6/30/08

Jodeling in the Welsh mountains


Photo by Daily Post, Llandudno Junction, Conwy, Wales

A acquaintance of mine just had his second crash landing. Check these links for news story and pics of the Jodel.

story

pics

Tom.

6/29/08

Star Date 638.6 recurring

It was a blustery morning at Lakeville, so there was no flying. Ray Bazurto tried his P30 once and it shot down to the pylons and promptly disappeared. When it was found we spent the rest of the morning, well, doing nothing. Here's a photo of Ray and George and Nick doing nothing























So since there's nothing to write about, how about telling us what you think this a rear view of. And please don't tell me about prepositions at the end of sentences.
Tom.

6/26/08

Dave, Brian, SAM 27 and more

This a really good blog. It's always fresh, always unexpected. This mostly down to Dave and Brian's frequent posts that cover local news, and stuff from farther afield, but always relevant to the hobby/pastime/sport/obsession that holds us together. Thank you guys.

Please, if you have anything visual or written that you'd like me to post for you, please email it to marinaeroclub@comcast.net.

Went to the SAM 27 meeting last week. In the raffle I managed to win an old Gollywock. It came from one of the club regulars who had been cleaning out his model loft. I raced home and stripped off the tissue (yes, freeflight rubber is an exciting sport,) fixed a few dings and recovered it in the only color of tissue I have right now - green. A bit drab, I thought, and added a mouth and eye. It's got a Fletcher clockwork timer that trips the stab. There's a folding prop that I don't understand but reckon will work.

I won't replace the dessicated 16 strands of 1/8" rubber but stick to 6 strands of 3/16" - I'm not ready for "muscle rubber".

The model now has left stab tilt and a huge amount of right thrust. It glides perfectly with more incidence than I would have liked. I'm ready to fly, or rather I'm ready to fly the refurbished gollywock on Sunday - better still, with George.

I have tried video on my point and shoot. It's either an amateurish first attempt or a bit of cinema verite depending on your point of view.

Tom.




video

6/25/08

Proposed MAC Poster



This is a rough draft, done in Adobe Illustrator. Perhaps it would make a good flyer to post in hobby shops. Comments?

6/24/08

Born Loser Embryo


By Dave Wingate

The Born Loser is an Embryo Endurance Class biplane designed by Al Backstrom. I don't like its name, but the Born Loser has plenty of charm and a reputation for good flying. I discovered the model on Small Flying Arts and immediately decided to build one.

It took six months to complete this model. No doubt it would have been faster if not for the Xbox 360 we got in December. But to be fair, it was my first biplane and I made some mistakes. For example I didn't realize the pylon is an integral part of the fuselage until after the fuselage was built and covered.

I think Embryos makes a lot of sense for MAC. The airplanes are easy to construct, small (but not too small) and they can be flown indoor or outdoor. It is a gateway to competitive endurance flying, and also a good choice for fun flying.

6/22/08

Summer is here!

Marin Aero Club kicked off the summer flying season with a very pleasant indoor session at St. Vincent's today. The atmosphere in the gym was warm and relaxing. Several planes made their debut at the club, and basically everyone had good flights all day. It was fun, and that's what it's all about.


It was really good to have Ruben and Nick back in the gym after their absence last month. We're glad to have them with us!


Mike with his new model, a reproduction of the Comet Spitfire from Penn Valley Hobby Center. He plans to add finishing touches (wing fillets and decals) when trimming is complete. Mike is well on his way to having a good flyer in this Spitfire.


Kermit brought a collection of catapult launched, folding-wing gliders. Mike is scratch building a model based on this design (which dates back to around 1940) and hopefully we'll see it fly this summer.


Two of Kermit's models: a new Fat Cat (Bostonian) and the XE5. The Fat Cat crashed hard, but it was flying well after field repairs. The XE5 is a consistent flyer, circling just inches under the beams, and Kermit had a couple of personal bests for that plane including one flight of 1:16.


Dave K. with his peanut Fokker Dr.1 Triplane. It is a reproduction of a Lee's Hobbies kit. The all-red color scheme is to replicate a model Dave built when he was a kid. He usually flies this model outside.


Some more of Dave's models were on display.


His outstanding 16" Hellcat won last year's Yahoo Groups Guillow's Challenge.


Earl prepares a motor for his EZB with Ed standing by.


Richard winding his XE5


A braided motor? This is what can happen when someone distracts you while you are winding. Richard's motor is tangled up with a cord from his stooge.


Kermit examines my new Born Loser (Embryo). I worked on the trim all morning with help from Kermit and Mike. Eventually we got it sorted out.

Dave W.

6/16/08

A day at the RAF Museum


By Dave Wingate

One of the highlights of my trip last month was a visit to the RAF Museum near London. As I walked through the large complex that houses this collection, I kept thinking, "I want to build a model of that one. And that one too." You know how it goes.

Fortunately the museum allows photography (some don't, ask me how I know) and I want to share a few of my pictures here. These represent only a fraction of the airplanes at the museum, but I think you'll enjoy them, and maybe one of these historic planes will inspire you to build a scale model.


Avro 504K


Hanriot HD1


Vickers Vimy. This would be a challenging model. I guess you would use electric motors.


Sopwith Triplane


Bristol M1c


The Milestones of Flight building. When you enter this giant room with planes hanging from the ceiling, one of the first things you see is a shiny P-51D revolving on a turntable.


I like the nose art on the Mustang.


Donald Duck has some serious backup: Two .50-caliber machine guns and a 20mm cannon in each wing.


de Havilland Gipsy Moth. I didn't know they have folding wings.


Bf 109G-2


The Fokker D VII is hanging from the ceiling. Fortunately, you get a good view from a balcony running the length of the room.


Up close, the lozenge pattern looks like modern art. The doped fabric has a nice sheen.


Hawker Tempest V


Fw190A-8/U-1. You gotta love this beautiful airplane (not to mention the totally complicated designation). But if you were an allied pilot, you did not want to see this in your rear view.


B-17 Flying Fortress, Jeep, and crew.


The pilot is creepy, isn't he? I think he's having too much fun.


Fiat CR.42 Falco. A gorgeous plane but obsolete when it entered service. I want one!

6/13/08

What happened to Small Flying Arts?


By Dave Wingate

Small Flying Arts is habit forming. I like to visit the website every day, and I’m probably not the only one at MAC who does this. So what’s the problem? Nothing serious, except the SFA Discussion Forum has been off line for a week and nobody knows when it will be fixed.

In case you don’t know about SFA, it is the most popular website dedicated to small model airplanes like the ones we fly at MAC. It is part ezine (web-based magazine) and part file sharing site (many free plans, images, and other downloads) but the best part of SFA is its discussion forum (message board).

This past year has been a bad time for Small Flying Arts. While the forum remained popular, it was troubled by personality conflicts and petty arguments, causing several prominent members to quit the forum. New websites directly competing with SFA were launched. And tragically, SFA’s creator and administrator, Bhagat Dhillon, died of a heart attack in November at age 47.

Would SFA be running today if Bhagat were still alive? I don’t know, but I like to think so. It doesn't really matter because it’s a hypothetical question. In reality Bhagat’s family has expressed a commitment to keep SFA going, and I expect the discussion forum to be repaired sooner or later.

In the meantime, many SFA members have migrated to one of those new websites: Hip Pocket Aeronautics. Who knows? It may become the next Small Flying Arts.

6/10/08

Sunday June 8: Gusts Ruin Safety Day





We recently decided to sharpen up our safety procedures at Lakeville. Basically, this has involved reading the wind speed/direction, estimating the likely flight time of the model, and calculating where your model will likely hurtle to earth.

The idea is that you then launch in an appropriate spot. The trouble is, being optimists, we imagine long and majestic flights regardless of conditions, with our precious models landing over in the bee field, or at the end of a long walk towards Tubb's Island.

Doesn't happen

Anyway, we had got a bit lax, so I took a big fluttery windsock/ribbon and a couple of reflectors, marking off the magic distance of 100 feet from the parked cars. I had a safety manifesto to read too. Well of course the wind was blowing steadily out of the northwest and it was impossible to hit anything other than grass.

So we tried to cope with the wind instead of the new safety rules.

Mike flew at least five different models with great success and about three miles walking. This included the stick with a prop at each end which I think managed the highest flight of the day.

Gale flew the orange monster fearlessly, while Jerry, George and I tried our new catapult gliders, mistakenly called "Straight Up." We discovered that when you let go the catapult, the glider hurtles up into a vicious spiral and actually disappears behind your head. So we missed a lot of flights completely.

The wind didn't help. Neither did the color of the gliders. So we spent a lot of time searching for straw colored models in straw colored straw. We've decided to try again with dayglo wingtips and less wind.

We actually had fun, laughed a lot, ate Phobe's excellent brownies, drank bottled water from a glacier and watched the new safety windsock/ribbon actually fly upwards.

Nick Kelez very kindly let me know that a number of cars parked together produces some kind of protective force field of air that actually softens the blow from an overwound Moth in a death spiral. I was tempted to ask him if he ever found the shards of an exploded four bladed plastic prop from the time my Skyraider dived at maximum speed into the trunk of his VW, but I wisely didn't.

There was a touching moment towards noon, when I asked Ed to help me out with a hand carved prop and freewheel arrangement for a new big rubber model. Ed was briefly overcome with emotion when he realized that someone had asked him for advice.

Dave tried to fly his Island Flyer, but the wind made it tough to trim effectively. He did get lucky earlier when the Highway Patrol let him go. They had pulled him over with another bike that they said was clocked at 87. I asked Dave what he was doing. "About ***."

So there you have it, a fun if windy day in sunny California. Nothing better.

And lucky for us it is immortalized in Kerry's pictures. Thanks Kerry.

6/1/08

OBITUARY

Good news/Sad news from George.

This morning at Lakeville in a light westerly wind, George tested the Poncelet. It stalled slightly so he added some 1/20" under the trailing edge of the wing to reduce incidence. This turned out to be exactly the trimming change required because with 500 turns the Poncelet climbed smoothly away. After a short time it bumped up about six feet in what must have been the perfect thermal, and never looked back. It climbed ever higher and disappeared over the hills to the east heading for Sears Point, and perhaps Sonoma.

We are keeping our eyes open in case by some stroke of good fortune it should drop into our garden. It is highly unlikely that I will ask my neighbors if they have seen my friend's Poncelet, for fear of being misunderstood.

Perhaps this is the reason there are so few real Poncelets in existence today - they were just too good.

Did George fit a DT?
Well yes. But I mean, who bothers to set them for a test flight with just 500 winds?