|Jul 13, 2009, 10:09 AM|
The fleet's complete... almost...
It's Mid-July, and my throat is dry, and... no, that's not the subject of this.
I first got back into this seriously in early 2000, after piddling with it, and flying full-scale gliders for 20 years. When I first started in the early '70s, my first glider was a Windfree. So, I had decided that's where I would start again. I bought a laser-cut Windfree kit and built it. I had been thinking about this for some time and so I modified it slightly. I extended the top sheeting 1" further aft of the spar. It seemed to improve the performance somewhat.
Over the next few years, I progressed rapidly in the hobby, and I wanted to get my (now deceased) brother involved again. We had flown R/C sailplanes together some in the '70s. I was, at the time, the president of the Houston Hawks, a post he had held in the '70s. I was trying everything I could to get the membership up. I gave him the Windfree. To make a long story short, his widow gave it back to me after he passed away.
I have had it all this time and put it away, not thinking about it much. The rudder and 1 stab were slightly damaged, and the Monokote had loosened up, and it was pretty dirty. So, on a hot, windy Sunday afternoon, I was looking through some pictures, and came across a picture of my brother with this model. Just on that whim, I went and got this model down, cleaned, repaired and reshrunk it, checked the wing for warps and proper washout, and installed the radio gear. I still had the servos and receiver that were in it when it was new. I couldn't believe how good it looked.
It was about 30 minutes before sundown when I threw everything into the back of the SUV and headed out. I knew there would be no time for a high start setup, so I resigned myself to hand launch it a few times. The wind had slacked and was blowing about 8 mph when I threw it for the first time. Unlike my Bantam, the WIndfree wanted to climb almost vertically when I threw it hard. At 26oz, this one's pretty much a feather. It still flys great!
Sounds pretty mundane to most of you, I guess. What struck me about the whole thing is how truly pleasing the whole thing was. All the memories of my first R/C experiences, and times with my brother, and the excitement of that first controlled hand toss, so long ago, came flooding back.
So, now the fleet consists of my Xplorer, a new Houston Hawk, a good Yardbird, a Bantam, and the Windfree. What's missing? Just a good Legionair... and I have the stuff to produce one...
PS: The Journey prototype has been started. I'm still drawing and redrawing El Jefe...
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