Thanks for checking out the second issue of Lt Studster’s FAC101. There’s lots of interesting reading for fledgling FAC pilots of all ages. Didjaknow it only costs twenty five greenbacks to join the Flying Aces Club per year? Gee whiz, ya don’t need a Philadelphia bankroll to take wing alongside ‘dem FAC peelots. Whaddaya ‘git as member? Six crispy fresh off the press Flying Aces Club News magazines shipped the ‘ol fashioned way to yer mailbox.
Every FAC News magazine is packed with innerestin’ info about rubber free flight models, contest information including results, an’bout four 11″ x “17 model plans. FAC members are welcome to compete in any FAC contest. $75 annual adult AMA membership is required to compete (youngins’ git free AMA membership) for insurance purposes- ’cause we all know how dangerous them feather light crates are!
So whaddaya gotta lose? Wouldn’t be nice to git something keen from the mail-carrier ‘stead of bills an’ junk mail?
Rubber Powered Free Flight Reading For The Fledgling FAC Pilot
There is an endless array of information available regarding rubber powered free flight models. A fledgling FAC peelot can quickly become overwhelmed with the amount of information available. Wouldn’t it be neat if there was a book, or a web page that navigated a fledgling FAC peelotthrough every step of the way?
Unfortunately there isn’t aone one-stop-shop for relevant up-to-date information on the hobby. Most every reference for the hobby was printed “back in the day” so you’ll certainly find references to products and kits that do not exist anymore (ie. Sleek Streek). Be strong, focused and bold, tap into your inner MacGyver and you’ll find ways to make it work.
The mission of this newsletter Studster’s FAC101 is to provide worthwhile and current information regarding stick and tissue freeflight. Here’s a list of useful books for those new to the hobby to make your freeflighting life easy and fun:
Rubber Powered Model Airplanes by Don Ross is the general starting point for many free flight pilots. The book is a valuable introduction to the hobby, this dutiful editor kicked-off the hobby with this book. Like most every other reference book for beginners it assumes the reader knows about aircraft and the names of the components of aircraft. This can prove frustrating, but a little Googling will help get any fledgling ace up to speed with the lingo.
The first project, Canarsie Canary, is a gratifying and “quick” build that flies well. The fledgling builder, however, may find the remaining projects complicated to build and fly. Also, the projects focus mainly on all balsa construction which do not necessarily apply to FAC contests, which is a bummer. Everything beyond the Canarsie Canary is worth a read, but wait to tackle the remaining projects once you have more experience.
Hey Kid!… Ya Wanna Build A Model Airplane by Bill Warner is the best starting point for fledglings. Originally published as magazine articles, the author explains many aspects of stick and tissue modeling. The magazine series was expanded and offered as three (now discontinued) books which explained, step-by-step, how to build the Peck R.O.G., Sky Bunny, FA Moth and a peanut Lacey M-10.
A diligent web search will reveal links to PDF files of the original magazine articles. A fledgling is highly recommended to start with these articles. The books are fantastic, but the sellers on online used book stores are asking WAY too much for them ($50+ each). If for some reason you can’t find the magazine articles online contact your dutiful editor.
Models and Musings by Bill Hannon is a must have resource for fledglings with a basic understanding of model construction. Affordable copies of this wonderful book are generally easy to acquire from used book marketplaces. The Boxy Bipe (aka SIG Uncle Sam) and the Stringless Wonder are classic rights of passage for every aspiring FAC peelot. Many of the plans in this wonderful book are simple to build and fly, and FLY they DO, straight off the building board! Bill Hannon’s book Peanut Power is another must have for a FAC pilot’s library.
Other vintage books are available by famous authors such as Frank Zaic and Charles Hampson Grant. If you’re proficient at advanced math or already have an understanding of aeroscience, these are your guys. Otherwise, you’ll find these books start with good intentions for fledglings, but quickly spiral into technical mumbo jumbo that prove more frustrating than fun.
Meet Phineas Pinkham of the Ninth Pursuit Squadron, master of skullduggery, practical joker and all around pain-in-the-neck. His nickname “Carbuncle”, refers to a large and very painful variety of boil. Created by Joe Archibald, this fictional daredevil pilot and face of the Flying Aces Club was popularized in the pages of Flying Aces magazine during the 1930’s.
The Founding Fathers of the Flying Aces Club peppered the newsletters (issues #001-074) with many Phineas stories and references. In fact, Founding Father Bob Thompson adopted the Phineas caricature to identify himself in old newsletters. Appreciation for this character was so recognized they named a flying field after Phineas, Pinkham Field. The original location in Connecticut has moved, however the FAC Glastonbury Modelers & The Pinkham Field Irregulars: Founding Fathers Squadrons 2 & 22 can be found flying at the current Pinkham Field in Durham, CT. every flight-worthy Sunday year-round.
Much of the FAC lingo and humor is derived from the silly stories centered around the lovable Carbuncle and his Bar-le-Duc (Barley Duck) escapades. If hunting down Phineas stories in the FAC newsletters is too much work for a fledgling, find a copy of the Phineas Pinkham Scrapbook. By turbulence, you’ll be up to speed with the lingo in no time. Haw-w-w-w!
Here’s a preview: “Ach du lieber!” he moaned. “Das vas fir me, der rammingk mit der Spad und das Pingham vas der doer. Der deffil he ist, but now he ist der deffil vas ist deader as der mackerel fish. Ach, Gott!”
Balsa Stick Sorter
“What the what is a stick sorter? I don’t have time for tomfoolery, I just wanna build a flying model!” Well, this little gizmo is going to help a clever FAC peelotbuilt lighter and stronger. The “ins and outs” of balsa wood selection is a formidable topic. To make life easy, a wise fledgling can determine the strength of each strip of balsa with this simple stick sorter. Keep a marking pens on hand to put a red mark on the rigid sticks and a green mark on the sticks that bend like an al dente spaghetti noodle.
Generally speaking, soft balsa wood bends more than hard balsa wood. Use hard balsa where strength and rigidity are important (ie, longerons, wing leading edges, etc) and the soft balsa for internal structure and where you want to keep things light (empennage).
“‘Empennage?’ What’s that!?” Well fledgling, you best learn that term or you’ll be without a clue when face to face with “old timer’s” humor. The empennage is the rear of the plane and the butt of many aviation jokes.
A Bit of FAC Nostalgia
Here’s a “Bit of Nostalgia”, in the form of a letter sent to FAC HQ and printed in Issue #13 of the FAC newsletter (in the late 1960s).
As I think back at what fun modeling was years ago when I was a high school junior, I recall a model airplane shop next to the school.
The shop was run by a handlebar mustachioed Frenchman. With the exception of one gas model that did not belong to him, he had nothing but rubber scale ships hung from the ceiling.
Our biggest treat was to go in with our dime or, if you were lucky, quarter and spend hours deciding what kit to buy. He would always open the kit up so as you could see what was inside and after you made your purchase he would give you extra tissue or balsa for that thin dime or two bits.
Many Sat. winter evening were spent around the potbellied stove in his shop talking models and looking over the latest rubber scale jobs he built in the back of the shop.
Today this is all gone. No more of that personal touch for young model builders, and no more neighborhood model shops are to be found anywhere in New York.
Baron Alex Von Godo. N.Y. Sqdn. FACFAC News #13
July 1975 Model Aviation Magazine Dart Too
A diligent fledgling will recall in the previous FAC101 newsletter the Delta Dart was the first recommended model to construct. The Delta Dart (aka AMA Cub) was, and still is, a popular rubber freeflight model designed by Frank Ehling back in the day.
The popularity of the Delta Dart spawned all sorts of design variations. This newsletter presents one of the littler known variations, the Dart Too. This plan and article is torn from the pages of the July 1975 edition of Model Aviation magazine. Here’s a bonus PDF of the plan already stitched together for tabloid sized paper. Don’t have a printer for 11″ x 17″ paper? Not much of a problem, upload or take the file to Staples and have them print a bunch for you – they’ll only cost a buck or so each copy.
The Dart Too is fun and easy to build and a great flier. It doesn’t qualify for FAC events, but it’s such a treat to fly around the home aerodrome. So what are you waiting for balsa benders? Get too it!