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Today is the Sunday before the Indoor Nats start and a week before the Outdoor Nats – and I better start preparing. Not only do I need to gather my models and documentation, but I need to mentally prepare as my mind is elsewhere right now.
As some may know or remember (I did mention this before, didn’t I?), I have a 1963 Studebaker Lark. I have had it for 10 years or so and have done very little on it for most of that time. I jumped back into Free Flight with both feet and the car has sat in the barn all that time, with only occasional attention – until this year.
In April, I took the car down to my dad’s in Ohio and we began a process of swapping engines from one of his Studebakers. Once a month, I went down there for 4-day sessions. I had expected three sessions, but three turned into four. Neither he nor I are as young as we once were and the work required was possibly a bit more than anticipated. Regardless, a couple weeks ago, we buttoned up my Lark and actually drove it down the road (and back). Now it wasn’t perfect, but it was running.
This week, I trailered it back home and it is back in the barn. It has been on my mind pretty much non-stop since then. I still have a lot of tweaks and adjustments to do, but it is fun to be back working on cars. I reminded myself that he and I had done similar projects several times – back in the early ’80s. Early 80s??? Could it really be 40 years ago? That amazed me – time has a way of slipping by, doesn’t it? And, of course, I know he doesn’t have another 40 years in front of him, so it was good to spend that time with him. I think he thought so, too.
Right now, I could go on and on about the car. BUT!!!! It’s Nats Time! Time to get my mind right and back on track with Free Flight. Because of the weather (June and July appear to be the new “rainy season” here in Michigan), I haven’t been flying since early June in Muncie. I’ve been drawing and packing orders, but not building or flying. Now the “biggest” contests of the year are just days away. I have made a list for the Indoor Nats of what planes to fly in what events and on what days – that’s a start.
Of course, I used all Indoor season (ending in May) to tweak my fleet, knowing that the Nats would be in the very same facilities that we use monthly. Of course, I took some of those models OUTSIDE at Muncie in June – and adjusted them. I knew the implications then, but went ahead. Now I will be forced to take the ones that I adjusted for Outdoors and re-trim for Indoors and hope I can get some of that Indoor magic back into them.
It looks like I am planning on flying 14 events. And I have 12 or so models called out for that duty. While I had decent success “locally” I anticipate that the competition will be a little bit steeper and the Nats brings in people from all around the country. As for the Outdoor Nats next week – I better start making a list for that contest, too! I am way behind and way out of practice.
I better get my head in the game…if I could just get that supercharged 4-speed hardtop pushed into a back corner of that same head, maybe I’d be able to prepare a little bit better.
See you there!
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After a great deal of consideration, I am bringing back the Cloud Tramp, but only a Short Kit. You will get all the laser-cut pieces and plans/instructions in this very basic short kit ($11). You can add a plastic prop (+$1) or a Superior Props Cloud Tramp prop blank (+$8) as options. Get it now and fly in the August World-Wide Cloud Tramp Mass Launch!
Jump to the SHORT KIT
Details on the Mass Launch HERE
I’ve decided to do a LIMITED QUANTITY of 30-ounce Insulated Tumblers in the “Volare Orange” and with the Team Volare logo. These will keep your favorite beverage hot or cold for a long time. Get one now (before they go out of stock) and be one of the “cool” kids!
Dive right in to the Cup HERE
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FINALLY, we get to go back outdoors for “big” contests, after missing all of last year. Every June, the McCook Squadron (Dayton, Ohio) hosts a two-day FAC contest at the AMA Flying site in Muncie, Indiana. It really has the flavor of a local contest, but it is showing signs of growing bigger. There are only a couple of Dayton people still attending (old age is getting to all of us), but Pat Murray (Roscoe Turner Squadron) and the Cloudbusters have agreed to do all of the contest day legwork, while the Dayton crew manages the prizes and awards. We have always enjoyed the opportunity early in the year to get back out on the big sites – and we (usually) can use this contest as a tune-up for Geneseo (not happening again this year).
So, after a year of COVID Cancellations, it was great to get back outside and meet up again will all of our flying buddies. We even had distant flyers attend: Wally Farrell from Virginia and Dave and Ann Niedzielski (EasyBuilt Models) from Alabama. What happens after a year off? It turns out that some of us are a bit rusty. We “forget” how to fly and we tire easily. That might be from the aging process or lack of regular activity over the year.
I drove down on Friday morning and discovered that Pat Murray and Clete Schenkel had already been testing since the day before! The weather prediction was a mixed bag: the temperature and general conditions looked to be great, but all three days proved to be windy. I am sure that the wind curtailed participation in many events. Still we did manage to fly 19 official FAC events, three McCook specialty events, and two AMA events. All of the FAAC events had at least three flyers, so we awarded plenty of kanones (especially to Wally!). Two of the McCook events (Sky Bunny Memorial, Cloud Tramp) had many participants, and the McCook Watson Challenge and AMA P-30 only had one flyer. Frank Scott (Dayton) created the Sky Bunny Memorial and had a perpetual trophy made and gave out Sky Bunny mugs to all Sky Bunny flyers. He created a target-time event which Wally Farrell won and took home the perpetual trophy. Of course, Frank and the rest of the Dayton Crew created Award Certificates and the coveted “McCookies” for the winners.
My adventures started out well enough. I test flew a few new planes on Friday, including my Three-Night P-30, my HepCat Old Time Fuselage, and my brand new Holy Ike Old Time Stick. I tried a couple of other models, but really was just there for fun and relaxation and easing back into contest flying. I stated earlier that I had brought 27 models for 22 events. That proved to be too optimistic – at least I was prepared! Well, maybe “prepared” isn’t the right word. I dislike making motors so much that I neglected to make new motors for my models. Some models were able to fly on OLD motors (for a could flights, at least) but most required me to make motors on the field – ugh!
My first issue came with my Holy Ike. I gave it some low and medium power test flights and all looked great with right-hand flying and gliding. I checked the trim, noted that the wing was about half a bay off of location and fixed that and I powered it up to about 60-70% and walked out to the (windy) flightline. As I was getting prepped to launch, my thumb broke one of the lower longerons. I felt it would be ok and I would repair it after the test flight. I launched and immediately knew something was amiss: previous flights had a steady and stable climb-out to the right – this went straight out and climbed up. Of course it stalled, dropped its nose and went straight into the ground, smashing the fuselage back to the wing. Post-flight analysis: I had noted the wing was not located correctly. I had marks on the wing indicating where it should sit on the fuselage, referencing each side. Earlier, I had aligned the LEFT marks with the CENTER of the fuselage, thus the wing was mounted to the right. I imagine the extra weight on the right had imparted a right bank, especially under the lower powered tests. Shifting the wing back AND higher torque made eliminated that right turn resulting in destruction. In addition, the broken longeron had weakened the structure enough that it could take no impact. Also, I had built the fuselage out of light wood – too light for a large powerful plane. This crushing blow was destined to happen when I framed up the model.
The sun and wind started to take a physical toll, too. By the end of Friday, I was very tired. As we got started on Saturday, I worked on my B-52. I built this several years ago, and while it is somewhat stable in flight, it is very sensitive to disturbances. I also thought I had it under-propped so I put on a larger wooden prop. That seem to make it fly a little better. In the end, after several test flights, I recorded a 30 second flight, and then a 55 second flight and as I applied a bit more power, the old characteristics came back and it made about 1/4 circuit and the power pulled it up into a bit more angle of attack than it likes and it stalled out and nosed in. There was little damage other than a bent prop shaft. I have it so it comes apart in pieces on landing, so damage is limited. This stalling is probably due to the washed-IN wing tips. I’ve tried to counteract that with tabs, but I think it is beyond hope. And last week, I had reinforced the chin so it would be crushed again on a bad landing. 55 was my top score and, with the 20 bonus points, it was good for second – behind Wally Farrell’s fantastic Me.609 twin. I probably won’t fly this anymore as I don’t think I can coax it to fly better than it is.
I also got to work on flying my new HepCat Old Time Fuselage. I have only flown this in windy conditions, testing in April at Muncie with Archie Adamisin and then at this contest. Testing on Saturday showed a significant nose-down in the glide. I had previously added tail-weight, but felt this was more of a decalage issue, so I adjusted in another 1/32″ in the tail. It now has about 1/16″ more than the plan shows, but it seems to like it. I dialed in a slight amount of down to compensate and proceeded to wind up for officials after one more test flight. In the windy conditions, I was able to log a triple-max (three 120-second flights) – the only one in OT Fuse – and was happy to earn the kanone with a great flying model.
Saturday ended with a sunburn. I am not a total idiot and I do prepare for the sun. For years, I have used a bottle of Coppertone SPF8 lotion that really does prevent sunburn, even at that low SPF and my easily-burned paleness. But, I ran out! I also had a can of spray SPF 50, so I used that – only to end up burnt by the end of the day – grrr.
Sunday was more of the same wind – well, maybe. Saturday seemed to have lift with violent kickouts – you’d get a little lift, but if you got to the edge, you’d get shoved down rather powerfully – very strange air. Sunday morning was still windy but the thermals were more typical good lift and no violent back sides. It was sunny until mid-day, then came overcast. Wally Farrell was fortunate to fly his Canberra JetCat while the air was still providing lift and logged TWO 60+second flights – amazing.
I managed to win Peanut with my Yak-3 and my kit-prototype Cloud Tramp (built in 2013) won its FIFTH Cloud Tramp Mass Launch. I figured it was doomed this year as the wings and tail are rather warped, but I guess they are warped in all the right directions. I dropped my second flight with my Wanderer (108 sec) and therefore missed a potential 3-way flyoff in OT Stick (Pat Murray won with a Korda C Stick). I came in 2nd in the National Air Races with my Comper Swift.
It was great to be back out flying, but I was unprepared. I didn’t leave anything at home this time (excepting more sunscreen), but I should have made motors and actually checked all my models. I didn’t fly Embryo or 2-Bit, I just didn’t have time. But Muncie is my favorite field and time flying there is better than time spent in most other places.
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I out-smarted myself. I posted that the Mauboussin Hemiptere was ready to buy – and so it was. But a customer pointed out he couldn’t find it on the site. That’s because it wasn’t there!
NOW IT IS! Find the short kit HERE.
Read Oliver’s Build article HERE.
Oh, and find 20+ Documentation pics HERE.
And I have brought back the Classic TEAM VOLARE T-shirt. With my discovery of my local print shop, I can now offer these filled on demand. Find them HERE.
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(note – there is “some” modeling content below, but mostly this is a reflection)
Well, that’s over. About 2pm local time yesterday, this popped out.
It is a distinctly different shape that #1, which is interesting in a scientific sort of way. #1 looked like a flake of crystaline stone, like quartz. #2 looks like a grape-cluster-like mineral deposit. I now have a “collection”.
Oh, for those of you that haven’t had a kidney stone and are worried that you might get one, I will tell you this as a veteran of two: the pain is unimaginable – it will lay you down. BUT – once the stone gets to your bladder, it is easy and virtually painless. Don’t worry about that last “little” length of travel coming out of the bladder, it’s literally nothing. It is nothing more than “uh, I gotta pee again…ploop…oh, there it is”.
Now I have to rid my body of these narcotics. I was given NORCO (Hydrocodone) for pain and FLOMAX for easing urinary tract restrictions. I went as light as I could on both of them. The NORCO was great for masking the continual baseline pain while that stone was moving around – baseline having been estimated anywhere from 3 to 5 out of 10 – but it didn’t do much for the peaks and surges that went up to about 8. As the FLOMAX was indicated to be taken “after a meal”, I only took a couple of those over the several days because I had absolutely no urge to eat anything. I won’t go into any greater detail on this, but people that have had kidney stones know exactly how bad all this feels.
The point is – these narcotics are not kid’s stuff. Both of them knock you out. The make you feel hazy and heavy and catching up on missed sleep is the best thing to come out of them. And their effects are long lasting. The NORCO was indicated for every 6 hours, but even after you stop, it’s at least a day before you stop feeling the drag associated with the drug. I absolutely do not understand the attraction to these – you can be conscious while taking them, but the feeling is not exciting.
Fifteen years ago, when I had stone #1 – and as a result, had my gall bladder (and stones) removed and after my knee surgery – I was given bottles of oxycodone and vicodin. That was before they realized what a social danger they were. Again, I didn’t understand why people wanted them – they did nothing good for me. This time I was given very limited pill counts and warned not to share them and told there are places to turn in excess for disposal. I will be disposing of what I have left.
Anyway, I still have pangs of kidney pain – very short “zings” and a general low-grade ache. I assume that is just recovery from the damage done as that mulberry traveled through my body. It has been 24 hours since my last FLOMAX and I still feel a bit woozy from that. I gotta get this crap outta my body.
Tonight, it will be a full week since all this started. That week was 100% downtime from all forms of modeling – personal and business. I did pack up the easy-to-pack T-shirt orders yesterday and will get to some more this morning before the Post Office shows up for pick-up. But, essentially, all orders have been delayed. The only thing I did do was print out order sheets. It’s time to fire the laser and 3D printer back up and get back into production.
There was to have been a delay anyway – I was scheduled to go back to Ohio to my dad’s this week (Wed-Sat) to work on our Studebakers. Our plan was to have his re-assembled this week. Obviously, that didn’t happen. I’ll need to reschedule that, but now there is a time-crunch. In addition to scheduled contests in May, I now have a couple of doctor appointments mixed in. Finding four days to be away is more complicated. It will happen, though – I need to pick up a trophy we did (and he built) that will be presented at the June 5th & 6th McCook Contest in Muncie.
My OT Stick model needs finished. I need to paint the wing tips, finish the tail and DT, and finish up the prop assembly. I am very excited to get this thing finished. It is a beautiful model and I have high expectations for it. It has been taunting me throughout this week – It has been sitting on my building board, on my desk – which is in the same room as the couch and tv where I have been spending most of my time. It has been sitting there in silence sending mental messages into my addled brain – “George…finish me…let’s go flying!”
Anyway, I am on the road to recovery (why am I hearing Todd Rundgren’s “Road to Utopia”?). And I will be at the Cloudbusters’ Indoor Fling on the 16th a week from this Sunday. I was worried about that. Then the Sunday after that is the Cloudbusters’ Monthly Outdoor contest at Alkay Field. Two weeks after that is the first big-field contest for me/us – the McCook contest at Muncie. I’m ready (mentally). I should be ready physically. I hope to see you there.
As the old joke goes “the coffee break is over; back on your heads!”
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WHY IS MY STUFF LATE THIS TIME????
Today is Day Five.
At 1am Saturday morning, I was awakened with severe pain in my right kidney. Having been through this 15 years ago, I knew it was a kidney stone. I will save you from reading all the trials and tribulations involved and sum it up this way:
I have been out of commission, doing nothing but visiting the doctor, the Emergency Room, and subsequently being drugged up and on the couch (or in bed) until this morning. I think I answered one email and two Facebook messages – no other reading emails, scrolling through Facebook, drawing plans – or packing orders. Absolutely nothing since Friday.
The good news is – I have received all t-shirts ordered to date and will (hopefully) start packing and shipping them today.
The bad news is – I do not believe I have passed the stone (I haven’t seen it) and am just holding my breath waiting for the attacks to start again. I am not feeling back to normal, although my head is clear(er) since I have not taken narcotics in about 20 hours. I need to be done with this.
Anyway, now you know and thanks for your continuing patience. It seems I am always asking for that.
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The Mauboussin Hemiptere is one of those models that has a history of being one of the “popular” Dimers. As a tandem wing, it has a large amount of wing area for a dimer – maybe that’s why it is popular. Don DeLoach recently built one and suggested that I kit Al Backstrom’s version, saying his flies very well. I re-drew the plan and it was published in the Sept/Oct 2020 issue of the Free Flight Digest. I sent out a couple of prototype kits and here’s a write-up (and photos) by Oliver Sand. Here’s what he had to say about the build and such:
Prototype Build Notes: Volaré Pseudo-Dimer Mauboussin Hemiptere
Designed Al Backstrom, produced George Bredehoft, built Oliver Sand
Bones: Frame was built with laser-cut parts and medium-weight 1/16” balsa throughout. I coated the nose plug with medium CA and sanded to prevent wear, and used 1/32” balsa for the cockpit.
Covering and Markings: Because I got to the covering stage during a cold NYC winter, spraypaint wasn’t really an option. So, I did a lot of experimenting with different kinds of ink and paint markers. The Faber-Castell ink ended up being the easiest to use and run-proof, and lettering is all done with a black MUJI pen (also waterproof). All tissue was pre-shrunk Esaki-style from an old SIG kit, chalked on the dull side with white Pan Pastel and covered shiny side out with a purple Staples glue stick; wings and fuse were shrunk again with water after covering, and I kept the rudders flat between sheets of wax paper and under a book for several days to prevent warps.
Landing Gear: A small modification I made to the plan was attaching the LG to the wing with 1/16” OD clear monofilament line for some flex on landing (thanks Tom Hallman for idea). This monofilament goes into a small ?” balsa block flush with the wing rib bottom, and is attached with CA on both ends. Not shown in photos but later bound with thread to LG strut. Axles are small lengths of 1/32” music wire.
Tail Skid: was built with extremely hard 1/16” square balsa, covered in brown Sharpie and double-glued with Duco. Rear wing: is secured to back of fuselage to be adjustable and removable with hook on back of fuse, dental band, and threads hooking over motor peg.
Magnets and Prop Shaft: Wing is held onto fuse with 2 pairs of small neodymium magnets as shown. I used a 7” Peck propeller for the front, drilled out to spin free over a 1/16” brass tube, with a Z-clutch and 0.047 reverse S-hook shaft. Hopefully will stay bend-free a bit longer than a 1/32” shaft would.
Finished and assembled: all surfaces sprayed with 2 light coats of Krylon, and windshield is .002 acetate curled over a pencil and attached with Sobo fabric glue. Final empty weight is 14 grams and CG is 60% back on front wing as of April 2021. Very promising maiden flights with a 30” loop of 3/16” rubber, incidence as on plan, and just about a degree of down and right thrust, and more trimming is still needed.
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After a couple years of consideration, I have created several new shirts. In addition, I have decided to work with a local t-shirt printer to do the work for me. I had a couple samples made up and they are great! So, without further ado, here are SIX NEW VOLARE T-SHIRTS! Six classic individual Flying Aces Magazine Covers in your choice of FIVE SIZES and SEVEN COLORS!
Size: Medium | Large | X-Large | XX-Large | XXX-Large
Color: White | Gray | Black | Military Green | Navy Blue | Red | Purple
If you order before June 2021, you’ll save $5 off the regular price!
You can find them in the TEAM VOLARE PROMOTIONAL area (click HERE)
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As I have noted before, April 1st has become a landmark day to me in my life. April 1st, 1996 was the first day of my new career in Battle Creek, MI. It was a wise choice to move to Battle Creek for me, as I was able to advance farther than I could have elsewhere and I was able to keep my government retirement (which I took advantage of in 2016). Also on April 1st in 2013, I formally took over Shorty’s Basement and created Volare Products. So that has been going on for these past 8 years. Significantly (for me, at least), I have now produced 90 different short kits and sold just over 5,000 of them. Of course, I owe my success to all of you that have been my customers.
So what have I been doing today, on this anniversary? well, let’s see…
- I worked on hand-making clutches – for stock and to fill orders.
- I 3D-printed another batch of clutches
- I repaired an Embryo, prepping it for Outdoor season
- I discovered that the laser tube in my cutter needs replaced
- I ordered another laser tube
- I modified a plan for submission to a newsletter
- I doped a propeller for a model
- I modified an old 808 keychain camera for potential filming onboard a model
- I took delivery of product for sale and ink to replenish my printer
That’s about all, but that was all before noon! There will be the packing of orders later and maybe some model building.
Stay tuned for whatever is next!
449 total views, 3 views today
Wow, I haven’t posted on here in 6 weeks! Let’s see if I can provide some updates.
In our (the Cloudbusters) monthly Indoor contests, I’ve been trying to “get better”. The AMA indoor Nats are going to be held on my “home field” – at the Soccer Arena in Pontiac. This is exciting, but my flying probably needs to take a couple steps up. I will be surprised if I come out on top of any of the FAC events – and there are a LOT! Online registration is now open on the AMA web site.
Outdoor season is set to start here in Michigan on the second Sunday in April. Our normal schedule is the 4th Sunday, but we add one in April and one in October, just in case the weather is bad. Or rather, there is a good chance that one or both April contest will be called due to rain.
Yesterday (Saturday), I drove down to Muncie for some test-flying. Archie Adamisin (Kentucky) and Mike Smith (Dayton) were driving over to fly their Vintage Coupe de Hivers for a Postal contest that ends at the end of the month. Archie had planned on LAST weekend, but he wasn’t ready. Too bad, because the weather was great LAST weekend. Yesterday was windy. Not breezy, but windy. When we wrapped up, it was probably approaching 20 mph.
Nevertheless, the three of us flew. Archie had two coupes, Mike had one, and I brought two new models that I built over the winter: the Three-Nite P-30 (Mike Jester design) and the HepCat OT Fuselage (John Barker design). Both flew off the board, but trimming for really great flights will have to wait until there is less wind. I did hit 90 seconds on both of them. By the way, Archie hit 2:07 on his last flight and Mike had a very long flight, too (no one timed it, but it went way off the field). Oh, no one broke a plane, even in that wind! Archie did have a cracked spar, but I’m not counting that.
Here they are right before we packed up.
I have released some new products since the last announcements of tissue paper and the Cessna 177RG.
I’ve added Teflon Washers in three sizes – find them HERE
I’ve added a cute little original Dimer – the Comet Curtiss-Wright Coupe. The Short Kit comes with copy of the original plan and the parts layout and prototype built by Archie Adamisin. He had it at the March Indoor Meet and it was cute as a button AND flew great!
There’s a flight video on the product page – find it HERE
Mike Jester, in California, asked me if I would be interested in producing a P-30 Short Kit for beginners. He designed a flat-winged P-30 he has called the “Three-Nite” (read all about it on Hip Pocket) and I produced a Short Kit. It comes in two flavors: a) plan and laser-cut wood and b) plan, laser-cut wood, Gizmo Geezer P-30 Prop Assembly, DT fuse, rubber, for one motor, dowels and tubing. That’s pretty much everything except tissue and stick wood.
Mike lost his kit prototype and is now building his third. As I mentioned above, i had mine out yesterday and it was a very good flyer, even in the wind.
Find it HERE
Another modeling friend, Ken McGuire, designed his first model – an Embryo – and it flies, too! He asked if I wanted to kit it – I like kitting planes that are flyers! He’s built two, including the kit prototype, and will probably build another. He calls this embryo the Zephyr. It has clean lines and should be a quick build.
Find it the Short Kit HERE
Over the winter, I drew up and built a new Old Timer. As you can see above, I took it out yesterday and was very happy with the performance right off the board. It is the late John Barker’s HepCat and it qualifies for FAC Old Time Fuselage. It was flown by John in 1944 and on newstands in December 1945 (in the Jan 46 Aeromodeler).
Since the beginning of the year, you all have been sending in orders like I’m going out of business. You sure are keeping me hopping. I know that I am behind on getting some of them out to you, but I will get to them – thanks for your continued patience. As you should know, Superior Props folders are custom made and I have to wait for my 82 year old dad to send them to me. In addition, the Superior Props hardware is all made by him. I have to make some other hardware, and some days packing orders takes priority over machining parts.
Other things that have been getting in my way – winter blahs and sniffles, getting COVID shots, doctors’ appointments, family obligations, sick dogs, and so on. I’m one guy deep and I have to make choices all around. A similar choice is not to answer my business phone at 9:30pm – haha!
Some weekends this spring and summer will be taken up with contest flying. Other “days off” will be taken when I take my 1963 Studebaker Lark down to my dad’s so we can do a two-car engine swap. That will take some time, but should produce a good-running car on my end and a sale-able 55 Studebaker President sedan on his end. This will be time-well-spent with the old man, something which I haven’t done enough of over time.
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