You still have time to build a Jays Bird or Tornado for the National Free Flight Society (NFFS) One-Design contest at this year’s Nats. BMJR Models has kits for the Tornado and a Jays Bird 250 and Bob Holman Plans has a short kit and plans for a Jays Bird 280.
While packing for a trip, I chose one of my favorite T-shirts from the Magnificent Mountain Men Free Flight (FF) Champs—the 2013 version. One of the sponsors on the shirt was PearlFreeFlight.com. What I found on the site was a delightful history of Bill Chenault’s Pearl design series.
Beginning in 1971 with the famous Mini Pearl 1/2A model, the design and its iterations have proven successful for decades. I have enjoyed flying the design from the 1/2A version to my 925-square-inch Jett .50-powered Pilfered Pearl. Check out the website for some great reading, as well as information about Super Pearl short kits from E-36 to the Super Pearl 542.
I finished my Peanut Val, complete with the adjustable nose button from John Regalbuto at Regal Products. The Val is undergoing flight trimming.
Hurricane Season on the West Coast?
Unlikely you say? Not when Dave Gee and the Black Sheep Squadron in Southern California are involved. I got a note from Dave saying, “Hurricane Season is over.”
Hurricane Season was a group building project with local club members gathering to share techniques and advice while making airplanes. They all built the Guillow’s Hurricane. Attached is a photo of Dave’s model when it was in the bones stage. Not shown is how he carried the finished model around the room while making engine and machine-gun noises.
The Black Sheep Squadron got a great deal on a large number of these models, so we figured to do a “DOBAC” meet. The members can buy a kit at a discount price, and if they build and fly their model, they get their “dough back” at the One-Design contest. The Hurricane Season kits went for $5.
The club was flooded with eager participants. Some were experienced modelers, but many were new builders seeking knowledge from the old hands. Notably, the new people were not youngsters. Many had been flying models for years, but did not usually build their aircraft.
We had a series of pleasant evenings together, constructing the airframes and sharing techniques. Dave doesn’t claim to be an expert, but apparently he knows tricks that these eager students wanted to learn.
The club consensus was that they should do another group build, so after a few weeks they started the Comet Porterfield 65 kit. It was slightly modified for ease of construction and to save weight. One of the club members graciously agreed to laser cut the parts sheet with the modified structure. There were even more participants and many first-time builders eager to learn how it’s done. One group met at Dave’s house and another group arranged to use a senior center room in the next county, closer to their homes.
The club is now on its third build program: the Cessna Fest. The big Guillow’s Cessna 170 kit is the new target, with a $10 DOBAC price. The club again was able to get a deal on a large purchase and subsidize our members.
This summer, the Black Sheep Squadron will present Mustang Roundup, featuring rubber-powered stick-and-tissue P-51 kits. Dave had no idea that so many modelers were hungering for this kind of training and instruction! Flying ARFs is very well, but building your own airplane is a pleasure in itself.
The chance to receive instruction from respected builders was a big draw, not to mention the delightful social atmosphere, snacks, and root beer! Try a similar club project. See if you can duplicate the Black Sheep Squadron’s success. Don’t forget the root beer!
Bill Schmidt’s Comet Razorback P-47
Bill Schmidt’s immaculate building style shows in his version of the 24-inch wingspan Comet Model Airplane Company Razorback P-47 Thunderbolt. It is covered with green Japanese tissue and finished with Randolph Aircraft Products E-4964 non-tautening clear dope. The markings are made from MonoKote trim and a Walmart DYMO LetraTag label maker. It has a 91/2-inch Peck-Polymers propeller driven by six strands of 1/8-inch Tan Super Sport. The P-47 weighs 1.82 ounces.
Bill believes that the correct wheels make the model stand out. It is a detail many people neglect. Bill says the P-47 kit was designed by a chain-smoking Frenchman named André G. Alizier, who was on the Comet staff. André drew a number of other military aircraft for Comet, including the A-26 Invader, the F6F Hellcat, the Vultee A-35 Vengeance, and the Sikorsky R-6 Kit Number E9 helicopter.
Steve Wrigley’s Maverick Embryo
Joshua Finn forwarded a photo of Steven Wrigley with his Maverick Embryo. Joshua worked a little with the model during a visit to Lakehurst, New Jersey. He was an adviser on its design. The model has full geodetic construction on the wing and stabilizer, a 10-inch propeller, and is approximately 24 inches long.
The Maverick flies great. Stephen hasn’t opened it up, but it flies circles of whatever diameter he wants, including a nice, tight pattern in his front yard. Joshua says his similar model, the Maxout X, doesn’t compare to the Maverick’s level of stability.
The aircraft weighs 15 grams and is powered by four strands of 1/8. That combination provides a fast climb! It has capacity for 10 to 12 grams of rubber. The center of gravity is at roughly 100% of the chord.
Campbell’s Custom Kits
Mark Freeland of Retro RC has purchased Lee Campbell’s business, Campbell’s Custom Kits. Mark plans to continue the kit line and stock most of the accessories. Check the Retro RC website for details:
Peck-Polymers has been purchased by Chuck Imbergamo and will be up and running again this spring. Chuck is busy restocking the depleted A2Z inventory and has plans to create some new kits. Check the website for progress.