Posts Tagged ‘U/C combat’

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.

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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?