That sound you heard a few short weeks (!) ago- kinda like a WHOOSH- were the 2011 Holidays flying by. The start of the second decade of the current millennium- with a few personal milestones involved. December 19th marked 10 years since Dad passed away, all too soon. I still have the old, now-discontinued SIG 72” wingspan Ryan STA kit he bought me about 30 years ago when I took him for the first time ever to the WRAM show, thinking I might get him enthused about my hobby- or any hobby, for that matter. It was supposed to be the other way around, to get him to relax and decompress from his responsibilities and concerns, if only for a while here and there. But he insisted on buying it for me, saying something about a “…joint venture…” and the two of us gluing balsa and stretching Monokote together. Of course, nothing came of our plans- though he tried mightily, he was the kind of individual more concerned with reaching out and helping others, not spending time with toy airplanes. Not that he wouldn’t have wanted to- it’s just that, like much of his generation, he concentrated on family, friends and the community, with little time for anything else. Many, many individuals globally were the better for having known him, including me. I still have the kit, and someday it will be built and flown in his memory.
2012 already has other impressive milestones coming up. It will mark 30 years of connubial bliss- and occasional sturm und drang– with the lovely Mrs. Fred, and- in an amazing turn of luck, chance and circumstance- living 50 years on the same block, in two houses separated by 75 feet from one another. The first one, I grew up in, going back to 1962 (one of my phone line invoices still carries the original start date- 1/2/62). Many happy memories there- along with a few sad ones. The second I’ve shared with Mrs. Fred since 1982, and if taxes, Obama Care, old age’s infirmity and a periodically recurring flooding problem with “100 year” storms that now come every 3 years don’t force us to move, we may still be there for quite a while, if it’s in the “Master Plan”. It’s either stay there, or move to a farm in Pennsylvania (sorry, but I need a place where there are four seasons, even a little occasional cold and snow) where I can decently store all the RC and modeling stuff I have now in the cellar and storage space, and be able to fly off a former corn or onion patch during warm, late Summer afternoons at my leisure. It’s fun to dream and play “What If?”- no?
Okay, down to Business. We still don’t have a viable Membership Database up and running. Our former Administrator claims he doesn’t have the time to rebuild the old one, flooded away (according to him) with the other $50,000 worth of damage he sustained as a result of storm Irene. Since he’s been maintaining it for free for a number of years, I can’t give him too much grief, although I have the feeling we weren’t very high on his list of priorities. I hope to have a rudimentary EXCEL spread sheet in place shortly, with a new sticker template / program that may have to suffice for 2012. Our current webmeister is working on a replacement database that will be easier to use, etc. etc., but until he gets back to me with a successful replacement, my Rube Goldberg arrangement will have to do. MANY thanks to all who’ve renewed for 2012, especially all you Early Birds- much appreciated! A reminder- you have until the END OF FEBRUARY to renew for 2012 and not incur the $25 initiation fee again. This if for those of you who can’t / won’t make it to the WRAM show in New Jersey this year.
Since early December I’ve been funnin’ around with ParkZone’s most recent entry- a roughly 36 inch wingspan WWI SE-5A biplane- with clever engineering, amazing detail and sturdy construction. And, of course, being electric- convenient! Lazy is as lazy does, as I throw the sucker in the back of the van and bring three or four 1800 mA charged lipos, the radio, and I get a few quick flights under my belt in between the running around. Changed the squadron and aircraft markings thanks to Callie Graphics (great provider of super-thin vinyl cut graphics, with super-fast turn around service) for a little individuality, and after having survived a maiden flight that had the ailerons reversed (damned computer radio) it’s proven to be a lot of fun, if not exactly at home during windy days at the field (witness a few Saturdays ago, which had twelve different crosswinds for a while, and which flopped the SE-5A on its back after a single comical, exciting and violent flight- a familiar position for many full-scale WWI aircraft after landing, by the way).
Trying to make good use of the warmer than normal weather which is still somewhat with us. I’d like to run- and run dry- all glow engines one last time, and add the required after-run oil, so as to not have any surprises come April. All of this is better accomplished with temps above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The building board is almost ready (yay!) for the start of the new Bristol M1, and maybe this weekend I’ll start gluing balsa to balsa. Some of you out there should take this opportunity to start building something, instead of just assembling. You’ll be able to create something unique, and it will give you great satisfaction to boot.
I was reminded recently not to run down your lipos past 80% capacity (or below 20% charge remaining) whether by flying or on the bench. Something I had read about previously, but only associated with discharging on a charger in my mind, for some reason. The ESC on the SE-5A, for example, cuts off at 74%, so I can’t cheat on timing flights to last longer and go past 80%. If you’re not planning to use your lipos within a 12 hour period after charging there’s a specific nominal “storage” charge that you should implement- which is not fully charged. Something about lipo chemistry that doesn’t like all its electrons “squished” together too tightly for too long.
It’s snowed aplenty again, and completely melted again- weird for this time of year, but great for flying, unless you wanted to try out those new DuBro skis on your pride and joy. NOTE- the WRAM show is coming up, and we need volunteers to man our booth at their new show venue- the Meadowlands Expo Center at Harmon Meadows, Secaucus, NJ. If you can volunteer for one of the three days, WE NEED YA! Once again the Officers and Directors (welcome to our new Training Director- Al Reinhardt) wish everyone the best for 2012, and make sure to do the smart thing at all times when you’re at the field, and follow all regs. Until next time, fly safely… but FLY!