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NEW PRODUCT – Tweety Pup Embryo Short Kit

Before I took my 12-year-break, I flew with all the old-school Cloudbusters from the 80s and 90s.  One of those was Don Campell and this is his 1997 design, the Tweety Pup.  Ever since I drew up Don’s Tomahawk Embryo, I have wanted to do this model, too.  It is a sharp-looking, stand 20 feet away, almost-semi-scale model designed as a play on the Cessna o-1 Bird Dog.  The wing and vertical are very similar to the O-1, and the fuselage is similar, but lengthened significantly.  And, since I just did the Bird Dog as a Dimer, it was only natural that I tackled the Tweety Pup (plus, I just lost my everyday Embryo).

For this build, I decided to go back to basics, building like a “normal” or even new modeler.  No striving for lightness, building with “regular” wood, heavy plastic and wire, and a off-the-shelf plastic prop.  In addition, I am testing a new tissue, a possible replacement for Esaki, that comes from Japan.  This tissue has a nice feel to it, has a definite shiny side, the back side is a little rougher than Esaki (you won’t get front and back confused).  It is only marginally heavier than Esaki.  People are working to get this in production (if people like me give it a thumbs-up) and we’ll see in a few months if this can be done.  I’ll talk about the tissue more later on.

The Build

This build was kicked in the pants when I lost my DeHavilland Discard at the Cloudbusters contest a couple weeks ago.  We have one more outdoor contest this fall and I decided to have something to fly.  I quickly traced Don’s plan and laid out parts so I could start building.

This is built entirely out of 1/16″ balsa.  I designed this for quick building – almost all of the tail feathers’ parts are pre-cut, and all of the upper and lower fuselage cross pieces are pre-cut.  This removes the tedium  of measuring, cutting, fitting – just build the sides and pop out the crosspieces and glue them in.

The wing goes together in the traditional manner.  I do include trailing edges with built-in gussets for the ribs.

Back to the Tissue

Again, I am testing this tissue.  So I decided to use several treatments on the tissue, in application and finish.

For the tail feathers, I used bare tissue for the fin (except a small print) and the horizontal is covered in fully printed tissue.  I cover these dry and flat.  when they were finished, I sprayed them with clear Krylon (or whatever the spray-can clear is that I have on hand).  They are not shrunk with anything; I do this to resist warping (covering variation #1).

The wing was covered with bare tissue on the bottom and full-printed on top.  Again, these were covered dry, gently tautened during the gluing process, and then sprayed with water to shrink.  This tightens the tissue, but less-so than covering with damp tissue.

The fuselage was covered differently – I covered it with damp tissue.  Since I didn’t know how this tissue would react, the flat sides on the fuselage allowed for a reasonable test.  I was pleasantly surprised.  The tissue dried nicely and pulled taut – I am very happy with the results.  Even on the arched turtle decks, the results are great.  Sometimes tissue pulls really tightly and causes stringer to dip under the stress.  This tissue shrunk just the right amount (cue Goldilocks and Baby Bear).

The noseblock and wheelpants were wood covered with slightly stretched tissue.  I do this by putting glue stick on the solid wood and rubbing damp tissue over the curves.  This worked well, as expected, although I did have one stretch separation – which is typical of this type of covering (at least for me).

I sprayed the finished wing with clear, and the fuselage with white Design Master White.  It is flat white and so I sprayed some of the gloss clear over it.  While I didn’t over coat any of these with the spray, I didn’t hold back (for lightness).  It all looks good and the tissue handled it all well.

I finished up the build with some heavier plastic than I normally use for the windscreens and side windows.  Of course, along with heavier plastics, came minor frustrations of trying to glue plastic to balsa.  I got through it without too much damage to my psyche.  The plane was finished with full 1/32″ wire on the landing gear (usually, I use 0.025″) and a off-the-shelf plastic prop.  The model came out at 22+ grams, not too heavy for an Outdoor Embryo – that’s satisfying.

I test flew the model in my back yard yesterday, and am happy with the potential.  Of course, I need a larger field (hopefully, that will come Sunday).  Here’s what happens regularly in my back yard.  Note:  planes don’t get up there without FLYING.




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A Sentimental Journey to Dayton, Ohio

A LONG write-up about a small contest.

Saturday, I went to an FAC Contest.  The McCook Field* Squadron, #5 in the FAC lore, is a low-key group of flyers that has been around since the beginning, thanks primarily to Frank Scott.  He’s been running on-again-off-again contests in an on-again-off-again manner for probably 40 years or more.  They announced they would be having a contest on October 3rd at the comically-named “Jackass Flats” location.  (Jackass Flats turns out to be a local PeeWee football and soccer facility.  It’s not a big field, but big enough for a small contest.)

* – the real McCook Field was the government’s first aeronautic research facility – and it was in Dayton, Ohio.  Read about it HERE.

Something told me I needed to go.  Google told me it was a 3.5 hour trip and since the contest was scheduled from noon-4pm and only had three FAC events, I felt I could manage this.  I wouldn’t have to leave super early and I could get back before 8pm.  In addition, I like the McCook group.  We fly at their McCook Contest at Muncie every June and I used to go to their Dayton Sector Skirmishes back in the day when they were held ON Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in the shadow of the Air Force Museum.  As an Ohio Boy, ex-Air Force employee, and an aviation fan, Dayton is special and holds much aviation history that I don’t need to go into here.  But I wanted to go and go I did.

I got there about 1 hour early – before anyone else.  I parked where I thought would be a good spot to be discovered by incoming contestants that would eventually decide from where we would fly.  It turns out we just stayed right there.  I got out some Jet Cats to test while I waited.  I got a couple figured out and broke one on the hard driveway.  When you’ve got more than one JetCat, you have to test them before a contest – each one flies differently and you need to re-discover the quirks of each one.  I flew my F-4, F-86, and Star-Jet.  I broke the Star-Jet – too bad, I wanted to show Frank, as he had built one, too.  I decided to fly the F-86 and my Heinkel in the contest.

The turnout was surprising (to me).  About 8 or so contestants showed up, and there were a higher-than-average number of family there, too.  Per Frank’s contest announcement, most of us were wearing masks, especially when nearing each other.   Actually, this was a four-state meet!  While the host club is from Ohio, I traveled from Michigan and Archie Adamisin came up from Kentucky and Archie’s dad came down from the Detroit area, too.  And Bill Garrison came from Indiana!  In all, there were somewhere between 15 and 20 people at the field.


Before I got to my planes, I timed a flight for Archie.  It proved to be cautionary.  While the temperature was not really “warm” and the wind was nothing more than a breeze, the air was buoyant.  Archie got out his own-design Scout Embryo that he flew last season indoor at Pontiac.  He didn’t change anything, even the rubber, and after a short test flight, he called for a time.  The little model ROG’s just fine and went up.  On about the second circle, it hooked a light thermal and we then watched it go up, up, and away.  At 7 minutes, I lost sight of it, still going up.

After that, I decided to get down to flying business.  In addition to the JetCats mentioned above, I would enter my old Ta-Go and my new Bird Dog in Dime Scale.  And finally, my DeHavilland Discard (a Frank Scott design) and maybe my new Durham Stretch Limo in Embryo.  Given only 3 events and 4 hours, this was a good selection, maybe too many flights, since I did not bring my chase bike – meaning each flight would need to be retrieved Old School – on foot.  Long flights mean long hikes.

I logged three flights on the Ta-Go (all in the 40 second range) and went on to my new Bird Dog.  I didn’t change the short loop of 1/8″ rubber that I used as a test motor.  And I didn’t trim out the nose-down glide.  I didn’t want any super-long flights and I didn’t want the 11 gram plane to hook any thermals – it was too new to fly way.  The first flight was almost a minute and the next two were less, around 40 seconds.  All were long hikes.  I finished out Dime and then went on to Embryo.

I saw lots of Embryos flying.  Mike Smith was trimming his Discard, Bill Garrison had a Bad Axe and a Born Loser, Frank had some other self-design, Jim Bair had a cute one with oval flying surfaces and a round formered body (recently featured in the McCook newsletter), Arch Adamisin (Archie’s dad) had one, too.  On one of my hikes for the Bird Dog, I brought back Jim’s model so I got a good look at it.

Mike Smith and his Discard

That may have been the last “good look” anyone got on that plane.  His next flight also hooked a thermal and flew away.  Here’s a picture of Jim and his wife watching the model for the last time (while the model is likely in the photo, no one knows where).

Wow, Embryos are flying away and I still have yet to fly.  I don’t want to lose any models – but I want to give Frank a good show with my Discard.  He pointed out that this contest likely has the highest concentration of Discards ever: including mine, his original and Mike’s new model.  This contest would be a nominal challenge for my Discard – this would be it’s retract-gear ROG debut (it had been hand-launched at previous Cloudbuster contests).  I was confident, since it goes near-vertical on a torqued-up hand launch.  And so the next part was a learning process:  hold the model on the table, hold the gear down, hold the prop, and release.  The weight of the model will hold the gear open, so that wasn’t really a worry, but table launches can be tricky.  The Discard performed flawlessly, jumping up and the gear making a characteristic “snap” as the plane zoomed up.  I put in a  string of 90+ second flights, managing to avoid thermals and staying on the field.  I decided the field was too small to wring out my Stretch Limo.

The JetCats were last.  Here come long hikes for sure.  That’s just the nature of decently-flying Jet Cats.  The F-86 has always delivered less than expected.  It gave me probably some of it’s best flights in the overcast of the afternoon:  16, 15, and 16 seconds for the best three.  The Heinkel performed as expected with a best three of 35, 32, and 27 seconds.  I was done just after 3pm and had logged over 11,000 steps (according to my watch) in those 3 hours.  I could relax, chat, time, take pictures, and gradually pack up before the end of the contest.

Archie flew his Cloud Tramp off and on throughout the day.  This was his first outdoor contest.  He had been flying with 3 loops of 3/32″ and it was zooming around.  I told him that 2 loops would be fine.  He did change the motor – and promptly put it in a thermal.  That was plane #2 that he lost on the day.

As the contest wound down, Frank called for a Sky Bunny mass launch.  I forgot and left mine at home.  Well that let me take a picture and film the mass launch.  They are here.  Note that Archie’s Sky Bunny is the one I track in the video.  That was #3 fly-away for Archie.  He may not want to fly outdoors again!

NOTE: there is much more story following the video.

L-R: Archie Adamisin, Jim Bair, Frank Scott

The Rest of the Story

a Participation gift from Mike Smith – a bottle of his homemade Cherry Bomb hot sauce.

So, I walked away with the win in all three events.  Unfortunately, no one else logged a flight in Dime Scale (I logged six flights, with the Bird Dog topping the Ta-Go).  Two flyers besides me logged single flights in Jet Cat – any of my single flights with the F-86 would have won.

I told Frank that I’ve always supported the Dayton crew – I was wearing my McCook t-shirt at the contest.  I feel close to them as I won my first kanone at one of their contests.   I thought about that on the drive home.  That was a long time ago.  When I got home, I dug around and found photos of that long-gone day.  Maybe this is what pulled me to attend:  My records tell me that day was on the same weekend – the first weekend in October, 1990 – exactly 30 years ago.  Here are some photos of younger people:

As they say, time flies when you’re having fun.  That 29-year-old had no trouble chasing after models (of course, they didn’t fly as well!)  I sit here this morning with my coffee trying to twist-out all of the aches that those 11,000 steps put into me.  I guess I’m no kid any more.  But I still feel like a kid when I fly my planes.  Every flight is exciting and holds a certain magic.  Flying these models and getting together with these friends-of a-feather is why I do all of this.  Thank you to all of these friends, near and far, that add to my life in this way.

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NEW PRODUCT – Cessna Bird Dog Dime Short Kit

FIVE DAY BUILD!  I call this the “ULTIMATE” Dime Scale model.  Why is it the “ultimate”; it is not large in wing area, motor length or any other measurement?  Well, the full scale Cessna 305 was flown on December 14th, 1949 – and our FAC Dime Scale rules have a cut-off date requiring the the full scale planes must have been built prior to December 31st, 1949.  This may be the last eligible aircraft – hence the “Ultimate” (haha).

This design builds quick and light.  For Dime Scale, I flattened the sides and bottom – very simple.  All top and bottom cross pieces are provided to create the correct trapezoidal cabin shape.  Even the color scheme of the 305 prototype is simple:  Silver with black anti-glare panels and markings.

The plans and parts will be published int he next Cloudbusters newsletter, legalizing the new plan for FAC Dime.

Here are build photos and a crudely trimmed test flight.  NOTE:  the prop shown in the photos is NOT LEGAL for FAC Dime Scale is it is multi-piece wood construction.  The video shows the model flying with a Peck 6″ prop (legal).

You can find the Short Kit HERE


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I was reduced to trying to clean up my workshop the other day.  I decided to consolidate my “tissue for sale” cabinet.  I have only a very little left and I was saving what I have for myself.  I have small amounts from estates and thought I would put all of the tissue in one place.

The first place to start?  Get rid of the box I used to take to contests and events where I brought a small amount of all the colors.  Well, it wasn’t empty.  In fact, it was full – about 1000 sheets of a variety of colors.  Now this is more than I need for myself and I will offer it for sale, starting with large lots:  10 sheet lots of Checker and Silver,  50 sheet lots of some colors.  I have more than 50 of some colors, but I do not know exactly how many.  (Have you ever tried to count sheets of tissue?  It’s not easy or fun).


40 sheets of Blue/White Checker – 10-sheet lots, $50 each  ($5 a sheet)

50 sheets of Yellow/White Checker – 10-sheet lots, $50 each ($5 a sheet)

50* sheets of Silver – 10-sheet lots, $50 each ($5 a sheet)


Yellow – 50 sheet lot* – $100 ($2 a sheet)

Orange – 50 sheet lot* – $100 ($2 a sheet)

Dark Blue – 50 sheet lot* – $100 ($2 a sheet)

Black – 50 sheet lot* – $100 ($2 a sheet)


Lots with an asterisk * – I probably have more than one lot, but this will be evident as I start counting out the lots sold.  If you order and I don’t have enough, I will refund your order.

Note:  I will NOT be selling individual sheets until such a time as no one wants these bulk lots.  When I do revert to single sheets, the price will be higher.

I still have plenty of Green and Brown.

FIND ALL THE TISSUE HERE: https://volareproducts.com/blog/?product_cat=esaki

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Rubber and Picture NEWS


1/4″ RUBBER is back in Production! FAI reports that they are again producing 1/4″ rubber and I got some in my latest order (received yesterday)!

PICTURES – I have fixed the mystery issue that prevented all of my “Galleries” from displaying on the pages (menu bar – galleries).

Now, I’ll return to work…

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System Upgrades

A Summary of System Changes and Price Increases

1: Canadian Customs

The other day, I was shipping a package to a Canadian customer. Stamps.com warned me that Canadian customers are often charged a customs fee AND a $10 processing fee. They offered to bypass that with a flat rate pre-charge of $6.95. I know that not every Canadian shipment gets charged a customs fee, but those that do might easily exceed $7. So, I have implemented a $7 surcharge for my Canadian customers. This is supposed to ship directly to your door without any customs intervention. You can read about it here: Stamps.com – Canadian Duties & Taxes

2: Purchasing and Accounts

I have had NUMEROUS questions from customers in shock regarding a $25 shipping fee. $25 is my current flat rate for International Shipping. So, why are my US customers seeing a $25 shipping fee? Well, it is because – without logging in or creating a shipping address – the system does not know where you are and defaults to “everywhere else” – which is $25.

In order to save us all some time, I have now disabled “checkout as guest”. This means you have to have an account (and log in) or create a new account (and log in). The system will then know where you are and calculate your shipping charge based on your state (or country).

3: Rubber Prices
Added fees are now integrated into price, some are reduced.

4: Short Kit Prices
Due to the increase in balsa prices, (previously discussed) I have increased my Short Kit prices. These new prices are still pretty low and are based on the number of balsa sheets in each kit. Keep in mind that I try to select appropriate balsa density weights for the specific kits – and I do not use wood over 12#.  For example, some of the Peanut kits are cut from 6-7# wood – that’s pretty light.  JetCat kits increased and I will try my best to select lighter weight wood for the wings, especially.

NoCals – No Price increase (all are $11)
Dimers – all increased by $1 (all are now $12)
Peanuts – nearly all have increased by by $1 or $2
Scale – all of the lesser kits increased by $1 or $2
Embryos – nearly half increased by $1
Old Timers – nearly all have increased by a couple of dollars
JetCats – all increased by $2

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Balsa Prices – and Vacay for a Day

Well, two days.

Things have been slow around here, mainly because of a balsa shortage.  I order nearly on a monthly basis.  I got a small shock on my last order:  57 sheets out of 100 were in excess of my 12# weight limit.  That means I am actually paying DOUBLE for the balsa I am buying (since half of it will not be used).

So, I am stuck – do I continue to buy excess from National – or do I specify my density and pay a 40% surcharge at Specialized?  I ordered another lot from National and it is not here yet and I cannot cut what I do not have.  So, some orders are delayed.

The balsa situation will cause me to increase prices on my short kits (insert sad face here).  I do not like that prospect.  I need to figure out a way to keep prices low.  I think the best way to do that is to base the price on the amount of wood in the kit.  In the past, I’ve done a flat rate – $10 for short kits, and $20 for JetCats.  well, some of my short kits contain as many as 6 sheets of balsa – and they were the same price as those with half a sheet. I will probably end up taking the time to analyze each kit and set prices according to the number of sheets.

I also might add an option to have your kit cut from light balsa on some kits.  I have a good stash of 6# and under wood that could be used on certain kits.  Also, JetCat wings are another place where I could have a “light” option.  Thick AND light balsa is definitely expensive (National quotes nearly $7 for a 36″ sheet of light 1/8″ and about $8.5 for a light sheet of 3/16″!!!)

Anyway, I can’t afford to give away the wood in my kits, so prices will need to go up (another sad face).

VACATION – I’m going to see my dad Tuesday and Wednesday.  I haven’t been down there due to COVID since my mother’s funeral in February.  We will be doing a bit of Studebakering and also spending some time in the Prop Factory (actually working on a custom made torque meter for a customer).

A year ago, we had put together plans for 2020 where we would spend several weeks together over the spring and summer, planning on doing a double engine swap in our Studebakers.  Well, that hasn’t happened yet.  But yesterday, I pulled the McCulloch supercharger from my car to take it down to Myer’s Studebakers in Duncan Falls, Ohio for a rebuild.  Eventually, we will get that swap done and my Lark will be back on the road.  Here’s a shot of it from 10 years ago – before I got back into Free Flight.

As for the torque meter, with any luck we will have an 8 in-oz torque meter available for the K&P 10/4:1 winder.  That’s a little light compared to the maximum capacity for the winder, but it is what the customer wants.  We will also think about a larger capacity torque meter, closer matching the winder.  This is basically the Rees Torque Meter adapted to the output shaft of the K&P winder (which is almost certainly built with metric dimensions).

Anyway, if you have an order placed, be patient, I’ll be away for a couple days and by that time, I am sure I will have balsa waiting for me and I will get back to cutting and shipping.



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Tissue Redux

BLUF:  I discuss tissue and possible tissue options.

As everyone is probably aware, Esaki has gone by the wayside.  Some of us suppliers still have some amounts and colors, but I think all the popular colors are getting really scarce (that includes white).

I have mentioned my favorite DOMESTIC replacement before (FLOMO Brand), but I had a customer send me a message a couple of weeks ago.  Randy Wrisley sent me this:

Found some domestic tissue I really like. Called Pom tissue and sold by Etsy.  I like neon colors, very dense color. Tissue doesn’t run when water sprayed and is colorfast when doped with 50/50 nitrate. Take dope without the fuzzys so common with other domestic tissue I have used. On the model pictured, I used Esaki on the wing and stab. I noticed the Esaki sagged a lot more than the Pom tissue.  It may be heavier, but if one doesn’t have to add dye or other color enhancers weight is probably about the same.

Here’s a photo of the model he described.

I think this is a Finn Supermax by Randy Wrisley

I told Randy that I would definitely check this out, so I found the ETSY site (“PomLove”).  I was surprised at the variety of tissue they off (over 50 different variations).  If you calculate, the prices are really cheap per sheet.

Here is the link to the Tissue section of the shop:

I ordered their White package and their Rainbow package.  I just received it in the mail today.

These almost have a shiny side (no so shiny, but clearly more slippery) and a definite grain to the tissue.

The first thing I did was take a piece of white and weigh it.  It measures 15″x20″ and weighs about 3.3 grams per sheet.  I also weighed a sheet of the lavender.  The colored sheets are twice as large, 20″x30″.  The lavender weighed about 7.5 grams; so both colored and white tissue weigh the same.

I got out my trusty Excel spreadsheet and created a calculator to convert my “grams per sheet” to the standard tissue measurement of Grams per Square Meter (GSM).  Here are the results:

Esaki was reported to have a GSM of 12

FLOMO (white) has a measured GSM of 14

PomLove has a measured GSM of 17

So the PomLove tissue (probably a chinese “domestic” tissue) is definitely heavier than Esaki, but you won’t have too much of a penalty on your sport models, especially the larger you go.  The color selection is quite wide and it is cheap.  So, the price is right.  One thing I did notice is that the wet strength is not very good.  This is typical of “domestic” tissues and should be no surprise.  You can get around this by covering dry and shrinking the tissue.

In the end, here is another option when it comes to sport model tissue replacement.




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NEW PRODUCT – Electronic Band-Burner DT

A year ago, I posted a video on the operation of a Electronic Band-Burner DT and many people have asked if I would be carrying this product.

I am happy to say that I have worked out an agreement with Bernard Guest, who is making these timers.  I now have them on this site for sale – with or without a 40mAH battery.

These are great little timers and I use them myself.  I am convince that one of these saved my Caudron from a fly-away last year at the AMA Nats.

They are programmable up to 16 minutes in 10-second increments.  The operation and programming are not as difficult as you might think, and are especially easy to do after you’ve done it once or twice.  (Instructions are posted on the product page)

Because Bernard is making these individually by hand and I have to buy them at very little discount, they are currently available only with or without the battery and I only have a small number (10) on-hand today.  Should I get plenty of batteries in the future, I could sell them individually.  Bernard does promise that he will soon be able to provide appropriate chargers in the near future, which I will post as soon as possible. (Note: I use a small and cheap 100mAH charger.  Bernard warns that LiPos should not be charged at this high rate as it will shorten the life of the battery.)


Videos below the photos

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Fun in the Sun – 26 July

It’s funny how perceptions change.  Prior to this year, it might have been “too windy” to fly.  It really wasn’t, but we get spoiled.  Now, since many of us are self-isolating and most forms of entertainment are no longer available, we appreciate getting outside and doing what we love – flying model airplanes.

I was pretty tired Sunday morning, due to multiple sleep interruptions over the last week, but I made that long drive (2 hours) up to the Cloudbuster’s flying field for our monthly contest.  These are low health risk events as there are only a few of us (eight, yesterday) and it is outdoors.  We are cautious:  no more hand shakes and we stay apart from each other, even when chatting.

Dave Livesay, Chris Boehm, and me having a little spaced-out chit-chat

I already posted the contest results on the Cloudbusters Facebook page, so I won’t go over that here, but will focus on some of my personal adventures here.

The first thing I did when I got parked and unpacked at around 8:30 was to get out my new Square Eagle P-30.  If you remember, I was only able to put in 100 hand-winds at home for a 10-second jaunt around the back yard.  I wanted to “air it out” so I was hoping to get in some test flight before the wind started to pick up (it was already pretty breezy and that probably didn’t change much throughout the day).  I used a short DT every flight.  On the first, a medium-powered flight (maybe 1000 turns?), I took it upwind and let it go.  Even at medium power, it was up and climbing – maybe the turn was a little wide, but it did get up.  The DT kicked before the power ran out, so we couldn’t check the glide.

The next two flights were full power – about 1600 turns or so with a 90-sec estimated fuse burn.  The climb-out was good and I got a 1:57 with the DT kicking later than expected.  I tweaked in a little more right turn in the Gizmo Geezer prop assembly and shortened the fuse a little more.  Wow, it likes to fly, climbing right out (and this is on 2-loops of 1/8″, not 3), much better with the right turn.  It was plenty high when the DT kicked this time and it came down slowly.  As Winn suggested, it took 20 or 30 seconds to come down after the DT.  My thoughts were – I will be losing this in a strong thermal some day.  And this is with the tail kicked per the design.  Success!  In two weeks, we have our Oldenkamp Cup event – I’ll get to try to wrestle the cup from Winn’s firm grip (he has won it most of the past several years).

The next bit of fun was with my Victory Models.  I decided to bring my old Victory Stick and my newer Shaft to participate in our Combined Old Timer event.  The event is really 2-Bit, but if people want to fly the bigger Old Timers, we let them.  In this case, I chose to fly SMALLER Old Timers as both are sub-14″ span OT Sticks (as Sticks, they are not eligible for 2-Bit – no landing gear).

The Victory Stick needs more work as the wings have been broken off the wire supports so many times, who knows if the incidence is anywhere close to correct.  I really need to build another (fuselage tube is already completed!)  But the Shaft flies well – it’s about a 45-second ship.  Here’s a video from fall of 2016 when I built this second one.

So I wound up the the little Shaft and took it upwind and let it go.  Man, it climbs.  With the help of the wind, it went quite aways downwind – almost across the road.  But a tree grabbed it right out of the air.  It was pretty high up, so I just went back and thought “the wind will blow it out”.

I would check on it as the day went on, but it wasn’t budging.  So much for participating in Combined Old Timer (note – I “could” fly either the Victory Stick or the Flying Aces Sportster, but I “wanted” to fly the Shaft).

Later on, a few of us had gathered to fly JetCat.  We often fly at the same time so we can record/fly/record/fly – and get it all out of the way.  One of our new flyers, Ken McGuire, was flying a 2-Bit, trying to get it trimmed.  We gave his some advice – maybe too much – and his little plane got caught in a tree near where my plane was.  I told Winn “we’ve gotta go on a retrieval trip after this (JetCat) because Ken just put his plane in a tree”.  So we went over there with my long pole (a Jackite 31″ Orange Kite Pole – get them through EasyBuilt or Jackite – but they’re $80 before shipping!)

(Note – in my opinion, an important part of having a club and attracting new members is helping them get their planes to fly.  Most of the time, that is just a piece of trimming advice here or there – you don’t need to dedicate the afternoon to their planes.  But, again in my opinion, possibly an even more important part is finding their lost planes.  Losing a plane can be disappointing or even heart-breaking and maybe they will quit after that.  So go find that plane and keep them flying!)

We got back to the cars and Chris Boehm said they needed a third for Combined Old Timer – he and Chuck Hickson had been flying that while we were jetting.  That was more incentive to get my little plane back.

I spotted Ken’s model deep in a tree and way up.   With the pole fully extended, I was able to get it out of the tree.  Then we went to the next tree and did the same for mine.  I thought it was too high, but that pole is long (and, apparently, my how-high-up internal estimator needs calibration).

What followed was some really good flights on this little ship.  Here is a chart I made of the general start locations and landing spots of my four flights on the Shaft.  The red line is the first test flight that landed in the tree.

Keep in mind that I use a scooter for chasing.  Our pit area was just to the left of the white hangar at the end of Line 3.  We ride on the edges of the runways – the runways are smooth; the other areas are very rough, usually with tall grass, and some areas have ditches crossing them.  So, really, you have to stay on the runways to chase (that makes following on windy days difficult as you are sometimes traveling in the opposite direction of your model!)

I don’t know how long, in time, the test flight was, but the official flights were:  1) 52 seconds, 2) 102 seconds, and 3) 69 seconds.  These were really good flights for the Shaft.  Torqued up and trimmed, it would go nearly straight up with a slight left component.  Flight 2 was nerve-wracking as it actually went NNE toward the tree line and then headed east.  We’ve lost several models in that tree-filled area and I was afraid that one was a goner.  Those were long flights for the little plane and it ended up beating the Chris’s Flying Aces Moth (second place) by over 40 total seconds.  More Success!

Oh, and I beat Winn in JetCat for the third straight month!

The trip back home was long and difficult, but I made it and spent the night relaxing and recuperating (and napping) in front of the tv, often recounting the day in my mind.  It was a good day.


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