This is a day or two early, but I think I’ll write about the past year, the past eight years, and the past decade, in general – today. Good-bye to the 2010 decade, and hello to the 2020 decade.
This year started out like a steamroller that disorganized everything. My business saw record-setting activity – in January through June, five of the six months had their highest monthly totals in both orders and dollars and I actually saw daily averages over four orders per day. Now that might sound wonderful – until you have to fill four orders a day. This is really just a hobby for me – it is not (and will not be) a Hobby Shop in the traditional sense – and a flood of orders set me on my heels for a time – and I am still a bit behind.
In addition, the weather was really uncooperative and before we knew it, Geneseo in July was upon us, and we had had little outdoor events up until that time. Then it just seemed like contest upon contest until we closed out September in Muncie – before we knew it, the year was over. It seemed like we got little flying done, but that’s just the way it went; and that is the way the decade went, too. I returned to the hobby and started “Volare Products – the Parts Biz” in 2012. It now fills my daily life – more like an obsession than a hobby, I guess. But I like it.
I bought Superior Props in 2013 (with the generous help of many supporters) and it continues to be a success. It has taught me a lot about propellers and, importantly, it has reinvigorated my dad as he really enjoys being back in the machining world. It has kept him active in his later years (he will be 81 next month). Unfortunately, I have had to disable the sales of the Superior Props line again, as he has taken up a new role. It is one that he struggles with physically and emotionally, and while temporary, it will have a permanent impact on our lives. He has had to become full-time caretaker for my mom. She has struggled with severe rheumatoid arthritis all of her adult life and now she is in the late stages of renal cancer that has spread through her body. This was discovered in November and we do not think she will be observing her 81st birthday in May. It will be a trying time for all of us.
Looking at my records, I have only release eight new kits this year – that is a bit below average, but they have two NoCals, two Embryos, and FOUR Peanuts. I don’t mind saying that the Peanuts are pretty good kits, especially the Corsair and SRE. I do have two large Scale models that could/should be kitted (24″ Caudron C.460 and Jumbo Aircraft Designs Stallion), but they are complex and the plans need much editing and many annotations. The Caudron is closest to being finished – really, it is ready to package, but I’ve been busy. I also have two Old Timers (2-Bits) that need to be built and flown, then they could be kitted.
My “to-do” list for 2020 has 16 projects on it. After a flurry of late autumn activity, four of those are finished (and already kitted). But, as I like to say, I “bumped my head” and one project has become an obsession within my greater obsession. A month or so ago, I was talking to Vance Gilbert about my desire to build a “Mega” (54″ span or greater). This is a strictly unofficial FAC event, although any planes can and do qualify for the official events of Giant (48″ span), Jumbo (36″ span) or Scale (between Jumbo and 13″ Peanut) – depending on which events are hosted at the contest. I clearly remember telling him that I wanted to do one, but it would certainly be as simple as possible given the inherent complexity of the largest of rubber-powered models.
Well, I may have really bumped my head on this one. I quickly went for simplest high-wing monoplane ever to a complex low-wing twin-engined behemoth. I have started drawing up the Caudron C.640. Caudrons of the mid-30s are some of the most streamlined and beautiful airplanes ever and this one may be the epitome of their designs. The C.640 is basically a twice-sized C.460 with two engines instead of one.
I’ve been steadily working on drawing up a 55″ model. I have got the wings and nacelles just about drawn up to working prototype level. Here is a screen cap of the nacelle design. This model will swing 10″ props – they probably should be bigger, but cheating the nacelles outward would start to change the look of the plane (they were very close to the fuselage on the full-sized plane).
Anyway, I have committed myself to this plane and having it ready for Geneseo in July. It is unlikely many of those remaining twelve 2020 projects will see much work until this is done. Right now, I’ve gotta get back down to the basement and pack up some more orders to keep all of you customers happy.
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