Posts Tagged ‘propellers’

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?

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Link to Link

February 8, 2010

These are a few aviation modeling links that I use quite often and I’ll add to them as I revisit this post. Bear in mind that My interests in model aviation are primarily based around Control-Line and some Free Flight scale. I am purely into the sport side and I’m a firm believer in fun flys and the weekends when the guys get together at the local schoolyard or empty parking lot/airplane eater.

Part of getting back into the hobby is trying to reconnect with former flying friends or make new ones. So here goes:

  • Who knows anything of the group that meets (met) in Rolling Meadows, Il, off Golf road in the Ned Brown Preserve? They called themselves “The Circle Burners” but I can find no reference to them. One of those fine fellows even sold me a war-weary Ringmaster minus engine (I had a Fox 35) for $5. New Silkspan, a little dope, an open cockpit with headrest and the “Sheriff Woody” head from a McDonalds toy for a pilot had me back in the circle again. Woody did NOT like inverted landings.
  • I┬áhave a great flying site picked out at the former Ft Devens in Ayer, MA on the rail line between Boston and Fitchburg. If I could get some interest, I’m sure we’d be able to use it anytime we like. There is no traffic, the adjacent ball fields are hardly used and there are no residential houses within “bothersome noise” distance. If there are any circle-turners out there, or you know some, get in touch.
  • Finally, there were three of us in the mid’70 when gas cost 27 cents a gallon who met in Euless, Texas. If you are out there, write.

I believe in networking, so I’m sure that something will come of this post.

Now for the “other” links. I know that you probably have seen these, but I believe in mutual exchange, so check them out and comment and if it fits this blog, I’ll add it here!

A few general notes about “forums” that I hope the moderators will appreciate:

  • Read and abide by the forum bylaws/rules
  • Leave the egos at home, I’m one of the worst offenders of this. On the other hand, post your latest hit/miss. We all enjoy the pleasures and feel the pain.
  • Pictures, pictures, pictures! We all want to see the projects that are depriving you of a family life, income and time otherwise spent profitably. Make sure you get those photos of you, the project in it’s construction and your friends before you launch the pride of your efforts. If you can, post them here as well as in the forums. Get your friends in them too, just let me know in the captions who the guy is giving you rabbit ears behind your back or the one helping you wrap a greasy rag around the finger that the .35 Fox bit when it snapped back on ya!
  • Try to stay on topic, but do not be afraid to start a new one or ask where your post could be better addressed. (Again, this is one of the places where I don’t always follow my own advice.)

Now then, on to the links. The first batch are generally non-commercial and provide a huge wealth of experience and knowledge. Be sure to follow the links included there and bookmark those that are important to you. My biggest mistake is forgetting to mark them, thinking I’ll just backtrack later. It’s much easier to tag them on the spot than it is to resort to memory. Especially if your memory is as fragile as mine; just about the same as fresh wet silkspan in the claws of the cat.

Mostly Commercial (but always useful) Links:

But First…

My own personal viewpoint regarding commercially available kits.

I am unabashedly “Old School” when it comes to the hobby. Granted, we can no longer expect to purchase a Cox .049 BabyBee for $3.50 and the associated Baby Ringmaster for $2.50 so I can’t grouse about what the market is willing to bear in that respect. But I do take exception to the idea of paying more than $3.00 for a simple rubber/stick/sheet wing toy when, even at inflated hobby /craft shop balsa prices I can launch the same thing from my own hand for half that. Heck, I might even find a youngster to teach the skill to. Imagine where that might lead!

I remember when I was about ten years old not being able to afford even the ten cent chuck glider (the ice cream cone won out on that decision) but I “did” know how to trace the profile of an airplane on cardboard that my grandmother kept for me from her days at the department store where she worked. I’d cut slots for the wings and tail surfaces and tape a couple of nails for nose weight.

Scale it up, use sheet balsa and hang an Ebay .049 on it and you have a plane that serves well as a trainer for 1/3 the cost of a dealer-supplied kit. Folks…it’s just that simple.

Also, if you *do* have to have that out-of-production $70.00 “RingMaster”, at least get paper copies of the important parts (ribs, wingtips, fuselage bulkheads, etc) made and give them away… that’s right make them a present to anyone willing to pay copy and postage fees. Don’t gouge – this is a hobby, remember. We’re friends here. (Fast Combat guys excepted). You’ll never get rich trying to go commercial, never mind breaking copyright rules in some cases.

This is a great time for control line and all the other relatively inexpensive modeling types to be brought back. The real masters of our craft are still around and the satisfaction of building and flying in the “old school” way is very fulfilling.

OK, I’m off the soapbox now. Remember, comments and criticisms are welcome! Back to the links…

  • National Balsa There are several balsa suppliers and judging which is for you is personal preference. Some folks want to pick each hardness, weight and grain themselves while I take the notion that there will always be good runs of material for the non-competitor with scrap left over for other projects. National Balsa is located right here in my own state so I can place an order and talk to someone on the phone if I have specific needs.
  • Brodak Manufacturing Over ten years supplying control-line flyers with more goodies each years has put this company, based out of Charmichaels Pennsylvania, at the top of nearly every link-list around so it’s no wonder that it is here along with:
  • Sig Manufacturing Along with Brodak above, Sig provides both kits, parts and accessories for control line and free flight activities.
  • Guillows You might be hard-pressed to find anyone who has not had a Guillow’s product at one time or another. As I mentioned, I had the chuck glider and the 15 and 25 cent rubber-powered Piggly-Wiggly toy rack specials. My first full-fuselage plane was their 500 series F6F Hellcat. Not knowing anything about “dope”, I used about twenty of the wee small bottles of Pactra model car enamel. Sure looked war weary in dark blue metal flake! The company has made great strides in recent times with new product lines, including spare parts. I have an FW-190 ready for a build and I’m impressed with the quality of the die-cutting and the obvious changes in the plastic parts. Check out the history page!
  • Dumas Products In with excellent scale rubber planes in a variety of scales, some convertible to electric, this company has also been around quite awhile. The good looks come at a hefty price, though. Laser cut parts make the build relatively easier, but remember my thoughts above on “Old School” modeling.
  • Windy Utinoski A great modeler and a wonderful site. Read and learn. This is way beyond my capability for now, but it’s purely inspirational. There is also a section on electric flight which I have not had the chance to look at yet.