Glorious September Free Flight

Just got back from the FAC Outdoor Champs and the Ted Dock Memorial contests – two, two-day contests held back-to-back at the wonderful AMA Flying site in Muncie, Indiana.

Where do I start?  My son, Jackson, and I arrived Wednesday afternoon.  We met up with my parents and went out to eat.  My dad spent Thursday with us at the contest – he wanted to see his products in action.  He does the machine work on the propellers and other mechanical gadgets that we make and sell.

The weather was excellent – except for fickle drift on Thursday and 30 minutes of spotty rain on Sunday, we had four days of beautiful weather – calm winds of no more than 5 mph or so and blue skies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Thursday was heavy overcast).  You could not wish for better weather.

The FAC outdoor Champs (Thursday and Friday) were dedicated to our late friend, Jack Moses.  He was a terrific modeler, wonderful person, and a great friend to all who met him.  He passed away last year while we were all attending the 2016 Champs.  Our hearts were heavy last year but we flew on, knowing Jack was Smilin’ down on all of us.  The choice of the One Design for the 2017 event (the kit registrants received and the image on the t-shirt) was the last model Jack was building – the Martin Mauler from Mike Nassise was on his building board.  In addition, we the event organizers, decided to create a Jack Moses Memorial Trophy.  Jack loved Dime Scale planes, so the winner of Dime Scale at the Outdoor Champs will receive the trophy.  It will include one of Jacks participant badges from the FAC Nats (Jack went to every Nats from the first one to his last, two months before his death).  We have several, so this should be a thing for 10 years or so.  Here is the first, won by Harrison Knapp.

Here is a shot of Jack’s BMJR Tailfirster P-30 in flight Thursday evening.  I bought this at our club auction and will fly it when we fly P-30 in his honor.  It flies great; I got over 2 minutes in this late evening air.

In fact, on Saturday, I flew it in the Ted Dock contest and at 3+ minutes, the DT went off at high altitude (in a strong thermal).  The force of the DT broke the glue joint on the thread holding the Canard at angle and the canard thermalled away.  The rest of the model took another minute to hit the ground.  Now I need the plans and/or patterns for the canard so I can keep flying this model.  Can anyone help me out?

My new Comper Swift flew “off the board”.  This is a 24″ model and sports a 9″ Superior Prop (carved balsa).  I finally settled on 2 loops of 3/16″ for the motor.  I was generally getting 75-80 seconds or so per flight.  I flew it in the Greve Races and it did real well – fourth at the Outdoor Champs and second at the Ted Dock!  It needs some micro-trimming to turn it into a serious competitor.

My “newer” Comet Pepper finally redeemed itself from the debacles in July.  I took some time to trim it to ROG off the table and it paid off – with one minor problem:  when it came time to set the DT, my homemade mechanical “tomy timer style” DT must have broke.  It would only last for about 40 seconds at full winds.  So I had to lock down my DT to fly at the Outdoor Champs.  The day was heavy overcast with light and variable breezes – on occasion.  It really was a great day for flying.  There was a little bit of bouyant air, but no real thermals of any size.  Therefore, I was able to fly with little risk to my plane.  I made my three official flights:  5:45, 2:33, and 7:59 – even the last one landed only a couple hundred yards from the launch table.

The day at the Ted Dock was different – full sun and 5 mph winds.  I had some trim issues and that started to spread out my flying into mid-day.  I really like to get my big planes – those that can max in no air – out of the way early in the morning when thermal activity is lightest.  My last flight on the Pepper went over 3 minutes and the model drifted over the corn.  As you can see below, I was able to find it without much issue.  I somehow dropped my middle flight with a 1:58 and ended up in second place.  This plane flies GREAT.  I don’t have it trimmed for a rocket climb yet, but it really does good as it is.  It glides like mad.


I’ve got a handful of these DTs now; I think I will put one in the Pepper. They are just over 5 grams each whereas mine was a little over 3.  I hope to trade some weight for reliability!

For those that are interested,  Here is a brief summary of my results from the two contests:

  • FAC Outdoor Champs:
    Peanut Scale – Pegna P.C.1 – 3rd place
    Jet Cat – Ohka – 2nd place
    Goodyear Race – Falcon Special II – 2nd place
    Old Time Stick – Wanderer – 2nd place
    Old Time Fuselage – Pepper – 1st place
  • Ted Dock Memorial
    AMA CLG – 2nd place
    Greve Race – Comper Swift – 2nd place
    OT Fuselage – Pepper – 2nd place
    OT Stick – Wanderer – 2nd place
    Phantom Flash – 1st place
    2 Bit – King Harry – 1st place
    Embryo – Bad Axe – 1st place

There’s a story behind nearly all of these and more, but I won’t go into all that.  However – a word to the wise – Check and RE-CHECK your models, especially during Mass Launches.  I got knocked out of WWII because I failed to notice warps in the tail of my Judy.  I lost the 2nd fly-off in OT Stick because I neglected to check how my tail was sitting (the same thing happened at the launch of the Dawn Unlimited).  Lessons Learned:  Check and RE-Check!

NATURE – one thing you can count on when you stay at Muncie is that you will see some nature that maybe you don’t get to see everyday.  Here are a couple shots I took this weekend.

Moonrise, Saturday morning, just before dawn

Sunrise, Sunday morning

A hawk that hunts the flying field

Maybe the best part of this event is the cameraderie.  It is smaller and more personable than the Nats or non-Nats.  We have a great flying site and we can share the experience with our friends.  And flying in the evening, after the pressure of the contest is just about the best.

I’d like to thank my son, Jack, for taking and posting several videos during the four days.  I couldn’t be bothered to take many photos for a variety of reasons, but his videos were imaginative and fun.  You can find them on the FAC-GHQ Facebook page (or most of them).

Of course, we have chosen the FAC outdoor Champs as our opportunity to thank our friends and customers with free grilled hotdogs on the first night of the contest right after flying.  If you are a member of Sam’s Club, these are the same giant Nathan’s hot dogs that you get at the cafe inside – they are huge and tasty.  We cooked up about 50 for the flyers and families.

3rd Annual Volare Customer Appreciation Hot Dog Roast

Harrison Knapp and Mark Rzadka taking a break and sharing some downtime

Stew Meyers and Ray Rakow having fun.



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NEW PRODUCT! – Ohka Jet Cat FULL Kit

I’ve had this kit ready – and packaged since July.  Some of you may recall my Build write-up (here).  I have had a handful of kits ready to sell – and had them at Geneseo and Muncie.  I wondered why no one had even nibbled on them.  Well, it turns out that I never put them on the website for sale – until this morning.  Find it here.

This little (9″ span) jet cat is a very easy build and a blast to fly – it is my favorite.  From the start, I knew it had potential, as I lost the prototype.  My launch technique for my second one worked out to be: left shoulder into the wind, launch the model at full power STRAIGHT UP, and watch it zoom high and kick out, just right, at the top.  It has a floaty, bobbly glide, maybe not in a full circle, but duration is good for about 20 seconds without lift.  I have won one contest with this model and I won’t be surprised if I win another someday – or if it hooks a thermal and goes away.

The kit is a FULL kit – two 1/32″ balsa sheets, one 1/16″ balsa sheet, one 1/64″ ply sheet, two bass leading edges, two 0.005″ carbon fiber strips (for the fuselage sides), and one FAC-legal catapult.  Also, you can download the tissue print design (as shown above) for free right here.

Next, I will have the Comet Pepper online soon!

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Customer Appreciation at the FAC Outdoor Champs!

If you need just a little more incentive to make the trip to Muncie next week, this should be what pushes you over the edge to show up!

We are going to say “thank you” to our loyal customers for helping us grow our business and helping us help you. If you attend the first day of the FAC Outdoor Champs (Thursday, 14 Sept 2017), stop by our tent area and have a free jumbo hot dog on us!

See you there!

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Volaré Kits and Bottlenecks

After my vacation, it has been time to regroup and figure out where I am in my business and where I want to go.  I really like kit production and will continue down that track.  In fact, I have recently come to an agreement with a well-known designer of winning models and we plan on doing several of his designs in the months and years to come.

As you might be aware, one of my “missions” for my business is to provide modelers with proven designs at a good value.  An important part of that concept is the “proven” aspect.  This started way back when I was only drawing and selling plans.  I promised the customer that each plan had been built and had been flown to at least the FAC minimum of 20 seconds.  Some models just squeaked by, and some flew OOS.  I have carried this practice on to my short kits – every kit I develop must be built and flown – from my kit.

This is where the bottlenecks start to appear:  it takes time to develop a kit, whether from my original plans or from someone else’s plans, but then, each prototype kit must be built and flown to be offered for sale.

Here is where I am today.  This photo shows three 2-Bit short kits that are ready to build.

The top one has been sitting here for a couple years (actually, I did the plan in 2013), waiting for me to build it.  The middle plan was contracted (something I do not usually do, but this was a quick project).  And the bottom one was drawn up this summer and is ready to build.  In addition to that, I have another prototype kit in a modeler’s hands awaiting building and testing, and I have another awaiting my personal time to build.  Then I have two Peanut plans that I intend to complete in a couple of months.  I also want to draw up a 1/2 Wakefield and another Old Time Fuselage; both of which will be challenging for me.  And this doesn’t even touch on the previously-mentioned designer’s scale subjects.

All of this tells me one thing:  even though it takes MANY hours (roughly 100-200) to get a kit ready to build and sell, I appear to be able to get to that stage faster than I can build.  That isn’t 100% of the reality: these 2-Bits would go together in a snap, but I have a very good, contest-winning 2-Bit and the same with an Embryo.  I have no incentive to build either of those classes until I no longer have them.  In fact, I believe in my existing models so much that I might never build a different design for my own use in contests.

So, my business plan…I am going to start working more efficiently and stop wasting so much of my day.  I will draw quicker, to get plans ready and I will build more to prove my products.  Every year I write a list of models that I want to build for the next year.  My newest list is already seven models long – and that list is not complete.  I usually get 3 or 4 built, but I need to step up my game.

Part of my practice was mentioned before – I do have half a dozen or so friends that I send prototype kits to when they have an interest and when they are not busy.  I could use more builders, but I would need to accept only those that I know can build a) accurately, b) on somewhat of a schedule, c) can trim and fly well, and d) provide accurate and honest feedback about the kit, to include problems encountered and outright errors.

I will continue drawing and building what I want and what I like.  Getting those products into your hands may become a challenge, but I hope it is a challenge worth the wait for you, the customer.


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Modeling Joke of the Day

Late this afternoon, I decided to take a break from orders, kit-cutting, grocery shopping, and whatever other things I’ve been doing and relax and fly something in the back yard.  The weather is great; mid-70s, sunny, virtually no breeze.  I haven’t been flying anything for at least three weeks.

As I am starting to get ready for the 2017 FAC Outdoor Champs in Muncie in two weeks, I thought I would grab a P-30 and give it a shot.

This isn’t just any P-30 – I don’t really have one.  This P-30 (a BMJR Tailfirster) used to belong to our old flying buddy, Jack Moses.  I picked it up with the intent of flying it in his memory whenever we fly P-30, since we do so rarely (P-30 is not an FAC event).  But P-30 will be held at the Outdoor Champs.

I’ve never tried to fly this model and I have had no luck flying pusher canards of any sort.  But I loaded a P-30 motor of four strands of 1/8″, all lubed and braided.  I installed it and took the model and equipment out into the back yard.  I knew it would be pushing the limits of my tree-lined back yard; it’s really too small for bigger models.

Problem Number 1:  I put in about 250 turns just to test.  As I hooked up the prop, I realized the motor was spinning the prop backwards.  Lesson Number 1:  Pushers with regular props need to be wound in reverse.

As I tested and tested this model, I was struck by something:  I was having to make several adjustments to this model.  Jack always had models that flew and I had been told this one flew well.   I was adding nose weight, thrust adjustments, even changing the incidence of the canard.  I was finally getting some decent flights as I worked up to about 500 turns.  Large circles, about 20 feet up, and I had to fish it out of trees three or four times.

Problem Number 2:  after 30 or 40 minutes, I decided to head back into the house and set the model aside.  I took the model and my tree-pole back to the truck where I store the pole and as I set the model down – as shown in this photo, I realized what should have been obvious:  the wing was on backwards; trailing edge forward!  Lesson Number 2:  do a pre-flight when flying, just to be sure some idiot didn’t put the plane together incorrectly.

I did one more test flight.  I took out all the adjustments I had put in and wound to about 250 or so turns and let it go.  The plane flew better than it had that evening, going all the way across the yard and even climbing a bit, on that low-power motor.

I’ll give it some bigger power when I get to Muncie.



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UK Vacation Report

This is not modeling related, but I thought I would share some high-level details of our 2-week driving trip through the UK.  As I said, this will be very high level and impressions, as a 16-day trip has too many real details and memories to cover here.  I had intended to do one short post daily, but on about the fourth day, my cell phone stopped working.  It had a cracked screen and it just went blank.

A LONG TRIP – it was 16 days.  I felt that, if we were going for that length of time, we were going to see a lot.  I opted to drive all around the UK and see a little bit of a lot of things, rather than staying in one place and seeing everything that one spot had to offer.  Was it right or the best?  Probably not, but we got to see a lot.   And in fact, I liked London the least of all – and we were there for 4 nights. I was told “you’ll never make it” when I described what our plans were before the trip – but we did – and we saw most of the things I had planned, not all, but we did add a few that weren’t planned.

The black dots are where we spent the night: Dublin, Port Isaac, Bristol, Carlisle, Loch Lomond, Inverness, Kirkwall, Inverness, Edinburgh, York, Ingrave, and 4 nights in London.

AGE – The US doesn’t have or know “old”.  Our old buildings and such are no newer than our statehood, generally.  On our east coast, there are buildings approaching 300 years old, for sure, but over there – we were in many fully functional buildings that were built BEFORE there were British colonies in North America.   Even if the buildings weren’t functional, it was amazing to think that “people were actively in this spot, with their functioning civilization, a thousand years ago” – or even older in some of the prehistoric sites.

St. Kevin’s Church. Glendalough, Ireland. 12th Century church. St. Kevin lived in this very remote area in the 7th century and is became a pilgrimage location and center of learning, even as remote as it is.



St. Paul’s Catherdral, London. Built in the late 1600’s by Christopher Wren. There had been an church of some sort on that site since the 7th century.

The remains of Tintagel Castle, Cornwall. It is amazing to think there was a thriving castle and community on this remote rock. There are dozens of foundations up there. What effort it took to get supplies there.

PEOPLE – virtually everyone we encountered was pleasant, polite and helpful (except for one attendant at St Paul’s Cathedral in London).  There were less obese people there than here.  Maybe that has to do with the fact that they don’t seem to mind walking places and walking a lot – or riding bicycles.  Oh, and many people have dogs and walk with them everywhere.  Dogs seem to enjoy a higher status over there – and they are well-behaved, too.  In fact, one of the most touching memorials we  saw was near Hyde Park – a memorial to Animals in War.  As it says, millions of animals, from pigeons to elephants have been used in war and “they had no choice”.

Animals in War memorial, London.

WEATHER – our weather was VERY cooperative.  We did have some light rain while driving through the Scottish Highlands, but it was neither unexpected nor surprising and it didn’t detract from the trip.  Most of the time the weather was mild with clouds and sometimes it was even sunny.  The temps ranged from a low of 11C on a couple of mornings to 24C in London.  That’s roughly 50F-75F.  We brought light jackets and no shorts and that proved to be the right call.

Glen Etive. Scottish Highlands

DRIVING – Driving had me worried.  I had never driven on the left before.  I started to pay attention when we got to Ireland – I did no driving there, but knew I would have to get used to what I was seeing.  The road signs are different and took some interpreting.  I had the trip all planned, with Google text printouts of every day.  They were somewhat useful, but would not have done the job.  When we rented our car, we opted out of a manual transmission – one less thing to worry about (I can drive a manual with no problems, but combine the shifter on the left with driving on the left and I thought it just might be too much at once).  The choice of an automatic changed the type of car – we got a Nissan SUV and with that came a Navigation system.  That Nav system proved to be the real hero of the trip.  It worked great and held my hand the whole trip.  I only made a couple of wrong turns and we were generally on time everywhere we went.

Driving on the left – it is strange sitting on the wrong side of the car and driving on the wrong side of the road.  Within a mile or two of the airport, I was on a freeway and that made things a little easier, except I tended to drift to the left and it wasn’t natural to put the right side of the car along the right side line on the road.  All drivers respect the lane assignments, that is, stay in the slower lane and only change lanes to pass.  Very, very few people ride in the outer lanes for any period of time, except where there is heavier traffic and it is obvious that you are going faster than the inner lanes.

Roundabouts are easier than US people think and they flow smoothly.  You just have to know where you want to exit the roundabout -and that is where the GPS really helped us.  “Exit the roundabout at the third exit and continue on the A40” – a typical GPS command.  We would watch the route numbers painted on the lanes approaching the roundabout, get it the proper lane,  wait for a gap in traffic, enter and start counting exits.  The traffic tended to naturally move outward as you approached the desired exit and I really have very few problems – I think once I almost entered into the path of a car, and only once had an issue of begin in the wrong lane.  I did miss an exit once, also, but it was a simple matter to just continue around.  Roundabouts are EVERYWHERE – at nearly every intersection of any significance, even on streets in towns.  In fact, the only real problem I had with them was when they stacked two on top of each other in a town.  Think of a five-point intersection where there was not one, but two small roundabouts adjacent to each other.  Rather than cutting through the middle where I was told to go (and I couldn’t see how with the heavy traffic) I just went around the double outside until I got where I needed to be.  Roundabouts help with traffic flow.  all people keep moving and no one stops at an intersection, unless the heavy traffic has dictated that stop lights are necessary on the entrances.  There should be more roundabouts here in the states.

One thing I never got used to was turning at a regular T or cross intersection.  If I had to turn left,I had to remember to stay on the inside and it was quite unnerving to start to turn and see a car coming at you in the outside lane – right where they were supposed to be, but right where I would be over here.  Also, right turns were equally anxious – you have to turn, crossing traffic – into the lane were 40 years of driving has taught me there will be oncoming traffic.  It never became natural and every intersection like that caused me to concentrate to make sure I was going the right way.

Backroads in England are just like you see on TV – high hedges on either side of the road and very narrow lanes – like the bushes are rubbing BOTH sides of the car.  We even went through some where the bushes on the sides had grown together over the road so we were in a tunnel.  This is quaint, but means you cannot see a) around curves and b) the countryside.

a backroad in Cornwall

In fact, I would say, except for the main expressways, all lanes are narrower over there.  A two-lane state highway equivalent seemed to be about as wide as our county roads – with hills and curves and bushes on the sides and an expected speed of 60 mph.

The last bit on Driving – there are dozens and dozens of cars in England/Europe that we never see.  In fact, I rarely saw a car model that I recognized.  And there just are not “big” cars – that is, anything larger than our mid-sized cars are very rare.  We drove a Nissan SUV a Qashqai – apparently something similar to a Rogue here in the states.  It had a diesel engine and I am sure it had a turbo.  This was the first diesel car I have driven.  I learned something – we have been sold a bill of goods when it comes to cars.  Diesel cars are unusual here, but not there.  The performance on this car was great.  In addition, it got superb gas mileage.  Take a look at these photos:

The top is shortly after I got the car.  We got it with 1700+ miles on it and returned it with about 4300.  I reset the mileage after I took the top photo and for the rest of the trip I AVERAGED 48 MPG.  The second shows the best average MPG for a section of the trip – 55 MPG.  Even after converting from Imperial gallons, that means 45mpg peak and 40mpg average.  Why aren’t we, as a country, demanding this type of mileage our of our cars?  We’ve been sold a bill of goods.

We saw a lot of things, many more than I can possibly share in this post and it is already too long.  It was a good trip.  But now I have to get back to the model aviation business!  Oh, no aviation museums, no flying contests, no hobby shops – nothing like that on this trip.

Building repair work in London. It seemed like nearly every block had some construction like this. I wish I had ownership of a Scaffolding Company in London – I’d be set for life.



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An August Vacation

It’s been a busy summer and it’s about to get busier.  The Mrs and I will be gone for just over two weeks.  I sort of promised her that we would go on a trip to the UK a few years back.  We’ve never gone anywhere but to her Costa Rica, so now she’s holding me to it.  So, order fulfillment will again be delayed.  You can either order and wait – or wait and order – your choice.  Thanks for your patience.  As the Go-Gos once said “Vacation – all I ever wanted”.


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Ups and Downs at the 2017 AMA Nats (long article!)

A LONG story, but filled with fun and excitement!

This year, the AMA Nats were the week after the FAC non-Nats, so some of us had to travel to New York and back and then to Muncie, practically with out a break in between.  I arrived home from NY on Sunday and left for Muncie on Tuesday.  It’s been a long two weeks.

I arrived on Tuesday afternoon and met up with my flying friends.  Weather was good and we were able to get some testing in.  I had broken the fuselage of my Pepper at Geneseo and rebuilt it on Monday.  I tested it Tuesday and after a methodical process, I got consecutive max test flights (over 2 minutes).  It is ready to go for Thursday.


We had good weather on Wednesday and were flying from the southern edge of the AMA site.  It was a light schedule for me and my practice is to fly my endurance ships right away in the morning when the weather is calm.  It was OT Stick day and I launched my trusty Wanderer just as I had the week before in NY.  Wow, something was wrong.  It was stalling on the way up and the glide was not right.  My time just exceeded 2 minutes by a couple of seconds.  Now the stress sets in.  My Wanderer is good for maxing out – but not in this condition.  If I wanted to win the event, I need to fix this – but how, it wasn’t flying correctly.

I made some thrust changes and did another flight.  I put up another crappy flight that was longer than 2 minutes.  I got lucky but needed reliability to return to me.  A few test flights and thrust adjustments and it dawned on me – if the glide is bad, why am I messing with thrust!  I examined the tail – all was good.  So I looked at the wing.  I had used a 1/16″ square hard balsa shim on the trailing edge to set the glide.  It was compressed.  I added a strip of 1/64″ plywood – now I had to reset the thrust – some idiot had messed with it.

I did a couple more test flights and called for an official flight.  It boomed up with Wally Farrell’s Gollywock close behind.  I always set my fuse long because I am not sure were 2 minutes is exactly.  My plane got higher and higher.  and finally – around 3.5 minutes the DT went off and it settled into a quick and flat descent.  Wally had DT’d also but was gliding.  I was following on my chase bike and decided that if my plane would be landing on the field, I would chase his, since it looked like it was going towards some trees.

Mine landed in a tree on the edge of the property.  I noted which one and took off to find Wally’s plane.  I was sure it had gone behind the residential property and went to look.  it wasn’t in the open grass behind and I couldn’t find it quickly in the corn.  I retrieved my model and we discussed how and where to look for his plane.  Wally, his wife Julie, and I went to look on the residential property and in the corn.  We couldn’t find it and decided to return later after Wally was done flying.  Pat Murray and I did find it in the afternoon – in the corn.

At the end of the contest, we had a 6-person fly-off in OT Stick – six people maxed out.  We agreed on a 15 minute launch window with high time winning the event.  Five of us put up long flights and one person had a DT malfunction.  The five successful flights were within 20 seconds or so in length – a very close contest and a lot of fun.


Thursday’s forecast promised rain.  It wasn’t constant rain, but the morning was wet with sprinkles, drizzle and light showers off an on until noon or so.  Since the forecast was predicting worse later, we bumped the Mass Launches up to 9am and 10am for WWII and the Races.  That left little time for my habitual Endurance launches.  I worked on the Pepper right away for OT Fuselage.  I did about 3 launch attempts before WWII – all with the same result:  low level with a bank to the right immediately after ROG into the wet grass.  It takes time to get ROG models to fly right.  First get them to fly (like I had two days before) and then get the table launch trimmed out.  This is a new plane and I just didn’t have time for the ROG part this event – the Pepper had to be set aside.

It was time for WWII.  The air was heavy with humidity – it wasn’t raining, but it had before and would after.  There were at least six of us flying in that combat.  Due to the treat of imminent rain, the rounds were cut to two rounds at the CD’s discretion.  Two would be eliminated in the first round.  The first eliminated was Wally Farrell when his Hellcat took a bad turn on launch and hit Pat Murray in the head. Ouch.  This was followed shortly by Marty Richey’s great-looking Zero hitting the drink (wet grass).  My Judy had a very stable flight and would join Winn Moore’s Tony, Pat Murray’s Avenger, and Don DeLoach’s Corsair.  We were doing self-timing, that is, we start the stopwatches on command before the launch command, launch, then stop when our plane is down and provide the times to the CD.  The Tony went down early.  The Avenger and the Judy headed north and the Corsair headed to the east.  As Pat and I chased, mine was in a very stable flight and glide slope.  Pat had got into a porpoising motion, but it was going to be close.  He and I saw that my Judy came down about 8 seconds after his Avenger.  We returned and turned in the times and waited for Don’s return.  Don reported the exact same seconds as Pat – I had won – AND beat Don DeLoach in WWII Combat!

Embryo took place on Thursday and I had to get some times in on my Defending Champion, the Bad Axe.  I put up a max and dropped the second one by 10 seconds or so and then maxed the third flight – all in the misty drizzle.  Those times were much like my 2016 performance and I had to wait the rest of the day for other flyers.  The afternoon got better and we saw some sunshine.  We had to move to another part of the field due to shifting winds.  I had left the door open and now had to wait as flyer after flyer had a chance at my times.  In the end, I don’t think anyone had more than one max, let alone coming as close to maxing out as I did – and they had nicer weather!  The Bad Axe repeats as AMA National Embryo Champion!

OT Fuselage was still open.  Since there was no 2-Bit at the AMA Nats, I could fly my King Harry – a consistent performer, in OT Fuselage.  Again, I did this in the wet morning and I maxed out.  And again, at the end of the day we had four people that had maxed in OT Fuselage.  We nearly had five, but Wally Farrell waited all day to log his flights.  He maxed once with his Jimmie Allen Sky Raider and send up another – it went WAY up and started drifting to the north east.  I chased after, catching up to him and Julie in a golf cart.  As we watched on the extreme norther boundary of the field, up against, a corn field, I asked why it hadn’t come down yet.  He said the DT must have failed.  After 13 1/2 minutes, we saw it come down in front of trees far away.  We returned and he was going to get in his car and look for it.  He was told he had to return and get a 3rd flight by 5pm to qualify for the fly-off – and it was 4:30.  He set off but returned within 15 minutes without his model.

So at the end of the contest, we had a fly-off:  Pat Murray (Jabberwock), Don DeLoach (Flying Aces Moth), Winn Moore (King Harry), and me (King Harry).   Notice that all of the contenders except the Jabberwock are smaller planes, eligible for 2-Bit.  Even Wally’s Skyraider was a 2-Bit.  As we started to prepare, the day’s last rain showed up.  We were on the west edge of the field and with the rain, the wind shifted to the west.  The four of us wound up and rode out to the mid-point of the field and agreed this would result in four models in the corn, so we rode even farther east.  We launched in the rain with soaked planes and Don’s Moth went straight up – he has a tremendous motor in that model.  Pat went west and Winn and I went south west at moderate height.  Mine was so wet it couldn’t climb like normal.  Pat went down, Winn beat me by a couple of seconds, and Don flew to the very south edge of the field, winning another event.  All of us were over 2 minutes again.


Friday was scheduled to be windy and it was.  I tried to fly my Turbo Goose, but it was just too windy for an untrimmed plane.  I didn’t risk damage to my B-52, so I didn’t fly Scale.  I did fly Jet Cat with my little Ohka, broke 30 seconds once, but couldn’t string together enough to get into the top three.

All that was left was to defend my 2012-2016 string of Peanut Championships.  I had my venerable Pegna P.C.1 that isn’t afraid of a little wind.  Or so I thought.  I tried for two officials and got 36 seconds each time.  A test flight with a new motor hit 1:06 so I was ready.  I logged a 58 second official third flight.

If you remember, I challenged everyone to bring a Peanut out to the AMA Nats and challenge my string.  We had several – one of which was Wally Farrell.  At Geneseo, he said he needed to get with me to talk about Peanuts so he can get better at flying them.  If you’ve seen Wally fly, you might be scratching your head now – I was.  He brought an immaculate Peanut Wittman Buster Goodyear racer.  he put in a 117 second flight, but couldn’t leave that alone, and put up another flight – and lost his plane in a fly-away.  But he is the NEW AMA Nats Peanut Champion and I settled for second place.


For the most part, we had a good contest.  We found a couple of our models in the corn and only broke a minimal number of models.  Our little group for friends did have out down moments:  Pat Murray suffered a flat tire on the FAC trailer and we had to change that after sunset when we discovered it.  Don slipped on his motor bike on the wet grass Thursday, caught the bike, but laid the hot exhaust on his calf.  It sure looked like a second or third degree burn as it blistered immediately.  And right after my WWII victory, I realized that I lost my wallet.  That was in the back of my mind the rest of the weekend and I’ve started the drudgery of cancelling and replacing the variety of cards that were lost.






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A Quick Geneseo Report

My week in Geneseo, NY for the Flying Aces Club non-Nats was a success.  We had a great time and I passed some milestones and even learned some lessons about flying and preparation.  I’ll try to summarize before leaving in a few minutes for the AMA Nats in Muncie, IN.

Sport Endurance

I took my Wanderer (OT Stick), King Harry (2 Bit+1), Bad Axe (Embryo), and my new Comet Pepper (OT Fuselage) expecting great things.  Like all things, there were ups and downs.  I logged eight official maxes with these planes.  I maxed out with the Wanderer and took First Place.  I maxed out with the King Harry and had a fly-off with Bobby Langelius – my 2:55 flight was not quite long enough to beat his 3:15 flight – so I took second.  In Embryo, I got a max on the first flight of my Bad Axe, but learned I need to let my motor rest – I put up two more flights in rapid succession and they got less and less.  The last flight was only a little over 90 seconds (lesson learned).  My Pepper showed good flight characteristics right off the board, getting about 1:45 flights in test.  I wanted a little more climb and a little more duration, so I made a new  motor with the equivalent of one more stand of 1/8″.  I grabbed the winder, wound up to less torque (but more winds) and took it for a test.  It zoomed, did a wing-over, and powered into the ground – crushing the fuselage back into the cabin.  Post-crash analysis revealed that I used different winders with different torque meters and wound to a much higher torque (lesson learned).  I rebuilt the front half of the fuselage yesterday and it is ready to go for Muncie

all that could be salvaged from the Pepper fuselage.


Scale Models

I went to Geneseo with three essentially untested scale models:  my Judy (WWII combat), my Peanut Grumman Goose, and my 30″ span B-52.

The Judy did great.  I made it into the 2nd round (of 3) in the WWII Combat – where they took out the bottom NINE.  My Judy flew for 87 seconds that round, but the cut-off was 95 seconds.  You can see my model in this photo coming right at you in the upper left.

Ronny Gosselin photo

The Goose proved to be a challenge.  I had tested it on a loop of 0.050″ on each motor before and it was too weak for me.  So I went with a loop of 1/16″ in each motor.  It seemed to be too much power and we had to wrestle with thrust settings on the tiny Peanut.  My best flight was 30 seconds; good enough for second in High Wing Peanut (only because of the 35 bonus points).

Jack and I winding. Ronny Gosselin photo

My B-52…I had literally dozens of low, low powered test flights on this at home.  My build seemed to have induced wash-IN in both tips and I struggled to get that stabilized – tests would result in a flat start and then a nose-up pitch and a straight dive into the ground.  I got that sorted for the most part, but it is always lurking in the background.  Geneseo was the first time I flew the model with the engine pods on the wings.  I have always been worried they would be very vulnerable to damage.

I saw some of the old flight patterns at Geneseo and in went in nose-first more than once.  The pods “may” have a slight stabilizing effect, whether it is from drag or from weight (the assemblies are 2 grams each), I don’t know.  Here is a video of a test flight of 43 seconds – I logged an official flight of 55 seconds.  This didn’t come close to placing, but I was happy with it!

Now I am off to Muncie for more flying fun!


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We’re Off to Fly Planes!

We are leaving Tuesday for the FAC non-Nats in Geneseo, NY and then to the AMA Nats in Muncie, IN next Tuesday!  So, if you order now, I won’t be able to process your order until August.  Stop in at either place – or both places – and say hi!

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