Posts Tagged ‘nostalgia’

Knock the dust off!

February 15, 2010

In keeping with the last few nostalgia posts, I want to put these advertisements from 1955 out there for appreciation before I turn my own writing along a slightly different line. (My brother is not going to be pleased) so check out the category Buster and Bo later while I revisit the days of our youth. Don’t fret, there will be much more here in the future, especially with your help.


Combatants! Gird your Loins…er…your “Lines”

February 12, 2010

As mentioned elsewhere in these modeling posts I enjoy control line flying and F/F scale, but two areas I haven’t tried are U/C combat and speed. In truth, there are pretty good reasons for this lack of involvement on my part in either area. On the one hand, I just never was exposed to folks that participated and the other issue and related to the first is the sheer technical nature and scale of the hobby.

Since I know nothing about speed, I’ll just talk about what I know of combat and let the rest of you, dear readers enlighten me and those who come here after.

When I started building U/C planes I worked with the simple things:; 1/2 profiles like the Baby Ringmaster, Li’l Jumping Bean and then working my way upscale to sport profiles and stunt (Top Flight Tutor). The fanciest plane I ever flew was a foam wing stunt Mustang by Sig. The building was simple as were the engines and, since I did not compete, there was no real pressure. It was definitely fun flying with friends and the occasional fun fly. Since I wasn’t a competitor of any merit, I concentrated on building and finishing, figuring that if the plane looked good and I stayed away from inverted grass cutting pullouts I’d be fine.

Combat was a whole ‘nuther beast! Snarling, loud and full-on contact between pilots (never mind the planes) it was the polar opposite to the relatively calm business of getting a single plane up and around the circle doing a few whoop-de-doos before usually executing a perfect landing two feet above the grass followed by a bouncing rodeo impression ending up with the nose down and the tail up (or over). These guys (the ones I saw occasionally) were, as a general rule pretty “amped up” as we say today.

"Full Contact Combat"

My memories were all about pen bladders, the benefits of one prop over another, how best to get another 1/2 RPM out of an engine that was already going hypersonic as far as the DB level was concerned.

The "Screamers"

I have to admit though, most of the behaviors I just mentioned were brought forward by the “new kids on the block” as it were. The “old hands” were just as helpful and giving of experience as the stunt guys and those who saw scale planes as perfection never quite realized but always ready to pass a good word along.

As a builder, I sincerely appreciated the craftsmanship of most of these planes. Before the days of foam, carbon fiber and clear film came along, there were some real beauties. It didn’t matter if it was a Voodoo or whatever, the building was great. The framework was simple:balsa and ply with a minimum of excess. Light was right. Doped silk was a primary covering material as much for it’s inherent strength as for its beauty.

New Meaning to the Phrase "Purpose Built"

These were not the slickly finished planes of stunt, but the practical tools for one-on-one bouts. They had to be for the rigors of turns so tight it seemed they could be pulled inside a barrel. A thump into the turf at full speed (100mph+) and the ability to fly again was indeed a marvel. On the other hand, mid-air collisions were spectacular and did, in fact, fulfill the craving for carnage.

Several recent posts have turned up in one of my favorite forums about building the “Golden Age” combat planes and I have to admit to the one comment I read that “It would be a shame to fly this in combat”. Personally, I’d like to see them built and flown just for the sheer joy of the building and flying. Combat flyers today have as many as a dozen planes in their stables, but I’d like to see the older planes finished as if they were pylon racers of the Full Scale days. Maybe a new class for fun fly ins?

Where is This in the Grand Scheme?

How to spend more money on Ebay – A purely personal approach.

February 3, 2010

The First

Today in one of my bi-polar impulse moves, I decided to see if I could find a model airplane magazine from the month I was born, September, 1955. I was lucky and found the only copy which, of course, I had to have, even though my budget is tighter than an over strung ukulele. For a normal person, that would have been enough; mission accomplished, right? Not likely in my case. So I opened the search to anything from that month in 1955 in Ebay. Oh goody! More stuff!

Now this is where blogging comes in handy. I can channel my desire to buy all those markers of my birthday into writing about my finds and just showing you a mere smattering of what I discovered. I did put a few on the “watch list” however.

Obviously most of these are geared toward the male side of readership, but there are a few for the ladies as well. I challenge you to hit Ebay and search for your birth month and year and see what pops up. Just stay out of your PayPal account!

"Do these jeans make..."

Jeans in the classroom were pretty risqué in ’55. Even the more so when you don’t know if it’s the teacher or a student at the board!

Only the Names are Different

Jackie Robinson, Zsa Zsa Gabor, FrankSinatra and Gloria all made the tabloid in the same day with the rest of the current crop. of the mid ‘50’s.

The Title Tells All

I swear I just might have to buy these.

I think there is a good market for old fashioned pulp romance and I just might re-kindle that spark to bring to full flame the burning heart of the heaving blog bosom …

OK, it needs work, but I have plenty of time to git’er done!

Need to Know

All I want to know is what “kind” of wolf is being tamed here. Is this telling a woman how to cook her man’s steak? Or is it a cautionary article for the fellow who really wants to tame a wild wolf (you know, the fur bearing meat eating critters) and not get turned “into” STEAK*.

*You will notice I almost always put STEAK in caps. I hold it in high esteem.

One way or Another

This may be one of the funniest covers I’ve ever seen. It would lead you to believe that if your “bed habits” as a woman aren’t up to par (either for you or your partner) then you might have to resort to the other option?

And we think we are tough on ourselves in the 21’st century!

Makes ya say..."Whut?"

I’m not exactly sure that I’d want to call this a “good” body shot. Looks to me like a badly healed shark attack wound.

More "Whut?"

OK, Last one of these for the ladies. If you want more, you are going to have to comment on this blog and ask for ’em.

I will say that teens in general were in a lot better shape than they are today. Not as buff as this character, but you know he didn’t spend money gettin’ hisself ripped on McNuggets.

Tricky Dick" the Early Days

Did you recognize the face on this cover as simple as it is drawn?

Nixon did succeed; just not in some of the ways imagined in 1955.

We all go through our cycles, don’t we?

I found it!

Yes, I found a copy. No I did not buy it…yet.

I swear if I did it would only be to read the same articles that my father was reading while he was awaiting the moment of my arrival into this world. I know he never looked at the pictures. He said so!

Besides, Marilyn Monroe was in it.

Bullets of all Kinds

Even then they had bullet trains, bullets in the hands of teens and cars that looked much like. Not much has changed except They may have been a bit safer then.

Before the Swimsuit Issue

I was born among the greats! The name “Bud” Wilkinson is familiar even to those who are not sports buffs.

One More Time

“She looked over her shoulder (the wrong one) with hopes that her feeble attempts to cross the creek would attract the virile, muscular ranch hand so she might reward him with …”

(to be continued)

And Finally...

Yes, I am a “Friday’s Child”…

“Loving and Giving”

Dustin’ Loose

February 1, 2010

Hopefully if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ve figured out that I was raised in Texas, mostly in the central area, but we did move around quite a bit, though not very much so in the far fringes. Considering that those fringes are pretty far from each other, we covered a lot of ground in the middle because of our Dad’s work as a heavy equipment operator.

My brother and I spent a good part of our early years in the small town of Littlefield where our mother had grown up. Bo’s favorite thing to do was torment the livestock that my grandmother kept and mine was to watch the crop dusters spray the neighbor’s fields. That instilled a passion that has me in its clutches to this day. I have the aviation bug so bad that one of the first things I do when I’m passing through a new town or moving in is to find the local airport so I can just hang out like some adolescent kid looking to cage rides by washing a guy’s plane.

My mother taught me to read at the age of four so I was ripe to be enthralled by adventures I found in books and comics. Bo was the cowboys and Indians type and there are not too many bounding mains for me to be fancy myself as a pirate near Lubbock. So that was just about the time my interest turned to those bellowing brightly colored planes that would swoop hardly as high as a telephone pole loosing the insecticide to combat cotton boll weevils. Somehow I managed to equate those low passes as strafing runs against the enemy before they overran our position. I was running desperately low on ammunition (dried dirt clods, if you know what those are) so air support was essential to our survival and the cotton’s survival as well.

The first plane I remember was the Stearman; a big (to me) biplane with a round engine.

The Stearman “Kaydet” was developed in 1934 by the Stearman Aircraft Corporation (later acquired by Boeing) to provide the U.S. Army Air Corps and the U.S. Navy with a primary trainer in order to train future military pilots in both services. Even though by some standards an obsolescent design with wire-braced fabric covered wings and fuselage, the plane was remarkably strong and stood up well to the rigors of rough landings and the not-so-gentle handling of future fighter, bomber and transport pilots who would thank the simple plane for the lessons learned. Power was supplied by an air cooled 225 horsepower Lycoming radial engine. As a side note, that same aircraft engine powered the M-1 Sherman tank in WW-II!

More than 8600 Kaydets in all versions were built plus enough spares to build 2000 more. Some have been upgraded for more than twice the horsepower they were designed for; respectfully known as the “Bull” Stearman. You can still see them at air shows these days and I promise you will not forget them.


Airshow "Bull"

After the military had exhausted its need for the Stearman, most of the remaining lanes made it into the private sector, just as their forefathers the Curtiss “Jenny” had after WW-I. Because of its ruggedness and dependability, plus the capability to lift a substantial payload, it was easily converted to an aerial dump truck. With the front cockpit replaced by a chemical hopper, the Stearman could effectively apply the chemicals necessary to foil the insects and disease which ravaged the crops of a post-war nation.

The other plane that dusted the crops and caught my eye was the much more modern and purpose built Piper Pawnee. Designed in 1957 (I was all of two years old!) by Fred Weick, one of the most notable light aircraft designers and pilots of the time. All the Pawnees were built for one thing only, to put chemicals on crops and to ensure the safety of the pilot as much as possible. The cockpit was placed high for visibility and the fuselage was built to collapse in such a fashion as to protect the flyer, much as today’s crumple-body cars. The strut-braced wing was placed under the pilot and carried the spray bar extending a swath of chemical to nearly thirty-six feet, the full span of the wing. Variants were powered by an air-cooled engine, ranging from 150 horsepower to 260HP.

OK, so far I’ve talked a bit of technical stuff, but that’s not really what this post is about. Simply put, watching those fellows in their fabric-covered planes with snarling engines and swooping low-level runs made up a huge part of my early years that extended right into my middle age (no, better said, “middle awakening”) years.

I drew airplanes in the dirt, on scrap paper and anything else I could find; which of course did not look all that pleasing to my folks when done on the dusty windshield of our cars and trucks. Our car did double duty for me as either a fighter or bomber and I’d move the RC cola bottle between my knees as a joystick and press my feet to the floor mat as rudders for each turn, pulling back on the upslope of the hills and nosing down the other side for the dive-bomb run into the target. (West Texas roadkill)

My father taught me how to make paper airplanes and mom taught me kite-building with the Sunday comics, string, cane sticks and egg-white glue. My grandfather let me use his tools and scrap wood to make rough model planes to run around the yard with, held high overhead and making “vroooom” noises. Bo would have his cowboys and Indians all set up in the bare dirt yard and playing quietly when I’d divebomb them with the dirt clods from above. (Yes, I made my brother cry tears through dust covered cheeks even then.) My grandmother even contributed to what would become an obsession, if not a full-blown addiction to all things that fly. She gave me my very first model airplane kit and helped me put it together, teaching me how to read the instructions, keep from getting glue globs on the furniture and how to get the decals on straight. Over the years, I have built no fewer than five Monogram “Helldiver” dive bombers. In short, my entire family contributed to my fantasies.

I went on to build hundreds of models, read countless magazines and books and even learned how to fly that Stearman. When I suffered a personal setback some years ago, I started recovering with my first love, aviation. The days of hanging out at the local airport with an anxious “Hey mister, wash for a ride” look are past, but I still look up to see the plane that goes with the engine, particularly if it’s the throaty rumble of a big round radial.

Most of the other planes are, for the most part, just a means of transportation for those who can afford them and certainly not just for fun anymore. It’s a pity, but flying simply isn’t what it used to be. Or is it? On my travels back west maybe I’ll see a duster and pull over. That kind of flying is more important than ever, but the methods are still the same…low, dangerous and a hell of a lot of fun for a young kid of fifty-four to watch.

Times "Are" Hard!

Check out the links below and come back for some more from time to time. See you!

Dustin for Dollars!

More information about crop dusting…