Stick and Tissue Models
When I was a kid, we'll say about 10 years old, I received as a Christmas gift, a control-line model airplane powered with a Cox .049 glow-plug gas engine. That was my start into building and flying model airplanes, leading up to building and flying radio-control model airplanes. ( today radio control sailplanes)
As sometimes happens with hobbies, model airplanes got pushed on the back-burner for a while, being replaced by other interesting hobbies.
Years later when our daughter Jennifer came along and when she was about 7 or 8 years old, we were in the hobby shop one day where I was picking up I forget what, but while there, Jennifer spotted a rubber powered model airplane that cost about 3 bucks which I bought for her.
I should mention here that Jennifer was one of the best things that ever happened to me when she came into our lives, and I loved being a kid all over again while hanging out with her. In fact one day when she was about 6 years old she said to friends visiting "My dad always steals my hobbies" LOL!
For the record, the photo was shot on film with a Canon APS film camera built around the Advantix film system.
Advantix film system description.....
Funny thing happened, I got interested in hi-tech rubber powered model airplanes. I was aware that there were guys flying elaborate hand-built rubber powered airplanes made from balsa wood and covered in Japanese tissue paper keeping them very light. As a rule these models had hand carved balsa propellers as seen on the model airplane I built pictured here with Jennifer.
I first purchased the book "Rubber Powered Model Airplanes" by Don Ross, and by reading this book, I educated myself on building and flying rubber powered model airplanes. I also have his second book, both that still reside in my library.
Once you picked a model airplane you wanted to build, and acquired a set of plans, the next stop was the model shop to purchase a pile of balsa wood to build the air-frame with.
The model seen here I built from scratch, and although the model is built from balsa wood, the removable propeller block is built from hard wood. Now with three rubber motors each 36"" in length ( 6 feet of rubber looped forming 36" motors) that are mounted in this very fragile fuselage, there needs to be an anchor point at the tail section that is a small diameter aluminum tube that protrudes out either side allowing for capturing the rubber motors holding them anchored in place.
The propeller shaft with thrust bearings has a hook at the rear of the propeller shaft that you attach the looped rubber to.
With a 10-1 winder as seen hanging from the winding-stooge, you attach the winder to the front shaft of the propeller, and then back up approximately 8-10 feet stretching the rubber motors and begin winding, creating nice winds in the three rubber motors. As you wind and while watching how the rubber is braiding, you slowly walk back to the model with about 1000-1200 winds placed in the rubber. Once your done winding, you un-hook the winder and carefully allow the propeller block to snap in place being careful to not let the propeller get away on you.
If you expand the photo, you can see a long tempered steel pin with an attached lanyard, the pin passed through the aluminum tube in the fuselage, that holds the rear rubber motors in place, and anchors the tube to the winding stooge. In actuality while winding the rubber motors there is no tension being place on the model, its all on the inserted aluminum tube that passes through the rear of the fuselage. The model is not strong enough on its own to have the tension of wound motors attached to the balsa fuselage directly while winding. In fact if for some reason one of the rubber motors explodes in the model while wound, possibly from over winding, the result is a destroyed fuselage or one needing extensive repairs.
Now something else of interest, and the fact these are free-flying models, on a hot day in the summer once the model airplane is released, and of course it may take a number of flights to trim the model so that it flys in large lazy climbing circles as the motor unwinds although slowly due to the very coarse pitch of the large balsa propeller.
The model climbs and climbs while circling, and on a hot day it may thermal going out of sight to never be seen again, a sad happening to say the least.
So to stop this from happening, and I wish I had a photo to show you, but when the model was built, the tail section consisting of the rudder and the elevator were built separately from the fuselage, This assembly is held in place with a hinge at the front of the assembly where it attaches to the fuselage, and a elastic band that loops around the rear of the fuselage and held in place with a small hardwood dowel that passes through the fuselage holding the flying tail surfaces firmly in place.
In one side of the fuselage a aluminum tube protrudes where a short piece of wick protrudes from the tube. The looped elastic band that holds the tail section in place, passes over the protruding wick.
When ready to fly, you light the wick that smolders during the flight, slowly burning back to where the looped elastic is situated.
Now this takes several fights to get the right length for the wick, so that the burn time allows for a 1-2 minute powered flight. At that point the model is flying with the hawks, and in danger of flying away with the thermals created on hot summer days. However that's when the elastics are burnt through allowing the tail assembly to pivot up to a 45 degree angle stalling the airplane, causing it to flutter back down to the ground where it is recovered for the next flight.
Of course when out flying my model airplanes, it just so happened that I had my flight crew with me in the form of Jennifer and Danielle who would chase down the model for retrieval.
Just so you know, rubber powered model airplanes of this type are possibly more challenging to build and fly than radio controlled model airplanes.
Expand the photo for a closer look.....
The winding stooge and winder....