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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Ohka JetCat Build – Lots of Pics!

On Monday, I designed built, flew, and lost a little test bed Ohka Glider.  Ok, “designed” might be a stretch – I participated in an online Ohka JetCat build back in 1999 or so, and I started with my rough plan from that time.

The glider is small – only a 9″ wing span – but it was fun to shoot around the back yard.  It really wanted to zoom and would gain great height on low power and a nearly flat launch. I pushed my luck too far,launched too high and the wind and glide took it into my treeline, near the top of a tall pine.  It was a quick build (and a little twitchy), so I wasn’t too upset.

Build #1 – lost

Don DeLoach commented that the tail looked too small.  I had already enlarged it once, but trusted Don’s advise (as we all should) and scaled it up again for build #2.  Build #2 took place yesterday and I decided two things:  1) photo-document the whole thing and 2) go with full decoration.  What follows is my build process, with some explanations of why I do certain things.

the laser-cut parts. top-to-bottom: 1/64th ply, two sheets of 1/32″ balsa, and one sheet of 1/16″ balsa

an experiment in #1 that continued into #2. I replaced the nose of the main fuselage with 1/64″ plywood. The nose takes a lot of stress and needs to be strong.

I have some 1/8″ wide carbon fiber ribbon that is 0.005″ thick. I cut this to the length of the fuselage, tip-to-tip, and split it to 2 strips 1/16″ wide. This will be on either side of the main fuselage to add a great deal of strength.

I pinned down the fuselage side and drew a line tip-to-tip where i wanted the carbon fiber to go. I am using medium CA. It gives you a little time once you put the strip down, but locate the strip quickly.

the carbon fiber strip is in the proper location and I an pressing and rubbing it down with the flat end of an xacto handle. Press and force out the excess glue.

do the same to the other side. Once the glue was pressed out, I wiped down excess with a piece of scrap balsa.

I designed nose doublers to add even more strength. Before I glue them on, I feather the trailing edge so that there is less of a “step” there on the fuselage.

There is one for each side. They cover the ply-balsa joint, cover the carbon fiber strip, and extend past the wing to give full support there, also. Given that I need nose weight, I could have done two ply sides over a solid 1/32″ fuselage, but this works just fine. Note that they are also somewhat cross-grained to the main fuselage.

This shows the CA over the entire area. You don’t want any separation anywhere. I used an “x” on both pieces so that I knew which side was to be glued and which side was to be sanded. Make one left and one right!

Did I mention that the nose takes a lot of abuse? After the sandwiched CA is set, I ran thin CA around the edge to soak into those joints and inside the hook. Then I coated the front part of the nose with thin CA.

The leading edges on Build #1 took a beating, so I am using bass leading edges. Bass isn’t super hard, but it is better than light balsa.

All parts ready for a) assembly or b) covering! I feathered the trailing edges of the wings and did a little of the same on the tail pieces. All surfaces were sanded smooth and edges rounded.

Printed Tissue! This is a tutorial for another time, but I basically take the plan, a good 3-view, a select color, assorted graphics and layer them in Photoshop. Printed on white Esaki through my Epson printer.

Cover just like any other model. I coat the entire surface with UHU (yeah, that’s purple UHU – it fades over time and the label peeled off) and cover with dry tissue.

all parts covered and ready for assembly. Notice there is no black CF stripe down the side of the fuselage. I glued an strip of 1/32″ balsa over the CF strip and sanded it down until there was almost nothing left – just to “hide’ that black strip.

setting the wing dihedral

I am happy to report that Ohka #2 has NOT been lost.  I stopped testing short of that.  I probably had well over 100 flights on the #1 on Monday – it was just too much fun and showed little glimmers of promise.  #2 is much more stable and predictable and pushed the limits of my small field inside of 10 flights.  I would have a video here, but I can’t figure out how to launch a jet cat and film it at the same time.


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New Short Kit and Other Product Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FAC CONTEST REPORT – McCook Field Squadron @ Muncie

Event Results below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the Kanone Events Results.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Roscoe Turner Squadron Contest Report – 27 May 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the events and results:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pat’s Big Cat in flight

Pat’s Erie Daily Times 2-Bit

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

Winn Moore test flying his brand-new King Harry

Winn’s winding his brand-new Embryo Maverick.

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

Bill Garrison test flying his Tail-Firster Embryo

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

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Mid May Meanderings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

I am just about ready to cover….

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

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This Week in 2017 – Stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DCF 1.0

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Building and Repairing; a Slow Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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