Driving into the AMA flying site for the first day of the Free Flight National Championships last summer, I was somewhat dreading the potential lack of parking. With the wind from the northwest I knew the flightline would be set up at the northwest corner of the field, an area which had limited parking. Approaching the field, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the crops had been set back far enough to allow three rows of parking! We flew from that corner most of the week. I learned that past National Free Flight Society (NFFS) President Phil Sullivan was largely responsible for the improved parking area. Phil was quick to say that he had help with the project, which is now called “The Sullivan Addition.” Many thanks to Phil, those who helped him, and to the AMA for a welcome improvement.
Don’t forget to put a Jay’s Bird or a Reid Simpson Tornado on your building board for this year’s One Design event at the Nats. Jay’s Bird plans are available from NFFS and a kit is available from BMJR Models. Flying Models is under new ownership and should be up and running again. Check their plan service for Tornado plans.
Michael and Oliver Sand
One of the highlights of my experience at the Flying Aces Club (FAC) Nats last summer was meeting 13-year-old Oliver Sand and his father, Michael. It was their first time at the Nats and they made the most of it. George White and I invited them to set up under our shade and we got to watch Oliver in action. He must have put up well over 100 flights during the three days of the event. Amazingly, Oliver had no tutor. He started with Guillows World War II model kits.
Since age 9 he has relied solely on information gleaned from the Internet. Michael had no modeling experience, but was extremely supportive, a model himself for all fathers. Oliver didn’t hesitate to listen to George, myself, and any other modeler who gave him advice. It was a pleasure to see a young man who loves working with his hands and mind and enjoys the thrill of model flight as we do.
Vance Gilbert’s Vickers Nene Viking
Another highlight of the FAC Nats was watching Vance Gilbert’s 49-inch wingspan Vickers Nene Viking put on a beautiful flight. The model won first in Jumbo Scale. You can see that great flight, too. Go to YouTube and enter the name of the airplane in the search.
Worldwide Postal Event
Jim Mosely ran a Worldwide Postal event for many years. When he announced he would no longer run the event, Caley Hand stepped in to keep the event alive. It’s a laidback format with events for about any Glider or Rubber-Powered model you might have in your collection. Along with flight times, you are encouraged to submit information and pictures of your models, and any anecdotes about your flying experiences are welcome. Some history of the event and the rules are on Caley’s new website. Many thanks to her for keeping the event alive. Now, get out there and participate!
My granddaughter built her Triflyer from the Volare Products kit I mentioned in the November column. The parts are laser cut from quality balsa. Japanese tissue is supplied, but Mia-Lynne used some light wrapping tissue that she found more aesthetically appealing. The model was tricky to adjust for flight. At best we were able to get a few seconds of flight followed by a tendency to transition into a hover! The triangular shape reminded me of a ceiling walker toy I had years ago.
I decided to remove the stabilizer and turn it around 180°. I removed the fin and repositioned it on the stab so its back was flush with the rear of the stab. We were still having very short flights, so I moved the wing forward, placing the front wing mount 2 inches from the front of the motor stick and adding a bit more clay to the nose. I put in what I thought was a relatively safe number of turns for my backyard testing area. It flew over the house. Whoops!
It’s a fun little flier. Build one yourself and see what you can do. I would suggest that if you start with the triangle format, just tack glue the stab and fin so you can reverse them if needed.
Adjustable Nose Button
John Regalbuto introduced his new and improved adjustable nose button at the FAC Nats this past summer. The buttons feature a 7075 aluminum alloy front flange to replace the former nylon flange. The aluminum flange provides superior clamping of the ball. The item that attracted my attention was John’s new Peanut-size button. Now I have a good excuse to finish the Peanut Val that has been half completed for about three years! I took a photo of the Val noseblock with the adjustable nose button installed. Hopefully I will have a picture of the finished model in time for the next column.
Howard Littman Model Aircraft
Howard Littman is producing some excellent, laser-cut No-Cal kits complete with tissue “skins” for the covering. A year ago I built his Cutlass and had a lot of fun with that. I just built his Brewster Buffalo No-Cal with the pre-World War II markings and am looking forward to first flights.
The wood in the Buffalo kit was excellent. The 1/16-inch sheet has two cross-grained laminations of very light 1/32 inches. The plans and instructions were clean and very well done. Howard has other models available, including a twin No-Cal of the Bristol Beaufighter. Check out his website.[dingbat]
Flying Models Flying Plans Directory
Worldwide Free Flight Postal Competition (Caley Hand)
Volare Products—Shorty’s Basement
Adjustable Nose Button
Howard Littman Model Aircraft