WITH THE WEEKDAY WARRIORS   –    –  2010 -  Thanks Chuck  O'Donnell ECRA_Logo

January 2010

      It has finally happened. Your columnist has been up to the field on only one weekday (since the last column) when there was anybody flying there. If we didn’t have fog down around our ears all day, we had rain. There was that stretch of a few days which saw the high temperatures not getting out of the low 30s and I doubted that even the usually intrepid Weekday Warriors would be daring those frosty morns.

     On the one day mentioned above, I found only Wayne Wahrmund and Dwayne Graville flying from a quite soggy runway. Wayne had his U-Can-Do, now powered by a new Saito .82 4-stroke. He’s been breaking in the engine and has it so far along that he has confidently shrouded it in a cowl. The Saito .82 is worming its way into Wayne’s heart; he says it’s a first-class engine. We do have to convince our Wayne that holes in cowls for exhaust stacks, needle-valve exten-sions, air intakes, and the like should have rounded cor-ners. This is an aesthetic consideration, of course, but it is also true that square corners in plastic tend to develop cracks.

     Dwayne was flying his faithful LT-40, the one with the distinctly elderly Enya .46 up front. He tells me that he got a handful of wrecked models from Chuck Jenkins, among which was one slightly smaller than the LT. (Seniorita?) He intends to repair that one and put it on floats. He has a set of floats which are just a bit small for the larger ship and should be just right for the smaller.

     Dwayne gave me a list of R/C frequencies he got off the computer. It gives all the ham frequencies, the 72 meg frequencies for airplanes, the 75 meg frequencies for cars and boats, and even those in use in the UK, though not the ones for Canada. This list also has the still-legal 27 meg spots the toy manufacturers are using on things you see in department stores. Down at the bottom of this list is 27.255 mc. Ah, doesn’t that bring hack memories! When I started flying P/C in 1958, I was on 27.255. So was every-body else. Well, there were quite a few people on the Ham bands, but those of us without Amateur Radio licenses were on 27.255. You took turns - one guy in the air at a time. You had to have a Citizens’ Band Radio License to use the gear, but there was no exam required as there was for the Ham band. All you had to do was send in the application and the fee to the FCC and back came the license. I remember that fee as $8.00, but Editor Corbett says that $12.00 comes to mind. He confesses that, as a lad, he flew illegally, sans license. (N.B. If the next issue of this newsletter bears a Leavenworth, Kansas, postmark, you’ll know that the Statute of Limitations has not run out.) The fee was annual, by the way. Fairly early in the game, they dropped first the fee and then the license, but I cannot remember the years of their demises.

     There was another exam-free frequency available, 465mc, but I never saw a 465 rig in use on any of the fields we flew on. It had a reputation - deserved or not, I don’t know - as being short on range. It also had an antenna with two elements, one of which had to he oriented vertically and the other horizontally. The antenna had to be installed in the wing, away from batteries, receiver, and assorted wires. When you put on the wing, you plugged in your antenna as you now do your aileron servo. That may have contributed to the marginal popularity of 465 mc..

     There was no fuss about plugging in the aileron servo, because there was no aileron servo. These models were single-channel, rudder-only. There was a variety of actua-tors for that rudder, some of them a bit, let’s say, bizarre, but the most common were the escapement operated by a wound-up loop of ¼” rubber and the pulse actuator. I used the former which gave you right rudder on one push of the button and left with two pushes. That’s full right or left, none of this effete proportional stuff. Turns were made in a series of steps, because holding down the button dropped the nose into a spiral dive. Loops, rolls, and Immelmanns were possible, but that’s a story for another time.

     Pulse-proportional actuators kept the rudder in constant motion from left to right. The pulse was fast enough that the plane, which was quite slow, simply did not notice the rudder motion and flew straight ahead. When you moved the stick to one side, the rudder pulsed more to that side than the other and, voila, a turn, either open or tight. The drawback to pulse-proportional was that the constant operation ate batteries and we were using the classic carbon-zinc flashlight batteries. (Alkaline? What’s alkaline?) When the batts gave out, the rudder went full-left and you spiraled in. No throttling back - no throttle. With escapement, you could run out of turns on the rubber loop (I did that but once) or the escapement could stick. My Esquire was set to fly in a big left turn, so I just had to follow it up the road where it generally lit on the long-abandoned Scudder dairy farm. I flew with a fellow who had pulse-proportional and he’d spiral into the field in front of us, which, fortunately, was, more or less, a swamp. It was rare for the models to he damaged to any serious extent. Bob did come back from one retrieval, though, covered in mud up to his hip pockets.

     See, that’s what happens when there’s no flying to report on; I ramble. This is being typed a good 10 days early because I’m off for Florida on the 12th. I’ll return with a bunch of old-airplane photos.

C. O’D.                                          

February 2010

     Okay. This month was even worse than last. I have not seen anybody flying on the weekdays at all. I did miss a couple of weeks by being down in Florida, but since my return on 1/27, there has been no activity when I was at the field. I went up there twice, both times on days when it had begun to turn pretty bright by the house here in Northeast Eugene. On one occasion, the field was thoroughly shrouded in fog and on the other in a steady rain. Nobody else was there - and with good reason!

     I have only even heard about one happening and that was the demise of Wayne Wahrmund’s U-Can-Do. He tells me that the battery pack became unplugged and into the mud went the aeroplane. That new Saito .82, the apple of Wayne’s eye, was located a good foot down under the sod. Upon retrieval, the Saito was meticulously cleaned and lubricated before there was an attempt made to turn the shaft. I am happy to report that it was run on Chuck Jenkins’s test stand and seems none the worse for the ordeal. A new U—Can—Do is in the works and, yes, Wayne says that the holes in the cowl for needle, exhaust, et al. will be round. Good grief! somebody read last month’s column.

     If you are wondering how your columnist’s R/C project is going, (You were wondering, weren’t you?) I am now in the process of planking the front half of the Cavalier’s fuse-lage from the wing trailing edge forward. Planking involves laying on narrow strips of wood, all glued to the formers, stringers, and each other, until the area is completely covered. In this case, the strips are 1/8 x ¼ and the rea-son for the process is the compound curves that wider pieces of sheet wood could not handle. Some carving and a whole lot of sanding ensues, but the smoothly curved fuselage makes it worthwhile. Aft of the wing, the fuselage shape is kept by fourteen stringers covered, in this case, with silk.

     Down in Florida, I came across some interesting flying machines. At Pensacola, the Navy has on display a Brewster SB2A-4, a WWII dive bomber. Never heard of it, you say? Not too surprising; the Brewster Buccaneer was a sorry flop. Brewster was an ill—run company, so much so that President Roosevelt directed the Navy, in 1943, to take it over and straighten it out. The failure of the Buccaneer, however, was not all Brewster’s fault. The Navy, in its time—honored tradition, kept changing its mind and the company’s attempts to bring an already marginal design up to spec just made things worse. The SB2A’s fuel was in a number of small tanks. The addition self-sealing material cut the fuel load in half and the solution was a big new tank between the cockpits. This made the ship tail-heavy and the engine was moved forward 10” to compensate. Other difficulties followed and, in the end, the Buccaneers saw service only as

     205 “Bermudas” and scrapped most shortly after delivery. All that having been said, the Buccaneer is a handsome aircraft and that extended nose would make balancing a model easier. I’m looking at it as a possible Rubber Scale ship. A long nose is appreciated, because it gets more of the motor up ahead of the CG.

     At Polk City, Kermitt Weeks had acquired a Sikorsky S-39B. No, not a helicopter. Before the choppers, Sikorsky built flying boats, many of them amphibians. Pan Am flew Sikorskys before the Martins and Boeings came along. The S-39 was the single-engined amphibian and the one Weeks has is painted to resemble the S-39 that Martin and Osa Johnson flew over 60,000 miles in their explorations in Africa, taking off and landing on rivers and lakes. The wings and tail are silver, with the usual International Orange panel on the top of the wing, but the hull is painted like a giraffe. Years ago, I had this all schemed out as a Freeflight Scale ship, but the loss of my test field put paid the that idea. Mine was going to have the markings of the plane used by the New York American newspaper in the early 30s. I had good paint-and—markings details from a sheet that the American put out for modelers of the time.

     You may re!rtember the Gee Bee R—2 replica that Steve Wolf built in Creswell just about 19 years ago. That is now at Polk City along with replicas of the Model 7 and Model Y built by others. I missed the tour of the restoration shop
—    had the time wrong - so I don’t know how their P-35A and L-1 are coming along.

     Allegedly, there is some nice weather in the offing, so perhaps there will be a column of real news next month. For now, alas, this is it. I do have the pictures from Florida though and will bring them to the meeting, if you promise not to get tomato sauce on them.

C. O’D.                                          

March 2010
No column - See May
C. O’D.                                          

April 2010
No column - See May
C. O’D.                                          

May 2010
     Since mid-April, when I was allowed to drive again, there have, indeed, been a few flyable days. The patches of good weather have brought out, among others, Dave Symmington with a small Reactor powered by a Saito .82 that dates back to the Short Mountain days. You’ll remember that Frank Blain has the monster version of this plane. Also dating back to the Short Mountain era is Ken Springate’s tail-dragger Stik with the 0.S. .70 4-stroke. Ken has also been flying a U-Can-Do whose O.S. .90 4-stroke was being tuned by Bill Hollingsworth the other day. Bill is giving up flying in favor of swimming and has his stuff for sale. He’s raising money for a lobstering trip to the Channel Islands. I seem to remember that Jersey, Alderney, and Guernsey are known for cows. Is it Sark that has the lobsters?

     Wayne Wahrmund is still flying his Pulse with the Saito 115, but he also has a Twist that is ex-Doug Deveroux and has had the benefit of a few of Doug’s modifications. Speaking of Twists, Marty Wittman brought out the 150 version with an old Quadra G-26 up front. This engine dates hack to the early days of the gas-engine revival, but Marty’s seems to still run satisfactorily. He has also won the battle with the retracts in his Corsair (O.S. .70 4-stroke). They have always gone up nicely, but have insisted upon folding again upon landing. No more! They stayed down even in quite a rough-ish arrival last week.

     Roger Winz has been flying an Easy Star, which is an all-foam machine sporting an electric motor and pusher prop. Dihedral at the root is modest, but the outer portion of the wing has a good bit of eliptical dihedral molded in. There is a beautiful towline glider from the late 40s, called, simply, “Fillon’s Champ”. Emmanuel Fillon used it to win the glider event in the first model-aeroplane cham-pionships they were able to have in France after the war. It also has a generous amount of eliptical dihedral, but for this one you had to build jigs to make the spars and then the wing panels, because it was all wood. I have the draw-ings and once considered it for R/C, but I wouldn’t bet on you ever seeing it on our field.

     The big deal, even on weekdays recently, has been the advent of the pylon racers. These are all something called a Skyraider (no relation to Douglas’s AD) and all have Thunder Tiger .40s up front to conform with the rules for Club 40 Racing. On the weekdays we have seen Wayne’s and Marty’s, but there is a covey of others around. Wayne, in fact, has two of the beasts, one an early version and the other later. The later model has more dihedral and a narrower nose, but Wayne says they are pretty much the same in all respects.

     Now I must report that there has been another Skyraider/TT 40 seen on the strip: Dwayne Graville’s bright red one. Dwayne insists,, however, that this is a low-wing trainer, not a pylon racer. To keep the tradition of All The News That’s Fit To Print, I must report as well that Dwayne has been seen making some very tight turns. Just training turns, of course, not pylon turns. Right? He is also flying a moderate-sized electric Super Cub that is a real hotrod.

     Staying for the nonce with “moderate”, Mel Graham has been out with that sort of Pattern ship, a Revolver. An O.S. 110 4-stroke is plenty. Mickey Cohen has defied the club tradition of overpowering everything and has put an O.S. .61FX in his Hohbystar 60 Mk. III. This engine sat, new in the box, for ten years while Mickey was out of model flying. He was flying in Chicago when I was doing the same 150 mi. to the south in Bloomington, but he dropped out about the time I headed out here. It’s all coming back to him, though. He was handling a pretty good crosswind the other day.

     When you have a knee replaced as I did on 3/1, you then have to follow up with weeks of exercises to convince it to bend and straighten out as it should. The joint itself is fine, mind you; it’s the muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc. that need the talking to. Anyhow, some of those exercises, especially the bending ones, HURT. They give you a pill to take before doing the exercises and the one I had was a narcotic. It did the job in moderating the discomfort while doing the exercises, but I did experience some strange dreams before I switched to plain old Tylenol. How strange? Well, in one of them I was walking from my carport to my front door, carrying under my arm, a big box containing an ARF. That’s weird - even frightening.

C. O’D.                                          

June 2010


     And still the pylon racers proliferate! Robert Buttlar is flying one now, the stock “Skyraider”, but with a little fancier paint job than most. (I guess I should say “Mono- kote job”) It’s white with some swirling decoration in green and orange, I think. That’s a good Irish color scheme if I’m remembering the hues correctly.

     The Buttlar Unltimate Pipe is in the air again, too. You may remember it meeting with a mishap last Fall. Chuck Jenkins did the test flying and impressed with his long smooth takeoffs and steady climb-outs. None of this “Wrack it around in an 85° bank as soon as there’s air under the wheels”. Chuck took off and climbed out the way an aero-plane should take off and climb out. It helps the overall aesthetic scheme of things, especially when you are flying something as confounded ugly as an Ultimate. There are a lot of beautiful biplanes and a fair number of plain and even homely biplanes. There are a few - well, slightly bizarre biplanes, but when the designer started putting pen to paper on the Ultimate, he pushed uglification to the extreme.

     Another new “Skyraider” is in the hands of Mickey Cohen who test-flew his today (6/14) in a fair breeze. Mickey continues to fly his big 60-powered Ugly Stik as well and Wayne Wahrmund had a go at it last week. Yes, Wayne flew Mickey’s model. If you’d told Wayne last Spring that he’d be trying out other people’s planes, he’d have fainted dead away. Mr. Cohen, by the way, seems to have actually retired this time. It’s been about three weeks and not once has he jumped up and gone back to work. That we know of.

     Wayne, as you know, has two of the stock pylon racers and he has, I think, finally decided which is his primary mount. He also had the idea of getting someone else to fly the other one so that the racing circuit would he confronted with a Wahrmund Racing Team. This column does not know whether he has been able to shanghai - er, convince - ano-ther guy to join the team.

     Roger Winz and Dwayne Graville are two more “Skyraider” fliers. The latter labeled his a “low-wing trainer” last month and Dwayne has, indeed, discovered that he is able to handle it in a fairly stout breeze. His monster sailplane is on the road to an airworthy state and should he flying by August. Your columnist has put away his Aquila until the grass out front is mown, tedded, and combined. It is just too hard plowing one’s way through that tall, tangled mess to lay out the high-start and retrieve the line for the next launch.

     Pat and Oliver Willis (now there’s a racing team!) have been joined by a buddy-box cord lately. (Pat on the instructor’s box, Ollie on the student’s, just so you’re sure.) If it’s calm-ish, the plane is an electric Slow Stik, but breezy days call for an ex-combat Twist which has been converted to electric power.

     Firmly shunning the Pylon Mania is our Doug McWha. Alas, his Super Stik is ready; his Dual Ace is set; so are several others, but he insists on flying that .... no, I can’t bring myself to describe it. Ken Springate has stuck to his Excelleron/Magnum 120XL combination - no pylon job there - and Al Barrington’s Eagle II was getting a workout on the day of the dirt-shifting party.

     Yes, those big, black patches on the runway are the result of about ten of us hauling all of the dirt in both of those piles (You did notice they were gone, didn’t you?) and dumping it into the low spots. Raking, scraping, and rolling ensued, followed a few days later by seeding. By the time the meeting comes along - at the field, remember -there might well be a bit of greenery showing through.

     Late rumor has it that your editor, The Corhett Himself, is seriously contemplating Pylon. Well, Jim flies a lot of Controline, so going round and round in a counter-clockwise circle would be nothing new.

     The weather is turning nice, so get out and celebrate. There’s the first flight of the Supermarine Walrus (1933) on the 21st, Russ Maughan’s Dawn-to-Dusk flight (1924) on the 23rd, the Berlin Airlift started (1948) on the 24th, Willie Messerschmitt was horn (1898) on the 26th, and the 28th and 29th mark the flight in 1927 of the Bird of Paradise - the first flight from the mainland to Hawaii. The 29th is also the birthday (1900) of Antoine de St-Exup6ry, who is known throughout the world as an author, particularly of the children’s book ‘The Little Prince, but whose day job was flying the mail for French airlines in Africa and South America. A Reserve officer, he flew Bloch 174s in the Battle of France and was lost in 1944, flying out of Algeria in F-5s. (Photo-recon P-38s.)

C. O’D.                                          

July 2010

     Ken Springate has had a flock of models out at the field in the past couple of weeks. The pumped O.S .90 in his U-Can-Do gave some trouble. The pump itself, in fact; it didn’t seem to be pumping. Then there was the somewhat beat-up Extra 300. This one is ex-Pat Willis and seems to have a wing longer than normal for Extras. Even more heat-up is his Super Chipmunk which has very wrinkly covering on the left side of the fuselage, a protruding repair doubler on the right, covering lifting off the right aileron, and a lot of covering peeling off the whole left stabilizer. It seems to be on track to give Doug McWha’s EasySport some competi-tion for the Disgrace Trophy.

     Ken’s also flying a Razzle. This is a framed-up 40-size ship with translucent covering. Another Razzle is in the hands of Gary Moorhead who has taken another guy’s glow-powered ship and converted it to take a 46-size electric motor.

     Dwayne Graville, besides his Skyraider Pylon - er -low-wing trainer ship, has still been putting time on his electric Slow Stik. The red wings and fuselage stick are now set off by an olive drab set of tail surfaces, which I think are ex-Chuck Jenkins. Dwayne tried a different prop the other day (he’d broken the first one) and really put the Stik through some gyrations. Too much for the motor on that prop and he landed with a thin plume of smoke issuing from the front end. In fact, the motor had gotten so hot that the mounting screws melted through the plastic motor mount and there sat the Slow Stik on the runway with the motor pointing straight down. A lot more down thrust than you’d ever want.

     Further in the D.G. Saga: He’s acquired Frank Plain’s old Chipmunk. This is the one in the standard T.10 config-uration with RAF Training Command colors (or should that he colours?). Marty Whitman made the first flight and said he needed to put in a lot of trim of all sorts, but now it is set for Dwayne.

     The Rumor Mill turns out to have produced a nugget of truth. Your Editor, Mr. Corbett. does, indeed, have a Pylon job. Contrary fellow that he is, his is the other legal design, an LA Racer. All the rest of the Pylon guys will be spending sleepless nights, tossing, turning, and wondering, “Does he know something I don’t?”.

     Speaking of Pylon, the meeting at the field on a Tuesday gave some of the weekend fliers a chance to pretend that they were among the elite - the Weekday guys. A demonstration Pylon race was staged during which Craig Can-aday and Marty Whitman treated us to the quintessential Pylon Happening - they mid-aired.

     Besides supplying tail sections for Graville Slow Stiks, Chuck Jenkins has been helping Mickey Cohen trim out his Skyraider and he has also picked up a new student. Don’t know his name, because no card was posted, but he is flying a Chick Foster-built Sig Kadet Sr.. This one has lowered dihedral and barndoor ailerons. If you find yourself in need of an aeroplane, especially a trainer, check with Chick who usually has something lying around.

     If you are reading this from a piece of paper, lean back in your chair and be sure you are secure. If you are hunched over, squinting at a computer screen, make sure your nose doesn’t get caught between the keys when you collapse. The shocking news is that your columnist has not only been flying R/C, but R/C Power, not Sailplane, and 60-power at that! There have been some (sloppy) loops, some (a bit sloppier) Immelmanns, a couple of rolls that weren’t too bad, and a somewhat off-color Reverse Cuban Eight. Okay, okay, it was an abysmally wretched maneuver, but recogniz-able as a Reverse Cuban Eight - if you were concentrating -and willing to make allowances.

     That’s it. A slightly anemic column this month, because it’s being typed a couple of weeks early. I’m off to the far shores of the Atlantic where I will see three air shows on _three successive weekends. If all goes as it should, not a single jet will sully the sky at any of them. Of course, I’ll bring back pictures.

C. O’D.                                          

August 2010

     People have been taking advantage of the short stretch of good flying weather allotted to us every Summer. Before too long Oregon will stop pretending it is some other state and go back to being the usual dreary, dismal Oregon. But, until then, it’s time for all of you to get out and fly.

     The Pylon Racer Virus continues to spread. Who should show up with the standard Skyraider/Thunder Tiger combina-tion but Alan Wellintin, our prime helicopter guy! Not only that, but he has been flying an Extra 330 with a .91 4-stroke up front. As you know, Alan flies fixed-wing stuff as well as he flies the wobbly-wingers and he had the pylon racer doing four-point rolls the length of the strip.

     John Byrne has a pylon racer. How’s that for a shock? Yes, that John Byrne. Now John has taken a leaf from Dwayne Graville’s book and the racer (it’s the other one, not the Skyraider) is strictly a low-wing sport ship. John seems to be getting along with it just fine, thank you.

     Dwayne, sad to say, has been having a spot of trouble, I am given to understand. In fact, two great, big splashes of trouble as I hear it. Both the Skyraider and (oh, ny!) the Chipmunk have not just bitten the dust, but have torn out surpassingly large chunks of it. You’ll remember that the Chippie was ex-Frank Blain and in stock RAE configura-tion, powered by a Moki 180. One or both of those disasters may have taken place on a weekend and so may not have really happened in the Real World, i.e. Weekdays.

     A lot of the usual guys are out regularly with their usual ships. Ken Springate brings his flock. Robert Buttler flies his Ultimate Bipe and his Skyraider. Frank Blain has been giving both his Obsession and his Excelleron a workout from time to time. The former has something large-ish for an engine, but the Excelleron makes do with a modest - for Frank - YS 110.

     Speaking of YS 110s, Mel Graham and son, J.R., use one in the Reactor Biplane they’ve been flying. This is the YS that gave Mel more than a little trouble in the recent past, but which now seems to on its best behavior. The Graham Family shows up with the Revolver, an Extra, and another Pattern ship as well as the biplane, so they bring almost as many planes as Ken Springate.

     When they aren’t thinking up yet another improvement for the new canopy, Doug McWha and Wayne Wahrmund do get in some flying time. Doug has had his Super Stik at the field quite a bit recently, in lieu of Doug’s Disgrace. Is it possible that our threats of physical violence are finally getting to him? Wayne has another of those electric foam profile P-51Ds. He races those things up in Albany and the first one had begun to get, well, more than a bit doggy.

     Mike Vaughan has continued to resist the rush to Pylon, but he has been flying a Raptor 50 helicopter a hit lately. Mike says that the Raptor’s capabilities far exceed his own capability to take advantage of them, but he doesn’t seem to be having any trouble with it as far as I’ve been able to judge.

     Donny Krenz is Chuck Jenkins’s new pupil. He’s flying something called a Toledo Special, a high-winger that reminds me of the Rascal, though not quite so shapely. There’s a Saito .82 in the nose and Donny has gotten enough confidence to put the cowl on it. I believe he is making a good percentage of his own landings - all of them when the crosswind isn’t too bad. Chuck did land it the other day when there was not only a crosswind, but a missing left wheel. No damage and Wayne, who had been wrestling with that black-and-gold Saito in his Pulse, loaned. Donny one of the Pulse’s almost-the-right-size wheels so he could contin-ue practicing. Wayne remembers those days of practice, practice, practice.

     Marty Wittman was flying two young (early teen) guys on the buddy box, but I was engrossed in getting a couple of models not nearly ready enough for the Northwest Freeflight Championships (21st & 22nd), so I got no details. I think they started on Marty’s old Kadet Sr., then went on to a smaller trainer-type high-winger.

     Flugmodel und Technik, the German model mag -third-oldest in the World - is the usual sad compendium of AREs and other obscenities, but they put out another magazine called Bauen und Fliegen, labeled “Baupraxis fur ambitionierte Modelflieger” The title means “Building and Flying” and the subhead reads “Building experience for ambitious modelers”.and it is full of building projects of all sorts. The issue I have is April and inside it touts the next one which is scheduled for September. Not too frequent, but, at least, it’s there.

     While over in England in July, I saw three air shows on successive weekends. I must report that a jet did show up at one of them. It was an old jet, an F-86A, but still a jet. The show made up for it by having a Spartan Executive, a Rearwin Cloudster, two PT-22s, a Gladiator, and no P-51Ds or yellow J-3s. At the other shows, I saw, among other things, an I-16, an Avro Tutor, a Hawker Demon, an A.N.E.C. II, and a DH 53. One good show, one very good show, and one in between them somewhere. Decent weather, if hot, for them all as well.
C. O’D.                                          

September 2010


     Oh, my. I have been closing windows that have been open all the time since late June. There has even been (no, don’t say it!) rain to keep me from flying on a couple of recent days. Harbingers, I fear, of those endless months when the sun makes only cameo appearances in our skies. I’m glad that there has been a fair amount of action since the last meeting, because this column is, again, being typed a week early. Your columnist is off to God’s Country, i.e., Sussex County, N.J., from which he will make a sidetrip to the New England Air Museum at Windsor Locks, Conn., and return via Rhinebeck. It’s been 18 years since I have seen either place and I expect there have been some changes.

     The most recent Fun Fly took place on Labor Day, a Monday, and thus qualifies for mention here. There were 50 people registered for the event, which means that 51 flew, your truly having forgotten to sign up. I made four or five flights with the Aquila and found a small five or six minutes worth of a thermal on one. On the last one, however, I hooked into a dandy. No skill involved; I flew right into it off the launch line. “Over 20 mm.” was one report and “just under 30” was another. Which ever it was, it was at that point that my neck gave out and I came back to land.

     The big news was the total destruction of Doug’s Disgrace, that disreputable old EasySport Doug McWha had been flying since the Short Mountain days. He was making a pass at the Limbo Line and flew it into the ground at speed. A roar of delight went up from the assembled throng and joy reigned unconfined. At last, we were rid of the scraggly old thing. Understand, though, that The McWha strapped the mess together with a carload of rubber bands and actually made one circuit of the field, just to show it could be done, but that sorry sack of splinters was through. Hmm. am reliably informed that all that cheering and catcalling was not only cruel and heartless, but — are you ready for this? - quite premature. Chuck Jenkins, the soul of reliability, you’ll agree, tells me that Doug replaced the oil-sodden mush that the model’s belly had become with a piece of plywood, then dipped the whole fuselage into a vat of “Gorilla Glue”. That thing will again appear at the field to offend our delicate aesthetic sensibilities. Are you listening, Pat?

     Pat Willis, himself, made a pass at the Limbo as did Marty Whitman and Ivan Williams. The line didn’t survive any of the three, though it exacted revenge on two of them. The tall fin on Pat’s big Giles sliced right through it without the airplane even noticing. Marty’s Skyraider hit it nose-on and was dumped unceremoniously on the turf with not enough damage to keep it from flying later in the day. Ivan’s profile P—51 got its landing gear tangled after a couple of good passes, but I don’t think the damage was mortal.

     Wayne Wahrmund brought so many planes to the Fun Fly that he had to remove the l.g. from his LT—40 to fit it back in the trunk. Wayne’s also been flying the modified Fun-tana he got from Doug Devereaux. The main mod was an extra three inches of wing to see if the landings could be made at a slower rate of knots. Wayne says the Funtana still drops like the well—know rock below a certain speed, a speed below which Wayne would like to be able to fly.

     Donny Krenz is doing all his own flying now on his Toledo Special. He has also acquired a U-Can-Do, that popular “second plane”. He was installing the control pushrods at the field the other day, but I don’t know that it’s been flown yet. Maybe still breaking in the engine, a new Saito .82, like the one in the Toledo Special. Another guy honoring the great Ohio city is Mike Farr, whose Special has a Saito .72 under the cowl. Why not the .82? “I HAD the .72”, Mike explained - not at all a bad reason.

     John Byrne’s Skyraider met with a mishap, but is again on the flightline. “Rebuilt from the wing trailing edge forward” was the way John described the fuselage — and it’s a bright yellow now.

     A lot of the usual guys with the usual ships have been seen at the strip: Roger Winz and his orange Skyraider, Ken Springate with his Excelleron (“best plane I have”), and Al Barrington flying his Eagle II. I know Al has other aero-planes, but it’s always the Eagle in the air. Almost always. Today (9/10), he was flying an Ember, the Indoor electric, on the near-calm, albeit foggy, Friday. By the way, if you haven’t been to the Indoor gatherings at the Springfield Armory lately, please be advised that they now start at 1:00.

     On the 17th, give a thought to Calbraith Perry Rodgers, who, on that date 99 years ago, set out from Sheepshead Bay, Long Island, N.Y., on the first transcontinental flight -all the way to the Left Coast in California. You’ll have to wait until November to mark the end of the flight - it was not an easy trip.

C. O’D.                                          

October 2010


     Well, we of the weekday crowd have been making the best of the last little hit of good weather before this starts being Oregon again. Roger Winz has been flying a Bellanca Decathlon with a Magnum .91 4-stroke bulging out of the cowl and his orange Skyraider Pylon ship sees a lot of action as well.

     There’s yet another new Skyraider on the field, Kenton Melville’s. Of course, Kent, being an electric guy, has that sort of motor in his, not the usual Thunder Tiger .40. Are you ready for this? It’s a 1400-watt motor, the equivalent, Kent says, of a 1.20 glow engine. My eyebrows shot up a foot or two at this news, but Kent shrugged off my shock, “You can always throttle it back.” And, as a matter of fact, he does most of the time. When he chooses not to, however, the thing gives a good imitation of a skyrocket, lacking only the noise and smoke. He’s using A123 batteries of 2500 mah capacity - seven-cell, I think. Kent also has had one of those foam, profile, electric P-51s in the air, Just like Wayne Wahrmund’s. I gather that there’s a slightly larger version of that model and that we may well see one before long.

     Wayne himself has been flying not only the foam Mustang, but also his modified Funtana. He says it’s the hardest to land of all his models, so what was he doing with it? Touch-and-goes, that’s what. And he’s getting the handle on it; the landings I noticed were pretty nice.

     Donny Krenz still brings the Toledo Special to the field, but most of his flying is being done with the new U-Can-Do. The Saito .82 looks to be more than adequate power and Donny’s handling the model very well. On another day, he had a very small electric T-28, which could ROG from our grass, but I haven’t seen it since.

     That Trojan caught the eye of Chuck Pilkington, too. When I first made the acquaintance of this club, back in the late 60s, Chuck was a Pattern flier with a Kwik Fli II and one of the Laniers. The latter were the first of the big R/C ARFs and came out of Georgia rather than China. He dropped out of flying quite some time ago, but has maintained his membership. This was the first time he has seen the new field and, maybe, it will get him going again.

     While Donny’s new U-Can-Do has the modest .82, Ken Springate’s roars along behind an 0.S. 1.20. Well, it did roar along until one day recently when it began to act just a bit sick. Ken took piping apart and put it back together; he fussed with this adjustment screw and fiddled with that one. Looked at the plug. Looked at the prop. Then fired it up and flew it. All was well. Upon landing, he looked a bit bemused. “I wonder what I did?”, he said.

     Mel Graham’s been flying a Pattern ship called an Option with a YS 1.40 for power. This was built from a set of plans and has a wing and tail surfaces of foam cores and balsa covering. Mel didn’t like the airfoils specified by the designer, so he cut his own foam cores to sections he has used before. The YS is running fine and Mel has been fine-tuning everything - balance, control surface throws, alignments - but, alas, he’s still not satisfied with the way the plane tracks through the air. I expect him to put it aside for a while and come back to it later. His Revolver, with which he wasn’t entirely happy either, now seems to he flying to his satisfaction after a bit more attention. Ask about the Option, say, in the middle of next Summer.

     Yes, Doug McWha has been doing most of his flying with Doug’s Disgrace, that ratty old EasySport. I suggested to Wayne that he just run into the horrible old thing on the ground with his Funtana on one of his touch-and-goes, but Wayne declined. Donny Krenz sighed, “Wouldn’t do any good anyhow. It’d just come back to life on Halloween”.

     While I was away in September, I had occasion to make a couple of visits to my old club, the Top O’N.J. R/C, at their Hardyston Twp. field. It’s the old township landfill - and they have been fiying there over 25 years. They have another field near Waterloo and, usually, two separate groups of fliers use the two fields with little interaction between them. The Hardyston group is pretty easy-going while Waterloo is plagued by a gang who proclaim themselves “Team Wow!” and concentrate on all forms of “Extreme Flight”. One Sunday I was there the “Team” decided to honor Hardyston with their presence. Among other things, they put one of those huge Pitts Pythons (like Khoi’s) into the trees south of the strip and lost a tail rotor from a helicopter between the strip and the Susquehanna R.R. tracks. The pièce de resistance, however, came while one of them was going through wild gyrations (I won’t dignify them with the term “aerobatics”) with a turbine-powered model. He folded the left wing at the bottom of a loop. I was impressed by how far the thing went before it began the inevitable roll into the ground. The locals did not cheer nor did they even chortle a bit, but I sensed a profound lack of sympathy. By the way, they recovered the Python and the jet and that is not a sure thing on this field. The woods south of the field are a good two miles deep and very dense over rugged, rocky ground while to the West there is dense underbrush, rough ground, and swamp. There are planes in both places which have never been found. By comparison, we have the wide, open spaces.

C. O’D.                                          

November 2010


     I bet you’ve noticed that we have had some rain on weekdays for the last month. And fog. Fog down around your eyebrows until after lunch - or later. This has not promp-ted a great deal of flying from Monday through Friday and, in consequence, I haven’t much of a column this month.

     I confess to missing at least two nice, fairly sunny periods. I had to seize the opportunity to get the last coats of clear dope on my Berkeley Cavalier Std. so that I could get on with the project. If you dope when it’s rai-ning, the drying dope traps moisture and gives you a faint whitish film called “blushing” on the surface. Thinning the dope to slow the drying helps and adding retarder is even better, but I can’t locate my retarder and I’d thinned the dope as much as I thought prudent. Thus the necessity of spending those sunny hours in my shop.

     Dale Williams has been out a lot more in recent days than he was all Summer. Dale’s flying an Aspire, an old kit that had been sitting on his shelf for a number of years. It has a long, polyhedral wing, like my Aquila sailplane, and its tips are not just tapered, but swept back a bit. The thing actually is a sailplane, but there was an electric option available and Dale installed it. Now remember that this kit goes back a while, so the motor, complete with folding prop, is a brushed “550”. Dale says he has no idea what the “550” signifies and is not even sure they still designate motors that way. I talked to one of the electric guys and he professed to have never heard of a “550” either. The battery pack is an 1800 milli-amp item - ni-cads! Despite all this dinosaur-era technology, the Aspire flies as fine as one could wish. Dale’s thinking of putting a hook under the belly and converting it to a pure sailplane (standing ovation, please). Don’t do that until Spring, Dale; the field will soon be too mushy to get out on with the high-start.

     More electric action, this time in the hands of Doug McWha. Doug was flying a small T-28, rather smaller than the one Gary Moorhead and a couple of others have had in the air. This one’s full-house - rudder, elevator, throttle, and ailerons - and is meant, I gather, for Indoor. Doug says it is a bit hot for the Armory, though it has been flown there. The landing gear can be easily removed and that’s the way Doug has been flying it. Didn’t Donny Krenz have one he took off from our strip?

     Yet another electric and with lights! Wayne Wahrmund’s Cessna 1172-type has the nay lights on wingtips and tail, plus an anti-collision beacon or two atop the center section, but it is the landing light on the wing leading edge that really stands out. This one is big and powerful enough to ROG from the strip without difficulty. Mike Vaughan’s Ultimate Bipe is about the same size and has more power yet, so it just sails off the runway in a few feet.

     Yes, we have had a glow ship or two show up to fly. Dwayne Graville got ahold of a Twist and managed to break it in half before I even saw it the first time. Apparently the battery pack had reached the end of its useful life. Dwayne’s wife is a baker and, whether you know it or not, the people who bake your daily bread get up at 2:00 a.m. to go into work and do it. The morning after the crash, Dwayne couldn’t get back to sleep after Joyce left, so he betook himself into the shop and repaired the Twist. Flew it at a more civilized hour that same morning. There is something to be said for fast-drying glues, I guess.

     There were a shaky few minutes early this month when I thought that this column might not appear at all. I sat down to breakfast with my newspaper and was confronted by the headline - neat, black, Times-Roman and all - “Charlie O’Donnell Dies at 78”. Mind you, I felt all right, but this was in the New York Times and had to be taken seriously. Further checking revealed that it wasn’t actually me, but some television announcer in Philly. A bit disturbing was the fact that he was 4½ mos. younger than I, but he wasn’t a modeler and that must surely account for it.

     Your Editor’s optical reader continues to commit outrages. There is, of course, his longtime penchant for turning lowercase Bs into Hs, but now he has another trick. In the initials I put at the end of this column, he has, for the last three months, put the apostrophe in front of the 0 instead of between it and the D. I’d put down his aberra-tions to too many nips at the bottle of elderberry wine kept in the editorial office for medicinal purposes, but I’m beginning to fear that it is far more serious. I suspect he might be into micro-brews.

C. O’D.                                          

December 2010


     The Weather Bureau’s radio station told me the other day that 22 of November’s 30 days had had “measurable precipitation”. That’s 73.3% of the time. I believed it. What’s more, I think that December is trying to beat that score. Now do you see why this column is so anemic?

     I got up to the field only three times since typing the last column. Nobody there, though one time Chuck Jenkins stopped in on his way elsewhere. On all three occasions, the wind was blowing briskly and the temperatures were what passes for “cold’ hereabouts. Yesterday, Sunday, I found Wayne Wahrmund and Doug McWha packing up to leave in the face of the wind, cold, and impending rain and they said they knew of no action on weekdays for the last month. I could tell an exciting tale of Wayne trying a takeoff with his LT 40 without the trifling formality of putting in the wing bolts, but he hadn’t the decency to do it on a weekday so it’s not grist for this mill. Forget I ever mentioned it.

     With no notes to take, your columnist got to work on his Cavalier Std.. The radio is in and everything works, though I had to re—site the rudder horn twice to get the pushrod working freely. The control surfaces are hinged, though the hinges are not yet pinned. Still to be made are the fuel tank and the cowl. The mold for the latter is ready and a block to form the tank around awaits only a spot of truing and corner—rounding. You’ll be proud of me. I got a new battery pack and it’s nickel—mickle--pickle — okay, I wanted ni-cads, but they apparently aren’t made anymore. I brought Batteries Plus an old, dead pack so that they could use the pigtail that fits my radio. It was a 900 mah pack and I expected the same back, but they made me one with a whopping 2700 mah capacity. I blame you guys with the amp-eating digital servos for setting bad precedents. I need 2700 mah like a fish needs a bicycle. With that much juice, I could fly all Summer without recharging.

     So that’s it. I know saying “Merry Christmas” is for-bidden in Eugene because it’s considered “divisive”, but I’m going to divide the living daylights out of the place and say “Merry Christmas” anyhow. And a Happy Aeronautical New Year to boot. You should get this in time for First Flight Day on the 17th. You know, don’t you, that on the night of the 17th, the ghosts of Wilbur and Orville Wright rise out of Huffman Prairie in a 1905 Flyer (the first one that would carry two) and bring presents to everyone who’s been aero-nautically correct all year. What? You’re looking skepti-cal? You are going to give me a story about some guy with reindeer and a sled?

C. O’D.                                          

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