Welcome to Lt. Studster’s Flying Aces Club (FAC) Newsletter Volume 01 Issue 01. The purpose of this newsletter is to provide an orientation – and comfort – for pilots new to stick and tissue rubber powered free flight models and the FAC. This Newsletter is based on personal experience – I’ve only been at the hobby for a few years – and this newsletter is not officially endorsed by the FAC.
This inaugural issue includes a brief history of aviation as well as the FAC. Topics will be kept brief with the intent of providing a starting point for personal research. This and future issues will contain information on “getting started” with rubber powered models and participating in FAC contests. Here we go!
A Brief Flying Aces Magazine History
It’s October 1928, ten years after the conclusion of World War I, aviation is still in its infancy. Fourteen years prior, in late 1914, a French pilot named Roland Garros was the first pilot to attach a fixed machine gun to the front of his plane. The first “Ace”, French pilot Adolphe Pegoud, died in action in 1915 at the age of 26. His flying “Ace” status was awarded because he downed five enemy aircraft in dogfights.
The world became captivated by aviation and the various types of aircraft soaring through the skies. The years following World War I introduced great advancements in aircraft technology. Many American WWI pilots became barnstormers who toured the United States to demonstrate their skills and aerial acrobatics. Barnstormers eventually grouped together creating Air Shows and Air Races. The romance of the “golden days of aviation” spread around the globe.
Periodical House, Inc. launched Flying Aces Magazine in October 1928. According to Wikipedia, “Flying Aces was a monthly American periodical of short stories about aviation, one of a number of so-called “flying pulp” magazines popular during the 1920s and 1930s. Like other pulp magazines, it was a collection of adventure stories, originally printed on coarse, pulpy paper… It featured stories written and illustrated by known authors of the day, often set against the background of World War I.”
Flying Aces Magazine established the Flying Aces Club. “Members were organized into regional “squadrons,” and were offered flying-themed stationery, stickers, and even uniforms mimicking those in use by the United States Army Air Forces. The club arranged meetings between readers and notable military and commercial pilots, both American and foreign.”
Over the years interest declined in the old fashioned free flight rubber powered models popularized by Flying Aces Magazine. Gas power and remote controlled models contributed to this lack of interest.
Meet The Founding Fathers
During the 1960s Rob Thompson and Dave Stott, both former members of the Flying Aces (magazine) Club decided to breathe new life into the Flying Aces Club. 1967 brought the first Flying Aces Club (as it’s currently known) Newsletter.
“Well fellows, some of the old Flying Aces clubsters were sittin’ around the pot-bellied stove here at General Headquarters, and they thought they might start up this newsletter to keep in touch wall all you FACs now that Hung, Great God of the Thermals is about to clip a few wings for the winter.
You don’t need to drop parachute flares to see we intend to keep it in the style of the original Flying Aces magazine, and use their lingo and some of the department titles. And, by turbulence, you’ve got to admit, that mag had a personality that has never been captured by any of the rest […]
FAC News #1
Maybe we’re flying blind, but we think modelling ought to be real enjoyment (Didjever see some of those RC flyers tremble while they fly those aerial pin-ball machines that cost ‘em a month’s wages? They make St Vitus Dance look like an adagio. Hawwwww!) So, we’re gonna stay on course and limit the subject matter of the FAC News to where we’ve found fun […]”
Hung The Great God Of Thermals
It takes little interaction with a FAC pilot (a FAC member) or browsing old newsletters to discover references to “Hung”. The origin of Hung, The Great God Of Thermals, is unknown to this dutiful newsletter editor but Hung has been providing warm rising air to all things airborne since the beginning of time. Humbly, Hung takes credit equally for carrying models to victory and the blame for snatching free flight airplanes with rising warm air and carrying models “OOS” (Out Of Sight).
Models For The Fledgling Flying Ace
It’s easy to quickly become overwhelmed by the array of rubber freeflight models available. For someone that’s just starting out it is recommended to begin with a stick fuselage model. They’re affordable, relatively easy to construct and usually fly great right off the building board. The following is a list of models for beginners of all ages. Purchasing kits makes the task simple because the materials for the model are included. You’ll need your trusty (not rusty) Modelers Tools (see below). It’s important to note that these models do not qualify for entry into most FAC club events (more on FAC events in future issues) but they sure are fun to fly!
- Delta Dart – Kits available from AMA.
- Mountain Lion Mark III – Kits available from Laser-Cut Planes.
- Stringless Wonder – Available from Peck Polymers.
- Peck R.O.G. (Rise Off Ground) – Available from Peck Polymers.
All of these models are great flyers that will not disappoint. An ambitious fledgling will serve themselves right by purchasing both the Stringless Wonder and the Peck R.O.G (or two of each).. If for some reason they are out of stock reach out to Chuck Imbergamo through the Peck Polymers website and express interest. No matter which suggested model you choose be sure to wear your running shoes to recover your post-flight model (if it doesn’t get stuck in a tree – or worse, caught in the Hung’s mighty clutches).
Having the right tools makes the life of a FAC pilot more enjoyable. Although kits essentially include everything that’s required for the model – tools and glues are not included. Opinions vary on which supplies are the best, use whatever works best for you.. Here’s a brief summary of what you’ll need to have on hand:
- Building Board: A flat surface to construct every part of the model. A building board is a flat surface which can accept pins pushed through its surface to hold each piece in place. Here’s three different style building boards in order of affordability:
- Corrugated cardboard stacked three or four layers thick with alternating corrugation directions.
- Lay-In Ceiling tile. Available at hardware stores. Generally the back of the tile is the top surface of the “building board”.
- Cork Bulletin Board or cork squares glued to plywood.
- Saran Wrap: The model plan is placed on the building board and covered with Saran Wrap to prevent the model from sticking to the plan. Also, the Saran Wrap protects the plan from being ruined by glue.
- Self Healing Cutting Mat: This is a must for cutting balsa parts. Remember it’s only for cutting! Place the cutting mat aside when your finished cutting. It’s too easy to get glue plops and such on the surface making the task of cutting parts an unpleasant experience.
- Exacto / Single Edge Razor Blade: Whichever you choose buy a bulk supply, the blades don’t stay sharp very long.
- Metal Ruler: Any metal ruler will do. Harbor Freight sells them cheap. While you’re at Harbor Freight you should pick up a set of needle files, you’ll find them useful for loads of things.
- Glue: Titebond Original wood glue to start. Squirt some into a Dixie Cup or any small container and mix in 30-50% water to thin the glue. Toothpicks are great applicators for this, and most other glues. As you progress with the hobby other glues such as CA and Testors 3505 Green Tube. More information about glue in future newsletter issues.
- Glue Stick: Small size Elmer’s Purple Glue Sticks work well for attaching tissue to the balsa model. Some modelers swear by UHU Purple Glue Sticks – these are harder to find in retail stores and don’t provide a noticeable improvement.
- Pins: Any sort of straight pin will do the job. 100 pin packs of Nickle Plated T-Pins are available at Staples for under $4.00.
- Emery Boards: You’re going to need something flat and coarse to shape and finish your balsa parts. You may be surprised how often you utilize these in your modeling routine. Revlon Compact Emery Boards 33100, ten packs sell for less that $3.00 at drugstores. Revlon brand are the best, others will make do. Don’t waste your money on the expensive specialty sanding products sold by hobby supply stores. Don’t be afraid to use a razor blade to cut an emery board to any shape you need to get ‘er done.
January 1935 Flying Aces Magazine Contest Glider
What’s a Flying Aces newsletter without a model plan? Well, it wouldn’t be a Flying Aces newsletter – that’s what! Haw-w-w-w! Here’s a simple contest glider from the January 1935 Flying Aces magazine. The instructions are brief, but a fledgling Flying Ace can build this bird with a some head scratching and cussing. “From The Model Builder’s Workbench” is included in the PDF for nostalgic purposes, and inspiration.
The Flying Aces Club posts all of their contests on their Contest Calendar. This dutiful editor, being based in the North-East, can’t make them all but plans are in place to head to Barron Field for the Spring Wing Ding, Saturday/Sunday May 18/19 2019. Come on up and give it a gander.