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May 14, 2018, 11:20 AM
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2018 CVRC Bent wing/Aquila event


Under the spring skies of Visalia this past weekend we flew the 2018 Bent wing contest. It was a little more special to me this time having completed the Aquila that I have been wanting to build for over 40 years. At the time of its release in RC Modeler Magazine with the picture of Lee’s Aquila up against the water fountain in the Monastery Mater Dolorsa in Sierra Madre Califiornia I have always wanted to build one. Don Edberg took his Aquila out at the SWSA clubs flying site in San Dimas California so pictures of the snowcapped Mt. Baldy in the back ground were in the RCM article. Several of the guys in my club knew Lee Renaud since he was a member. Being just a little guy back then I had no way to buy a kit for $59.95 with my allowance. Some of you might know that my dad wrote the soaring column for RCM. I’m pretty sure that he had spoken to Lee at some point and was able to get me a fiberglass fuselage to scratch build a kit. At the time the building skills needed for me to fabricate the Aquila were well above my head. I was building simple sailplanes around that time. As the needs for other competitive sailplanes came across my mind to stay relevant in club contest the Aquila slipped to the back burner. I never forgot about it though. Years later when I had been seeing kits go for larger sums of money I started to keep an eye out for a kit. With the passing of one of our club members Harvey Jenkins I was told our club would sell off his kits in an auction. When I saw he had an Aquila kit I had to have it. After I had the kit I started to look over the plans. Once I saw the general design I contacted Tim Renaud to explore making an Aquila with all the updated things it had as a short fall. After a few e-mails we had a list of all the corrections. I’ll be totally up front that the build was slow. I had forgotten just how much time it took to properly build and align the wing to fuselage, install the bell crank in the fiberglass fuselage, and make the spoilers with direct drive servos. There was no way I could ever make the 2017 bent wing without an all nighter and a test flight the day of the contest. The 2018 event would have to be my new focus. In early February Adam Nelson had made a note in the bent wing contest announcement “But then, I heard rumor of a show down between 2 of our most distinguished pilots that was to take place at this years contest. An Old School fly off if you will between an Airtronics Cumic, and a scratch built Aquila. Now, I haven’t officially confirmed this, but from the picture below I know that Aquila is close to flying, and hopefully the 2 do in fact meet in the air. So, this year, I thought we’d start it off by paying tribute to the Airtronics Aquila.” This started the back and forth e-mails with Fred Weaver and his Killer Cumic for weeks. I had to be ready now for sure. I’d never hear the end of it if Killer did the deal on me. I was ready to fly the Aquila in March of 2018 but the month was a total rain out on all of the weekends. April appeared and I had to fly this bird with one month to go. I took a short start out and after two hand launches I made the first launch. After the Aquila was free of the tow I started to see what it could do. My first attempt at a turn was terrible since the rudder was non-responsive for a long time. That was very disappointing after adding 1 more inch to the polyhedral. The flight was in a very light thermal and eventually I made a few turns to get the Aquila higher to sort her out. Turns were sloppy and I was not impressed. I made corrections to how I commanded the Aquila to turn and found the right sequence to get her turning properly. After 30 minutes of testing on the same flight I was very happy it flew so well. The cruise was very good and I could cover ground better than I ever imagined with the stock airfoil. Originally I had feared it would be very slow. This section actually flies very quickly and in a shallow dive the Aquila wobble was not present. I was up pretty high and decided I had had enough for on test flight and decided to use the spoilers. After they opened it was a nice flat decent and the landing stopped the clock at 1:03:26 seconds! My drive home was easy knowing this Aquila flew and flew well and I could not wait to tell Tim Renuad the next day.

After a conversation with Steve George that evening he challenged me to fly the Aquila against the molded ships in our club contest the following week. I laughed but he was serious so I gave it a shot. Edger Vera was there as was Tony Brooks. These guys gave me a razing but after the Aquila flew it was more serious since they did not want to have their molded super ships fall to a 1977 Aquila. Edgar gave it everything he had and did win the event with the Aquila in second. We all had a good laugh and then it was time to focus on the Cumic. The 2018 Bent wing has 10 rounds with many 8 and 10 minute flights. Using designs that flew 3, 5, and 7 minutes rounds was a hand full for Fred and myself. Over the years Fred and I have gone round and round with LSF level 5 conversations. I actually think he is has better skills than I do (don’t tell him) so this would be a perfect test between us. We both flew the first 5 minute round and fell short when the sink hit us. He handed off field trying to get the time. My timer Jason George kept me focused and talked me into a 4:10 and a landing. Jason and I both knew this was a real sobering start to our thrown down. Round after round the Killer with its 30 year old Titebond and Aquila made their times with a lot of effort and calm coaching from my steady timer Jason. I never let on that I was having a tough time keeping the Aquila up for 10 minutes but Jason saw it was work and kept me focused. My DX18 flight mode switch has to be at the end of its life after those two days of flying. If you have not flown one of these for a while you need to. These designs are trucks without power steering in the conditions we flew in. To make that point I used the same battery in my Ava Pro and Aquila. On Saturday the Ava Pro took 235 mah and the Aquila took 430 mah due to all of the control input. I never could relax with the Aquila it always had to have some command to make it work. Sunday was another day with long flights. When I landed the Aquila for the last round I was so relieved to be done having missed only 2 flight times and one landing. When Fred flew his last flight I walked out to see his landing. When it was perfectly executed I told him thank god this is over these things fly like crap. We both burst into laughter. My thoughts then transitioned to was my scoring good enough to have beat Killer? As the scores were announce by Tim Johnson he made sure to state the scores ‘Fred and I had overall since we flew in different classes that the Aquila had bested Killer. What a relief that was. I can finally tease Fred over this weekend for the rest of our lives.

Going back to Steve Georges home after Friday to relax was nice high lite for the weekend. I had not seen his Corvette and that was a must see for me on this visit. I’ve been wanting to see this machine for quite some time. After I admired the Corvette in all its beauty it reminded me of the Aquila I had so long wanted to build. Classic lines and the iconic stance of American engineering. He took me for a ride and that car is amazing. I felt like this was an episode of Jay Leno’s garage since all I could do was laugh and smile when the car threw me back in the seat. We made it to the historic Esperanza’s in a record time. After a good dinner and great conversation he surprised me with the key to drive it home. That is such a privilege and one I will never forget for the rest of my life. Driving this car was one of the greatest moments of my life. It is so smooth and powerful. Thank you Steve.

Weekends like this are what makes this hobby for me. We can all see the smaller attendance of these events. I’d just like to close by saying it is the people who make this for me. Without the Steve/Jason/Chris Georges, Tim Renaud, Fred Weaver, Adam Nelson, Tim Johnson, Art Chielewski, Joe Nave, Don Northern, Larry Jolly, and Claude Turners there would not be a Bent Wing contest. Thank you guys for making life fun and worthwhile in this hobby.


Keith
Last edited by Keith Kindrick; May 14, 2018 at 11:48 AM.
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May 16, 2018, 11:14 AM
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Keith, that’s really nice that you built Harvey Jenkins kit, I remember him well, he was a good guy. I might have to join in the fun next year with the Shaker 2 when I get the parts from Larry and get it going.
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May 16, 2018, 02:22 PM
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I'd love to have you join the fun. Harvey was a great guy as you mention. Had he seen the way his kit turned out he would be happy. He always loved to make sailplanes.


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