Happy Halloween

Photos courtesy of Cedric de la Nougered

Even if you are not a Harry Potter fan, chances are you recognize the boy wizard flying on a broom in this picture. Actually, this is a free flight model called the Gryffindor Seeker, created by Cedric de la Nougered. The fantastic (literally) airplane really captures the fun and magic spirit of Halloween.

I discovered the Gryffindor Seeker on Flickr. Photo and video hosting sites like Flickr and YouTube are good for storing and finding media, and also for social networking. I decided to contact Cedric to learn more about his unique model and to get permission to use his photo.

We exchanged several emails. Cedric informed me that the model is 3mm Depron sheet with balsa motor shaft, and it “can be a bit unpredictable in flight but a lot of fun.” He also told me something about the free flight scene where he lives, in southern England:

Hi Dave,

Visited your aero club blog, and it was wonderful to see so many rubber powered models, especially scale. We, in the Crawley & District MAC, have on-going Free Flight contests throughout the summer months, Chuck-glider, June; Scale, July; "One Model", August; and Cloud Tramp Precision, September. It is normal to have only three or four contestants. However, the first Saturday in September is the Cloud Tramp Mass Launch, for which we gather as many people as possible from our families and surrounding clubs. In 2005 we managed 69 in the launch, the best ever.

This year, the Cloud Tramp Precision was won by yours truly with a time of 30.01 seconds. The set time was 30 seconds due to the conditions and the small field. There were five taking part but I was the one with the luck. Bill Hannan always said "Luck will beat skill every time."

The Harry Potter was built some years back, for another contest, unorthodox, flown on just one evening a year.

I so enjoyed your blog, that I shall have to visit it when ever possible. Most enjoyable. Wish we could stir up some interest, but everyone wants to fly radio.

Best wishes, Cedric

Cedric being presented with the bottle of wine for winning the Cloud Tramp Precision Contest 2008

The 2005 Grant MIMLOCT event. 69 took part, but quite a few were cropped from this photo.


Help me out!

Let me add my thanks to Bill Hurley for all the booty. As far as I could tell everyone made off with some goodies and a lot of inspiration. I'm now trying to find a magnifying glass that will let me see 1/32" square so that I can finish . . . what I'm sure must be a Loire-Nieuport LN161. (The wing is an incredible fit with the fuselage.)

I'm not so sure about this silhouette . . .

. . there must be someone out there who knows exactly what this is. Otherwise I am doomed to roam the boxes and stacks of plans for eternity. I don't have time for this because I'm building a P47, Zero, Contestor, P30, Jimmie Allen(2), Ar 240, Wyvern(with Contra-rotating prop), Three gliders, and a number of WWI peanuts as well. Oh yes, and an Island Flyer, and another SE5 to replace the one I'm not going to crunch but give to Tyler.



Hurley Birds Fly Again

Tyler and Dave K went flying on Monday evening. Here are pictures of two Bill Hurley planes that Tyler got on Sunday and has already put back together:


Thank you, Bill

Our friend Bill Hurley has retired from modeling. The main purpose of MAC's meeting yesterday at George's house was to distribute Bill's large collection of model airplanes, kits, plans, literature, tools, and building supplies.

Thirteen of us assembled in George's garage, where we enjoyed coffee and snacks while looking over Bill's stuff. Both cars were parked in the street to make room for many boxes of goodies. Eventually, we drew numbers to determine the order for choosing items; we expected the rotation to continue for many rounds. But for some reason the system broke down after a few minutes and it turned into a free-for-all. To our credit, it remained a polite and orderly free-for-all.

Collectible books and finished models were the first items to be chosen. Most of Bill's airplanes were small scale subjects, often with all control surfaces hinged to aid trimming.

Bill was a prolific builder who started more projects than he completed. He was known for light structures, often using 1/32" square, as seen in the peanut scale Nieuport Triplane above. Those of us who now have Bill's unfinished models are inspired by his craftsmanship to continue his work.

Bill Hurley winding his Guillow's Hellcat in 1992

Another highlight of the meeting was seeing new models by active MAC members. Michael showed us his Ralph Bradley designed Micro Guided Mite which he enlarged to nine inch wing span.

Dave K showed us his peanut scale Fokker D.VII based on the larger scale Rocky Top plans. The ink jet finish on this plane is fantastic!


Bringing It All Back Home

You don't need a weather man
To know which way the wind blows

Today's forecast predicted gusts to 6 mph. Actual conditions were not that good. It was a complete blow-out, as Brian described it. We spent most of the morning waiting, talking, and admiring Mike's new Mustang (and we don't mean the airplane). Ed's helicopter was one of the few aircraft to take flight.

George brought a box of partially-built models he got from Bill Hurley. We will be posting more information about Bill's stuff in the near future.

The Bellanca 28-92 Trimotor was most impressive.

This could be the end of our outdoor flying season. An outdoor meeting is scheduled in November but the weather could be nasty. MAC's winter hiatus starts in December. However, some of us will be flying outdoors as the opportunity arises.

Unscheduled meetings are announced by email. If you would like to be added to MAC's email list, send your request here.


Good Air


Focus on Free Flight clubs

Clubs are the glue that holds the FF community together.
Without them, we would all be toiling away in near anonimity, as the distance between us is usually considerable, and the popularity of the hobby is second only to stamp collecting!
So, let us take a look at other clubs:

Pensacola Free Flight Team
This club has been active since the 1930's.
A browse through their members gallery shows that they have some very talented modelers...many great pics of awesome models.
Also evident is a high degree of participation in their regularly scheduled events.
One item of special note is the "Articles Index"...a list of methods, tips, hints and ideas that is mind-boggling!
Did you know:
You can make Ambroid from ping pong balls?
Sig dope is now made of urethane ?!
Acetone will no longer be used in Ambroid?!
Some balsa trees are adversely affected by being bent in the wind,
and the damage shows in the finished wood?!
All this and much more can be found on their excellent site:
Pensacola Free Flight Team


Name The Plane Contest

Photo by Martin Krupka

The Avia B.534 - this month's mystery plane - was correctly identified by several of our readers:

Jim Moseley - Ontario, Canada
Joshua Finn - Moncks Corner, South Carolina
Flyin' Brian - Santa Rosa, California
Al Backstrom - Fort Worth, Texas
Ray Bazurto - Novato, California
Bob Haley - Livermore, California
Alan West

The Czechoslovakian biplane was an advanced fighter when first flown in 1933, but obsolete by the beginning of the Second World War. The B.534 was used primarily by Germany and its allies, Slovakia and Bulgaria, as a trainer, night fighter, and glider tug. Several variants were produced. Germany converted a few B.534s for testing on the aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin, which was never completed.


Thursday outdoors under a darkening sky.

Despite the rainclouds, conditions were good at Lakeville on 10/2/08. John Pratt flew his exquisite Herb Kothe Nos' Wakefield with Paul thermal hunting for him. Roger Gregory launched the immaculate Contest Commercial. They looked good against the grey clouds, as did Jerry's blue Senator.

Below there's a picture of Ding Zarate carefully color coordinating his Gollywock with binoculars, and here's his account of flying the Senator (not shown) . . .

"This is my final report about my efforts on the Senator Postal. My previous E-mails reported on my first tre maxes at Lakeville Rd, Petaluma; 3min flight in Waegell Field, Sacramento. 4min flight back in Lakeville; and today my attempt for the 5min flight at Lakeville. Like California climate Septmeber should perhaps be the best time to fly for thermals. The noon hour was probably the most active time for this chance for a 5min flight. So with the fluffies that I brought along and after socializing with Marin Aero Club and Sam 27 members I brought out my old faithful SENATOR. I cranked in 980 turns and had Jerry Long of the MAC to time me. It must have taken me 5 to 10min to wait for the fluffies to rise then I waited for half a minute to launch. I launched and it went smartly up but to the LEFT.(?). Bad launch I suspected. After half a circle it straightened out and veered into its normal climb pattern. It must have been 3min or 4min high then it started into its right glide bouncing on and off on a thermal. At times it stalled and somehow lost altitude. Must have been turbulent air I thought. When it was out of the thermal it came down slowly and landed NE of the launch point. Sigh! 4:15min. Better luck next time.

I was fairly pleased but with the vow that maybe next year I can break that 5min mark. My series ended today and I will have to sweat it out. Maybe Bill McC or Bill Vanderbeek or Paul Masterman or some other luckier guy around the world can do better. The race is on! Anything can happen in 8 months

Sunday indoor meeting

Here are some pics of our September indoor meeting. Most are self explanatory. Included are the world's smallest cloud tramp and a couple of WWII peanuts from Mike L plus Kermit's super biplane - the name of which escapes me. Dave and Tyler both had neat stick biplanes with great WWI camo, and finally, after spending hours trying to figure out what it was we concluded that the red thing is a costume.

Here's Brian's take on the day.

"Hey guys,
Good session on Sunday. Those who couldnt make it were missed.
George managed to make an appearance even though he was severely
jet-lagged...it was good to see you home & safe, George.

My XE5 made its first flights, and weighs in at 12 grams.
I stayed after everyone left, to work on the trim some more,
and had it circling nicely just under the rafters before I left.

Mike got his P-47 trimmed out, it flew nice flat circles.
Tom & Dave K engaged in an epic dogfight over the teakwood
with their WW1 biplanes, I couldn't resist making sound effects."



The FAC Southwest Regional meet has been renamed WESTFAC (Western Region Flying Aces Club). The biennial contest, scheduled in odd-numbered years so as not to conflict with the FAC Nats, will be on September 25-27, 2009 at Gainesville, Texas.

Tom's Fairey Barracuda placed 2nd in the Scale Rubber event at the 2007 FAC Southwest Regional meet at Perris, California.

The MAC contingent in Perris included Tom, George, Dave K, Tyler, Ding, Mike P, and Rod. Our guys won a few awards, but the Texans were the most competitive group. It looks like they are the ones to beat next year, and they will have the home state advantage!