I little bit ago, I asked for customers to share photos of their builds from Volare Products and I have received a couple of photos! Here they are.
David Krammes from Pennsylvania sent these beautiful photos of three of his Volare Products models:
Jimmie Allen Special
Also, occasionally I send out prototype kits to build and test for future Production. I sent out two kits for the Flying Aces Moth in the last half of the year. To date, these models have not yet been flown, but they have been built! One from John Jackson in Michigan and the other from Roy Courtney in North Carolina. Once these prove themselves by flying, the short kit will be available for sale.
Thanks to these three for sending in photos. I look forward to seeing and sharing other photos.
For years, the Cloudbusters Club has had an annual trophy for the best performance over the indoor season for a Blatter 40 model. Since I never got to go to the indoor events, I didn’t pay much attention. In 2016, two things happened that changed that: 1) I retired and could devote more time to travel, and 2) the indoor venue changed from a TINY gym to an indoor soccer arena – now I can go to the indoor events.
The Blatter 40 is a very simple 40-square-inch ROG Stick model designed about 50 years ago by Cloudbuster Al Blatter. The club rules are that it must be built to plan, use a Sleek Streek-type prop assembly (unmodified) and the best 3 out of 4 flights are counted.
After my first indoor contest, I asked Mike Welshans for the history and accurate plan for the model. Mike provided both. Through discussions, I decided to publicly provide the plan (here), create a short kit (here) and give one short kit to each Cloudbuster Indoor Contestant (you must attend the monthly meets, at least once).
While designing the short kit, it became apparent that there just weren’t very many parts to this little plane and I decided to double up the parts AND include the “regulation” propeller assembly. So, each kit will contain the plans (enhanced with history and construction notes – different than the above), one sheet of laser-cut parts, and TWO propeller assemblies – enough for TWO models. All that for a mere $10 plus shipping!
This plane is very simple and just about anyone could get this to fly 2 minutes (use a loop of 1/16″ rubber). Mine did 2:25 on its first day out! It would be great for other clubs as a one-design event – or – use this for teaching kids how to build and fly, like the Foo Fighters club is doing in Virginia (I sent them a sample to see how their kids would do):
Wow, another year gone by. I tell you what – there were so many times in 2016 that I was on the flying field and just felt tremendous joy and appreciation for the time that was that moment. 2016 was one of my best years of flying – not because of wins (I did that some) and not because of the business – but just because I was doing what I enjoy and doing it with friends that enjoy the same thing. We braved the gales of the 2016 FAC Nats and we flew in the perfect days in September when Jack Moses was smilin’ down on us and we enjoyed all of the times in between.
I spent 35 years working for The Man and adopted the mantra “work to live, not live to work”. I was able to cut loose from that in July and I now spend my days working my business and working my hobby and as I told my brother this week “the lines between the two are very gray and blurry”. But I also still retain that mantra and my business is what allows me to pursue my hobby and allows me to share it all with all of you.
I try to keep my prices reasonable – even “cheap” in some cases. The items I buy and resell are offered in my shop at the going rate, or even below, in some cases. My short kits are one of those items that are “cheap” – yes, I make a profit on them, if you only consider the cost of raw materials. People might not realize all of the development and engineering that goes into these products; probably somewhere between 40 and 100 hours per plan (probably more). The hardware items – well, now you’ve got two people working on them – me and my dad – our labor is free. Just consider that next time you pick up something from a hobby manufacturer and wonder if it is over-priced. No one is going to get rich selling Free Flight supplies and no free-flighter could afford to pay the “real” costs.
So, what did the business do in 2016? Well, I was surprised when I just did a tally – 16 short kits, two new hardware products, and one back in production. Here are the kits: Old Timers: Pacific Ace jr, King Harry, the Shaft, the Wanderer, Peanut: Found Centennial, Dime Scale: Kokusai Ta-Go, Martin MO-1, Scale: Elmendorf Special, Vega Starliner, NoCal: Fairey Barracuda, Turbo Cessna 195, Jet Cat: U2, T-37 Tweet, Pep Reproductions: P-47, Sturmovik, PBY. The hardware: Torque Meters for the Morrill Sidewinder and the Rees Scale Winder – and we have the Scale Winder back in production. That’s a lot of stuff!
First up for 2017: I bought a replacement tube for the laser cutter – I’ve been having growing issues cutting, especially plywood. It was delivered this week. I systematically studied how to replace it and then moved the cutter and started disassembly. When I got the tube out, I took a look at the business end of the old tube (see the photo below). On the left, is the “before” and the right is the “after” – I found that there was residue on the tube (this is where the laser beam comes out). I assume that since the tube sits in the smoky environment, some of this smoke gets very close to this business end of the tube and gets burnt on to that surface. I cleaned it and re-installed the old tube. The cut is nearly how it was when brand new. I put the brand new tube on the shelf for later – they do go bad, but my old one still has life left in it. Maybe what I really need is a better exhaust system.
Here are the kits that I am currently working on for 2017:
95% ready to go:
the Blatter 40, an indoor ROG stick that flies GREAT. Anyone should be able to get 2 minutes out of this.
the Flying Aces Moth. I sent out two prototype kits and am awaiting flight results. I know that one is ready to fly, but I don’t know if it has, yet. I know that both builders have reported that it goes together very well.
F4 Phantom II Jet Cat. I am finishing up the wood layout on this. I should have had this in production already, but I’ve been dragging my feet on other things.
Dave Smith’s Yokosuka Judy. An 18″ span WWII Combat ship with a great reputation. I’ve got to finish parts design (there are lots of parts in the nose!), cut parts, (send Dave a kit), and build it.
“Baby Cyclone“. This is for the Flying Aces Club Goodyear Races. I selected this plane because of the huge wing area and fuselage length. This will be similar in size to an Embryo, but still be a 13” Peanut. The drawing is nearly complete, parts need to be finalized and cut, and the model needs to be built.
Cessna C-34. At 24″ span, I want this to be a “Mr Mulligan killer” (the secret is out). I have all the documentation necessary to qualify this for the Thompson Races in teh Flying Aces Club. This one has a square fuselage, no wing or tail struts, no wires, no wheel pants. I’m not a fan of radial engines, so I’m trying to do good engineering on the nose pieces – I want it to look good, but not be too heavy.
Comet Pepper. This is a sister-model to the popular Comet Sparky. I read the build write-up from “flyguy” on Hip Pocket and then watched his flights in the middle of NYC. I was hooked watching that thing go up! I found the plan, and traced/redrew it. The plan is ready to go, I have to finish the parts layout and then cut it out and build it. This should be a great plane for Old Time Fuselage (Cabin).
PEP Gliders. These aren’t super popular, but I’ve collected almost all of the original wood pieces. There are a total of 20 models of WWII aircraft and I have all but the Spitfire and the Vultee Vanguard. The Spitfire can be purchased on occasion (I’m cheap), but I have never seen the Vanguard. Does anyone have one that can be scanned? I plan of making these as I can.
per the suggestion of George White, we have a set of prop shaft bending jigs about ready to go. They really are ready, I just need to finalize instructions and marketing stuff.
thanks to Don DeLoach (providing a sample), we are now reproducing a batch of the K.Fags Spring Winder. These should be ready in a month or so.
Anyway, 2016 was great for me, and the business is doing fine. I plan on more and more short kits, because that’s what I do. I hope to see you at the flying field; if you’re there when I am, please stop by and say hi. I don’t remember all my customers by name, but I certainly like to talk Free Flight. If you can’t make it to the flying field, send me some photos of your Volare Products builds, I love to see those!
Here is a new Short Kit that I’ve been working on. Doing a google search, I found this one-off example of a Cessna 195 that had the radial replaced by a Garrett turboprop engine and the rounded wing tip clipped. Of course, the 195 is a high wing and has no struts at all. So, this created a NoCal that has 56 square inches and a 16″ long fuselage. What great specs for NoCal!
full scale Turbo Cessna 195 – used for skydiving in Brazil
I had been studying indoor guru, Don Slusarczyk’s “Indoor NoCals” page (long off the web, but soon to be hosted here again). I worked with Don to integrate his practices into this kit – we feel that everyone can build this plane with “hobby shop” wood. That is, go to your local store that stocks balsa and find yourself some 1/16″ x 3″ x 36″ sheet wood that weighs about 11 grams or less – this will be about 6-pound wood, and that is what Don recommends.
My build at 6 grams. This fat bladed prop has been replaced with a narrower prop blanks in the kit.
My model weighs 6 grams without rubber and Don’s weighs in at 5 grams. The Short Kit will be laser-cut from this type of wood – nothing greater than 12 grams a sheet or about 6.7-pound wood. I am even including laser-cut prop blanks from 1/32″ sheet and instructions on how to create an indoor prop that will properly fly this plane.
In addition, I have created two tissue print files – one if you have a wide format printer (11″x17″) and one if you only have a normal printer (8.5″x11″). They can be found here with all of my other free tissue print files: http://volareproducts.com/?page_id=2293 Note, all full scale photos show a white wing and red horizontal tail, so only the fuselage profile is included in the print file.
Don’s 5 gram version – built to plan with provided kit wood
Learning is a good thing. And learning things that help your planes fly better is a great thing. So I am continuing with things I learned (or rediscovered) in 2016. Maybe by reciting them here, over and over, I won’t forget them (again)!
Everyone wants their props to freewheel when the rubber runs out (well, outdoor guys do – indoor guys securely fasten the prop to the prop shaft). This is so desirable that virtually every plastic prop made has a ramp freewheeling device built into it. (And virtually every one should be modified to make it better, but that’s another story.) Post-production freewheelers are so popular that there have been many, many designs invented and articles and how-tos written on them. Just check all the articles on freewheelers HERE.
I prefer bail-type freewheelers, but sometimes you just can’t afford the extra weight so you need to choose a Garami/Struck style or a Nason style. They all work well and have their good points and bad points, but one thing that they “can” have in common is that they can resist freewheeling if not set up properly – even the ramp will do this regularly, if you don’t take precautions.
If you braid your motors, you do so to prevent CG shifting of weight of the rubber. However, one thing that happens is the motor retains some tension on the prop shaft, pulling it rearward. There is a LOT of rearward pull when the motor is wound but the wound torsion overcomes the tension, especially if you use teflon washers or ball bearings. But when the motor runs out, the residual tension pulling back can be just enough pull on that prop shaft to prevent proper freewheeling and prop-lock occurs. Have you ever had a great flight and cruise only to end quickly with a spiral dive to the right? If so, that was probably caused by the prop locking and acting like a rudder on the nose.
Tube-in-tube prop bushings are the solution. But there are two parts that must be followed, regardless of your freewheeler style, to ensure proper freewheeling, free from the tension of the braided motor:
You must use two tubes – or if you only use one on a plastic prop, the prop must be free to spin ON THIS TUBE. In standard tube-in-tube, the outer tube is cemented to the prop and the inner tube slip-fits inside – and the prop shaft slip-fits inside the inner tube.
The inner tube MUST be at least 1/16″ longer than the outer tube or prop body. The purpose of this is to allow the rubber tension to pull on the prop shaft and inner tube while the outer tube and propeller are free to spin, not subject to the tension (all of this after the prop has disengaged).
My experiences, hopefully never to be repeated: a) I made the two tubes the same length – unfortunately, this causes the prop shaft to pull back on the entire prop and locking it – FAIL. or b) I only made one tube; I made it longer but cemented it to the prop. The extra length was to clear the Garami clutch structure, but I forgot about letting the prop spin and it locked – FAIL.
Here is a properly built prop assembly on a wooden prop, with an aluminum outer tube and a brass inner tube. The inner tube is long enough to clear the Garami clutch AND allow the prop to spin when freewheeling.
Pre-Flight Trim is essential for reliable and consistent operation of our models. It is not a life-or-death situation, like with full-scale, but it is important if you want to win. I have three stories about this:
my Wanderer. I need to remember to make sure that the tail is properly located and anchored on the fuselage. Maybe 10-15% of my flights have been marginal and sometimes scary. It has a pop-up tail DT and I imagine that an improper seating of the tail has caused my erratic flights on a reliable model.
Sometimes we trust our models so much that we get into the mode where we pull them out of the box and fly them in competition – without any testing at all. I’ve done this often. You may recall at the beginning of the year, I built a NoCal Fairey Barracuda to take to an indoor contest in Colorado Springs. I flew it in WWII Combat after testing for many hours. But one of the competitors – the sure favorite – pulled his trusty model out of the box, wound it up, and suffered a disastrous flight. Afterwards he realized there was a significant amount of damage to one of his wings – not testing, or even checking, cost him the event.
At my most recent indoor contest with the same Barracuda, I nearly gave away the event because I pulled it out of the box and flew for time – and got significantly less than the normal 2+ minutes. I flew again and got less than 1 minute! Two crappy times recorded and one to go. A quick inspection revealed a motor with a huge nick, almost ready to snap and a good deal of wash-in on the inboard tip. I replaced the rubber, fixed the wash-in, and put up a 2:36 – good enough to squeak out a win.
CHECK YOUR MODELS before you fly! Get in the habit of giving them a once-over. If there is time (I mean, make time), take a test flight. You will be happier at the end of the day.
NOTE: I don’t sell these programs (they are free) and I didn’t develop these programs; I am just a happy user. These software programs aren’t really things that helped my planes fly, but one is useful on field and one is useful at home.
BEARING (AZIMUTH) NAVIGATION – I didn’t discover this, but I did download it and try it out. It is a very useful program that allows you to head off in the proper direction to find yoru model, assuming a couple of things: a) that you have a known bearing on the model (from binoculars or a compass) and b) you enter that bearing into the program. The program (for android devices) plots that bearing line on a satellite view of the area. You can vary the length of the plotted line to be sure you are going far enough. And the really cool thing is that, as you travel across the field or side track down a road, the program will update your current position in relation to that bearing line – you can then track back to the original line. With the satellite view, you can spot larger landmarks and predict where your model might be. My son and I did use this last year to find a model – and we did! This was developed by Aviv Balassiano, who apparently is an F1A flyer. It is free and well worth the price!
RESILIO SYNC – I take literally thousands of photos every year. More and more of those are being taken on my cell phone (as opposed to my DSLR). Unfortunately, it takes time and effort to transfer photos from my phone to my computer. I found this program (it installs on both your phone and your computer) that AUTOMATICALLY takes care of photo transfers from my phone to my computer. It is not instantaneous, but it checks every so often to see if there is a new file on the phone. The transfer is fast. The technology is similar, if not the same as Torrent transfers, but there is only one host, not many like traditional torrents. I don’t know if it works remotely – like if I am not close to my computer. I do know that when I do get home and get to a place where I am ready to look at the photos on my computer, they have already transferred. I am sure it has more capability than I am using, but it works great for me, as is.
The sourcing of specialty parts – the bane of running a small business with a small customer base. I have been having problems with several of my sources, including the source of the popular Munson Badge and Button viscous DT timers.
GREAT NEWS! – earlier this month, I received a phone call from Mr Munson – he was telling me he was returning my check as he no longer produces these – BUT!!!! – he transferred the operation to a VERY RELIABLE source.
I immediately called the new supplier and ordered 20 Badge and 20 Button timers – I received them this morning! Some things have necessarily changed: I am now only stocking the “Classic” version – these are good to about 6 minutes. I need to raise the price as the new source raised the base price. And I am no longer supplying the elastic cord with the timer – do yourself a favor and use a spring for consistent and reliable pull.
They will still come with 2 mounting screws. The Badge (larger) weighs about 1.1 grams and is now $20. The Button (smaller) weighs about 0.5 grams and is now $23. Find them both on my site under Accessories/DTs. I will probably be restocking these monthly. I can still get the “lite” versions (2 minutes) but they would be custom orders, as I will not be stocking them.
Yesterday was the 2nd Cloudbusters Indoor contest of the year. We are able to fly at an indoor soccer arena once a month. We only get 4 hours, but it’s 4 hours of fun. For me, it’s a full day, since I have to drive 2 hours+ just to get from Battle Creek to Pontiac, but I am glad for the opportunity to fly. I am told it is a Cat III site with a 72′ center and 40′ height at the walls. And the floor is a full sized soccer field.
I took three new planes – that is three new planes since last month’s event. They are: a Martin MO-1 Dime Scale, a Turbo Cessna 195 NoCal (hoping to break 3 minutes), and a Blatter 40 (simple ROG stick).
The Martin MO-1 is one of the most popular Dime Scale models – mainly because of the huge wing and no struts and simple fuselage. That’s why I designed this plan and my model came out to be 12.5 grams without rubber.
Yesterday was the first time I was able to fly it other than a proof-of-concept test-hop in the back yard. After about 3 little tests in the arena, I wound it up and called for a time. It was a little porpoise-y but did real good – I think the first flight was 61 seconds. I went ahead and put in two more, and sealed the win in Dime with a 3 flight total of 159 seconds (plus 1 bonus for down-and-dirty landing gear!).
It will be in the next issue of the Cloudbusters Newsletter (per FAC Rules) and will soon be available as a Short Kit. I already have a page up with Documentation (right here).
Required Landing Gear added after this photo was taken (and the wing IS tapered)!
The Blatter 40 is a 40 square inch simple indoor ROG Stick model. The Cloudbusters have a perpetual trophy for the overall winner over the indoor season. I have never built one and decided to give it a shot. I got the plan from Mike Welshans and started to work. Part of the formula is “build per plan” and “must use unmodified Sleek Streek prop assembly (or equivalent)” – plus best 3 flights out of 4.
I decided to color my sticks red with a Sharpie and use black tissue – no reason, just for fun. The model came out to be 5 grams and I put in a 20″ loop of 1/16″. This thing rose right off the ground and spiraled right up to the rafters. It flew great. The turns ran out while the model was way up there – I guess I can put in a really long motor and if I can keep it from banging into the rafters, my times should be spectacular. My best flight was 2:25 and the 3-flight total was 380 seconds – for the win.
I am working with the Cloudbusters to put this together in a low-cost starter short kit. The current idea is a laser-cut sheet with enough parts for 2 planes, 2 prop assemblies, and the plan with history for something like $5.
I have had my eye on this Cessna for awhile. The Cessna 195 has a classic layout and is a beautiful plane. For modeling, is has a long fuselage and no struts. The normal version has a short nose with a big fat radial engine. I searched for turbo high wings and found this particular example. In addition to having a Garret turbo tacked on to the front, the circular wing tips were clipped off. This combo makes for a great NoCal: the fuselage is 16″ long and the wing has 54 square inches.
I wanted to build an Indoor NoCal, but not one of those 2-gram can’t-touch-without-breaking types. I had read Don Slusarczyk’s web page on building NoCals over and over. (It is no longer live on the web, but I will have an updated version here in the future.) He talks about NoCal design at 3 different tiers and a the middle tier was focused around 50 square inches. I thought I could get into that.
As I built this, I was emailing Don for tips. What I projected as 8 grams came out to be 6. And it has “my” construction techniques – that is, laser-cut parts for kit production and basically an outdoor NoCal structure. I really think this plane would work well outdoors, too – with a different prop, obviously.
With Don’s remote guidance in mind, I gave it a couple test flights and then I loaded up a 20″ loop of 0.105″ rubber and cranked in some turns. Here is a video of that flight.
I’m really pleased with this. To me, it shows a lot of potential, still I would like to hit 3 or 4 minutes. I am working with Don to create something special for the NoCal community; basically a way to replicate this performance for yourself, complete with instructions and prop blade blanks. Stay tuned for that – it shouldn’t be too far off in the future. There will be a fuselage image for printing tissue to download, also.
I broke off the nose bearing right after that flight, so I didn’t fly it again. Besides, I had lots of other flights to put in on several other planes.
Missing from this (poor) photo is my F-4 Phantom II that took 2nd in Jet Cat. It has a best single flight of 13 seconds – amazing for me and that model flying indoors.
So, among other things, Thursday’s performances make for a Happy Friday!
I have been VERY frustrated over the years trying to put windows in even the simplest models. Even flat windows in flat sides or front have given me fits; I can never get the plastic to stay put while the glue sets and end up with smeared windows that fall off! It’s downright humiliating and shameful.
Sometime in 2016, we picked up this tip from our flying buddy, John Jackson. John pointed out that he knew of a common source for clear plastic that would stick to pretty much whatever you wanted – after all it was sticking to paper where you find it. So where do you find it? It is the clear window in business envelopes – you know, the ones you get tons of in your mailbox every week. Finally a use for bills and junk mail!
Well, I tried it out and it works great! And I use GLUE STICK, not some messy, gloppy canopy glue, nor some CA that will fog your windows. This plastic sticks great to balsa and tissue! Here is a simple photo how-to:
I’ve GOT to make room in my limited space in the basement. I have many Estate kits that I’ve obtained and haven’t been dragging to events. Also, the last bit of my commercial Aerographics and West Wings kits have to go.
Golden Age Reproductions, Peck, Dumas, Diels, EasyBuilt, COMET, Guillows, Aerographics, West Wings – and more!
These are ALL at very cheap prices – most Estate kits are $10, some $5 and some more (to compensate for LARGE box size/shipping). The new kits I have are BELOW WHOLESALE (I paid more than the current price).
Buy one or buy them all (if you buy more than 10 at once, I’ll give you another price break!) There are nearly 50 kits listed on my site at this location:
Well, it’s been a long time coming: the model has been built for a year and flown successfully all last season – and the big time-eater was developing the plan and parts for production. The 34″ span model itself is a fast build – very straightforward and simple. Well-trimmed, this plane will do very well in OT Stick against all those Gollywocks!
Originally published in the March 1945 Model Airplane News as a contest-winning Class C Stick, I traced the original plan and reformatted it to fit my printing capabilities. The SHORT Kit contains one 13″x36″ plan and SIX sheets of laser-cut balsa. This short kit is $25.
I also have a Gizmo Geezer Nose Block kit for the Wanderer – this is $3.
Also, we have the correct Superior Props blank for the Wanderer at $12.50 each.