Round & Round

The Control-Line Modeler at Large

By John Thompson

February 2006

Modeling thought for the month:

"The palest ink is better than the best memory."

- Chinese proverb

Getting charged up!

It's been a rainy winter here in the Willamette Valley, so the chance to get out flying is a real treat. When the sun peeped out from behind the clouds for a one-day cameo appearance on Sunday, Jan . 15, the diehards in my local club, the Eugene Prop Spinners, popped up at the flying field like a so many well-watered mushrooms.

The first flying day of 2006 was a real enthusiasm-builder, as the Eugene field showed just how fabulous winter flying can be. On Monday, it was back to the rains, but at this writing on a Wednesday, the forecaster is showing "partly sunny" for the coming Sunday. Maybe we are just meant to fly model airplanes!

It's also helps get the modeling juices flowing to make an appearance at the Eugene flying site and think of the Regionals coming home to that tremendous venue (see Issue 212 for the details). Of course, we also saw a lot of work to be done to make it possible, but the anticipation of this great modeling event makes the work worth while.

A really encouraging sign for 2006 all across the region is the way the events calendar is filling up fast. Lots of fun-flies and contests! (See Where the Action Is elsewhere in this issue.) One good thing about our modern e-mail age is that contest organizers actually are communicating with one another and coordinating the schedule. Something I started campaigning for about 20 years ago is actually happening! I've been penciling contests onto my travel calendar. Looks like it's going to be a great year. (If I get my competitive act together, which some might consider to be a first.)

Another thing I like about the e-mail age is the painless ability for us to coordinate our flying activities. The Prop Spinners have a little e-mail chain. About Thursday or so, the word starts going around about who's planning to fly when, and it helps us make sure we show up at the field at the same time.

It's been a slow winter, building-wise, in the FL workshops. Editor ZZ is still hunting through boxes after his move. Here at FL HQ South, there's a '59 Ares under construction for Classic Stunt, but it's been glacially slow progressing, as most of my modeling time has gone into building the FL Web site. Now that the Web site is up and flying, so to speak, work on the Ares has begun creeping forward again.

Man, that plane has a lot of parts. Of course, when I build a plane, it's almost like I build it twice. I sometimes feel like a guy forced to wear mittens when building. Holding the plane while I sand the trailing edge, and - snap! - off comes a rib. I suppose I should build speed planes instead - harder to break aluminum or magnesium parts.

Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to having something new to replace the splattered Oriental (good riddance). Also planning a profile Cardinal for P-40 Stunt, but that project is back-burnered behind the Ares. After the Cardinal, a new, "liter" Lite Wave with a built up, not foam, wing. Like we Mariners fans say, "Wait 'til next year" for that one.

Another thing that slowed up the Areas project was a fairly typical bit of workshop comedy - with a dose of good-deed punishment worked in.

I envy these guys who have a whole basement or freestanding shop (Nils, you lucky guy!) devoted to their workshops. My shop is crowded into half a garage. That means a lot of planes are hung in a crowded space. You can almost guess what this is leading to.

Sometime in November, I was late for a flying session and loading up in a hurry. One of the planes in the rack is a bulletproof trainer I always take to the field in case a potential novice shows up. It is seldom actually flown; it just travels back and forth in the pickup. So, I was getting down the Bi-Slob (another plane that spends more time traveling to and from the field than actually flying), when it dislodged the trainer. The trainer fell, bounced and tumbled, and jabbed its wingtip right through the wing of the Vector 40, my PA plane, which was just hanging there waiting to go flying. The repair to the Vector took over the workbench for a month.

On the good side, the bulletproof trainer performed as designed - sustained the crash without damage. The Vector is repaired now, but no, the patch is not invisible. Don't look too closely at the outboard wing!

All the racing gear is ready to run, as far as we know, since the Nitroholics were mostly on the shelf in 2005 due to moves, contest officiating duties, etc. etc. Stuff doesn't wear out too fast if you don't use it.

I'm going to make a comeback in combat in 2006. Well, not real combat, just 80mph. My one contest in 2005 was just the way you'd expect it to be for somebody who devoted exactly 15 minutes of preparation to the even t in the previous 12 months. Not so this year; I've got the gear ready to fly!

The New Year cleans the slates and makes us look forward to the coming year. With the Regionals in Eugene, the FL web site, a new plane under construction, a fast-filling contest schedule and new modelers seeming to come out of the woodwork all over the region, I can't help but think 2006 is going to be a dandy year.

But then, I'm always the optimistic type. That's why I keep taking that #$%&*(! trainer to the field every time I go flying. You never know who might show up to add to the fun we all have flying model airplanes!

Spreading the word ...

There are a lot of potential modelers out there, and in this high-tech age, many people aren't aware of the joys of analog flying. The discovery can be a revelation that creates an enthusiastic new control-line flier.

In the service of spreading the word, the Eugene Prop Spinners have developed a tri-fold brochure about the club and about control-line flying in general.

We carry copies to hand out to people who stop by at the flying field, and the local hobby shop has it on hand to give to customers who might be interested.

In our computer age, it's pretty easy for any club to come up with a publication like this.

I made ours in Appleworks, basing it on a template provided with the program. It took only a few hours to come up with a publication that can be used to promote CL flying and the club for a long time to come, and it can be easily edited as details change. I'd be glad to send a copy to anyone who might like to see what can be done.

E-mail John Thompson

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This page was upated April 13, 2006