A Busy Time

It’s been a busy week or two.  With the trip to Kent behind us, I had to catch up on orders; by customers and by me for re-stocking.  Kent also resulted in repairs to most of the planes I took (one reason I dislike Indoor flying).

While repairing one, we had the idea to create a How-To on repairing and re-covering.  That will come later.

I’ve got a few new short kits in process, but an event has put a halt to many things around here.  No, it wasn’t the 4.2 earthquake that happened about 10 miles from here yesterday (that was a surprise – they don’t happen in Michigan!)  Six months or more ago, my printer for mailing labels went out.  I have been printing labels on my large-format printer.  This has been no issue, except it is upstairs and the packages are packed downstairs (consider it exercise).

Well, yesterday, my main printer stopped working.  That puts a LOT of things to a halt around here.  I think both early ends were due to corners I cut in the ink supply area, but I cannot be sure.  So, yesterday, I ordered a new large format printer and purchased a new small one for labels.  With the large printer out of commission, so are things like plan testing, plan printing, and other aspects of my business.  Oh well, the new one is on the way and will be here soon enough.

While this is a hiccup and unplanned and a distraction, I am not too worried.  There are other things to life.  For one, the sun is shining today and it is beautiful outside – I thank Mother Nature and appreciate every day.

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200 Friends and Model Eating Trees

We reached a milestone yesterday, 15 April 2015:  200 Facebook Likes for our Volare Products Facebook Page.  That’s something small, but it made me ponder a bit – 200 different people, all with some degree of interest in Model Airplanes, have decided that I offer something significant enough that they would like to follow my posts.  200 isn’t many, but at the same time, it is a lot of people.  Thank you everyone; I hope I continue to live up to your expectations.

Coincidentally, here is a little story.  The other day, Tuesday I think, I was trying to test fly a new model without much success.  I tried in my small side yard for roughly an hour.  The little Peanut shows “some” promise, but has provided more frustration than promise at this point in time.  More on that plane another day – maybe.  After this length of frustration, I wanted to partake in what my friend, Chris Boehm, has called “evening therapy” – just get some flights in with something that flies.  I didn’t want to get one of my contest models out, I just wanted to have some fun in my larger back yard with a model that wasn’t important and hasn’t shown much capability.

The model I chose was my Occhipinti’s Tailwind Peanut.  This was the first model I drew up and built after my 10+ year layoff from the hobby.  I was seeing if I could “still” draw and build; an attempt to get back into the groove.  The model turned out nicely, but it never really flew well.  In fact, I doubt I hit a minute on it ever – and a high wing, retract gear, light weight Peanut should be able to do a minute!  So this model was often dragged around to contests for 3 years, but rarely flown.  I have better flying Peanuts.  But it would be good for an evening of tossing something around in the back yard.

As I walked out to the yard with it, I tried to recall what I need to do to get it to fly.  I know that it failed completely before, but something recently had been giving me hope (by “recently” I mean sometime last summer).  I put about 400 turns in the long loop of 3/32″ rubber and gave it a toss into the calm air.  It climbed, proving  my recent memories of potential, but was quite stall-y.  I recalled that early failure was likely due to a nose-heavy condition and I had removed all added nose weight from the model.  Now it was clearly tail heavy.  I added a pea of clay to the spinner and gave it another toss.  This one was much better, especially in the glide, but still stalling under power – shim that nose block!

So I did.  I used some of Mother Nature’s on-field shim material, in this case the stem of one of last fall’s maple leaves.  I gave it down and a little left and the same 400 winds.  Well, that did the trick, the plane climbed up and circled and got higher and higher, now it was above the height of the evergreens that surround my back yard.  No worries, there was only light drift and I had started far enough away that the plane should spiral down shortly within the yard.

Well, not quite.  The pea of clay on the nose and the long motor laying in the fuselage must have been just right…the glide slope was very flat – this was good news for the future of the model – for about 10 seconds.  As the plane circled and slowly descended, it drifted east into the evergreens.  It got stuck about 30 feet up deep within the tree.  I went to find my retrieval stick, but knowing it was too high.  When I got back to the tree, I noticed that a breeze was picking up.  I saw the model shift; it actually fell about 2 feet.  The weather forecast called for a couple of nice days with some 7 mph winds, surely the wind would bump the model out of the tree.  As of last night, the model was still stuck in the same place.  The weather is turning to rain; it has already sprinkled some today, with a projection of real rain later in the day.  At least I can go visit its final resting place.

It is strange…this model has never been a favorite.  I rarely have flown it in contests – it wasn’t competitive – in flight or as a high wing.  It should have been, but never was.  But, I want it back.  So why has this affected me more than the fly-away of my Chambermaid Dime Scale last Sunday?  That plane was a proven winner and would have continued to serve me well.  This plane…maybe it is because I can see it…maybe because I overcame the problems with it…maybe because it was its turn (having sat in the box and now ready to perform)…maybe because…   I don’t know, but that’s the hazard of Free Flight.

start14a

start99

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Contest Report: It Was a Good Day for Volaré Products!

April 12th – Yesterday was a good day.  Spring is finally here and our contest day weather was “not too bad”  it was chilly in the morning, but it warmed up to 60+ degrees and it was sunny all day.  The wind was about 10-15 mph, so that was the down side.

Out of 7 events yesterday, brand new Volare Products planes took TWO first places!  John Jackson got a chance to put his new Chambermaid Peanut (built from our short kit) through its paces.  His plane rockets up, grabbing all kinds of altitude before power runs out.  He took first in Peanut by a large margin.  He gave up the model for lost, until we found it looking for another lost model.

My son, Jack Bredehoft, built up a prototype NoCal Cessna Centurion, finishing it the night before the contest.  He tested it on 3 flights and then started flying for officials.  On his second official flight, the little 6 gram plane caught a boomer and flew Out Of Sight.  His two flights were good enough for First Place.  As soon as I finish up the plan and make a couple wood corrections, this will be a NoCal Short Kit (maybe even a full kit later).

Here are winners John and Jack with their planes:

20150412-07 20150412-03

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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.

–george

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ANNUAL CUSTOMER APPRECIATION SALE! 10% OFF!!!

***COUPON CODE BELOW***

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!)

–george

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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.

Eaglet

 

 

 

 

KingHarry

 

 

 

 

Chinese11

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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

AND…

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!

MarchProps

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USE THE GOOD WOOD!

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.

BadAxe05

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.

 

R2Scale01

 

 

 

 

 

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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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