There are TWO NEW Short Kits and some other product news.
It is always a pleasure to see photos and videos from other modelers. In Connecticut, John Koptonak does a great job of documenting the Glastonbury Modelers’ indoor contests. While watching his monthly Facbook videos, one model caught my eye – Peter Kaiteris’ Crossbow Bostonian.
I contacted him and asked about converting the Bostonian to Embryo. Just as we were starting out talks, the Bostonian plan arrived in my mailbox in the FAC News. Peter and I worked to redesign the Crossbow to meet Embryo requirements and soon sent him a prototype short kit. I have a strong urge to build this, also, but I have already built two Outdoor Embryos this calendar year and have yet to really fly either of them and my building board it packed with other projects.
But Peter was diligent and got right on the build. He made a couple of suggestions and soon had a ready-to-fly model. And boy does it fly! Maybe you have already seen Tom Hallman’s video of the first day out with the Crossbow II. It is amazing that on its first ROG test it puts in a max! Under overcast conditions! Here’s the video and you can find the Short Kit right here.
The second new kit was equally inspired. I was surfing the web for a possible Peanut Subject (Scaled Composites Vari-Viggen) and ran across Frank Scott’s SAAB Viggen JetCat plan from a 1973 American Aeromodeler issue (OMG, that’s 50 years ago!). I chatted with Michael Smith about possibly reprinting in his McCook Squadron newsletter (Frank Scott’s home squadron) and Mike told me he already published it – and had built one.
Well, I loaded up the plan and traced it in my CAD program and gave it a couple of enhancements to fit all the pieces together like puzzle pieces – and I added strakes on the bottom of the wing. I build my prototype and flew it in the back yard. It seemed stable, but unremarkable; I was getting about 10 seconds a flight. I have a stack of built (and un-kitted) prototypes that get 10 seconds – they are disappointments and part of the frustration of the JetCat event for me – so 10 seconds was…meh.
But then I added a gurney to the rudder and it started to give some decent flights. Importantly, (and in typical canard fashion) it didn’t like to stall. I mean, if it was tail heavy, yeah, it pops the nose up and flutters to the ground. But I have had several that would seem to glide well – until they got slow. THEN the nose would go up and that would be the end. This one showed none of that. With minimal nose weight, it would keep the nose down and cruise, never lifting and killing the flight.
I started applying more power and various angles and soon I was getting 14-15 seconds in my limited back yard. It would do a nice steep climb up and have a real nice transition into a flat, wide glide. Very good.
I took it back inside and gave it a quick spray with Design Master Gray – and I printed and cut out markings from bond paper and glued them on, old school style. I snapped a pic and within 10 minutes I had my best flight with it – a huge climb flipping into that flat glide – but the light breeze was taking it east toward the trees. It went into a pine tree well above 40 feet at 16 seconds. I couldn’t even find it. But I did the next morning, as the wind had knocked it down.
By the time I found it the next morning, I already had a new one cut and a prototype kit shipped off to Frank. I created a tissue print and built the second prototype this week. We will give it a good test when the weather dries out a bit. You can find the full kit here. (By the way, that is SEVEN new kits this calendar year – so far!)
My dad turned 84 this January and is “retiring” from the Volare Products Production Facility (as he calls it). He won’t be cutting props any longer, nor making any hardware. Clearly, this is another important transition point for Superior Props.
But we have a plan. I am working with one of my modeling buddies (a player to be named later) to transfer the Prop Shop to his home and he will take over making props. This transition has started (we went down to my dad’s for introduction and instruction), but it will not be complete until we move all of the equipment and get it set up – and get everything back into production.
Now, I have a good deal of bench stock of standard Superior Props, but most folders are built on demand and not stocked. This week, the first resulting order refund occurred as I did not have a 9″ 4-blade prop in stock. This might be occurring more frequently, but our plan is to be operational by early summer.