflection in a single direction.  We discussed and we thought a dual-use meter might work best.  I plan on designing a mount for this so he can clamp it to a table and wind motors externally.  As it is now, he can put this between the winder and the motor, like the larger Wilder and Tyson outdoor torque meters.

This is just under 3″ overall length, made with an 0.015″ wire, 2.06″ (approximately) under torque, and it weighs less than 2.5 grams.  The dimensions were generated from Herb Kothe’s formula that can be found online.  I will soon have a spreadsheet available in the How-To area to help others calculate what dimensions to use, if they want to make their own.

I might be convinced to make these for others…

That is a KP 10:1 hand held winder for size reference.



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WANTED – Photos of Your Models!

I rarely get to see what becomes of the kits that I send out.  That’s a shame, because I’d really like to see your builds.  I will post them online and give you proper credit.

Today, fellow Cloudbuster, John Jackson did just that – he sent me 3 photos of his current build.  He is building a Peanut Chambermaid from our Laser-Cut Short Kit.  It’s looking great so far and he says it was a snap to build.  I look forward to seeing it fly this summer.

Here is the link to the Short Kit:  VPS Peanut Chambermaid

CMpeanut-JohnJackson01 CMpeanut-JohnJackson02 CMpeanut-JohnJackson03

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Testing the Chambermaid NoCal

I drove up to Potterville, MI today for a short indoor testing session on my Chambermaid NoCal.  It was very stable.  I had this outside in December, but under very limited testing.  With light breezes and very low winds, I couldn’t really test it beyond knowing it would fly reliably.

Today was really limited testing also, but with more power and no wind.  I flew one flight with the 7″x7P prop and didn’t care for the way it zoomed up to the ceiling, so I swapped the prop for a 7″x10P prop, gave it some minor thrust adjustments and got some very stable flights

I put in about 1250 turns on the ~24″ loop of 1/8 rubber and watched it cruise around very smoothly.  Here are a couple photos followed by a video.

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2015 NEW PRODUCT #5 – 1/2″ Balsa Gussets

The last product for today is a continuation of my “gusset series”.  These are the largest ones to date: 1/2″ on the short side, made from 1/16″ sheet.  These join the 1/4″ and 3/8″ gussets.  Once again, this was a recommendation from a customer.

Since these are quick and easy and sometimes there might be a scorch or two (or maybe a line not cut through), I almost always double up your order!  You can’t go wrong for $1.50 a sheet for any of the three sizes.

Coming next – I’ve got TWO kits out there being proto-typed by friends.  Once they have verified that everything goes together well (or point out errors?), I will get them packaged and announced and available.  Stay tuned!

12 gussets

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