No, I am not talking about the excellent home machinist show in York, Pennsylvania. I’m talking about the more generic meaning of the term, that mid- to late-winter funk that comes from spending too much time cooped up in the house.
The short days and long nights can have a strange effect on a person and it isn’t uncommon to feel the need for a little pick-me-up after the holidays. Given that and the lack of flying in much of the country over the winter, it’s no surprise that our big trade shows happen during this time of year.
It is great to get out of the house and attend these shows. The events offer a wonderful chance to see the latest and greatest our hobby has to offer, as well as catch up with friends from across the country and see their latest creations. It is also a great opportunity to pick up a new project (or several!) that you can’t live without. Perhaps at least one of these acquisitions will be ready for spring’s warm weather and those early trips to the field.
Those who went to the AMA Expo 2015 in Ontario, California, in early January got a jump on the show season. They were fortunate to have had an opportunity to get up close and examine one of the most remarkable models I’ve seen in many years.
The name Col. Lawrence Klingberg is known well beyond the West Coast modeling circles, and at the AMA Expo he showed that he is at the top of his game. Throughout the last year he built a giant Curtiss-Wright T-32 Condor that dominated the static display.
Resplendent in its blue and orange livery replicating the air support for Admiral Byrd’s Antarctic expedition, this 1/5-scale monster spans 16 feet and is powered with a pair of Cermark SPE 43cc gas engines. The Condor remains an iconic aircraft for many interested in aviation’s Golden Age, and it is now fittingly rendered by Col. Klingberg. I can only image how it must look in the air.
Congratulations, Colonel. Your first place in the Civilian Scale category is richly deserved!
Here in the Northeast, the annual Westchester Radio Aero Modelers (WRAM) Show is in late February and the Weak Signals Toledo Show will likely have come and gone by the time you see this column. Indeed, Joe Nall and the start of the flying season will soon be upon us.
I definitely look forward to both events, but I am also more than ready to get back out and do some flying with my son. We have been busy over the winter, and haven’t gotten to the model airplane side of the workshop nearly enough. Oh sure, we’ve been making things aplenty, but well, let’s just say that the aerodynamics of our new fireplace mantel don’t hold much promise!
Fortunately, the household to-do list is winding down for a while, so there is hope of finishing off a couple of new models soon.
On the Bench
My big project this last year was a scaled-up version of my McGuire Daddy-O Racer. Originally designed as a 16-inch Embryo Free Flight model, I doubled the design and built my first as a 32-inch park flyer 10 years ago.
It proved so delightful that I enlarged it again to 52 inches and that larger version—the Daddy-O 525—has been my go-to electric model for 71/2 years. It is getting a little long in the tooth, so I decided a year ago that it was time for another. And yes, I decided to bump it up again.
This latest version began with a glance at an unused gas engine on my workshop shelf. Quite a few people have asked me for a larger version throughout the years, so it looked like it was finally time to get started last spring. I’ve had this airframe out and about a few times to get some feedback and the response has been encouraging.
The latest Daddy-O will span 87 inches and assuming my prototype flies as expected, it will be sporting the same O.S. 40cc four-stroke gas engine that I wrote about in Model Aviation last year. This wonderful engine should be a perfect partner for the new airframe. I also have a full complement of Hitec servos installed at this point, so it should be ready soon.
Despite some distractions over the last few months, I have it back on the workbench now and look forward to flying it this summer. With any luck at all it should also prove to be a reliable floatplane, much like its smaller inspiration.
Making It His Own
I’d like to close out with a whimsical story of a most unique project. About six or seven years ago, I received my first email from Hank McCabe. In addition to our passion for flying machines, it turns out that Hank and I share a fondness for that orange and vanilla frozen concoction on a stick known as a Creamsicle.
Not being one to waste perfectly good supplies, Hank has been saving his sticks for the better part of the last few decades. A while back, his wife “suggested” that he do something productive with the sticks or get rid of them. And so he did.
To make a long story short, Hank is now finishing up an electric model built entirely from the sticks he has saved over the years. And naturally, he dubbed it the Creamsicle 1. Sure, it might be a little heavier than if it was made from contest balsa, but that isn’t the point now, is it?
Hank stepped outside the box and has had a lot of fun over the last few years designing and building his one-of-a-kind creation. And I’ll bet there were also a few smiles from time to time along the way as he freshened up his stock of building materials!
If you have a project that you would like to share, drop me a line and let’s talk about it. It is always great to see what people build to cure their cabin fever!