New Short Kit and Other Product Updates

First off – a new kit announcement – the long-awaited (is anyone waiting for this?) PBY NoCal Short Kit.  I spent this morning cutting and packing ten of these short kits.  This is not a simple model, as it is a twin prop, twin motor NoCal.  But I have spent some time engineering in some glue joints and overlaps that should make it a little easier to build and stronger once assembled.

I need to mention that I built and flew this kit prototype back in October/November, but it took some inspiring comments regarding NoCals by Vance Gilbert and Dave Mitchell in a recent issue of the FAC News to get me to finish the drawing and parts layout.  By the way, this is cut from 1/32″ balsa, so it’s not as bulk as you might first think.  Find it in the Shop for $10 plus shipping, as are most of my short kits.

It is hard to believe that it has been a week already since the WINDY McCook meet down in Muncie.  I have barely got anything accomplished since then.  I twisted my knee down there and hobbled around for most of the time.  Well, it hasn’t got a lot better since then and I am set for an MRI next Thursday.  We”ll see what that report is, but I am sure it won’t be easy news.

Because of that, I’ve done little more than try to keep up on incoming orders.  In a way, it is fortunate that June orders have slacked off a bit as it takes a little pressure off of me.  I have been trying to complete some pending plans and parts layouts for new kits.  With the PBY just released, I have the following kits at 85-90%, or maybe even closer in some cases:

Comet Pepper Old Time Fuselage – two prototypes under construction by modelers
Peanut Baby Cyclone Goodyear Racer – needs parts laid out to cut and prototype built
24″ Cessna C-34 – parts cut and on my bench awaiting my construction to start
Denny Starling – a rare 2-Bit – parts cut and awaiting a prototype build

Two “under wraps” designs:
a contest-winning Embryo by a well-known modeler – parts cut, awaiting a prototype build
another 2-Bit with a twin-fin – parts nearly ready to cut

I have any number of model plans at less than this state, anywhere from 75% done to “man, I want to do this one someday”.  And new ideas and designs sometimes jump the line, like the twin-fin 2-Bit mentioned above.  I enjoy drawing up plans and making them available.

In closing, REMEMBER TO PRE-ORDER for Geneseo and AMA Nats.  This will make it easier for both you and me.  See you there!

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FAC CONTEST REPORT – McCook Field Squadron @ Muncie

Event Results below.

For several years now, the Dayton Squadron has hosted an annual 2-day FAC contest in Muncie.  As it falls in June, it is generally a good opportunity to do a final trim for Geneseo on the big AMA national Flying site.  This year, however, the wind prevented any meaningful trimming to take place, and nearly blew the contest away to the northwest, but we persevered and there were about a dozen or so registered contestants.

Last year, the Dayton club said that the CD responsibilities were getting to be burdensome for their aging group, so Pat Murray and Winn Moore stepped forward to run the show – as long as the Dayton people would continue to show to fly and provide the awards (placards and pins, known as “McCookies” – see the last photo below).  They agreed and the show goes on.

The wind was… well, let’s say “aggressive” all weekend.  Event the evenings and mornings saw wind of about 7-10 mph and the mid-day winds were in the 15-20 range, with gusts much higher.  It was quite a challenge to get planes to fly, especially those that were light and well-trimmed for light and variable conditions.  The wind forecast definitely caused some flyers to stay at home.

I will recall here two events from the weekend.  The first was watching Tom Ersted flying.  Tom is one of the Dayton crew and has usually been found at the HQ tent doing scale judging and almost never flying.  This year, Tom flew in at least four events (P-30, Embryo, Phantom Flash, and NoCal).  Tom would go up on the hilltop, where the wind was strongest and launch his Phantom Flash.  He put up three flights of between 60 seconds and 90 seconds each and easily won the event – for his first kanone!  He also flew in NoCal and 2:20 flight that was OOS (even with binoculars) and still going up.  He lost his Embryo with another OOS flight on his first flight.  Well done, Tom – you’ve got some building to do!

The other significant event was the awarding of the coveted FAC Blue Max award.  The FAC awards these to contestants that surpass the 16-kanone level.  It is the one and only FAC Performance Award excepting the century-mark kanone plaques.  This was awarded to Elvin Buchele, an old-time modeler from Toledo.  He usually shows up at the larger FAC meets in Muncie.  When I told him that Stu Weckerly had passed away (I knew they were friends) he recalled that Stu was a nice guy and had driven Elvin and another teen to the 1951 Nationals in Texas.

Well, as I noted in the medal presentation, Elvin always leaves the Muncie contests before the awards ceremony and I have been waiting for two years to give him his Blue Max.  Sunday, we decided to have a presentation mid-day, before he left.  We called all the flyers over to the main tent and presented Elvin with his Blue Max.

George Bredehoft, Keeper of the Kanones, awarding the Blue Max for 16 Kanones to Elvin Buchele, as Stu Cummins observes.

Here are the Kanone Events Results.

Simplified Scale – 3 flyers
Pat Murray – Mr Smoothie – 255 points
Winn Moore – Mr Mulligan
George Bredehoft – P-51

Jimmie Allen – 3 flyers
Pat Murray – Skokie – 279 seconds
Elvin Buchele – Skokie
Stu Cummins – BA Cabin (Skokie)

Phantom Flash – 3 flyers
Tom Ersted – 228 seconds
Pat Murray
George Bredehoft

Greve Race – 3 flyers
Pat Murray – Mr Smoothie
Winn Moore – Mr Smoothie
George Bredehoft – Elmendorf Special

WWII Combat – 4 flyers
Pat Murray – Avenger
Winn Moore – Tony
Elvin Buchele – Spitfire

Jet Cat – 4 flyers
Elvin Buchele – P-59 – 95 points
Winn Moore – T-37 Tweet
George Bredehoft – T-37 Tweet

OT Stick – 4 flyers
George Bredehoft – Wanderer – 360 seconds
Pat Murray – Gollywock
Stu Cummins – Gollywock

Embryo – 7 flyers
George Bredehoft – Bad Axe – 190 total points
Pat Murray – Big Cat
Stu Cummins – 50% Pacific Ace

2 Bit – 5 flyers
George Bredehoft – King Harry – 292 seconds
Pat Murray – Erie Daily Times
Winn Moore – Wisp

Golden Age Combined – 3 flyers
Winn Moore – Stout 2-AT – 298 seconds
Pat Murray – Stinson SR-7
George Bredehoft – Martin MO-1

FAC Rubber Scale – 3 flyers
Winn Moore – Tony – 131 points
Pat Murray – Stinson 125
Elvin Buchele – Ercoupe

We also had entries (and awards) for the following events.  They did not earn kanones as there were not enough flyers or they are not FAC events:

Cloud Tramp Mass Launch – Pat Murray
AMA Cat Glider – Elvin Buchele
FAC Peanut Scale – George Bredehoft
NoCal – Tom Ersted
Dime Scale – Don DeCook
AMA HLG – George Bredehoft
OT Fuselage – Pat Murray
Watson Unlimited Challenge – Jim Bair

Here is one flyer’s collection of the ever-popular “McCookies”, awarded for First Place in an event.

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FAC and AMA PARTICIPANTS – PRE-ORDER NOW !!!!

Customers!  Help ME to help YOU!  If you are planning on going to the FAC non-Nats in Geneseo (mid-July) or the AMA Nats in Muncie (end of July), PLEASE consider pre-ordering.  This will help me in that I go to these events to PRIMARILY fly and secondarily sell.  Pre-ordering will ensure that your complete order is packaged and ready for you to pick up at the event.

I will have my sales goods at each event, but I will not be dedicated to selling, but rather – like you – I will be there to fly and compete.

This is ESPECIALLY TRUE for tissue purchases.  I will NOT be bringing bulk tissue to either event as it is very difficult and time-consuming to count and package on the field.  So if you want TISSUE, you must pre-order.

The DEADLINE for ordering for pick up at these events is SATURDAY 15 JULY.  After that date, I will be packing for Geneseo and Muncie is the week after Geneseo, so there will be no time after 15 July.

PLEASE ADD A COMMENT to your order telling which event you will attend.  You can also pre-pay (select EVENT PICKUP on the shipping page) or defer payment until the event.

THANK YOU!!!!

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Roscoe Turner Squadron Contest Report – 27 May 2017

*** – Pictures and Event Results below – ***

Pat Murray is trying to get his Roscoe Turner Squadron spun up and they held their first contest today at the AMA Flying Site in Muncie. Two Cloudbusters traveled down to help him out.

We got a late start as Pat had to arrive in the morning. Then we had a rough time finding a reasonable location as we had tow contend with high water, wind direction, and r/c modelers. The wind was uncharacteristically out of the north west and then headed south. We thought we had a relatively acceptable spot, but we got chased off my a “sanctioned event CD” worried that we would interfere with his r/c jets – we saw about three jets all day. So we got underway about 10:30 and had to wrap up at 4pm.

Speaking of three, Winn, Pat, and I were the majority of flyers and logged the entirety of official flights. Bill Garrison from Indianapolis showed up and flew some planes, but didn’t log any flights. I think something called “race weekend” had something to do with low attendance.

The weather started out “not too bad” and got to “pretty darned good” by the end of the day. We had several maxes and one lost (OOS plane) and only one plane got really wet (Pat’s winning Phantom Flash) by dropping in the “puddles” (or lakes).

We took the opportunity to test new planes on a big field and fly those we don’t want to risk on small fields.

Here are the events and results:

Jet Cat
Winn Moore – T-37 Tweet – 93 total points
Pat Murray – Czech Aero L-29
George Bredehoft – T-37 Tweet

Phantom Flash
Pat Murray – 279 total seconds
Winn Moore
George Bredehoft

Embryo
Pat Murray – Big Cat – 298 total points
Winn Moore – Maverick
George Bredehoft – Durham Mystery

2-Bit
George Bredehoft – King Harry – 325 total seconds
Pat Murray – Erie Daily Times
Winn Moore – King Harry

Golden Age
Winn Moore – Stout 2-AT – 305 total points
Pat Murray – Stinson SR-7
George Bredehoft – Martin MO-1

Dime Scale
Winn Moore – Martin MO-1 – 170 total points
Pat Murray – Staggerwing
George Bredehoft – Ta-Go

Greve Race
Winn Moore – Mr Smoothie
Pat Murray – Mr Smoothie
George Bredehoft – Elmendorf Special

We couldn’t fly NoCal because I lost my Cessna Centurion OOS after about 10 minutes – on an untimed test flight early in the morning.

I cannot recommend enough flying at Muncie – do it if and when you get a chance – and Pat is providing us with more chances to fly this year!

Pat Murray holding court and winding his Event-winning Big Cat Embryo

Pat’s Big Cat in flight

Pat’s Erie Daily Times 2-Bit

George Bredehoft’s Event-winning 2-Bit King Harry after a max flight. There was about 4 inches of water under the model, but it didn’t get wet.

Winn Moore test flying his brand-new King Harry

Winn’s winding his brand-new Embryo Maverick.

Winn’s Maverick in flight. Threat for big-field Embryo this year.

Bill Garrison test flying his Tail-Firster Embryo

George Bredehoft’s brand-new Yokosuka Judy for WWII combat. It flew with authority on about 800 turns on this test flight. I estimate it flew about 1:210+ (there was air).

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Mid May Meanderings

I guess it is time for an update.  I’ve been slow in posting one, so we will give it a go today.

This past week, I have been trying something new on Facebook: I’ve been posting a Modeling Pic of the Day.  No real articles or description, just something that I hope is of interest.  If you have Facebook and you didn’t know there was a Volare Facebook page, you can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/VolareProducts/

Probably the most interesting of those posts has been what amounted to an early new product announcement.  We (my dad and I) are producing a reproduction of the popular Jim Jones Balsa Stripper.  These have been out of production (twice now) for awhile and we are “this close” to selling them.  In fact, I have three on hand, but two are claimed already.  More are on the way and I will have them on the site shortly.  When the link is live, you will find them under the category “Tools”.  Here’s a preview:

Speaking of Facebook, they did a real number on the FAC-GHQ page.  I don’t know what happened, we were going right along, lots of usage and membership was over 200 with a lot of requests coming in every week.  Then someone asked “what happened to the GHQ page?” and it was gone.

I have absolutely no clue as to what happened.  There was no notification or anything.  When you went to the link, a message appeared that it was unavailable.  I did see a cryptic message that said there was a dangerous link on the page and it referred to the GHQ web site.  So, I don’t know.  Facebook Help is just like going outside and asking the sky – no response to multiple help requests.

So, this morning, I recreated the GHQ Facebook group.  Here is the NEW link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FlyingAcesClubGHQ

One of my Pics of the Day featured a modification I did to my chase bike.  Some of you might be interested.  Now, it is specific to the Honda Ruckus, so “some of you” may be only two or three of you.  I had a previous version of this rack, made out of 1/2″ PVC pipe, but it was simply duct-taped to the frame – it was loose and eventually broke.  This is also pipe, but it is now mounted to hard points on the frame; it is bolted on and is rigid.  Oh, what is it for?  I bungee a banana box on it and use it to carry my models back to the base.

 

Lastly,  some of you may be aware that I am building another “secret” model for Geneseo.  It is going to be big, but not nearly as big as my last two.  Here is my latest teaser pic:

I am just about ready to cover….

Speaking of Geneseo – the FAC non-Nats are only TWO MONTHS AWAY!  Get building and trimming!

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This Week in 2017 – Stuff

People might not believe me, but things seem to be slow this week.  I’ve been working on a couple of “tribute” plans and models; one is for a local legend and I will reveal it after Sunday (when I reveal it to him) and the other is for a modeler of great renown that passed away many years ago.  I will probably donate the plans to a newsletter or two and offer up short kits of the models.

I do most of my drawing in the morning – consider it part of my wake-up process, along with the mandatory cup of coffee.  I get in a good hour or two, maybe more, before I start in on more active things, like packing orders, cutting kits, or washing dishes.

One of the things that I have started to do is listen to a “podcast”.  This isn’t an intentional advertisement, but, if you’re like me and love the Golden Age of aviation and racing, you always liked the movie “The Rocketeer“.  Well, a couple of guys are dissecting the movie minute-by-minute and each minute is a new day’s episode.  They really go in depth with the subject, not only about the movie, but the music, key personnel – and the airplanes.  Good stuff; check it out here: http://www.rocketeerminute.com/

My place is a mess.  I don’t mean my house (although my wife would disagree), I mean my work areas, building areas, work shop, business shop – a terrible mess.  I love (hate?) seeing photos of guys building where they have the immaculate work bench.  I marvel at their abilities – not so much their building techniques, but how in the world to they keep it clean?  I get focused on the “build”, the subject at hand, and everything else is secondary.  My bench (pick one) is covered with parts and scraps – wood, tissue, whatever – from several builds.  And as soon as the current build is done, my mind switches to “what’s next?”  I don’t have time to be bothered by clean up.

yes, I need this stuff – or it wouldn’t be there!

Why do I even mention this?  Well, it is incumbent upon all of us modelers to think about our “messes” and what will become of those messes when we are no longer around.  Because whoever is left with our hobby materials and supplies will certainly have a lesser estimate of their value.

I helped with the clean-up of the late Stu Weckerly’s hobby room yesterday.  Stu had moved to an apartment about 10 years ago, so I am sure that he got rid of a lot of stuff himself.  His room was filled with stuff, but in hind-sight, was probably minimalist in what was present.  That’s not to say that we didn’t have a big task in cleaning it out, but it could have been much, much worse.

But the fact remains – we were ruthless.  We trashed a lot of things – things I wouldn’t trash off my own bench.  But that is probably because I am still using them.  But all paints, glues, pins, balsa scraps, and so much more got tossed in the trash.  Even many of his models (the ones that were under repair or missing parts) were unceremoniously shoved into a garbage bag.  I did take home a LOT of stuff, but I will be reviewing it all again and getting rid of what I just cannot keep.  I did take a large stack of airplane books that probably would have gone into the trash.  I don’t know where I am going to keep them, but I couldn’t stand to see them tossed.

So, don’t just “use the good wood“, but make these decisions yourself, or at least as many as you can.  No one thinks they are going to pass on; everyone thinks there is tomorrow and the next model, but that is obviously not true.  Help those that help you – your survivors will not know what is what, or have the sentiments that you do regarding certain items.  Save your loved ones from making as many of these decisions as possible while they are grieving (they will be grieving when you’re gone, right?)  And some of us know in our hearts that we have more of a problem and mess than others.  So get busy and make a plan and put it into action.

One last parting comment – here is a video that came home with me yesterday.  It is Stu flying indoors.  Thanks, Stu, for being a modeling friend.

 

 

 

 

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Stu Weckerly, Current FAC Kanone Leader, Gone West at 91 Years

Today, the Cloudbusters got word that Stu Weckerly passed away on the 18th of April.  To my knowledge, there was no obituary.  Stu was a quiet man and he lived alone, without family, so details are scarce.  Here are some of the personal details that we do know.

Stuart Paul Weckerly
01 January 1926 – 18 April 2017 – 91 years old
Was in the Army in WWII, went to Europe, but was too late to see any action.
Purdue University BSEE 1950 (knew Neil Armstrong)
In 2000, Retired from Ford after 29 years

I don’t remember when I first met Stu – I am sure it was while competing in the Cleveland FAC contests in the early ’90s.  He and Dave Livesay and Paul Boyanowski were Cloudbuster regulars at the Cleveland events.  At some point he recognized my last name and asked if George Bredehoft was my father.  I responded that was my grandfather.  It seems Stu and my grandfather’s family went to the same church in Toledo in the ’40s.  He remembered my grandfather and my aunt Edith.  My dad, who was in grade school at the time remembers someone named “Weckerly” giving a talk on model airplanes at church (I am sure that Stu was a life-long modeler).  So Stu and I became friends.  He always had a friendly word for me and Jack and my wife, Patricia, too.

It was always a pleasure to see Stu at the flying field.  In the ’90s, he was a dedicated modeler and his planes flew and he won.  I particularly remember his Jumbo Found Centennial on floats, a red and orange Waco cabin on floats, his Yokosuka Judy combat plane, his Stout 2-AT, a General Aircraft Skyfarer, and a Buster Goodyear Racer.  His planes all flew well and he often won, probably because he was a master at building lightly.

By the time I returned to the hobby in 2012, Stu was an old man and had slowed down a great deal.  He would still show up, with the same rickety folding table and briefcase full of equipment and notes, but he flew fewer and fewer events.  Eventually, his appearances became fewer and fewer.  As far as I can remember, the last contest he attended was one year ago, in April 2016.  He didn’t fly, just sat and watched all the rest of us Cloudbusters flying our models.

Here are some modeling highlights:
– 1948 2nd Plymouth Motor Corp. International Invitational Model Airplane Contest (540 world participants) – 2nd in Class D FF Gas
– 411 total FAC Kanones
– last kanone 20 Sept 2015
– last contest 17 April 2016 from the contest report: “As Ralph Keunz and Stu Weckerly sat and watched the fun, Ralph was overheard saying “this is just a perfect day”.

DCF 1.0

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Building and Repairing; a Slow Week

It feels like it has been a slow week, with little “news” to share.  I’ve been busy; the weather is getting warmer and I am doing more things outside.  I worked on both my Studebaker and my truck.  Of course, packing orders takes up a good deal of time nearly every day.

I put together a new JetCat – a 25% larger T-37 Tweet.  This gives the model an 18″ wingspan.  I tried to make it lighter, also.  You can see the built-up wing construction in this photo.  The fuselage is of lighter construction, too.  We will see Sunday if this has potential.

I did get the fuselage and tail section to my “mystery model” framed up.  The wings will be a challenge.  My plan is to “debut” this model at Geneseo in July, although I will probably have it for test flying in Muncie in June – I want a bigger field than our local field for testing.  (You may have seen this photo earlier this week.)

I repaired my wing on my Elmendorf Special.  You might recall me writing about how I flew it at full torque without test flying it and the thrust settings were off – it torque-rolled in to the left and sheared the left wing off.  It was a simple fix.  I forgot to take in process photos, so you get a belly shot of the finished repair.  As with all repairs, the plane is getting heavier.  This plane is starting its second year of competition – it is getting beat up.  I have already started thinking about its replacement for next year.

Also, the prop broke at the field and I did a field repair.  That left a chip in the trailing edge of the prop.  I am 100% sure that this notch had no effect on performance, but it bothered me, so I fixed it.  Here is a series of shots of that simple repair.  Maybe they will help someone fix something else sometime.

The offending nick in the trailing edge of the blade.  You can see the repaired glue seam, starting at the notch and curving downward to the left to the leading edge near the hub.

A little gentle knife work and sanding and we have nice clean edges to repair.

A piece of 3/32″ square scrap filling the notch.  Just make sure the piece exceeds all edges of the repair, so that you have stuff to carve/sand away.

All carved, sanded and sealed – ready to fly again!

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New Plane – Nearly Gone!

Today, I finished my Durham Mystery for my small field Embryo.  I am not sure why I want this for a small field, since my last one flew away straight up off that same small field.

Anyway, I took it outside before I installed the prop to test the glide.  It was kinda windy, but not terribly.  I used clay and loaded it up and went back inside to put the prop on when it would almost hover in the wind.  It was just a tad stall-y, but that’s ok with me to start.

I weighed the nose block with the clay and proceeded with the installation.  I used the 6″ Superior Prop that I took off the Martin MO-1 Dimer and then adjusted the clay so the total weight was just a little higher than the noseblock/clay value.

I cut 22″ of 1/8 Rubber, tied a simple knot, got my winder and went outside.  I wound in 100 turns and it did ok; not spectacular – but it was only 100 winds.  I went to the back yard since the area is bigger.  I wound it 200 winds just for another test flight.  I thought maybe it would be cool to get a 200-wind video after this test.

Some of you may remember my back yard.  Here is a snap from my Judy video.

You will notice the trees – I estimate those are about 40 feet tall.  They are probably more since they are a LOT taller than my 35′ pole.  The wind was blowing in the same direction this photo is pointing – slightly east of due north – maybe due magnetic north.

I was a few steps closer to the trees than this photo.  I turned and faced the wind and gave the little plane a soft toss into the wind.  That plane shot right up!  By the time it did 1.5 circles to the left, it was maybe 20 feet higher than the trees and flying north over them!  I ran around the left end of the the line hoping to catch the tail end of the flight (only 200 turns, remember).  There’s a fairly open area with a treeline to the right.  That yard goes about 200 feet to the road you can just barely see under the satellite antenna.

I got around the corner, looked up and around – nothing.  No sign of my new plane.  I went inside and got my boots on (it’s been very wet here and there is standing water in the front near the road).  I walked to the eastern trees and walked that line looking up – nothing.  I had a feeling I should keep going north.  I walked along the road – looking across and across the small creek that runs parallel.  There is was.  I made it down the bank, across the water, up the bank – twice and I didn’t get wet and the plane wasn’t damaged.  A DT will be installed and maybe I can keep this little plane – and win a kanone or two!

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Lessons Learned – Mass Launch Fun

Maybe the title for this should be “So You THINK You Can Fly”…

This will be a cautionary tale of mistakes I made yesterday that caused me to be less than competitive.  I will also include two examples that can show how YOU can win a local mass launch.

Lesson One

When time rolled around for the WWII Combat mass launch yesterday, I pulled out my Guillows #905 P-51 Mustang (more on this model in a bit).  It hadn’t been flown since the fall, but the surfaces were straight.  But it was missing a motor.  I quickly made one out of 3/16″ rubber.  I tied the knot, lubed it up, and installed it.  As I was loading it, I told Jack, “you know, I forgot to tie the ‘new’ knot and went with the ‘old’ knot.  Now my words cannot describe the knots.  Just let it be known that my old style is what I had been doing for 20 years, but they occasionally come untied.  Last year, Winn Moore showed us a new knot that locks on itself so it will not come untied.

We had six flyers in WWII.  I made it through the first round easily.  And I outflew everyone in the second round.  It was down to me, Jack with his Wildcat, and Winn with his Tony for the finals.  I was confident.  Jack broke his motor winding.  That left me and Winn.  As I was winding – my motor broke!  Inspection revealed it hadn’t but that it had come untied.

I failed myself in that I knew that I had not done the proper knot before I loaded the motor.

Lesson Two

When I have a new plane I test fly, test fly, test fly, gradually working up to full power.  Everyone does this (right?)  But what about your small modifications on your existing planes?

Over the winter, I needed to replace the lost spinner on my Elmendorf Special.  I went from a balsa to a vacuformed spinner.  and I needed to add a backing plate to the prop.  Well, I wasn’t happy with the old prop, so I made a new one.  It was the same diameter but a different blade shape.  I was trying to optimize performance.

I gave the plane a few low-to-mid power test flights to get it retrimmed and I was satisfied and ready for the races.  I would the motor up to a base-line performance torque; somewhere between 2 and 2.5 in-oz on a loop of 3/16″ rubber.  Max safe torque would be 3+ in-oz, so I had a ways to go before that.  No worries (first rule of mass launch – just fly safe in the first round – someone will always screw up).  Unfortunately, I hadn’t tested at that torque – my plane streaked away and to the left – hard.  It made about 1/4 circuit and hit the ground with the left wing and nose.  I believe the only damage is detached wings and broken center section and associated belly tissue (I think it can be fixed).

Again, I failed myself by not following the practice of test, test, test – my different prop reacted differently to the torque and I nearly destroyed my plane.

For You – How to Win a Mass Launch

As illustrated above, mass launches are unpredictable – mostly due to the lack of human preparation.  I could write pages and pages about how people fail themselves and their models in a mass launch.  It will always happen.  We even joked before the first one that anyone can win a mass launch and I quipped how I have won them with planes that cannot fly an “official” 20-second flight.

But this is about how to win.  You need to build a good model and you need to test, test, test until you know what to expect out of the model.  You need to prepare yourself -don’t do anything different in the mass launch than what you would do in a solo flight.  If your model likes a certain power and a certain launch attitude – do that, don’t change just because of the pressure.

What you need is a consistent flyer.  In local contests and on small fields, if your plane has repeatable performance in the 1-minute range – you WILL win some over the season.  You might not win every contest, but you can rely on people – even the better flyers – to eliminate themselves.  Fellow Cloudbuster, Ron Joyal, has been flying for maybe 4 years.  But he has been learning and he will fly and fly and fly a certain model; testing and trimming.  He and his Mr Mulligan are not the best racers on our Cloudbuster field, but he has won twice in the last 3 or 4 outdoor contests because he has the most predictable performance and “some of us” can’t follow our own rules  Well done, Ron.

For You – A Good Local Mass Launch Fighter

I wrote about this plane before – the Guillows Kit #905 P-51 Mustang.  If you are just getting started in WWII and think Scale Planes are difficult – or if you are just looking for a simple and good flying fighter for your local contests, you really owe it to yourself to give this kit a try.  Mine has turned out to be a fine flyer – very easy to fly with very good characteristics.  It won’t compete at the national level, but it is my go-to local fighter.  It builds quick, it is durable, and I am not afraid to break it or lose it on our small field.

I did do some minor modifications to the kit.  Here they are:

1: The Wing:  I built it to plan, but I added 3/32″ square along the leading edge.  I am pretty sure I just cut off the rib tips and laid the square on top of the recommended leading edge.  This allowed me to sand in a rounded “entry point” too the airfoil.  I don’t know how this affects low-speed aerodynamics, I just know it makes me feel better.

2: The Horizontal Stabilizer:  I added about 1/2″ to each tip of the stab:  I just moved the provided tips out wider and built per instructions.  I read somewhere that a greater span has more effect than a deeper chord.  Again, I don’t know if this has made mine more stable than built-to plan, but mine flies well.

3: The Nose: You will have to add and/or replace wood at the nose.  make is a little stronger and make a removable nose plug.  In addition, replace the nose bearing and the prop (and the rubber).  I used a Gizmo Geezer nose button because it is adjustable.  I swapped in a 7″ Chinese prop and a long loop of 3/16″ rubber.  I also added a Nason Clutch to the prop; that is hiding under the spinner.

Of course, as detail above in the sad, cautionary tales, you need to test your plane a lot.  start at extremely low power to adjust your glide and CG.  The work gradually increase the power to get your flight pattern, using only thrust adjustments.  You will be rewarded!

 

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