|WITH THE WEEKDAY WARRIORS – January – December 2008 - Thanks Chuck O'Donnell|
WITH THE WEEKDAY WARRIORS
So far, from the 1st of Dec. until now, 1/13, I have teen up to the field five times and have been all by myself for three of them - and with good reason. The showers, wind, and cool temperature, individually and in combination, have not made for good flying weather. Chuck Jenkins said he had been alone three out of four times and Jim Corbett, perhaps the smartest of us all, said he hadn’t even made the trip more than once. 1/13 found about ten of us up at the field on a rather calm, sunny, 460 day. Alas, 1/13 was a Sunday and thus unqualified for mention here.
The one weekday when I did find the strip in use was quite early in December. Ken Springate, who has by now joined the legion of drizzlebirds down in the drier climes, was flying his C.A.P. 232. This has non-standard (I think), and rather long, landing gear legs. These tripped him up on one landing and were obviously pulled out of position when the plane was picked up. The bolts hadn’t broken and the plywood plate hadn’t torn out, but that plate had buckled. There were two cracks running from side to side and the plate had bent up between them. The wood looked thick enough for the job, but it appeared that the manufacturer had used a distinctly cheesy grade of the stuff.
The only other flier present was Pat Willis who had what looked to my untutored eye like the best Spread Spec-trum I had seen yet. In the transmitting department was the faithful Futaba he’s been using for a while. Well, mostly it was the faithful Futaba. The usual RE’ module had been replaced by a 2.4ghz item from Xtreme R/C. The receiver, from the same outfit, was a wee little thing, only just big enough to plug in all the servos. (NB: Only one receiver) The antenna - only one of them - was a tiny excrescence, hardly an inch tall. In case you are a devotee of large battery packs, this receiver will handle up to 30 volts. Now a 5-cell ni-cad pack, used by people who yearn for more speed from their servos, puts out six volts. 30? That would make the servos supersonic, assuming, of course, that they could take it at all. (Very doubtful) Pat had no idea what situation would require 30 volts through the receiver, but, no doubt, it is some sort of comfort to know the potential is there. He tried the rig first in his monstrous Yak 54 and all was well, then he put it into his new T-Rex 600 Nitro helicopter. Yes, T-Rex now has large glow-powered machines as well as the smaller electrics. In the T-Rex, the minuscule receiver was buried amid battery packs, servo wires, and carbon-fibre sideframes and it carried on recei-ving. This looks like a system you could put into a Scale ship without disturbing the interior detail. By the way, to range-check this radio, you walk out to 50’. Then you continue around in a full 3600 arc, checking every so often around the perimeter.
I have to be careful of how I describe engines. Back in 1950, once the glow plug had sent the spark-ignition engines to the old-folks home, I went on calling any model with an internal combustion engine a “gas job”. Now that gasoline-fired engines are making such a big comeback, such a cavalier approach can lead to misunderstandings. Once this Summer I told a someone on our field that I had been flying a “gas model” earlier. He looked a bit disturbed and concerned, probably imagining a monster with a DA 70 up front roaring into the air with no guidance beyond faith in my trim adjustments. The model in question had been a Fubar 36 with a 54-yr-old Wen-Mac .049 up front. Maybe I’d better start saying “glow”.
One of the things I asked for for Christmas was that nobody bring any J-3 Cubs, particularly yellow ones, to the field for the whole year. Yellow Cubs are an even bigger bore than the plethora of P-51Ds we’ve been plagued with. If you must build a Cub, put a full cowl on it and call it a PA-11. Put flaps on it as well as the full cowl and it’s a PA-18, the Super Cub. And it’s a warbird. The Army called them L-21Bs and some were even in bright yellow as trainers. Better yet, build an Aeronca 7AC, the Champ, which was an L-16 to the military. Of course, that was a 7EC, with the dorsal fin. Stinson Model 10, Voyager, or L-5 - all of them constant-chord, flat-engined, fabric-covered birds. If you don’t mind radial engines, tapered wings, and round fusela-ges, there are the Cessnas and Luscombes. but, anyhow, no more Cubs for a while - maybe a decade or two.
Chances of this column appearing next month are nil. I will be away for three weeks, returning just in time for the February meeting. I may, however, supply Editor Corbett with something else. I’ve done a couple of things on planes which flopped in the real world, but which modelers took to their hearts. The two I have covered were the Rearwin Speedster and the Fokker D.VIII and I have a couple more in mind. If I get time and if the typewriter cooperates (it’s starting to act up again), I’ll ship an article off to Jim before I go.
WITH THE WEEKDAY WARRIORS
It is strange to find the words “Grumman” and "flop" in the same paragraph, let alone the same sentence, but there’s no denying it: The Grumman XF5F-1 Skyrocket was a flop. In 1938, the U.S. Navy issued a specification calling for a single-seat, twin-engined fighter to operate off aircraft carriers in defense of the fleet. It had to be able to climb very quickly and the Navy thought that the only way to do it was to have the two engines. Vought had a single-en-gined proposal, but even the engine was experimental. Still, the Navy gave Vought a contract for a prototype. Bell was in the race, too, with the XFL-1 - think of a tail-dragger P-39.
Grumman’s entry turned out to be an eye-catching machine whose fuselage extended no farther forward than the high point of the wing chord. There were twin fins on a dihedraled tailplane and a framed all-round-vision canopy. Framed, because they hadn’t yet learned to blow plastic bubbles. The intended engines had been the slim, twin-row, supercharged P&W R-1535s, but P&W dropped development of the blown version so Grumman was forced to use the Wright R-1820 a big, single-row engine of much greater frontal area. The Navy dithered on the armament specs, calling for everything from four .30s to four 23mm cannon. Each outer wing panel was required to have five little bombays each one housing two 5½-lb. “anti-aircraft” bombs, the quaint notion being that this fast-climbing interceptor would get above the densely-packed enemy bomber formations and shower them with the AA bombs. I’ll leave it to you to judge how effective that would have teen.
Once testing began in early 1940, it became apparent that all was not well. Oh, it could climb - 4000 ft./min. to its nearest rival’s 2600 - but weight was up; visibility past those big nacelles was almost nil, airflow over that centersection was appalling; there were cylinder and oil cooling problems; and even the l.g. doors wouldn’t stay closed. The XF5F-1 grew a nose extending about three feet forward of the leading edge. It got redesigned and lengthened nacelles, wing fillets, and balanced rudders. It helped a little, but the Grumman was still slower than its single-engined rivals. Worse yet, the extended nose produced a very sudden stall, something predicted by NYU’s wind tunnel. Grumman was in full production of the F4F and wanted out of the Skyrocket project; the Navy was inclined to go along. The plane went down to Anacostia, D.C.s NAS, ostensibly for further testing, but more used as a station hack. In December of ‘44, on a flight to N.Y., the gear wouldn’t come down and the subsequent belly landing at NAS Floyd Bennett damaged the plane beyond repair. The station emergency-service crews used the hulk until the next Summer for practicing rescues from downed aircraft.
A second airframe was built for the Army as the XP-50, this one sporting a much longer nose to house the front component of a tricycle landing gear. Fairly early in the test, with more development apparently needed, one super-charger blew up, forcing test pilot Bob Hall to jump, and the Army to lose interest.
If Grumman threw up its hands in despair and the Navy shrugged it off, modelers and their kit manufacturers embraced the XF5F-1. The old John Pond old-time plans list has eleven entries for the Skyrocket, ranging from an 8” solid model to a 38” Ukie. Look back in the model rnags published since the war and you will find pictures and construction articles at regular intervals. Only a couple of years ago, Model Aviation had a photo of an XF5F-1 entered in an R/C fly-in. Cleveland put out this plane as one of its Masterkits and, as a kid, I longed to have one. The Masterkits were real works of art, intended solely for display, though presented as Rubber jobs. “Labor-intensive" is an understatement and they were far too heavy to fly, but boy, did they look good when finished! I never even asked for one for Christmas because I knew full well that they were beyond my modest capabilities. My generation is the one that was just reaching its teens when the war ended and you will find a few of us who will swear that the Skyrocket saw squadron service. It did indeed, but only in the Blackhawk comic books. Twenty years ago, I worked with a younger comic-book collector and he assured me that not only was the Blackhawk comic still being published, they were still flying Skyrockets. In fact, he was surprised to learn that there really had teen such a plane.
Bell’s XFL-1 didn’t pan out, but Vought’s machine, after a great deal of development, did go into production. In fact, they built F4Us until 1952 and its engine, P&W’s R-2800 became, arguably, the finest large aircraft piston engine in history.
The drawing at the top is by the late Doug Rolfe who had a 2-page spread in Air Trails magazine every month. It was called “Air Progress” and, while the "progress” shown by some of the planes was open to question, they were all interesting and the drawings were always good.
WITH THE WEEKDAY WARRIORS
Off I went to Australia with the idea of getting out of the dreary Oregon weather and into the Australian Summer sunshine. Returning seventeen days later, I found that you had had less rain here than I did there. I carried the um-brella more often than I did the sunglasses for the first 2/3 of the trip. Melbourne, at least, greeted me with 900 and sunshine until the last day, when it rained all day - just like Oregon. The dreary weather returned with me and I haven’t seen much action at the field on weekdays. I did miss some decent days due to appointments with doctors, labs, and auto maintenance, but what follows is what little I did see.
One foggy morning I found Alan Wellintin up there with one of his 90-powered, rotary-winged monsters. He was waiting out the fog which seemed to start to clear, then come back. At long last visibility was good enough for Alan to fly the helicopter in his usual fashion. You know, loops rolls, flying backwards, inverted - the normal helicopter stuff. (Normal for whom? Well, Alan, I suppose.)
Troy Dannenbring is still in the early stages of the helicopter business, so he has no problems with the fog. He’s not yet flying high enough to be concerned about it. If he can look down and still see his shoetops through the fog, the ceiling is high enough. Troy is flying one of those ubiquitous T-Rex 600s as well as one of the smaller electric ships. In fact, he has three of the nitro T-Rexes, all acquired second-hand (we don’t have to say “pre-owned”, do we?). He’s flying the one, another is playing hangar-queen as a source of parts, but it is the third one that piques my interest. It is to have a Hughes 500 body put on it once it is properly set up and trimmed out. I confess to a tendency toward yawning in the presence of helicopters, but a Scale ship (!) is another story. I’ll be looking forward to an R-4, an R-5, one of those Robinsons with the high, streamlined mast, an H-64 lifting the air-conditioner up to the top of the trailer. Troy says that the one non-scale fly-in-the-ointment is the fact that the T-Rex has its tail rotor on the right side of the boom and the Hughes’s is on the left. Actually, that may stand him in good stead if the suits from Hughes try to get royalties out of him for building a model of their machine. “What, a Huges 500? Certainly not!. Look at the tail rotor.” That T-Rex was supposed to have flown that day, but had to be scratched due to a clutch being set up just a bit too tight.
I don’t know what Chuck Jenkins has in mind for the future, but he was up at the field running an engine on a test stand. This was a YS .90 that Chuck has had a full ten years, but has never had in a plane. The last time it was run - on the test stand - was down at Short Mountain, then something occurred that caused it to be put aside until now. Okay, what ideas are simmering on CJ’s back burner? Stay tuned.
Just the other day, Doug McWha was flying his Dual Ace. The twin flew as well as it always does, but the big news concerned Doug’s Lancair. For the details, you will have to consult the guy who writes the weekend column, but the bare bones of the story are these: While dealing with an engine problem, Doug let the Lancair get out too far, lost orien-tation, and saw it go into the ground on the other side of the brook that borders the west side of the field. Wing in two pieces and the nose looked pretty sad. It is now in the hands of Bill Hastings and may well gain a new life. I’m not sure how many lives are attributed to models. Mike McKevitt had a big, old Cub Coupe or Cruiser - I can’t re-member which - that must have exceeded the cat’s proverbial nine. I can remember walking, with Mike and somebody else, down the hill at Short Mountain with a double handful of shockingly small pieces, which Mike then glued back into an aeroplane. He did this so often that he developed a way of peeling off Coverite and ironing it back on when the repairs were finished.
I did manage visits to two air museums while I was in Australia. The Australian National Air Museum at Moorabin Airport is busy on the restorations of their newly-acquired DC-2 and Bristol Beaufort. The Douglas had been parked outside, the subject of an ownership dispute, for nearly ten years before the museum rescued it. I don't know where the Beaufort came from nor whether it’s British- or Austral-ian-built. This museum needs at least two more big hangars.
So does the RAAF Museum at Pt. Cook. They have four rare birds, a Boomerang, a Dragon, an Avro Cadet, and a Hawker Demon jammed into a hanger with a load of other planes. The only view you have of them is from a balcony on one side of the hangar - a balcony with a heavy cyclone fence all around it. They have instituted a flying display on Sundays, Tues-days, and Thursdays. Just a half-hour or so, but the possible performers include a Tiger Moth, a Pup replica, a P-51 (Australian-built), and a CT-4. The last is a fairly modern (80s) trainer and that, alas, is what was on for my visit. Even duller than a P-51!
I hope this doesn’t alarm you, but I thought you should be forewarned. Your columnist now has a new power panel and fuel pump to replace the ones that went bad after only about 35 years’ use. (I know, I know. I should have bought the good ones in the first place.) What may be even more frightening is that he has a new 12-volt battery that will run them both - and it’s charged. They are about to pull the rug out from under me in Freeflight by abolishing the Builder-of-the-Model Rule. I am a firm believer in the principle that you build the model you compete with, but the “pothunters” with deep pockets want to win more awards and I am afraid they have the votes on the Contest Board. Except for a Scale ship, my FF projects are on “hold” and I’m dreaming up P/C projects.
WITH THE WEEKDAY WARRIORS
Could Spring actually be arriving? I know; an Oregon Spring is nothing to write home about, but a few good days do sneak in from time to time.
We’ve seen plenty of helicopters on the weekdays lately. Pat Willis had two out one day - both T-Rexes, a 600 nitro and a 450 electric. I think the 450 is sort of a guinea pig on which Pat tries out things he’s not yet rash enough to attempt on the larger, more expensive 600. On this day, the 600 was undergoing some revision and was not flyable. Pat brought it out as an example for Jacob Blewett who has acquired one. Jacob’s didn’t fly that day either, because it transpired that the clutch was set up far too tight, a problem correctable only in the shop. Pat’s 450 hit the dust during the morning, an apparent case of zigging when he should have zagged.
Scott Fellman has something different - Hirobo Skidoo 50s - and he has progressed to flying circuits with them. Yes, it is certainly possible to distinguish an Hirobo Skidoo 50 from a T-Rex 600. Well, there are the name decals on the canopies for one thing.
No shortage of models with their wings screwed on firmly, either. (Note that I didn’t say, “as they should be”- restraint is my middle name) In fact Pat had his Yak 54 with the 3-W 70 engine and he thinks that this is the best model he has ever flown. Jacob was flying a cowl-less Extra 300S, which I think is ex-Frank Blain. Do you know that 0.S. 50s run just fine with the cylinder-head fins running crosswise? Jacob was satisfying his curiosity about what was inside the cylinder and put the head back on 90 deg out of whack. Some engines won’t even let you put the head on that way, let alone run well!
Blain himself was on the field with yet another Yak 54, his with a
Joe Kizer has had a year-and-a-half layoff, but was on the field one day with a Pizzazz, powered by a Magnum 52 sporting a vivid purple cylinder head. His intent was to scrape some of the rust off his flying technique. It appeared (to your columnist at any rate) that the rust was indeed flaking off and that the Pizzazz would go home in the same shape as that in which it had arrived.
The Bellanca Decathlon is a version of the Citabria, tuned even further than that plane for aerobatics. Chick Foster’s model Decathlon was flying very well and had him well-pleased. He doesn’t have it anymore, because a guy came along and threw so much money at him that Chick was more than pleased to sell the model.
Deveraux made the long trek from
Chuck Jenkins has a goodly supply of old model stuff around his place and one day he turned up with a Fledgling. This is an old. old, even ancient, trainer, from Topflite, if memory serves. (Was Harding President then, or was it Coolidge?) The kit was put out with a tricycle gear, but Chuck’s is set up on two mains and a tailwheel. He had brought it out to let Morris Ostrovsky fly it while his model was under repair.
of Mr. Jenkins, I was informed that he was in the hospital over in
WITH THE WEEKDAY WARRIORS
I think we’ll all agree that your Editor, Jim Corbett, has made this newsletter into a classy publication, but one problem has arisen. Jim runs everything through a computer program which weeds out words it doesn’t recognize and replaces them with ones it does. In my account of going to see Chuck Jenkins in the hospital last month, you read that, when I got there, he had “scampered”. Now we all know that Chuck Jenkins is far too dignified a fellow to “scamper” and indeed I had actually typed a fine old Irish verb which has an “r” in place of that “rn”. Aroo, aroo, the Editor’s program doesn’t recognize fine old Irish verbs, even one used by Himself, the Behan, in the title of a novel, thus we got “scamper’ instead of “scarper’. What ever would have happened if I’d used “absquatulate”? Well, we’re going to find out, aren’t we? (N.B. I did warn Jim that I was planting a bomb in this column, so he may well catch it.)
of Mr. Jenkins, he is not only out of the hospital but he’s back on the
with an oxygen tank slung over one shoulder and a new student under his
Wayne Wahrmund is newly retired and probably discovering, as I did,
what he should have been doing all his life.
And while we are on the subject of the Sig Kadet series, Chick Foster has turned up with the little Seniorita which he built from a kit. I asked Chick how he had managed to find a kit to build and he told me he had to call Sig and get them to send one to Trump’s for him. He wasn’t quite sure they were still made. Power is a modest 0.S. .25, i.e. an engine appropriate to the model rather than the .52 people around here are prone to put in such machines. It is set up with a tailwheel landing gear and is flying just fine, thank you.
Blain has been out with his Obsession which is pulled along by a Saito
four-stroke. Pulled along very well, according to Frank, who quite
aeroplane. He has his Yak 54 flying again after a crash necessitated
repairs. The engine was a
Vern Wells has not yet joined the modern age; he’s still crashing them himself. Actually, it wasn’t anything Vern did. When the wing comes off your EasySport in flight, you don’t have a whole lot of options. Vern got no help from the mud; the nose was pretty bashed up.
There have been a lot of the usual people flying the usual models: Doug McWha with his Dual Ace and EasySport, Larry Nelson and his Tribute, about which he is only lukewarm, Pat Willis and his veteran Giles 202. (or is it 404? or am I getting it confused with old Martin airliners?) (Note: One of the engineers who worked on the design of those two Martins was Maxwell Bassett, the first guy to fly a gas model in competition.)
You knew that Scott Fellman was flying one T-Rex 600 helicopter and preparing another one to receive a scale Hughes 500 body once the T-Rex is flight-tested. (You knew that because you read it in this column.) Herewith an update: Everything’s set except the gyro. This gyro seems to have ideas of what a gyro should do that differ markedly from Scott’s ideas of what a gyro should do. There the matter stands with the possibility that the offending gyro may just find itself out of a job, replaced by a more cooperative unit.
Your Editor has been flying small electrics when he’s not helping Doug mow the grass or get the sprinkler system set. up. One of them was a foam creation called a Park Shark which comes complete with fins and teeth. Jim says it is a bit underpowered, but adequate for boring holes in the sky on calmish days. It, quite literally, bit the dust on an awkward landing, but the light damage was entirely to the teeth. The slightly-larger Stinger has been flying as well as the biplane Wildfire. Jim also has a fairly large plane, built out of slabs of foam, and this one resembles, a bit, the old ukie Ringmaster. He makes a flight or two with one, then pulls out another and so on until you have seen his whole stable. The Wildfire’s landing gear seems to hate this runway, no matter how closely Doug has it mowed.
You know your President is working on a new model and a scratch-built one at that. He’s been keeping its identity a deep, dark secret, but he did let slip that it is a common aeroplane, though not in the version he is building. My guess is that it is a Piper J-3, but the one with the Lenape Papoose engine instead of the Continental A65. Or the Spitfire on floats. Or the Bf 109T with the longer wing for carrier operations. I’ll check the spy satellites. One is bound to make passes over his neighborhood.
WITH THE WEEKDAY WARRIORS
When I started flying with this club back in ‘92, I had to make an adjustment. The clubs I had flown with back home and in
And we are beginning to get nice days, even strings of three or four in a row! You knew that Vern Wells’s EasySport met a sad end last month when it shed its wing in the air. Vern has replaced it with a Hangar 9 Super Stik in which he has a Magnum .46 for power. The Super Stik looks to me like a modern incarnation of the old Midwest Sweet Stik, the 40-size version of the classic Das Ugly Stik. Maybe very slightly larger? Twenty years ago, I had a Sweet Stik with an 0.S. .4OFSR up front and it was a very nice sport ship. Chuck Jenkins test-flew and trimmed Vern’s new plane, then turned it over to Vern. He got in a couple of flights before over-banking and losing a lot of altitude close to the ground. He managed to level out, but not pull up before the air underneath him turned into grass. I’m not sure whether the praise goes to the toughness of Hangar 9’s construction or the forgiving qualities of our grass, but the engine, mount, and firewall came out cleanly, leaving the rest of the model intact.
Scott Kenyon brought out a vast Extra 320S. It has a Desert Aircraft DA 100 for power, so you know it’s not a delicate little chickadee. Frank Blain is another guy who shows us some very large machines on these midweek days. You heard last month that he re-engined his big Yak 54 with a DL 50. (“What, only a 50?”, you say.) Well, now he has taken the
Wayne Wahrmund is progressing under the tutelage of Chuck Jenkins. He’s making his own takeoffs and, I believe, has essayed a landing or two. A bit shaky in both departments, it’s true, but weren’t we all at that stage? And aren’t we all from time to time even now? One morning
Jim Corbett, your editor, doesn’t spend all his time up in the palatial suite of offices this newsletter maintains. He has been flying a pair of Lanier Stingers, one electric, the other glow. The larger glow bird settles down to a nice, smooth landing, but the small electric habitually progresses in series of hops. Jim hasn’t solved that one yet. He and Doug Mcwha spent a good portion of one nice morning attending to the blades on the mowers. That’s the rest of the story about keeping the strip in as good a shape as it is. Besides the mowing, there’s the maintenance on the mowers - a few hours for every hour spent moving. Not nearly as bad as military aircraft, but something you have to consider.
Anybody got an empty kit box? At least 3’ long, 8” or 9” wide, and 4” deep. I have all my strip wood, wire, tubing, plastic strip, motor-mount wood, and the like in two boxes and I’d like to categorize it a little better. You know, keep the 1/16 sq. and 1/16x1/8 out of the same box with the ½” sq and the same for the fine wire and tubing.
I doubt that this column will appear next month - you get a break. During the time when I should be gathering material, I’ll be 5,000-odd miles away and I won’t be back until the night before the meeting. Weather permitting, I’ll see two air shows at Old Warden, one on the first Sunday and the other on Saturday evening two weeks later. The June and August shows are each labeled “Military Air Pageant”, but the July show is simply “Summer Air Display”, so I hope to see a lot of the good, old civil machines. Nothing against the military birds, but there are a ton of beautiful civil ships, many of them eminently modelable. You don’t have to be military to go fast. The Chilton DW.1 had the modest 32 h.p. of a 4-cylinder British Ford auto engine, complete with radiator, but it cruised at 100 mph. Only four DW.ls were built before WWII interfered. As they were single-seaters, the RAF wasn’t interested in impressing them, so they were dismantled and stored. Remarkably, all survive today. Two are airworthy and the other two are under restoration. That’s the sort of thing I hope to see. On the weekend in the middle, there’s an airshow at Duxford. That will be mostly WWII stuff and they always have some exotic birds flown in from foreign countries. Further, there is a good chance of seeing two Gladiators (the RAF’s last biplane fighter) in the air together. Wonder how many Spitfires/Seafires they’ll be able to muster? I’ll bring back pictures.
WITH THE WEEKDAY WARRIORS
Here we are, in the middle of those few precious weeks when this place tries hard to pretend it is some other state rather than the damp, dank, dismal Oregon it really is. The good weather has brought out the Weekday Warriors in force. Some days we have so many you’d think it was a weekend.
No sooner did I write last time that Wayne Wahrmund’s landing were bumpy, but serviceable, than he begins making very good ones as matter of course. I gather that he did deck the LT-40 while I was away, but, with the assistance of Chuck Jenkins, it was again airworthy in short order. Wayne’s been getting a lot of time in on it and there is said to be a U-Can-Do in the offing.
Chuck Jenkins doesn’t even have to pay any attention to Wayne nowadays and he’s concentrating on Vern Wells and his Super Stik. Things were progressing until late last week when the Stik refused to level out from the initial turn after takeoff. Neither Vern nor Chuck could do anything effective and the plane went in very hard at full throttle. The fin remained recognizable and the landing gear didn’t look so bad either. Your columnist once lost a Sweet Stik that way when the switch simply came to pieces, but I haven’t heard the verdict on Vern’s mishap.
The Twist is marketed as a model for that utterly graceless flailing about the sky called “3-D flying”. Doug Devereaux has one he’s modified with view toward flying it in a smoother manner. Results have not been entirely satis-factory to date - “I’m trying to make it fly in a way it wasn’t intended to” - but Doug persists.
“The usual suspects” have been flying the usual planes. Doug McWha, Jim Corbett, Ken Springate, Frank Blain, Dave Simmington ... . Ken was flying a real Frank-Blain model -an Excelleron. Ken’s has a Magnum 120 4-stroke for power and he is finding the combination quite satisfactory. (But tell me, why does Ken so steadfastly refuse to post his card in the impound when he takes the frequency pin?) Frank himself has been favoring his Edge 540 in recent days, the one with the Fuji 43 gas-burner. “Very stable and gentle” is the pilot’s opinion. No “3-D” flier is our Frank. El Goodman is flying his “very last season” (he says) with his faithful Kadet Senior. The very-well-worn Saito 50 4-stroke only just gets it off the ground, but after that all is well. Okay, “well” up to point. The Saito quit one day when the Senior was too far out to get back to the strip and it settled into the deep, deep grass. Chick Foster vol-unteered to retrieve it and he did, but it was hard slog. know how he felt. The dethermalizer on my Fubar 36 did not deploy fully that same day and I had to go a good 300 yds into that field and back. I was ready to crawl on my hands and knees by the time it was over.
Rich Richardson’s 12’ Giant Rider doesn’t show up on the field too often, probably because it is a bit of a pain to erect and rig, but it was present last Thursday (8/7). The muffler blew loose in flight, but the unkind among us were opining that the engine was just as noisy with as without. This one swings one of those big, expensive wooden props and, i.~hen a tip broke off, Rich succumbed to the temptation to glue it back on. It held for some time, but let go on that Thursday - up in the air well away from us all, luckily. (Have you noticed a mean tendency in this column to name-and-shame?)
Marty Whittman’s been helping Gary Brewer with an 0.S. 40-powered low-wing, trike-geared ship with a longish, square-ish canopy. It looks familiar, but I can’t remember the name. Neither can Marty or Gary, so there! And while I think of it, I call your attention to the fact that Gary is another single-sticker, like yours truly. His is a JR which I do not think was produced for very long. Very fine fel-lows though we single-stick types may be, we are no longer catered to at all by the radio makers. Yet another sign that Civilization is on that slippery slope to Oblivion.
Marty has also had a young student (Josh?) flying his Kadet Senior and that model flies so well that it had Jacob Blewett waxing nostalgic for the days of yore (last year) when he flew his Senior. He was even moved to consider building (!) a new one.
You will remember that I set out to England in July with the goal of seeing a lot of nice civil aircraft in the air. Alas, almost all the real lightweights were kept on the ground by the blustery, turbulent, even rainy weather. Not that I didn’t see some interesting machines in flight for the first time: Curtiss P-36 and P-40B, Hawker Nimrod, Messerschmitt Bf108, deHaviland Dragon, Bell P-39, a Griffon-engined Spitfire with contra-rotating props, and a late-model (1918) Bleriot XI. Photos? Need you ask?
I have heard an otherwise respectable member of this club say that his newer generation does not read; it looks things up on the “Internet”. Consider the following: I went down to The Aviation Bookshop in Tunbridge Wells and bought a stack of books. The proprietor put them into a large, red, plastic bag marked “Spitfire - Fine Kentish Ale” and I remarked that I’d heard the stuff was pretty good, but that I’d never tasted it. “Thee this is your lucky day.” he replied, “We have a promotion going with them.” With that, he slipped a bottle of the fine Kentish ale into the bag with the books. Tell me, has your “Internet” ever netted you a free bottle of beer? And, yes, it’s not bad stuff at all.
WITH THE WEEKDAY WARRIORS
Human nature, I guess. No way around it; everybody seems to like a good crash story. So, catering to that base instinct, herewith are three of them.
The most spectacular must have been the one that put paid to Dave Simmington’s veteran U-Can-Do. After some in-tentionally wild gyrations at altitude, all control was lost and the model came down in a steep spiral at full bore. Wayne Wahrmund estimated that it took 20-30 sec. to come down all the way. Four guys were out there gathering handfuls of small pieces - all except the battery pack which had vanished. Speculation was that said pack had come loose in flight and, of course, that plays hob with radio recep-tion. Dave’s got a Hangar 9 Ultra Stik flying now. This one differs from the usual Stik configuration in having quite an angular vertical tail. Power is a Magnum .91 4-stroke which Dave recalled from a five-year retirement.
Doug McWha chose his old, faithful, incredibly ratty, EasySport for the Limbo event on Labor Day. After a couple of routine passes, Doug took three or four inches off his left wing by hitting one of the poles that held up the line. The EasySport staggered on, even completing a 180, before striking the strip a mighty blow. The strip survived. I am afraid there was some quiet celebration going on in the pits, now that that old eyesore had finally met its end. Enter your Editor who could not bear to see this club icon die. Jim did most of the repair work and the blasted thing is back in the air - looking, it must be said, a little better. But only a little!
For a new guy, Shawn Ashton is flying pretty well. He had to overcome a problem of bubbles in the fuel line of his LT-40 (One of those vivid-blue 0.S. .46s in the nose), hut then began to put in a lot of flight time. Even managed a couple of respectable landings in a 15-mph crosswind. Alas, on 9/9, his perspective played him false and, on a wide sweep around the field, he flew the LT into that tallest of the trees to the westnorthwest. Flew it full-tilt into that tree, I’ll have you know - no half measures. He found it all save the largest part of the left wing, but the other part had the aileron servo in it. All the radio gear was there and the engine, too, though that had continued on into the next field along with the firewall, nosegear, and tank. This was a real crash; even the tail surfaces were torn to shreds.
Bill Hollingsworth and Larry Nielson teamed up on a Balsa Nova. Rex Lesher had given Larry the kit and Larry contracted with Bill to build it in exchange for a new receiver. Both are sharing the flight time which is procee-ding apace after the addition of three or four ounces of lead to the nose. You have all probably been. wondering whether Bill’s profile Sort-of-a-Mustang would fly with two balloons, their string, and the wood the string was wrapped around tangled around the wing and fuselage. It does. Alan Wellintin borrowed the model for the Balloon Bust event on Labor Day and got it entangled just that way. Brought it around in a normal traffic pattern and made a pretty routine landing. Alan flies fixed-wing stuff quite well, you see.
Labor Day brought out a number of people who are not ordinarily weekday fliers and thus are never mentioned in this column. Now they finally have their moment of journal-istic fame. I think it was Greg Knecht who was flying the electric. This was not some fluttering “park flier”, but a 40-sized Pattern-type bird which could hang on its prop with the best of them. It surprised a few people when they discovered that it was an electric. Levi Mosley had an Ugly Stik with a Magnum .61 for power. This is your plain-vanil-la Stik down to the red finish with the black crosses on white fields. And how nice it was to see somebody not over-powering the poor beast. I’m trying to remember how long that design has been around - 40 years at least.
Labor Day was a nice sunny day, but occasionally the sun would be blotted out when Bill Hastings flew his enormous Robin Hood. This monster has a Super Tigre 4500 engine and the ST has been converted to capacitive-discharge ignition, enabling it to run on gasoline, that dirt-cheap fuel. The Robin Hood carries the markings of a Curtiss Robin used in one of the many endurance-record flights back in the 30s. And this big horse will loop, roll, and even do outsides. Not gracefully, mind you, but they are recogniza-ble. The last of the Robin endurance flights was made by Fred and Al Key who spent most of June 1935 circling Meridi-an, Mississippi, where they were the fixed-base operators. They were refueled and reprovisioned in the air and twice a day, one of them had to edge along a catwalk beside the nose to grease the rocker arms on the Wright J-6-5. They landed on July 1 after 27 days aloft. The plane, “Ole Miss” hangs in the Smithsonian’s downtown air museum in D.C..
Your columnist was out on the field, making trimming flights on his Casano C Champ in preparation for the Old-Timer meet 9/13 & 14. In his lonely perigrinations, he came across a muffler extension which turned out to belong to Vern Wells. You’ll remember that Vern, last month, suffered the total loss of his Super Stik and then had to undergo the indignity of having his name changed to “Vein” by the editor’s God---blessed spelling program. Despite all this, he is now flying an Avistar. Power? An 0.S. .46 “A-something or B or” according to Vern.
On the same day, under the same circumstances, the same lonely wanderer came across an orphaned battery pack. Could it be the infamous pack blamed for Simmington’s Spectacular mentioned early in this column? It is now in the hands of Chuck Jenkins, because the finder is off to see what else they’ve moved into the new museum at Dulles and to look in at some nice little airstrips in N.J..
WITH THE WEEKDAY WARRIORS
Ugh! It looks like it is becoming The Gray Pathetic North - left again. Fog, drizzle, sprinkles, showers - that other nine months of the year is now upon us. Soon there won’t be enough flying weather for me to find anything to warrant a column.
Oct. 4 & 5 saw the last contest in this year’s Free - flight Season, so your columnist was free to qualify for an appearance in his own column by flying R/C on a weekday. I had the old Aquila sailplane out on an overcast Columbus Day and the results weren’t really newsworthy: Three flights, good launches, no lift. Jim Corbett, your Editor, was flying his light, electric, Stinger and he did find the tiniest bump of lift, but that’s all it was - a tiny bump. Before too long, that field in front of us will be too muddy to lay out the high-start, so I’m flying the sailplane while I still can.
Vern Wells flew three flights with his Avistar and flew them all on his own. Chuck Jenkins was not even present for moral support. All three landings were, at least, respectable and one was very smooth. Wayne Wahrmund was up at the field on the same day, flying his regular LT-40, and I asked him how his U -Can -Do was coming along. “Oh”, he said, “The second one? It’s almost ready to fly.” Whoops, wait a minute! Second one? Here I go away for a couple of weeks and all sorts of things take place behind my back. It seems that Wayne’s first U-C-D had a short life, ending in trage-dy. Wayne had mounted all the radio gear just right - with only one small exception: He neglected to uncoil the receiver antenna and stretch it out through the fuselage. Now you know what happens in that case. The radio signal enters one end of that coil and goes whirling around. By the time it reaches the receiver, it is so dizzy and con-fused that it can’t remember what to tell it or, worse, tells it wrong. If I’m understanding correctly, the poor plane didn’t make it past the initial 180 deg turn after takeoff. Wayne says the wing came out with hardly a scratch, so there’s at least a little good news. Mr. Wahrmund says, by the way, that he’s hanging on to the LT-40 just because it’s such a comfortable aeroplane to fly.
Don Delamore has been flying a Funtana 100X with an O.S. 160 2 -stroke. Don admits that it is “a bit more engine” than the plane needs, “But, if I build a bigger plane, I’ll have an engine for it”. The “X” version of the Funtana has a higher -aspect-ratio vertical fin and tip fins on the wing which attach with two screws each. Don has tried it with and without the fins and is not ready to brand either way as best. The fins seem to make the plane more stable, but slow the rate of roll.
The other half of the team, Brian Ropchan, also had a Funtana, but an older-model 40-size machine. He’d shown remarkable restraint In powering it with a mere .46, an 0.S. FX model. Very strange to relate, this one lost its prop in flight, not an uncommon occurrence with 4-strokes, I’ll grant you, but this was a 2-stroke. Brian had to put down the Funtana in the rough field and tore out the landing gear - the only damage. Even the spinner and prop were visible out in the dust and easily recovered. Then it was noticed that the drive washer was also missing. “Washer” is a bit of a misnomer as it is a pretty thick piece of machined metal. Brian says he has another .46 with a bent shaft which can donate its drive washer to the Euntana’s engine. I still have a few more freeflight tests to do, even with the season over, and, who knows, I may find Brian’s engine part. I am told, by the way, that the battery pack I found under those circumstances was, indeed, Dave Simmington’s. Brian wasn’t through for the day. He hauled out an Ultimate 120 bipe (another 0.S. 160) and flew that for the rest of the day.
President Willis gets out to fly with the weekday crowd. When you are President of such a prestigious organization, even employers (Pat’s is the City of Eugene) see the Greater Good for the Community in turning you loose on the flying field. Pat is, of course, getting all his time in on that vast Yak 54 and it now has a new engine. The new one is a 3-W 85xi. I do not know what the “xi” stands for (xtremely impassioned?), but it does indicate that this engine is not your Aunt Clara’s 3-W 85. It is meant only for those who wish to point the noses of their Yak 54s vertical and contact space stations. You will see Pat making beautiful, perfect 3 -point landings with the Yak from here on. He has to. The 85xi swings a bigger prop and ground clearance is now measured in nano-cat’swhiskers.
I mentioned having been away. I took a trip back to the Auld Sod (Sussex County, N.J.) and looked in upon the flying fields of the Top O’ N.J. R/C Club of which I was a member before it was even that club. I even attended one of their meetings which was no worse than ours usually are. I had some pictures I had taken on our field and the one that most impressed them was one of Pat starting his Yak with Alan Wellintin holding. It wasn’t the plane nor Pat, nor Alan that impressed them, though they admitted it was a fine plane and two obviously handsome fellows. What opened their eyes wide was the vast expanse of flat, treeless, ground visible beyond them. In Sussex County, there would be a couple of forest preserves, a town or two, and a swamp in that space.
WITH THE WEEKDAY WARRIORS
Even with rotten weather preventing us from flying on many days, the grass isn’t troubled at all. It still grows. So Doug McWha and Jim Corbett are still out there mowing between showers. Doug was startled one day when he turned into the road to the field and saw that the strip was white from end to end. No rain and nowhere near cold enough for snow or frost. Spider webs. Those little flying spiders were staging a major convention on our field. Don’t anyone tell the Buggies’-Rights people, but Doug just mowed it all off anyhow.
There have been a few new models showing up at the field on the few decent days we’ve had in the last four weeks. Marty Whittman brought out a Twist 150 in which he’s using a Zenoah 26 for power. He’s used a number of Zenoahs of various sizes and swears by them. Does that “26” mean 26cc? If so, it would be a 1.59 in real measurements.
Chick Foster’s new one is a 4-Star 60 he’s powering with an ASP .61. Needed a little carb-fiddling on the day I saw it, but I seem to remember that all was well in the end. The ASPs were copies of the equivalent O.S.s and this one is like the FSR series with the separate frontplate. Separate frontplates are nice, if you build a pusher. You can get the engine to run clockwise, and thus use regular props, by rotating the frontplate 90 deg. Pusher props can be hard to find, especially if you need a particular diameter/pitch.
Lewayne Thompson brought out a high-wing trainer (Avis-tar?) with a Spectrum 2.4 gig radio. Lacking a buddy box compatible with a Spectrum, he and Jim Corbett made do with the old method of passing the transmitter back and forth -sometimes rather hurriedly. The plane got out pretty far a few times and may have been the UFO sighted over Corvallis that day, but all seemed to be well at the end of the inning. After that, The Brain Trust, Jim and Doug, got out the instructions (extraordinary idea!) and discovered that there is a way to make Spectrum and Futaba transmitters cozy up to each other. It involves taking the RF module (or crystal) out of the Futaba you’re using for a buddy box.
Don Desimone’s still flying his Funtana 100X. Don hasn’t done anything remarkable with it, hut I had to get him in this column to make up for the absolute dog’s breakfast I made of his name in last month’s.
Jim Corbett made an incidence change in his electric Lanier Stinger and it seems to have helped. The thing still bounces something awful on almost any landing and Jim has concluded that the landing gear is just too stiff. Yes, Doug McWha’s EasySport still graces the field regularly. Or is that “disgraces”? It’s starting to assume its pre-repair rattiness. Mr. McW brought out his Tango on one very calm day. This is a high-winger with a low-aspect-ratio, constant-chord wing married to a short-coupled fuselage and tail surfaces which are fairly gracefully curved. The engine is an O.S. .46LA, one of the blue ones, but Doug’s is so ancient that most of the blue is worn off. He had the F-22 Raptor out today (11/17) with the cuffs back on the outer wing panels (with masking tape!) and it seemed to fly well after a change of prop size. The nosewheel cable has a wee bit too much unsupported length and this let the horn flip over to the right. This left the Raptor up at the far end of the runway with the nosewheel at 90 deg to the model and Doug with a long walk to retrieve it.
That huge Yak 54 Pat Willis flies so much has undergone some adjustment to the balance to make it fly even better. It did land on the Monday with fuel sloshing around in the bilges because the stopper had come out of the fuel tank. No harm done and more flights ensued that day. The next day, things took a nasty turn. Pat took off and, in his usual fashion, put the Yak’s nose straight up - at which point the engine quit. The subsequent arrival was somewhere between a hard landing and a crash. Damage was done to the cowl, firewall, and landing gear as well as one of the big horn balances on the elevator which dug in and was almost torn off. Broke a prop - which was probably worth more than the total I had in the two Rubber ships I had with me that day. Cause? Ouch. Even powerful, reliable engines like 3W 85XIs really, honest-to-gosh need fuel to run and Pat had forgotten to refuel. I’m told the Yak is back in the air already.
Farrell Bird now has a Hangar 9 Ultra Stik like Dave Simmington’s and Farrell has a Saito 100 4-stroke in his. He and Pat did a fair old amount of engine fiddling before the latter made the test flight. Flew fine, but all the foam rubber padding the tank and battery pack were fuel-soaked upon landing. Tank plug out. It seems to be epidemic - watch yourself.
Mel Graham’s tank plug didn’t come out, hut the glassfibre landing gear on his Extra has started to delaminate. How many times have you seen that? Your columnist has had his Aquila sailplane up and the best he can say for his flying is that he never beat the launch-line to the ground. And one of those days was pretty sunny and I should have found some lift. The field to the north of us is not yet too muddy to lay out the high-start, so there’s hope for at least one more thermal before it does.
WITH THE WEEKDAY WARRIORS
I think the Oregon Weather is catching up to us. The rain is still well behind schedule, but the fog has favored us with its presence more than we really need. I’m now (12/15) looking out on 3”-4” of snow - skis, anyone? When I lived in Illinois, a lot of us put them on our planes and continued flying. Okay, that “our” didn’t include me. I was not one of the guys who pulled on his snowmobile suit and flew when it was 12 degrees. The clubhouse at the field had a heater in it so the die-hards could come in and warm up a little between flights. I, on the other hand, used to pack things up for the Winter as soon as temperatures below freezing became the norm rather than the exception. I did cut it a little fine one time back in N.J. I was on the downwind leg of my landing pattern when the model disappeared into the fringe of a snow squall. Came out the other side in fine shape though and I was able to land - and conclude my flying for the year then and there.
In the little time I have had at the strip lately, I have seen a couple of interesting machines. Jeff Engel was flying a full-size Pattern type called a Frenzy. The fuselage, however, is so narrow that it only just escapes being a “profile” ship, especially aft of the wing. This is a high-performance bird capable of all the vertical shenanigans beloved of today’s aerobatic guys and it’s a sharp bird to look at, too. And it’s electric. The motor is classed as a “110”, which Jeff tells me is the equivalent of a 1.10 cu. in. internal-combustion powerplant.
John Bowhan has been flying an electric ducted-fan machine - and this one flies like blue blazes. The recent article in Model Aviation talked about electric d-f rigs in the $1000 range, but this one is available, ready to fly, for less than a tenth of that. Now it is a small ship, it is true, but looks like a good introduction to that discipline. I think I’ve heard talk of two or more other club members getting them with formation flying in mind. With very large marking differentiating one from the other, I hope. Different serial numbers won’t do, really. The model seems to bear a resemblance to what I’ll call a “generic” jet fighter. You know, it could be a spot-on copy of some modern marvel - I don’t know one jet from another. Oh, I can tell an Me 262 from an SR-71; the Me has the black crosses and swastika. And I recognize the F-16 by that big scoop under the nose, so handy for ingesting mud, if one veers off the runway. Ask Dale Williams. He had mud coming out the tailpipe once down at Short Mountain.
Anthony Dalebout was flying that monster of his, the Liftmeister, the other day. This is the one with the Mahoney 125 in the engineroom and I wonder if that’s not the last Mahoney left in service. It was never a terribly popular engine, but, having said that, I must report that this one hauls the Liftmeister around in fine style. Mind you, it is not a “3-D” aeroplane. Anthony gets it up to full speed, hauls back on the stick, climbs about 20’ and levels out. That, he says, is the vertical-performance limit on the Liftmeister. The engine is ex-Harry Blodgett and I remember Harry contacting World Engines, the Mahoney distributor, about spare parts. WE told him that they had not even been able to get in touch with the Korean manufacturer for ten years! Now that’s an orphan engine. Oh, how did a Korean engine get such an Irish name? It’s the name of the head man at World Engines. Can’t say I’ve noticed a WE ad lately. Are they gone, too?
That Liftmeister is a very big model and Mr. Dalebout solved the transport problem that day by bringing it, fully assembled, in a 20’ travel trailer. If that seems just a bit over the top to you, consider this: When Anthony comes to fly, he brings his own crowd of spectators and this was a place where they could go to warm up and have a cup of coffee. You have to keep your spectators happy.
Two of our weekday stalwarts had difficulties. The fuel line in Frank Blain’s Su 31 came apart and the DL 50 is just so cranky that it won’t run without the fuel line. Khoi Tran must have had a problem that kept him from flying his Zeke, but I don’t know what. He seemed to arrive and depart faster than the eye could follow although I’ll admit that this eye was distracted by other things.
Admission: The Zeke or Mitsubishi A6M, if you’d rather, is one of the WWII machines I’m tired of, like the P-51D. How about an Oscar? It has a long, graceful tail moment - and a nose so short that the rear edge of the cowl is nudging the leading edge of the wing. The world might run out of nose weights before you have it balanced. So a George, a Frank, and let the Zeke rest in peace.
On my worktable now is a Piper PA-12 for Rubber Scale which is in the process of being covered and should be in a state to test-fly before too long. I’ll make a lot of the details such as nay, lights, step, venturi, etc., but not put them on until the testing and trimming flights are complete. The next project is, believe it or not, an P/C ship - a Cavalier Standard, 72” R/O-Assist Old-Timer to replace my retired Red Zephyr. So there, you columnist really is an P/C guy - some of the time.
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