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The Passing of…a Stone

(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.

predicted to be 2mm, this looks a bit larger, maybe 3mm!

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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Where have you been, George Bredehoft?

~or~

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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New Dimer Short Kit – Mauboussin Hemiptere

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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New Volare T-Shirts! Early Bird Pricing Now!

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!

The six covers currently available. The shirts are INDIVIDUAL covers, not all together.

You can find them in the TEAM VOLARE PROMOTIONAL area (click HERE)

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April 1st – Anniversaries

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…

  1. I worked on hand-making clutches – for stock and to fill orders.
  2. I 3D-printed another batch of clutches
  3. I repaired an Embryo, prepping it for Outdoor season
  4. I discovered that the laser tube in my cutter needs replaced
  5. I ordered another laser tube
  6. I modified a plan for submission to a newsletter
  7. I doped a propeller for a model
  8. I modified an old 808 keychain camera for potential filming onboard a model
  9. 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!

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End of March – Products, etc…

Wow, I haven’t posted on here in 6 weeks!  Let’s see if I can provide some updates.

ACTIVITY:

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.

Archie (left) and Mike with their Vintage Coupes


NEW PRODUCTS:

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

Archie’s Comet Curtiss-Wright Coupe from our Short Kit


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

my Three-Nite P-30 . “Props” to my cell phone, because the prop was really spinning in the wind!


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

Ken’s prototype Zephyr


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).

You can find my Short Kit HERE and a 3D-printed noseblock HERE

my HepCat for old Time Fuselage


OTHER ACTIVITY:

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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New Tech to Build Old-Timers

So, I’ve been building an Old Timer, slowly but surely.  I’ve been mentally struggling on how to do the wire pylons – how do I make sure they are even and the correct length?  And how do I make the installation look nice and not gobbed onto the side (ruining the covering)?

Here is my solution.  I run the wires on the inside of the uprights, CA’d securely to the uprights.  But still – how do I make sure they are the right height – there are FOUR posts and they have a length differential front to rear (the rear is 1/16″ shorter than the front)?

Bring in the New Tech!  I made a jig to set the front posts and rear posts – I 3D-printed it!  It has a different height built in for the front and back.  It also has notches for the wires, and side fences to properly locate the jig on the fuselage.  I did beef up the structure to properly locate the posts.  Of course, the fuselage top needed to be covered first to get that clean installation.

Here are the photos.  (Model details to be revealed later!)

My 3D-printed jig block and two of the four posts.  on the bottom are the fences to exactly fit over the fuselage.  on the top are two steps – the tall step is for the front posts and the short step is for the rear posts.  the grooves on the top are to properly orient the legs of the post.

a test fit on the fuselage

a test fit with the posts properly located

Note the jig is not properly up against the near post, nor is the post properly seated in the groove.

gluing the front posts. 1 = the socket built into the bottom to accept the posts 2 = the posts CA’d to the beefed-up structure.

all four posts in place

bamboo skewers cut to length and carefully wrapped and glued onto the posts.

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TISSUE PAPER – BACK IN STOCK!!!

I have re-stocked tissue; New and Old!

I thought I was going to be out of the tissue business, but friends Chuck Imbergamo and Mike Kirda have been hard at work tracking down tissue suitable for modeling.

Mike tracked down the LAST genuine Esaki tissue in a warehouse in Japan.  Several of us dealers bought up everything (except several thousand of the slow-selling green) that was in the warehouse:  All of the White, Blue, and Black.  It is all state-side and will be distributed to the dealers as soon as my postage issues get worked out.

Mike also found a 9gsm tissue (Esakie is 12-13gsm, Gampi is about 9gsm) and I ordered a bunch of that.  It is quite different than Gampi – Gampi is thin and crisp, whereas this is very soft and slightly porous.  I am covering a model with this now and it requires patience and a slightly different technique.  But it does shrink up in a gentle and consistent manner.  But being soft, it will dimple if touched with a pointy object – like your fingertip.  I am sealing it with 3 coats of 5:1 thinner:dope combo and I am impressed with the parts where I didn’t make any mistakes covering – it looks very good.  This Kuranai is only available in WHITE.

Lastly, Mike and Chuck were simultaneously working with Testuro Kubo in Japan.  He operates a hobby website (http://backyardfactory.net/peanut/) and appears to be the middleman for this Asuka tissue.  I decided to carry RED, ORANGE, and YELLOW since I now have plenty of White, Black, and Blue).  This tissue is reportedly about 14gsm.  The colors I have are not the same as Esaki (different manufacturer, remember?), with the red being more “red”, the orange being very bright, and the yellow more like lemon yellow.  (P.S. – this is the same tissue that Peck just announced.)

  • ESAKI (there will be no more)
    White – 1900 sheets
    Blue – 450 sheets
    Black – 400 sheets
    Green – some left
    Brown – some left
    Sky Blue – not much left
    Silver – not much left
    Blue Checkerboard – very little left
  • KURANAI (new supply)
    White – 900 sheets
  • ASUKA (new supply)
    Red – 1000 sheets
    Orange – 1000 sheets
    Yellow – 1000 sheets

You can find all my tissues on this page:  TISSUE PAPER

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Cessna 177RG Cardinal – SUCCESS!!!

First, the build, then the flight report, with video, below.

In the summer of 2019, before we all had other worries, we witnessed Gene Smith win the FAC Modern Civilian event at the 2019 AMA Outdoor Nationals at the Muncie flying site.  Gene’s model was nicely done and light and put in very nice flights.  I asked Gene if I could produce a short kit from his design and he said sure and that he would send plans to me.

I was a bit surprised when he sent me…sketches – haha!  But I pushed through that and took my time to draw up all of the half-shell formers, keels, and stringer notches.  I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but when it came to building, I only had to make three or four very minor changes to the former designs.

part of Gene’s original drawings

 

BUILD REPORT

I started this build in January, knowing that I was building an Outdoor model during Indoor season.  As I laid out the keels, I noted that they are narrow.  Were they too narrow?  So were the formers.  I had cut my prototype set out of pretty light balsa and I had to be careful as they broke on the grain very easily.  I added comments and notes to the plan showing how to reinforce them where the grain made them weak.  When I got the keels laid out and started placing the formers, I was pleased to find that they all fit just right.  Even the side keels, with former notches, matched up fine.

I only put on one side stringer to hold things in place hoping that it wouldn’t pull the keel & half-shell structure out of “straight” – that worked, too.  I glued on the other half formers and the side keel and side stringer.  Everything was straight.  I started adding the remaining stringers in pairs – first one side and then the corresponding stringer on the other side.  Where the curves were very tight, like on the underside of the nose, I moistened the outer side of the stringer to make the straight stringer bend (to my will – haha).  Historically, I don’t like Keel & Half-Shell construction, but they do come out nicely, maybe even lighter.

I quickly got on to finish the fuselage and then built the easy parts – the tail and the wing.  I found a full-scale ship to model and set about creating a printed tissue set for the build.  This turned out to be a challenge, even for this simple design, because I had to cover the curved fuselage is sections and had to match up (or try to match them) the panel lines.  The result wasn’t perfect and had plenty of tucks and errors, but it turned out fine.

The windows – and there are plenty on this model, were critical to the appearance.  Gene didn’t include any details about the windows.  The sides are not too bad, but they do take up a bit of space.  The construction, unfortunately, does have one former going through a window.  I probably could have solved that, but just ignored it.  The sides are basically flat and I glued tissue to plastic (with spray adhesive on the cut out tissue) and then glued the plastic to the frame (with canopy glue).

The rear window on the full scale is nothing but compound curves.  I could have done a canopy for the rear, but it is small enough that it can be represented with a flat piece of plastic wrapped around the fuselage.  I glued tissue to the plastic, glued the top edge to the frame, then wrapped it around when the top was set.  I think this worked out just fine.  I feel I tapered the window cutout a little too much, so I widened the base of the cutout on the plan.

The front window could be done in the same manner as the rear window – a flat piece wrapped around.  I’ve done that before on a similar model (my Jumbo Stallion – see pic), but the 3-views and full-scale photos just show too much of a compound “bubble” to reproduce that as flat.  So I tried to model a buck in 3D, but just couldn’t get it right and asked Archie Adamisin if he would take my basics and create a good file that I could print.  He did a great job, thanks Archie!  I printed out the buck, sanded it smooth, and then cut it apart!  It was just a little too large for my vacu-former.  Actually, my design produced a buck that was overly long;  It could be redone, but this will work out. I pulled several as a test and then pulled on that I would use on my model.

I covered this model in a different order than normal (for me).  Normally, I start on the bottom of the model, then I cover the sides, and finally the top surfaces.  If the length requires two pieces, I start at the rear and go to the front.  In my mind, this make the overlaps less visible – the sides cover the bottom and the top covers the sides – and the front pieces cover the rear pieces.  Because I printed the tissue on this model, I had to do everything differently.  I had to put the rear turtle on first, so I could put the rear window on.  then I put on the side windows (with the sides windows overlapping the rear window edges), then the top cowling.  I did the bottom next, but found that the landing gear openings would wrap onto the sides (I cut them off and pasted them on later).  There was enough compound curvature on the sides, that I had to cut the pieces into a front piece and rear piece (this messed up the printed lines) and also had to make snips to handle the compound curse (these made tucks in the tissue).  Ugh – It doesn’t look very good, but it is all covered!

Oops, I forgot to mention – I was printing on red Esaki and if you know red Esaki, then you know it has as bluish tinge to it.  I bought some Pan Pastel Red chalk and rubbed it into the back of the tissue.  It really didn’t change the front much, but the back was now red.  i hoped it would come through after sealing, as my full-scale choice is bright red.

Then I did something I have never done in all my years of modeling:  I used dope on the model!  I broke down and purchased some Randolph Non-taughtening Nitrate Dope and matching Thinner.  I measured it out 50-50 into a glass jar and brushed it on.  One coat for the Fin (which had been damaged after covering (grr…), two coats for the wing (the wing also has two puncture holes in it! double grr…) and horizontal, and three coats for the fuselage.  The red chalk came through a little bit, but maybe I should have tested the red chalk on white tissue.  Of course, Design Master Carnation Red spray would have been perfect, but then my black stripe would have needed to cut and applied afterwards – ugh, choices.

Moving on, I decided to go with a stacked prop – I chose a 7″ x 9″ pitch.  I use this size prop on Embryos.  What’s the connection?  Well an Embryo is 50 square inches and my Outdoor Embryos weigh in at about 20 grams (and fly well on a loop of 3/16″ rubber).  This Cessna came out light at 20 grams and has 66 square inches, so I thought a 7″ prop would be ok.  I also printed a spinner.  I finished up the prop and spinner at about 9:30pm on the night before the contest.

FLIGHT REPORT

I was nervous about taking a model of this size to an Indoor contest.  I’ve seen Paul Boyanowski fly many larger models indoors, but for me, this is something new.  This would be the largest and heaviest model I have attempted to fly inside.  Even as large as the Ultimate Arenas facility is, I know very well how hard the walls and ceiling girders are – they are unforgiving.  Heavy planes can and will sustain damage.

I got to the facility a little early.  I got set up and got the Cessna out before anyone was there.  I had put a short loop of 1/8″ in it – maybe it would be under-powered, but it wouldn’t be overpowered and zoom into the hard boundaries of the building. I gave it a few test glides and added clay to the tail to get a good glide that still remained a tad nose-heavy.  I put about 500 turns into the motor and gave it a very cautious toss – wow, it flies!  I tweaked the Gizmo Geezer nose button for just a little down and a little more right and wound it up to 1000 turns.  As you can see in the video, I was rewarded with a very stable 54-second flight!  Truly amazing!  This was all before the contest started and I didn’t really care how the rest of the day went – it was a great success.  I must say that if I had crashed out of every event I would not have been very happy, but I didn’t and how well or poorly I ended up in those events was certainly eclipsed by the flights I had on this brand-new airplane.  My best flight was 88 seconds on 1900 turns on a longer motor.  I am probably stalling out a little on the high-torque launch and that can be trimmed out.  And if I can carry slightly more weight, I can put in an even longer motor and break two minutes indoors.  Oh, I won FAC Scale with my 88 second flight – a win on the first day of flying is always a good thing!

Here is the test flight video, followed by more construction photos.

 

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2020 Hindsight Into 2021

Wow, 2020 was quite the year.  I don’t really need to review any of the things that affected us as a country and the world – all of us lived that and I am sure that 2020 will not rank as “My Favorite Year” to very many people.  Let’s all hope that we have a better 2021 than we did 2020.

I flew as often as I could in 2020 – but they were all small local contests and even some of those were cancelled.  All of my planned big contests were cancelled.  No Indoor Fling in Pontiac, no Indoor Nats in Arizona, no FAC Nats in Geneseo, no Outdoor Nats in Muncie, and no Muncie contests at all.  I love flying at Muncie – it is my favorite field and when I arrive there, it feels like home.  I get to fly my big planes, stay on the field as long as I like in the evenings and rise with the morning sun.  I did none of that in 2020.

As for the business, sales were down in 2020, but not too much.  I kept busy , as people still ordered at a consistent rate throughout the year, with June, July, and August orders coming in at a higher than average rate.  I guess people kept building throughout the year, whereas they normally would have been traveling the country and fly flying.

According to my records, I produced 12 new Short Kits in 2020.  I had time to build, but it was frustrating as I couldn’t get out and fly to the max, especially those produced at the end of the year.  Build it, refine the parts and plan, get in a few test flights in my back yard, and put the model on the shelf.  Oh well, at least I can get in enough flying to get the products on the shelf for you to buy.  Maybe you can build while your locked down, too.

Apart from being at the flying field, I really enjoy the development of new kits.  I like to draw, either translating someone else’s drawing to a kit or developing my own designs from scratch.  I draw every day and that is not an exaggeration.  Every morning, I sit down with my hot cup of coffee and work on a drawing for an hour or two before I pack orders before the mail comes – then I often draw more in the afternoon or evening.  Some drawings are really quick and some take a very long time.  I’ve been working on an obscure OT Stick for over two weeks.  Now, OT Sticks are simple, right – I mean you can’t get much simpler than a straight box fuselage with a wing and tail.  Well, this one has rather complex wing and tail details that have required a LOT of time to convert into a product that can be made into a Short Kit.  It is taking a lot longer to get to the build stage than I had anticipated.  I am getting a lot invested in this design and I am expecting big things from it when I get it built – haha.

I try to do a lot of “things” for myself and I do share these with the Free Flight community.  I’ve become better at designing things for the 3D Printer.  I try to solve “problems” that I am having and then share these with everyone else that is interested – because sometimes others are having those same “problems”.  This is also rewarding – whether you, the public, buys my stuff or not.  I try to help and share, even share information.  I often get notes or calls telling me that people do appreciate the things I do.  That is always good to hear.  I was surprised – and honored – this year by two recognitions in particular: I was nominated (and won) a Special Model of the Year Award from the NFFS community and also nominated (not yet announced) for the Flying Aces Club Hall of Fame.  While I do not do what I do for this recognition, I am proud of both of these.  Thanks to all of you.

So, 2021 is merely hours away.  We can look forward and plan and hope.  There will be new experiences coming.  Let’s all reflect on what has passed and be thankful for what we have and what we will have and even the things we had and lost.  Appreciate every day for what it is and try to wake up and say “what a beautiful day” everyday, because it is a gift, regardless if it is our “perfect” day or not.

See you on the flying field! –george

3D printing canopy bucks has allowed me to add canopies (and spinners) to some of my kits, especially the WWII Peanut kits.

a rib test for my OT Stick – and these are the “simple” ribs!

a test print of a nose block with a recess for the Gizmo Geezer nose button. Not the first I have done, just the most recent.

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