A View from Broadway

F2D Proto Speed plane under construction. Ken Burdick photo.

Finding Unobtainium

By Ken Burdick
February 2023

Yes Folks. It’s true

I love to write in a humoristic style. My many failures and frustrations are the wellspring from which my articles are born.

Around 2000, I decided to share whatever I could to promote control-line flying, especially the various events I am interested in. One of these is F2D Proto Speed.

It’s EASY ... nutting to it

F2D Proto is a beginner type event that requires a minimum of effort to reach a maximum of fun. It quickly caught on and a friend of mine moved the record to an amazing 112 mph in short order.

See the Northwest's F2D Proto Speed rules.

I’ve been trying to catch Jerry’s record for several years. Once I was sure I would have it, but my best engine, a Profi F2D from 2014, threw a conrod bearing which put me on the sidelines.

Profi had stopped making F2D engines around that time. Although I consider them to be the fastest, I turned to Fora to see how they would compare in this event.
This is where a new round of frustration began for me. Fora makes an excellent F2D engine. Good buddy Paul Gibeault is almost up to the current record with his. Meanwhile, I bought a new engine. I bought the Fora 2.5cc F1c model which is a Free Flight high performance engine. The trick here is to run whatever engine you choose to be F2D legal. For our event this means a tiny venturi. (Read the rules for further explanation.)

Anyway, the Brits use this engine for Goodyear and claim it’s amazingly fast. But by the time I decided to try it, the unfortunate war between Russia and Ukraine had erupted, and Fora, a Ukraine company, had stopped making this engine as well as losing their factory in the war. I was able to purchase one from Italy and did so.

Dream come true?

Not exactly.

The engine seemed to have a poor fit between the piston and liner. I ran it and it seemed strong, tacked up to 33,000 rpm on an D2D prop, but produced slow results in flight. Bruce Tunberg pointed out some flaws in the model I had built that might be a factor. I agreed and made the corrections. John Knoppi and I spent part of last summer testing the beast, and that’s when it happened.

Sacrifice to the gods of speed

I burned the ever-loving crap out of my shiny new engine!

I had been accustomed to the F2D engines and their ragged edge needle settings. Just about dead lean, well lil' Geezers, this one was different. It took off fast but then went overlean and, not having a shutoff onboard, I stood there and listened to it destroy the piston.  Sigh. The piston was toast and there was no factory that I knew of to replace it. I tried the usual suspects and all agreed that is was “unobtainium.” I tried a few in the U.S. to make a piston with no success.

Where to find Unobtainium

The Fora 2.5cc F1C engine with its new piston and liner. Ken Burdick photo.

I was looking through one of the many engine accounts I have on Facebook, when I came across Hodakov Tolik. He was selling pistons and liners! I contacted him right away. He said that yes, he could make the piston for me and described the alloy he would use. I sent the cinder of a piston and liner off to him (the liner was OK) along with the conrod. Here come the amazing part. The package made it as far as Poland then disappeared from all view. We both gave up after a few weeks, but Hodakov offered me a new complete set, he said that he had confirmed it and sent me the price.

Now you tell me how he was the only one to be able to come up with the real article?

Not only is this modeler a machinist capable of precision work, he is so well connected in Ukraine that he was able to source this impossible-to-get the piston and liner.

I have seen Hodakov’s advertisements on various Facebook sites. He is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise terrible situation in Ukraine. If I need special parts, I will not hesitate to contact him. You can Find him on Facebook: Hodakov Tolik.

-- Kennyb


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This page was upated Feb. 21, 2023