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Mar 11, 2019, 07:57 AM
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R/C Diary Pt. 39, Free Flight Build Workshop!

March 11/19:
As you may be aware from reading my previous posts, I belong to SOGGI (Southern Ontario Glider Group Inc.) a small soaring club out of Hamilton, Ontario, with some 31 dedicated members. All though our primary goal is thermal soaring and contests, there are also members who enjoy other facets of the hobby. Flying & building free flight planes is one of them!

For those of you who have always been involved with r/c control, free flight seems….dare I say….archaic? Something you might have read in a very old black & white magazine from the ’50’s. Our club has been blessed with interesting members representing all walks of life, who bring a lot of talent to the table. Over the past couple of years, there has been a resurgence of interest in free flight models. This winter, a decision was made to build a P30 stick and tissue model. This class cannot exceed a 30” wingspan & must weigh a minimum of 40 grams.

An old classic design was chosen and a club build workshop was held on March 10/19. One of our members has become proficient at laser cutting and produced a number of kits for the other members for only $10 Cdn. for the short kit and $20 for the full kit. Can you say “bargoon!” : )

We had 10 members participate in the build, many of them with little to no building experience. This was a morning workshop and by noon, most of us had the tail feathers complete while the more experienced builders had almost finished the complete plane! Working with such small dimensions and thin materials was a real challenge! On more than one occasion the air was filled with some rather colourful expletives such as “darn or oh gosh! (Not!!) and the rest of us would break out into gales of laughter!

These build workshops are so important for building relationships and bonds within the club! We are blessed with members who have a rich background of basic balsa construction and covering knowledge! Then there is the matter of making the motor (rubber bands) that is an art in itself! Also, trimming the wee beast to fly in a large circle and the use of tail de-thermalizers Fuses! Wow! That blew my mind! Lighting a slow burning wick set up on the tail that burns through an elastic hold down, which in turn allows the elevator to flip up and bring the plane fluttering gently to the ground after a predetermined amount of time! Wild or what??

I see the need for the ARF’s and the “fly right out of the box” foamies, especially when you are just getting back into the hobby or a newbie trying to learn how to fly. Eventually, though, if you keep at it, you may want to build your own plane. The skills learned and the satisfaction of seeing your creation, that you built with your bare hands, soaring around the heavens is something that we should all experience!

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and as always, any comments are always appreciated!


Lyle Jeakins
Hamilton, Ontario
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