Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Slime Recovery of Foam Airplane

Last evening was about the most perfect weather possible, temperature in low 70’s, sun, and little wind. I got a later start in model flying so I grabbed 2 rubber powered foam planes and 2 fishing poles to enjoy a couple of my favorite activities.   After breaking the rubber motor on one plane I switched to the other plane that was built with the wing panels curved by heat supplied to me by Neil Dennis. 

Wing Rearward for Better Glide

At this time in the evening there probably wasn’t much thermal lift but I still managed to get flights close to one minute long and still stay on the tiny field.  The best flight was 5 seconds over a minute using 1100 turns on the 1/8” rubber motor. This plane in initial flights had a bad stall in the glide but my Internet friends suggested I needed to move the CG ahead. They were correct and now it had a good glide for a plane like this.  At just over 30 seconds the rubber winds were used up but it took another 30 seconds to reach the ground.


I was going to stop flying after the longest flight and try some fishing but decided to give it just one more chance for a longer flight.  Before launching I should have noticed that what little wind there was had changed direction by 180 degrees. Just after launch I noticed it as the airplane was headed towards a row of trees with a pond on the other side.  Instead of getting a really good line on where it was going I tried to take a picture of it flying away.  

Last Seen Over These Trees

First I checked in the trees around the pond but then I spotted it where I thought it was, in the pond with the slimiest weeds imaginable. After getting my fishing poles I figured out where was the closet spot on land I could cast from to try to reel the plane to shore. That was from a tiny island created by a small stream of water only a few inches deep that had a narrow plank spanning between. I walked the plank without getting wet but that would soon change.  The closest spot on shore had small trees surrounding the bank making casting almost impossible, I had to get into the water to have a chance of casting out to my plane.

Spotted in the Slime

After walking into the water that was warm at least but so slimy, I made many casts with the rod that had the plastic frog lure. Every time I retrieved the lure it was covered with slimy weeds that had to be removed. After enough tries I managed to pull the airplane a few feet closer.  Next I tried my other rod with the minnow lure, I snagged onto it again with this one, I pulled it further but still it was 30 feet away.  

Walking the Plank

By this time it was starting to get a little dark, I considered maybe I should have gone home and brought my kayak back. That would have taken a lot of time which I really didn’t have before it was really dark. A few more casts and I managed to hook into the rubber motor and pulled the airplane to shore minus the vertical fin.  

Airplane Retrieved Minus Vertical Fin

All that effort for an airplane that cost less than a dollar for the materials. This airplane was special to me in that Neil the wombat had given me his heat formed wing panels.  It had me thinking too about the charm of free flight airplanes in doing the difficult retrieve.

More Charm of Free Flight

I had this all-balsa plane stuck in a tree today but managed to get it down with a rock. One must be careful not to get hit by whatever you throw upwards when it comes down. A wingtip broke off but that was the only damage.

Bill Kuhl

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My Two Cats

Out of necessity I have two cats living with me. They were my mother’s cats but it was getting hard for her to take care of them, I made some effort to find another home for them but accepted that they were probably stuck with me. Given a choice I would probably not have a cat but they have not been too much trouble.  It seems like many people either really dislike cats or like them, I am pretty neutral.



My mother most likely would not have a cat if it were not that I had brought one home that was wandering around a restaurant one bitter cold night and my dinner date convinced me I needed to save it from the cold.  When I brought it to my parents house my mother offered to take in which really made me happy, now I could visit the cat and not have to take care of it.

Missy, the name my mother gave the cat lived for 20 years but I had to have her put to sleep because she was in such pain at the end. Before this four more cats showed up at the house looking for something to eat. My mother couldn’t watch them starve and as far as animal control is concerned once you feed them they are yours. A home was found for two of the cats but that left two; one a tabby cat the other a calico and that is what my mother named them.

These cats would probably be considered feral cats and are afraid of anyone they do not know real well. Calico was always the friendlier cat and Tabby would sometimes hiss at me.  When the time came to take them to my house 50 miles away I managed to get each in a cat carrier for the trip. Once released in my house they immediately went into hiding.  It is amazing what a small spot a cat will crawl into and not come out of.

Although I had food and water out for them, they really didn’t seem to eat much; it was beginning to worry me. Someone had suggested offering them soft cat food to coax them out.  I tried pushing a can of food towards Tabby and she slammed it back at me with her paws. Eventually they did come out of hiding and became friendly towards me, sometimes too much so.

Calico Favorite Spot

If there is a lesson to be learned from this I would say it is that building trust is not a quick process but is possible.  Tabby who was often on the edge of attacking me follows me around and sits on me often. Yet both cats are only comfortable being close to me when the situation is right for them.  

Lately it has been rather windy so the only model flying I have done to speak of is some RC slope soaring  but the forecast today is looking favorable to light wind. 

Bill Kuhl

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Thought Process in My Hobbies

Forecast on Wednesday of this week was for wind of 2 mph in the afternoon so I took vacation time to enjoy two of my hobbies, model aviation and bass fishing. Actual wind turned out to be stronger but still comfortable for flying. First I made more flights on Pearl E202 electric free flight and then RC thermal soaring with my Allegro Lite using a short hi-start.

Pearl E202 FF and Allegro Lite RC Sailplane

With many launches of the Allegro Lite I was not finding very good lift, the one time I did was when I flew farther downwind from the field behind a small hill covered with small trees.  After flying for so long I was worrying about my receiver battery so I went home which isn’t very far away. I got to thinking about my lack of thermal success, I wonder if the wind wasn’t blowing across the pond in front of where I was flying. Behind the hill and trees air there is very still was probably heating up and creating better lift.

New Spinner on Radian Pro Electric Sailplane

Area Behind Hill and Trees

Putting most of the models away I brought out my Radian Pro RC electric sailplane, I wanted to test the new aluminum spinner and the larger capacity battery new to the airplane. I also grabbed my fishing pole.  Back at the field I launched the Radian Pro and flew behind the hill, it started going up soon after cutting the power. Circling in that general area it stayed up for a few minutes, better than I had done with the higher performance Allegro Lite. With the Radian I could easily get back to the field if suddenly it was in sinking air.

Typical Largemouth Bass Caught and Released

Larger Bass
Tiny Bass Caught Last Year

By now it was getting later into the afternoon and I put the glider away and got out the fishing rod to fish in the pond next to the field. The evening before at this normally good fishing spot I had caught nothing. So far this season I had gotten skunked twice and only caught three fish in five times out fishing, the fish were fairly large however. The year before I had caught really tiny fish at the beginning of the season. Someone had suggested using a plastic frog to be able to fish the really weedy areas, I had good luck with that and started using that right away this season.

Really Heavy Weeds

On this particular day my fishing success was better and I caught a bass after not many casts, it was smaller but not real small.  After some unproductive casts I tried casting over the really thick weeds, to my surprise a fish snapped at my lure but missed it.  I casted over the thick weeds and darn if I didn’t catch another fish but it was really hard dragging it through the weeds to shore. 

Weed Covered Fish

For the rest of my fishing efforts I concentrated on fishing the edge of the really thick weeds and caught another fish and had bites from a couple more. From what I do know from watching fishing videos, fishing success often depends on finding patterns such as locations. I noticed small frogs were jumping into the water so I think my lure choice was good.  What I do not understand is why it seems like at different times it seems to be the size of the fish caught can be so consistent.  No doubt there are reasons for that.

Bill Kuhl

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