I finally finished the packaging for The Wisp. The Short Kit includes 2 laser cut sheets of wood and a large, newly-drawn plan for this 25″ span Cabin ship from the January 1946 Model Airplane News. Find it in The Basement under VPS Kits.
I had a visitor yesterday; John Jackson from the Cloudbusters. As I gave him a quick and dirty (the shop is a terrible mess) tour, he was very interested to see the laser cutter in action. I gave him a show and he suggested that I post a video online. Good idea.
Below is a 5-minute video of my laser cutter in action. It highlights the Phantom Flash kit that I produce, but is fully representative of all the kits that I do. Just to be clear, EVERY Volare Products Laser Cut kit is done right here on this machine. I do every one; I do not farm out the work. In fact, not only do I cut all the parts, but I have to draw all the plans and parts in CAD before I can ever cut a single part. Whether it is my own design, someone else’s design that I am producing, or an Old Timer that I am reproducing, I have to draw or trace every plan and part.
In addition, to date, there has not been a single Volare Products kit produced that has not been built and tested for fit and accuracy before being offered for sale. This fits right in with a position I took when I first started selling my own plans over 20 years ago: all planes have been built and tested and flown for, at least, the Flying Aces Club minimum flight time of 20 seconds. I don’t want to offer something for sale that can’t be used as intended – that is, flying.
It was a chilly, but nice, day for our last Outdoor contest of the year up here in Michigan. When I got my Phantom Flash out of the box, I saw that it had a “potato-chip” stabilizer. Oh well, it was the only one I brought. The first flight was an 82-second flight. It was during the best part of the day. The air was still calm and the temps were starting to warm up. (It was about 25 degrees when we started the contest. By the end of the contest, it was in the high 40s.)
I was encouraged. This poor plane had spent one night outside this year and the wing had to be recovered. I am sure I will be building a new one this winter. But, sometimes our little planes do all they can do. They fly as best as they can. Sometime they seem like little puppies; so eager to please. Even with its warped tail, this plane flew like it was perfectly balanced. No rubber motor weight shift needed on launch, Take offs were straight up, with a stall to level flight and another climb. And then it settled into large, slow circles.
The second flight was 85 seconds. No one else had flown Phantom Flash at the time, but I gave it one more flight, since it wanted to fly. I put in the winds, called for a time and let it ROG one more time. Up it went – climb, stall, flatten, climb, flatten, circle. As the motor ran down, the plane never lost altitude. In fact, it’s nice trim allowed it to rise and rise. I could see that the motor came off the front and was hanging on the rear. But it was perfectly trimmed. I chased and stopped. Chased and stopped. Chased and stopped three or four or five times. Finally, it came down on the far end of the field. I got back and was told it was a 4:16 flight! The 82, 85, 120 was good enough for a win in Phantom Flash, against 4 other flyers.
Time to start promoting the business…I have a large lot of 3″ Vinyl Stickers and an initial batch of T-shirts in Medium, Large, X-Large, and XX-Large. The stickers are 50 cents each (maybe less!) and the T-shirts are $15 each. Get yours today!
Years ago (nearly 20 years now!) , I published a hard copy photo index to the marvelous EEA book “the Golden Age of Air Racing – pre 1940″ by Schmid & Weaver. I created the index for my own use because I spent literally hundreds of hours pouring over the photos, trying to learn all I could about the fascinating race planes.
I’ve been asked a couple of times to resume publication. I finally decided to do just that, but in a different media. I use WordPress for this web site and I found a plug-in that would allow tables to be displayed AND sorted. So…I installed the plug-in, converted my old format to a compatible one, and have published this work online – free to anyone that wants to use it.
There are nearly 850 images referenced and you can sort by any of the column headers by simply clicking on the column header. Do you want them sorted by page? Click Page. Do you want them sorted by Plane Name? Click Plane. Do you want to find all the 3-views in the book? Click on Notes.
There is only one minor problem – the page may appear blank when you go to it. I guess the table needs to load properly, I don’t know. But I have found that if you hit REFRESH (once, twice, more?) the data will be displayed. It’s a big table, so be prepared to scroll down!
Enjoy – follow the link below – or look on the menu above under “HOW-TO”
It was a busy Sunday, today. The photo below shows a little of what was going on – that’s about enough laser cutting for 20 short kits, all done today. Included in that is the first set of production Wisp kits; as soon as I get some graphics done, I will have the Wisp Short Kits on the site – maybe by the end of the week.
Also, I packed half a dozen orders, worked on new plans, and worked on making some stock for sale.
I am very close to two new laser-cut short kits – NoCals this time. One has been built and proven, the other is new. I won’t tell you all what they are just yet – maybe in November.
Also, I am working on the 2016 One-Design for the FAC Outdoor Champs. Work has to be done by January, so, I’ve got to get cracking on that. And then…I will be starting work on a very successful and proven Greve Racer design; again, a short kit with options to build in one of two versions.
Of course, I have about 15 different planes I want to build over the winter for next year. I know I won’t get nearly that many built, but you gotta dream big!
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
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).
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.
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.