Sunday, February 27, 2011

Old Timers (and Vintage Aircraft)

It's a Sunday afternoon some time in the early nineteen fifties. My brother and I are flying a Paageboy with a Mills 0,75 diesel engine. The Paageboy is a Vic Smeed design for the Aeromodeller Free Flight Payload competition for 1cc engines.
We are on the tarmac apron in front of the empty hangars at Cranborne Airfield, a disused RAF training site just outside Salisbury in Southern Rhodesia.
Inside the hangars in the darkness are the ghosts of Harvards and their crews. Outside is bright sunlight.
We have several good flights before we break the prop.
We are members of the Mashonaland Model Engineering Society. Bill Heckler, a raffish fellow with thinning hair and a military moustache, runs the society.
He has spark ignition petrol engines in some of the classic American free flight aircraft, including a Goldberg Sailplane. These are beautifully built with balsa wood and covered with silk and nitrate dope.
Bill Heckler drives a modified Ford Zephyr; we have bicycles. He travels to South Africa for "The Nats". He is our hero.

It's over half a century later at JOMAC, meeting number 244 of the Chapter of Vintage Aircraft Pilots. I still have the Mills 0,75, this time it's in a radio controlled Tomboy. There are present many Old Timers and Vintage Aircraft. Balsa wood is still the material of choice for construction. A least one aircraft is covered with doped tissue. Some are moving to the Dark Side with electric motors and film covering. All are stately old ladies of the air.

Wherever he is now, Bill Heckler approves.

A 1,5 cc PAW diesel engine, Stan's I think.

Flemming working on his Red Zephyr.

Valter's Quaker 2.

Fergus' electric Slicker Mite complete with dummy Amco .87 engine. It's covered with doped tissue.

Ted's Bulldozer and Archangel. That's my Tomboy in the background.

Actually Ted had more luck with his little free flight rubber powered job. You could call it an ARF. Colin will disapprove.

And here is Colin with his electric Lanzo Record Holder.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

New gates -- thanks Steve.

Donovan's 1/4 scale Wilga Tug.
Here's a clip of its first take off.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ken's big electric ASH 26

Here's a short clip of the launch, note the aileron deflection just after release,

And here's Charlie's ducted fan model, needed some trim adjustment.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Steve has filled the wash-aways in the road with gravel.

Here's clip of Donovan filling in the holes on the glider field to allow safe aero tows: a real labour of love